Archive for the ‘On The Streets’ Category

Alternate Side Parking Regulations Suspended in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

This has to be some of the best news in a long time for the neighborhood. As a car owner, it is one of the least favorite tasks of mine…..to switch the car around every other day.

The city plans to suspend Alternate Side Street Cleaning for a couple of months till they change all the boards and then street cleaning shall be once a week. Whew !

My sincere thanks to all those who campaigned to get this approved.

Read below fold for actual notice and area coverages.

 

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Pedal Faster, New Amsterdam!

A woman rides the Dutch bicycle

A woman rides the Dutch bicycle

The Dutch are so proud of their friendship with NYC that the Dutch minister recently gifted the city 400 Dutch bicycles.

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and NYC&Company CEO George Fertitta were on hand to receive the bikes at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 and to highlight the many biking opportunities throughout New York City this summer.

What will happen to these bikes next? I don’t really know but there’s a lot of history to be learned about the Dutch’s colonization of America at the port we now know as Manhattan (and parts of Albany too).

It’s great that this event ties in with NYC-wide bike month. I’m sure you’ve seen the green posters on the subway as I have. They have quite an extensive schedule of events posted. But really, what exactly is bike month? It’s a way to encourage more New Yorkers to consider pedaling instead of peddling (read: illegal substances). HEYOOOOOOO!

(njoi bicycles. njoi life. njoi nyc. thank you dutch people. sorry native americans.)

A is for April

Visited the ever monumental American Museum of Natural History this weekend with some out of town guests, like you do. Went into the Butterfly Conservatory. If standing around inside a terrarium with a lot of flying insects is your idea of fun, go see it! It was really quite magical. On our way home we took the A train, which was running on the C track in front of the museum. In the station was a man in a green trench coat, wearing a beard, playing the violin. At one point a small child was very interested in what was happening with that weird looking stick the man was rubbing on that small wooden box, so the man knelt down to let the boy hold the bow. He showed him how to push it across the strings and did the necessary finger work to play a tune. The boy was elated and the whole platform of people immediately gained new found acceptance for the man in the green trench coat with the violin. Little moments like that are another reason to fall in love again with this city of ours. Then on the train a man in a dirty jean jacket sitting next to my friends mother asked if we were going uptown or downtown, classic. The A train is for April.

We’re Open About Our Business, NYC

I spy a fashion house

I spy a fashion house

New Yorkers may be many things but one thing we’re definitely not is shy.

Having superbly personal conversations on the subway is now somewhat of a normal every day thing. Just the other day I was riding the E train during rush hour. My face was squished against the doors. Behind me, a daughter was telling her mother all about her older gentleman lover, how much money he had, how she thought her mother was lazy, how she wanted to move to Florida. And so on and so forth. The mother exclaimed “there’s just some things you don’t discuss in public.”

But the daughter kept on.

But talking is not the only way we’re open. Just yesterday, the New York Times posted a slideshow of once personal spaces now becoming exhibitionist lairs.

I remember while working at a previous job, I’d sometimes just glare out the window and stare at the fashion house (photo) located in the opposite building. There would be people sewing stuff all day and then some days, they’d put the dresses on a bust and discuss it all.

New Yorkers are curious and they like to share too!

But yesterday I think I witnessed something completely unheard of…or maybe not. At around 5:15 pm, so pretty much in broad daylight, as I was making my way down 2nd avenue and the 30s, a mother began nursing her baby. Just like that.

But the funny part is, I was not surprised or even shocked. Just thought, well, Only in New York.

Sweet delights in an Alley in NYC?

Hazelnut Praline (Vegan)When you think of NYC, you know what to avoid, lonely alleyways make it to the top of that list.

When I spotted a chalkboard sign yesterday in the East Village, I thought I was walking into a trap, a trick of some sort. But curiosity overcame my fear and training not to enter lonesome alleys. And I was rewarded deliciously.

I had walked into Bespoke Chocolates. Immediately, I was caught in a cocoa infused spell. I asked if they had vegan chocolates and they had all of 2 options. I was not complaining. I was looking to put that smell into my mouth and cherish it.

I had the hazelnut praline and also bought a dark chocolate covered pretzel. Apparently, I’m not the first to sneak into this alleyway.

Located between Bowery and 2nd avenue, at 6 Extra Place, Bespoke is the brainchild of Rachel Zoe Insler; a chocolatier with some history in the business. The folks I spoke with assured me that there are even more vegan options on their way. Exciting!

So I learned 2 things yesterday.

  1. It pays to take the path less traveled on (as this was not my usual walk)
  2. Alleyways are not always spooky.

Thank you Bespoke for returning my faith into chalkboard signs and dark alleyways and for treating me to an absolutely delicious treat.

Who are the Hare Krishnas?

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

I’m familiar with the Hare Krishna movement – followers of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) are often misunderstood as a cult. When they’re doing chant sessions at the Union Square L train stop, people sometimes keep smiling and walk away.

Some, however, stop to learn a little more. I should just say that I’m a big fan of their movement and what they try to achieve – peace for themselves and others through harmless means.

The origins of ISKCON happened on 2nd Avenue by Srila Prabhupad. The temple he founded was on 2nd Avenue and 1st street. At that time, several people who were seeking happiness were looking to do it through artificial means of drugs and free “love.” Not much has changed since that time. People are always searching for happiness – it is human nature to do so.

