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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Caged animal

Speaking of yellow transportation, here's that Bourget photo I promised. This was sort of a hit and run shot because I had it on auto and the flash went off in the garage. It's probably a safe bet that the garage attendants don't like random people taking photos of their expensive customers. Anyway, to whatever neighbor has brought this to us, welcome to the neighborhood.

Not to brag, but here's my Roger Bourget autographed t-shirt from Bike Week this year.

Checker parade

I think a mayoral candidate could with the election on the single issue platform of bringing back the checkered cab. I won't go on a rant here about how ridiculous it is that taxi car policy doesn't make more sense in terms of fuel economy, pollution, passenger comfort (which isn't to say I won't go on that rant ever), so for now, just enjoy the photos.

The story, what there is of it, is that these two cars were clearly rented for some function being attended by hotel guests (I'm standing next to the WFC Marriot). So these cars pull up to pick up their passengers, and meanwhile, a regular family of tourists just assume they're real cabs (and why shouldn't they, that's what cabs look like in the movies) and try to get in -awkwardness ensued. Of course, in this shot you can see the hotel employee in the middle of West St. trying to get them a real cab.

By the way, I think the Rector Street pedestrian bridge looks pretty cool in this shot, probably close to what the artist envisioned. I mention this because usually I think that bridge is ugly as heck, and it drives me crazy that you can't see from it because of that haphazard side paneling.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Bye Dan

Dan's going to London. Since everyone at works lives somewhere else, the middle ground was a highly recommended Mexican place called Charritos (First and Washington). For those not familiar, from the Path station you walk into town a couple blocks and two block to the right. Piece of cake, and it isn't really in that conentrated part that makes you afraid to go to Hoboken in the first place.

Charritos isn't Cali-Mex like Benny's or Tex Mex like Chevy's (which is also corp-Mex, so bleh), it's that real kind of Mex-Mex. The owners are from Oaxaca. I had a burrito. Excellent. Other folks had, among other things, enchiladas and kept remarking on the spiciness, so take note.

Other notes on the restaurant and the rest of the night are in the photos below. And now if you're stuck in Hoboken for some reason and looking for a place to eat, you have one.

The guy makes the guacamole right there at the table. The bowl was a bit coarse and I'm not sure if the faux authentic roughness worked on me, but the general presentation (and final product) was great. Avocados there on the right, then onion, then scallion, then... not sure, peppers of some kind? and those are limes in the last bowl.

This looks like salt in the photo, but it was liquid. Lemon Juice I think.
Rosa was our waitress. Even though all of the waitresses were wearing the same thing, I was impressed at the embroidered flowers on their blouses. Unfortunately Rosa lifted that menu just as I took the shot.
I took this before I realized it wasn't ridiculous for these to girls to have almost full bottles of tequila and triple sec on their table. I thought they'd ordered them, but in fact, they brought the bottles themselves because they wanted Margaritas. The restaurant will mix drinks for you if you bring the booze. There's a wine store across the street for buying Sangria ingredients.
Slightly blurry view of Manhattan skyline from Frank Sinatra park where we sat on a bench and drank the leftover BYOB wine from plastic cups donated by Wolfgang Puck Express. A lovely park on a lovely evening.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Somehow I missed this story about someone robbing Subway sub shops.  At the moment I'm so shocked I can hardly think of a higher crime!  (OK, I'm getting over it and a few other crimes are coming to mind...)

While I always try to shop local and stay away from franchises who ship their profits to some corporate location outside of the city, I am a loyal Subway customer.

After 9/11, when they finally started letting people go on the next block north on Greenwich Street, Subway was one of the first and only places to open.  I would go there when ever I could just to show my appreciation.  I even had a full stamp card to get myself a free sub and I didn't spend it so I could give them 5 more bucks in the hopes they wouldn't close.  (They didn't.)

