Thursday, December 31, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Todd Haynes, director, and Christine Vachon, in a q&a about their film Carol at the Paris Theater. Then afterward, they went outside and snapped a photo of the marquee, right. I love how even totally amazing and accomplished filmmakers don't take the wonder of their accomplishments (as evidenced by the beautifully understated, class Paris marquee) for granted.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Friday, October 23, 2015
Not that long ago, the idea of outdoor "no smoking" zones seemed silly. But when many cities (including New York) banned indoor smoking, smokers began clustering at building entrances, generating tobacco clouds and butt piles. In other words, the indoor bans only moved the problem of second-hand smoke outside. The solution outside many buildings has been to post no smoking signs, like the one above. And while it seems to have forced many smokers to find another perch, or least get a little more exercise before enjoying a puff, the signs clearly don't always work.
Friday, September 4, 2015
It took me two days to read this note. On the first, I was carried along by the rush hour crowd, and anyone with sense never stops on subway stairs at such a moment. The crowd is unforgiving (because it's composed of individuals like me who are very unforgiving when someone blocks the flow). The next day, however, I was ready with phone in hand. I waited for the surge of people to pass and then paused long enough to take a snapshot. Although I'm posting this under the date when I took the picture, I'm actually writing this several weeks later and can report that while graffiti often lingers in this city for months and years, this little bit of advice was was scrubbed away a couple weeks ago.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The first thing they tell you when buying a pass to enter the Laugardalslaug swimming pool in Reykjavik is that you must take a shower "without your bathing suit" before entering the pool. And if the verbal message isn't enough, the sign about greets you before entering the locker room.
Personally, I loved the explicit emphasis on cleanliness. I'm not a clean freak (in my opinion) but I find it strange that in America (and many other places, like Scotland, where we'd just visited before Iceland) people consider a quick rinse while wearing their bathing suit adequate preparation before entering a pool. C'mon people! We all know how dirty humans can get--especially in the areas highlighted in the above poster. I think the above sign should be mandatory at poolsides everywhere.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The New Calton Burial Ground was established around 1820 so it's "new" only when compared to the Old Calton Burial Ground. According to Wikipedia, some of the bodies from the old cemetery were moved to the new so that "a number of stones predate the cemetery but are indeed true markers of those interred."
In any event it's a beautiful place, drawing me in for a visit even though I have no connection (that I'm aware of) to those interred.
It's a stone's throw from Holyrood Palace and a block from the Royal Mile. Its central location makes it unlike many of the cemeteries I've seen in the U.S., which are often in out-of-the way places where they and their annoying habit of reminding us of death can be compartmentalized and forgotten. And they're often near highways so the living have easy access and can make speedy getaways.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
I saw this outside the Shields Road Subway Station on my last full day in Glasgow. I wasn't sure at first that it depicted a face. I found the image hard to read but intriguing enough to pull out my phone to record it. Now that I see it on my screen, however, it seems obvious that it's a face. Or does it?
Thursday, July 9, 2015
I found these signs at Lenox Hill Hospital a bit of a mystery. Why is the iconography in the Spanish translation different? Do Spanish-speakers wear old-fashioned ice bag on their heads when they have a fever? Are they more likely to have bags under their eyes? Does their vomit not come from the middle of their mouths but from below? And do they experience a different kind of misery when they get rashes (a squiggly-line kind of misery rather than a frown?) Their airplanes, which apparently tend to be white rather than English-speakers' black planes, seems to travel in straighter lines too.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Chief Leschi High School. We knew from the moment we arrived that this is a different kind of school and a different kind of community. The magnificent totem pole is clue that the student body is largely Native American--specifically 98% Indian, representing more than 60 tribes and bands from throughout the United States.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The Youth Justice Board, a group of teenagers who study a policy issue affecting youth, present recommendations at Pace University on how to improve youth/police/community relations.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
While working on a video in Red Hook, Brooklyn, today we walked by this iconic sign. One might think at first glance that the "R" stands for Red Hook, but the floating period suggests otherwise. The actual story, according to the blog Lost City is this: "This used to belong to paper goods manufacturer named E.J. Trum. When John Turano & Sons Furniture took over the address in 1978, they tried to tear down the Trum letters. All but the stubborn "R," and a period, were removed. There they remain."
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
I spent the day in Brownsville and had a chance to visit some of the amazing murals created by teenagers in collaboration with Groundswell and other partners, including the Brownsville Community Justice Center.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Payphones are Still Useful for Communication (Even if No One Dials) (104th Street & Amsterdam Avenue)
Payphones are still part of the street flora in New York City although I never see anyone using them--at least not to make phone calls. They get more use these days as public bulletin boards, attracting flyers, graffiti, and stickers (and stickers with graffiti), like the one below.
The notion of "payphone" will one day pass into history, and with it the memory of a way of life when people weren't connected to the world and everyone they knew via a touch screen in their pockets.
These days I hate to carry change, and try to avoid it by always using a credit card, but in the 1980s and 1990s, pay phones made carrying coins a necessity. Once when I needed to make a call and didn't have the 20 cents, I asked a passing couple if they could give me change for a dollar. Seeing that I needed to make a call, they handed me a quarter and said, "Keep it." I was amazed and tried to press the dollar on them, but they refused it with a laugh.
Twenty cents may seem insignificant but the act of giving wasn't. I thanked them profusely, but I've realized since that it wasn't just a quarter they gave me. They also gave me a conviction that people have the capacity to be kind and generous, and you might never know in advance when or how someone will come to your aid. The fact that I remember that brief interaction from 25 years ago speaks to the lasting impression it made.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Edwin Witte's role in the development of Social Security. And this bold declaration is within sight of the Capitol Building, where Scott Walker, enemy of labor unions and public education, is trying to leverage his governorship into a presidential candidacy. Fortunately, Social Security has lasted longer than the careers of many nay-saying politicians and hopefully will continue to help government secure "the well-being of its citizens" for many years to come.