Wednesday, November 25, 2009


November 25, 2009. I wonder if the designer here was thinking like a whale. How do you corral your prey into a specific space so that they have to pay attention to your merchandise, all before you rise up out of the deep blue and eat them, like so many krill, or is it make that sale? Or was the idea more like a diver, searching for treasure, trailing a line of bubbles that announces to the surface that you are there, you are under the water, you are searching. It was a wonderful feeling, looking through the glass, reflections of light and color.


November 24, 2009. Early morning. I am walking out of my house. There it is, parked across the street. This little panel truck, graffitied to within an inch of its life. As I’m going down into the subway, I notice a man with painting supplies on the curb hailing a cab. I imagine this is the driver and artist. He found a good parking spot and is on his way to the job. I was on the way to mine, so I didn’t stop to say hi. My loss, I suppose.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


November 21, 2009. After my morning swim I was coming up from the 7th Avenue line, when I came across the first image. Completely random, a slip of the trowel, a whistle that signaled closing time, and the person on this job didn’t smooth the last of the cement where tiles will eventually cover this work. A ghostly image, a woman in a shroud, a priestly figure, a graduating student – I don’t know – but I stopped.

Moments later, walking up a street in my neighborhood, I passed by this tree. It has been there many years. I didn’t see it. Now look how the bark has separated from the trunk, wrapped around it, embracing, holding, not wanting to leave its source. The play of texture, the softness of the bark, like birch, against the smooth trunk, like a post readied for staking to make a fence on the farm.


November 20, 2009. Walking up the A line at the 59th Street subway station I came across this support bean, which is where it always is, I just never noticed its particular beauty. The layers of paint and glue, cement and rust, have been stripped away in patterns at once designed and random. Someone just walked up and stripped away the sign that had been there, and the rest was exposed. Maybe the person tried to scrape away some of what remained. I love the look of the oxidized metal. And the pink above it reminds me of another artist, Ellie Greenberg, from BWAC. The colors look at peace with one another.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


November 19, 2009. More sidewalk art on Church Street, near Worth. This is a beautiful array of circles and arcs, in colors, across the entire entry to the Insurance building. You are walking down a drab street of uninteresting buildings and grey sidewalks and then you happen across this work. How fun it must be to come to work and walk across this as you enter the lobby of your building. How often do you just forget about it and through familiarity, it becomes another sidewalk? I hope never.


November 18, 2009. It’s Verizon again. I don’t know what Verizon has to do with LeRoi, but this wonderfully powerful graphic is traveling around the City, courtesy of the telephone giant. The oversized paw indicating a ferocity that signals anyone thinking about it to not approach in the wrong way. Those mighty talons stretching out to swipe at any transgressors. And the tongue, is it that this lion is speaking to us with a loud voice, does it impress on us the mighty roar that causes us to tremble? Who was the passerby then that applied the neon blue dollar signs over this graphic? Applied more strategically this could have been a coat, but why so haphazard, as if in passing?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


November 15, 2009. Someone in NY isn’t a fan of cell phones. In this view, do they portend the end of civilized conversation as some of my friends believe, or will they result in some unknown cancer of the ear at a date in the future? These three skulls were part of a larger grouping of about 27, sinister, bleached white, and all talking outside the Puck Building. I was so distracted by them that I walked south to a destination that was north.

Then I found this, which helped to turn me back north. It immediately made me think of my friend Todd. Every cultural phenom has to have people who seek to satirize loyal followers. The colors are so neon, and the words almost leap off the page, they seem to be moving of their own volition.

Finally, outside my destination, stood this tower of cars. Parking space in NY is at such a premium. But I love the design of it, the idea of apartments for cars, next to apartments for humans. Some have better views. Others have garden apartments. Some appear to have tri-plexes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


November 14, 2009. One of the beauties of New York is its myriad sidewalks and the materials used to construct them. Outside of the Library at 5th and 42nd, the curbs are made of this beautiful red toned granite. It was raining today, and these leaves were aligned perfectly, matted to the stone and revealing the last of their glory before they will dry and be swept away.

And then there was this sidewalk on 50th, outside the Time Building. It is easy to imagine this in yellow, populated by lions and tigers and bears. It must have been conceived of in a much more fanciful time, and how thrilling it must be when you come upon it after treading over the usual cement sidewalk, easily traversed, excruciatingly familiar, but far less fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day

November 11, 2009. Who doesn’t love a parade? And who wouldn’t love a marching band in bright red uniforms, marching up 5th Avenue? These uniforms were in such stark contrast to the black, brown and navy uniforms of the other bands and groups. And the white plumes, fluttering in the wind, were bright and clean against the drab gray sky.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


November 8, 2009. Public walkways often meet with mixed results in their everyday application. This particular one is dark and dull with the exception of this water wall, where water glistens on the rock as it cascades from the ceiling. The light plays on the uneven surface, and the water tinkles as it falls into the pool at sidewalk level. It is a valiant attempt to bring life to a lifeless spot.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


November 7, 2009. So, like who really needs any encouragement? I like that there are four levels of work happening on this. Wood, tag, letting and wash. And I imagine that some student in his shop class thought this out and then cut it with a jig saw. Do they even have shop class anymore?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


November 3, 2009. After leaving the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were walking south on 5th Avenue and came across this little gem at 79th Street. Ensconced in its own little garden, still in bloom, this vertical home belongs in this spot. Not as lyrical as Nevelson, but still reminiscent of style, this is filled with more whimsy, and is probably more accessible to people passing by. It’s themes of domesticity and community resonates easily in a residential community and welcome people to engage it on its own terms.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


November 1, 2009. Let’s look, Parker said. It’s just a jumble of weeds, Todd said. But what a jumble of glorious color on a fall day at the end of our NYC Marathon watching. A circle of asters around the fountain in the Conservatory Garden. Pink, white, yellow, magenta, violet, purple all jumbled into a blanket of color so dizzying in its fullness that it was dream inducing.


October 31, 2009. I collect them, I smell them, I like them near me. Most dogs chew on shoes. Then there are those with a collector’s instinct. Maybe it’s because they have shiny bits on them, or maybe the texture of suede is nice. But then it could just be the smell. For whatever reason, they are gathered and arranged as part of the feathering of the nest.


October 30, 2009. In Riverdale, looking across the expansive green of Van Cortlandt Park, beyond the trees on the horizon, stands a gaggle of cranes, construction cranes, as if in conversation. They stand straight and tall, and near to each other. I wonder if they discuss how much they lift, or how high, or if they are excited about what they are helping to build. A nest they won’t live in. These are their downtown cousins, fewer in number, and more focused on their tasks. They’ve grown accustomed to the people at their feet, pouring out of the Path Station and the subways. Are they equally at home with the giant buildings towering over them?