When we lived on 34th street, I would walk up to the one on 42nd and 9th.  A jokey Afghan kid worked there and he would be silly the whole time he was making my sandwich.  I'll never forget there was one time he asked me why it was that people automatically associate Afghanistan with terrorism.  This was before 9/11, but even then I knew that the answer was Osama bin Laden.  Eventually he told me he was moving to another shop and it was a last day.  It was weird because he seemed really sad to be leaving.  I wonder what he's up to now.

When I worked at Court TV I used to walk up to the Subway on 3rd ave and like... 46?  It was a bit of a hike to get there, so it was usually only as a treat that I'd go that far.  when the weather got warm and people started thinking about maybe they should eat better because they'd soon be wearing less clothing, the line for a sandwich would sometimes stretch out the door.

After band practice at Ultra Sound, I'd go to the one at 30th and 8th and get a meatball with extra american cheese.  (I don't know why I sometimes get in the mood for a really chewy gooey sub.)  The guys there always look exhausted.

When I lived on 15th street I would walk up 7th ave to the one just below 23rd street.  A nice clean and bright place, and probably the fastest Subway sandwich makers in the city.  The guy would should "what else?  what else?" as I would name the toppings I wanted.  I couldn't say them fast enough for him.  That guy taught me to order with better efficiency.  Now I say, "footlong tuna on parmasean oregano please.  No cheese."  Then I say, "lettucetomatoonion, pickleshotsandsweets."  And of course, dijon horseradish sauce.  (and I know the price just went up, $6.50)  Incidentally, I'm not sure I agree with Gothamist that the food quality varies from store to store.  Sometimes the tuna has a little more or less mayo, but by and large the differences are in how quickly the sandwich is made, how much stuff they put on it (some guys pile on the pickes, some actually separate the individual slices and lay them on like they're tomato slices) and how clean the place is.  I might also add that the 7th ave Subway has a great sitting-and-eating window even though the place is small so you can't always get it.  (and not to digress too  much, but these days if I'm up there looking for a tuna sandwich, I go to Murray's for tuna on a garlic bagel.)

I've been to the Subway on 8th ave around 20th street.  I've been to the subway on 9th ave on the same block where Twin Donut is/was.  What's that, like 26th?  Did you know that down south, instead of red and green sweet peppers, they have what they call "banana peppers" and they're yellow, but they taste basically the same?

There's one around the corner that opened not too long ago, but I don't go there.  If I'm eating Subway down here, I go to my guy.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Something that always makes me crazy was well demonstrated today. The weather forecasts for this area are too broad. When I watch the WNBC weather, they're forecasting for their entire broadcast radius, but the weather is not consistent in their entire broadcast radius.

The front(s) that's been coming/converging all week is moving up the coast, not really out to sea. Clearly the temperature of the ocean is such that it's holding the weather a little bit off the coast (or at least it did for most of today). So they forecast the weather as being rain and even go so far as to warn about floods because nothern jersey really is going to get rain. But here in the city, no rain all day.

The shot below is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about. Right now, it's quiet in the city (or at least, this part of the city) but looking at the radar, it's raining like holy wrath in North and West Jersey.

I know, you're saying NY1's weather is better, but I don't believe it. I think they all subscribe to the same weather service and no one bothers to look out the window.

What we really need, and it probably alreayd exists and I just don't know about it yet, is for one of the local universities to do some really local forecasting that genuinely takes into account the fact that the city is hollow and heated, so the air over the city behaves differently. And the ocean is one temperature and the Hudson is another temperature, and the harbor is yet another temperature and all of it has an impact on the weather of the city. I bet all these tall buildings have an impact on wind and atmospheric pressure too. Somewhere someone is doing all that math and making more accurate weather predictions. If you know who, send me a mail.

In the meantime, I'll be watching the radar and doing my own guessing.


Blogging is light this week as I spend all of my online time keeping up on convention blogs. Damn good thing I've been doing so because I had to go on TV this morning to talk about them.