So what the Krishna lovers do is spread the ancient religion of Bhakti – connection through devotion (which may include, singing, dancing and meditating) so that this happiness can be derived through natural means. A lot of misconceptions can be cleared by visiting the Krishna NYC site’s FAQs.

Getting back to the East Village, their program has become superbly popular and each week more and more devotees show up for the chanting sessions. I had the opportunity to go there and record the session (episode 16). I’ve always found them to be peace bringing and meditative. Hopefully, if not all, at least one person attains that meditative state that I do when I attend by listening.

And the next time you see them chanting on the subway, stop and ask a few more questions. They’re not weird at all, in fact, they happen to be super nice!

Man arrested for taking a photo of NYC subway

In a world with increasing police involvement in everyday activities a man was arrested in the Bronx for taking a photograph of an MTA train. Ironically he was an off duty MTA employee who knew his rights. Read the full story on Photo District News Online, or the NY Times. As a photographer myself, I am constantly enraged by misinterpretation of laws that result in regular people getting hassled and arrested. It’s one thing to be a law enforcer, and another to know the laws. I truly wish that a man did not have to get arrested after trying to explain to three officers why he was not breaking any law. “Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted…” This is from the MTA rules and regulations 1050.9 (c). This was also the rule stated as the reason he was arrested, stating the complete opposite. I don’t mind the police, as long as they act justly. This was an unjust act by the police and he would not have been charged with disorderly conduct if it was. May all his charges be dropped.

Relying on the kindness of strangers

The other day my wife and I were walking on 23rd St. when we saw people staring at something on the ground at the corner of Lexington ave. We look down to see a man lying there on his back as if he is asleep. Other people are slowing down and staring also but just continuing on by. We stop and see that no one seems to be interested in seeing if this is a normal situation or if this person needs help. I quickly walked over to the man and tried to get a response from him. He seemed to have his eyes half open and was making a breathing sound like he was snoring. He didn’t respond to my voice or hand on his shoulder so I decided to call 911. I told the dispatcher what was happening. As I was on the phone a man walked up saying something about how the guy tried to cross the street and seemed to be a bit out of it, swaying and walking funny. He then said several times, trying to convince everyone in ear shot that he thought it was drugs, this guy must be overdosing. So the talking guy helped the stumbly guy back to the curb where he sat down and then lay/fell the rest of the way. The talking guy had apparently tried to flag down a few police officers who drove by a few minutes before but to no avail. Another dude who had been elsewhere then heard that I called an ambulance and said that he had already done so, oh well, more than once call is better than people walking by without even stopping. A few minutes went by and an off duty EMT showed up and took his pulse and tried to get his attention. moments later the ambulance was there. A few policemen showed up and seemed like they could give a flying shit about what was happening. I told one of them what I knew and he dismissed it with a “yeah, ok. Thanks guy” kind of attitude. Your welcome, asscop. In any case the EMTs from the ambulance were able to wake the guy up and walk him over to the ambulance. We walked on seeing there was nothing more we could do. I’m not medically trained in any capacity but at least I was able to get an ambulance there. Living in a city of millions it’s nice to know strangers are willing to help, not so nice to find out the cops could give a rats ass.

Hard to find in NYC

Some places in NYC are hard to find.

In fact, I can say with full confidence that half of the places I frequent today, it had taken me a while before finding exactly where they were located. Addresses in NYC are easy for many to follow, but I always, even as a native, seem to have trouble navigating.

For example, it took me 3 years before I found the famous Dosa Cart guy of Washington Square Park. I just saw, for the first time today, after 2 years of searching, Una Pizza Napoletana.

My current favorite ice cream shop, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is easy to find but their winter schedule is like Wednesday-Saturday. They’re having new hours starting the 21st of January.

Abraco was also tricky. I had actually been to the location before it became the best espresso shop in New York City. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what street it was on. So I clearly remember walking up and down 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 9th streets between 1st and 2nd avenue…until finally going up 7th and finding the spot. It was at least 3 trips until I found it.

The trouble is that even with Google maps some places like 9th street Espresso (which you’d think, duh, easy) will escape you because they are located inside the block where you don’t expect them to be. And the trouble with the way addresses are written for NYC, it’s like you have to guess all the time.

I wish I had a trick to tell you how to get around this – the best bet would be just to ask someone. But the other point is that many of these places are actually open, but they don’t show up when you think they would. Una Pizza Napoletana is the perfect example. Their elusive and bare bones Web site says that they’re open from Thursday – Sunday from 5 pm until the dough runs out.

The Dosa cart guy may have been there during the day when I went and visited and may just have left because he ran out of his Dosa batter.

Lula’s was closed earlier this year after it received unexpected demand and they couldn’t churn out enough ice cream to feed the hungry vegans. Abraco is tiny and so sometimes people may pass by it and miss it. 9th street espresso needed better signage which I think they got, unless they’ve had it all along and I just found it this year.

I would commend places like Veniero’s bakery for being inventive and creating huge signs with neon arrows pointing lost folks like me in the right direction. Sure, I don’t eat/buy anything from them but at least I know that they exist.

Lemme’ touch your stuff, k?

I was out and about this evening getting some cat food from my favorite local pet store The Natural Pet, when I found out the management had changed hands! Rats, I said as we walked into the wine shop next door. My wife was deciding on which wine from Orvieto she wanted when a gentlemen came through the door. He seemed like your average middle aged New York City man. He saw my Leica hanging around my neck and this is how he interacted with me. (more…)

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