Plus, it's going to rain the rest of the week, so there won't be much walking around the 'hood.

BUT... for the millions who flock here for NoBatt motorcycle spotting, there's a yellow Bourget parked in the garage on Rector. I'll try to snap a shot of that if it stays. (There's usually a BMW parked there, so I'm wondering where that went.)

Bonus motorcycle tip: The new paint on the streets in BPC is WICKED slippery when wet!!!

Nothing gets a geek off the computer like losing connection to the Web

...well, actually, I was able to tap a neighbor's wifi, so thanks mr. "default."

But let me tell this story.

Someone wrote in to the site complaining that that JibJab "this land" flash thing gave him some kind of pop-up ad virus. Saturday night I had a nightmare that my laptop caught that virus and I couldn't connect to the Web. I woke up Sunday to find that my Web wouldn't work. So a little ISP ESP there.

Time Warner Cable told me I had to have a guy come to the apartment. Naturally they book me for 8-Noon Monday and the guy shows up at 11:30. That's to be expected and the guy was cool, so I won't complain. He checks the modem, no signal. Checks the living room, no signal, the closet hub, no signal, the floor, no signal, the building, no signal. So it looks like a different kind of tech has to be notified to figure out why the building doesn't have Roadrunner.

Then he's plugging my modem back in and he asks about a bell I keep on my wardrobe. It's Tibetan and it's ringing it is meant to frighten away bad spirits, I explain to the guy. I got it as a gift, what could it hurt. So the guy takes the bell and rings it over the modem.

Wouldn't you know, the "connected" light comes back on. sunuvabitch.

So then it's noon and time for him to go to lunch, which is fine with me because mr. default is a little too far away for me to get a reliable connection and I have work to do. An hour later Time Warner guy comes back. He forgot a tool. He tells me that he was just as 10 West Street and they had the same thing happen: mystery Internet outage followed by inexplicable restored service.

So if any of my fellow way-downtowners were having any trouble, there ya go.
I could sit on this bench forever.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

As if the women needed a reason...

Ten House has three firefighters in the new NYC Firefighter calendar. As if the women needed even more excuses to come down and take pictures with those guys. One of these days I'll snap a shot of how the girls stop by there to put on the firehats and pose with the guys. It's pretty funny. Good for them. Who could be more deserving?

Fixing a hole

90 West is the building on the southwest corner of Ground Zero that for a long time was draped in black. You may recall it had a huge tapestry with the statue of liberty painted in abstract and it said something about the power of love or something like that.

Anyway, it's a beautiful and historic Cass Gilbert building and they finally took that cover off to reveal the shocking amount of damage suffered by the facade. The photo below is just one of many horrible gashes.

The other day I walked by there and was interested to see how it is they're going to patch those holes. They have pieces that match the contours of the facade with big bolts sticking out of them. I guess they're just going to screw them to the frame of the building. -or else maybe they screw them to each other? I'll try to keep an eye out and snap a shot if I see them actually doing the construction.

Otterness spotting

Downtowners know about Tom Otterness for his sculpture park in Battery Park City, and a few pieces around P.S. 234. Folks who take the 14th street ACE know his work as well. And midtowners have seen his figures crawling all over that hotel on 42nd street. What I didn't know is that he has some pieces in the Village at the Little Red Schoolhouse.

I suppose it's to the credit of blogging that in putting up this post I bothered to look up his Web site.  Here ya go.

Another one?!?!?

Tsk. Nassau Street. A few months ago this was a new restaurant called "Home Cookin'" or something like that. It seemed like almost overnight that it had one of those stickers on the door that said it was seized by federal marshalls or one of those official bad news documents. And now it's ANOTHER Dunkin' Donuts. Ug. There's on just like 3 blocks away on Front Street! Oh well, at least it's not another drug store.

What'd I miss?

There were tons of people around on Thursday with this shirt. I don't know if you can read it but it says runNYC and lists A Flock of Seaguls, Devo, General Public, Tommy Tutone, Tone Loc, and Kajagoogoo. Wha? Did those bands really play on Thursday downtown somewhere?

Friday, July 23, 2004

cornerstone quest

In my dogged quest to view the WTC Freedom Tower cornerstone from a publicly accessible place, I happened to notice a pretty good glimpse of it from the Liberty Street pedestrian bridge, through the glass, across the whole site.

above and a little left of the white sign in the center

see it?

Greening of the city

A tree grows in BPC

Actually... lots of trees. 
Lookin' good guys.


Meanwhile, the reason I was there was to check up on the progress on fixing that typo on the GZ signs.  I took a shot the other day of what I thought was the corrected sign, but then realized that I had the wrong one.  The sign with the typo was about the Pentagon.  That sign isn't on any of the fences, so it doesn't look like they have the corrected version up yet, just the wrong ones taken down.... or perhaps at least, covered up?

what's under there?

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Every day I come home the same way.  I take the 4th exit on the loop out of the Holland Tunnel.  From there the lights are in sequence all the way down West Broadway.  At the end of that, I cut over to Broadway where again the lights are in sequence to Liberty Street, where I turn right go across to Greenwich St.

So today I follow the usual route, paying attention to not getting hit by a bus, and suddenly there's a towncar facing me down on Liberty.  "What's up wtih this idiot?" I wonder.  Then I realize that there are no street lights facing me.  Overnight the street changed direction.  There are little cardboard do not enter signs held on with tie wraps at the beginning of the street now.  Sheesh!!

Nice tie wraps!


They cost $10

Border's on Broadway

9/11 news means here comes the circus

The 9/11 report is out, which of course means every news crew has to do a little report while standing next to the hole.  I don't know how many trucks you can make out in this picture, but I counted six while walking by.  And there were two trucks with a 7 on them.

media circus

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Trying this again bigger

And this jasmine flower just popped. These things bloom like popcorn and fill the room with fragrance. The hard part is getting them to bloom as much as they do when you buy them on the sidewalk for $4 in Chinatown.

And this is him under the rock

I just realized that cat blogging is the equivalent of when there's no news so the local newsreaders read the police blotter and do a special report on how dirty deli food is. I can see how bloggers who don't resist the urge can end up making a mess with what they write.

That said, here's a picture of one of my frogs.

Guide to outdoor movies

I wanted to double check the date that Goonies is playing on Pier 25 (it's july 23) and in the course of searching I found this handy guide to outdoor movies.

March down West side to Chambers

I'm trying to think of what it'll mean that a quarter of a million protestors are going to march from midtown, down West Street/Esplanade and all end up on Chambers Street.  where will they really end up?  Ground Zero?  TriBeCa restaurants and bars?  South Street Seaport?  It's a great opportunity for the neighborhood, but I'm also a little worried.  I guess what'll really happen is the crowd will distribute itself through TriBeCa, Chinatown, SoHo...  Probably the BPC restaurants will do well.

Nice Siren photos

Got that link from the comments at Gothamist.  Good example of how to take better pictures than I take.  Also a good job of showing those colors at Coney Island.  Looks like the key is not to try to take one big picture of everything.

Cru buzz is building!

I can't wait! We're going on Friday.  Good luck Shea!

Monday, July 19, 2004

blowin' up downtown

I know that in some neighborhoods, news that more people are moving in is met with a groan, and no doubt some of my neighbors see articles like this and think, "There goes the neighborhood."  But personally, I welcome every residential upgrade I see down here.  I live in the city because I like people.  The more the merrier (we'll see how long it takes me to contract that statement).
The end of Washington Street is waaay nicer now that 90 Washington is open for living.  It used to just be empty space.  I don't think there's been any business in there for the last few years.  Something that really got me excited was a few weeks ago there was a big sign in the bottom of 90 Washington offering restaurant space there on the corner.  It would be a beautiful place for a restaurant.  Before I could even take a picture of the sign, it was down and workers were putting in big windows.  I don't know if that means they leased it that fast or if the windows were part of the building rehab, but I seriously look forward to that.
If the piece has made anyone interested enough to come down here, Romi is probably one of the more exciting spaces to open up lately.
And don't forget there's building going on in the George's Diner spot.  I'll post photos of that soon. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004


I've read through some of the historical panels on display there, but never bothered with the parts I actually lived through.  That said, huge crowds of people stare at those things every day.  They take pictures of it, they videotape it, they put flowers next to it, they explain it to each other and tell their stories to each other. 
"truly astonishing that you are the first person to have reported this mistake to The Port Authority."
Truly astonishing for sure.
What else is astonishing is that this is the second time there's been an issue with those signs.  Last time we read about them, the keepers were having a hard time getting people to not write tributes all over them, so they had to put them out of reach.  I think they were already replacing them multiple times for that reason.  Now this.  I hope this isn't a sign of things to come at that site.
(By the way, speaking of people taking each others' pictures next to the hole, I know that some cultures don't smile for pictures, and that's always struck me as odd.  I've even seen older pictures of Americans when the camera was in its early days and they custom of grinning like a goon hadn't taken hold yet.  Well, there's one situation where not smiling for a picture actually doesn't seem strange and that's at Ground Zero (and probably other unhappy locations).  The other day I was coming home and a guy was taking a picture of what appeared to be his mother and and maybe his brother, and they were smiling like they were at DisneyWorld.  I know we always "say cheese," but c'mon guys, try to think outside the box sometimes.)

under 14th street

If you're on the LES and you want to get home to NoBatt and there is a major rain storm forecast and the drops are beginning to fall, what path do you take?  (No cheating by hailing a cab.)
My answer to that question today was to get on the F at 2nd Ave, then off at 14th and take the underground tunnel from 6th ave to 7th ave where my wife and I caught the 1/9 home.

The tunnel was surprisingly not as sweltering and urine-stench-y as I was expecting.  Nice acousitics for fellow singing Beatles tunes near the 7th ave end.
(I took this picture while walking so it came a little fuzzier than it should be.  Still impressively clear for a photo in motion.)

The new Schwinn

This is also a shot from Saturday, but what I'm showing you is the bike.  Maybe I shouldn't have been, but I was suprised to see the new Sting-Ray so casually parked on the pier.  The photos in the article are clearer.  I wasn't sure how these guys would take to me photographing the bike.  They probably would have been proud to let me do so, but what can I say, I'm shy.
Incidentally, in case you're wondering what else is in the picture, that's a conga drum with the Puerto Rican flag on it.  They were drumming and singing and having a generally good time.


Of course I went

Of course I went to the Siren Music Festival.  As a cheapskate with little regard for personal comfort, a free music festival where I can stand for hours in the blazing sun listening to bands I'm not familiar with is perfect for me.
Since I don't know how to post multiple pictures at once, my shots of the day are individual posts below.
Favorite quote of the day: 
Beach employee #1:  "Everyone has one of these.  Ouch!" (indicating nipple ring area with complaining tone)
Beach employee #2:  "Stuuupid."
Second favorite quote:
"Shoot the freak in the freakin' head!"
followed later that evening by
"Shoot the freak in the freakin' ass cheek!"
--Carnival barker selling turns on that controversial game where you shoot a painball gun at a real human.

The boardwalk was slammin'.

In the category of "look how many people were there" is this shot of the Stillwell Ave stage during the performance by Electric Six. I think they had the biggest crowd even more than Mission of Burma and that "trail of dead" band. As someone who wasn't already familiar with them, I think they may have put on the best set of the day.

It was funny how at a certain point in the day, suddenly everywhere I looked, people were eating out of containers of some kind -and the line at Nathans was just silly.This is another case of the colors catching my eye. These girls were wearing colorful clothes, had colorful bags, and were eating out of colorful Popeye's boxes in front of colorful go-carts.
This was also my first attempt at a covert, no-look, candid shot.  Not bad, just a little crooked.

I took this shot for the colors as well. There are two themes to the photos I took. I was either impressed by the size of the crowd or by the colors. This shot had all kinds of colored bathing suits and umbrellas. At this size I'm not sure you see much of anything. I should play with the settings on this picasa program to display a little bigger. What else is fun in this shot is that I caught a small plane over on the left, contributing to the cartoonish busy-ness of the scene. I don't think you can see that at all in this shot however. :(

The fellow on the right is showing his double rows of razor sharp teeth. (Gasp!)

This fellow is putting a screwdriver up his nose.

Everyone was excited to take a picture of the fellow with the big mohawk and the colored polka-dot suit. An official looking photographer type made him stand next to the colored stuffed animals. This shot is a little obvious, but I do like how the colors play out. Maybe a bit of cropping would help the composition.

The approach to the Stillwell Ave. stage. Nice sky. Crowd still pretty loose at that point in the day (early afternoon).

Siren Main Stage. Cyclone to the right, more rides to the left, and a big, tightly packed crowd of sweaty people in the middle.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Cool junk

There is a building around the corner that is always throwing out cool junk.  Sometimes its office furniture, sometimes it's apartment furniture.  Today I drove by this thing and actually walked out of my way after parking to go check it out.  I think it's meant to print paychecks.  You set the numbers and turn the crank.  What's really cool is that it doesn't sit on a desk, it stands alone on it's own leg (see the photo in the previous entry).
Warning! If you take this home, your wife will kill you.

cool junk

Thursday, July 15, 2004

new Blogger interface

I'll admit I don't pay much attention to Blogger updates, but it's kind of hard to ignore that there are tons of new features to the user interface in composing posts.  The early trouble I had with the tool has gone away.  In a week and  a half of posting, I'm really impressed with how this software works.
And it's free.  I recommend it. :)

Cornerstone in the rain

OK, one more photo, then I'm done.  I'm determined to go to bed before midnight tonight.
In preface to explaining this photo I should point out that I work in NJ and usually commute by motorcycle.  On the days when it's raining in the mornings, I don't want to get to work wet, so I sometimes take the PATH.  Since it was raining like crazy this week,  I took the train and was able to test my theory that the WTC Freedom Tower cornerstone is visible from the train.
There it is anyway, for what it's worth.  It's that little bundle of orange on the left.  There is track between the Hoboken line and the cornerstone, so it is conceivable that you could get even closer.  What really messed up this shot is that I had the camera on "auto" and the flash went off in the window since it was dark out.
Soooo.... at this point no one could possible care about this anymore, but since I've sort of talked myself into a misson of getting a clear shot of the cornerstone, I'll try again next rainy commute.

Trinity Boxing Club

For folks like me who saw this sign outside the boxing club on Greenwhich and were generally excited but unsure of what it meant exactly -and who unlike me didn't get a chance to check it out - the grudge match was two members boxing with full head gear on.  The price was $20 bucks and from what I could tell when I popped in, the fee got you in to stand next to the ring while the fellows fought.  No chairs or stands or anything frilly. 

The club didn't do a very good job of hanging sheets in the windows to block the view to non-payers, so you could also have stood on the stoop on Carlysle Street and watch from there for free in just about equal comfort. 
Folks who walk by the place regularly are also familiar with this sign
 which says that the Trinity Boxing Club is the "Home of the Contender."  I remember when they first opened and there were tons of guys in there who were clearly trying out for something, and it turns out I was correct in guessing that it was the reality show The Contender.  While I was in there asking about the Grudge Match, I also asked if there was any further connection to the show than those early days of try-outs.  Nope.  I guess a few days of try-outs is all it takes to call yourself the "Home" of something.


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