Monday, September 28, 2015

The Weekend

Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem. 

Travelers, Tinton Falls, NJ. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Jaws That Bite,The Claws That Catch…

He or she dropped out of the sky one recent afternoon, landing with a thump on a patch of grass, with a grey lump of still-living, quivering rat or pigeon in those killer claws. 

I took these (above) photos from the sidewalk near Lehman College in the Bronx. I am no expert at estimating size, but this was a big bird, maybe 16 inches tall or more. Whatever it was that had met its fate gave a wriggle or spasm, and the hawk turned from staring at me to look down at its victim for just an instant, before giving it one final, lethal jab with its beak.

From a killer look to the softly-sweet sound of a little dove: as I sat on the sun-soaked steps of St Nicholas Park, a very different bird came along and waddled around next to me. 


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Obama Rubs Out McKinley

Mount McKinley will be renamed Denali by President Obama!

Red Heads

Monday, August 31, 2015

Braaaa Humbug

    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How We Laughed

This is the Sedan crater in Nevada, site of a nuclear test explosion (July 6, 1962). It certainly is impressive.

I thought what it might be like to visit such a site: is it even open to the public? So I looked it up on Google Maps: oh snort! 

The Sedan crater is in an area of the Nevada desert called 'Butte Wash'… how could anyone take that seriously?!

Mid-August, 2015

Sunflower on Throop Avenue, Brooklyn. 

Weathered sign on Herkimer Street, Brooklyn. 

Mallow bush emerging from sidewalk, Harlem. 

A brick field in Chelsea. 

Armored rhino, Chelsea. 

He gets bad cat hair. 

Elegy in brass for Chris Christie? A trombonist practices underneath the George Washington Bridge. 

Farewell, Baron: my friend's elderly boxer went to a dog rest home somewhere near Albany... 

Remembering George, who was murdered in Trenton, New Jersey, a year ago on July 30th. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Old And The New

Summer of love...... 

...Uber me pizza!

Chelsea: north-east corner, West 14th Street & Eighth Avenue.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Donald Trump's Biggest Fan In Washington Heights

No human is entirely free of vanity, but amongst politicians, it's an especially dangerous occupational hazard (Max Weber). 

Donald Trump's biggest fan is a short, slim man of late middle-age, neatly dressed, with a twinkle in his eye and a willingness to share his views on politics with just about anyone, including me, who asked him for a light on a recent weekday morning. He's also a mess of contradictions — or perhaps a very subtle comedian, I'm not sure which. 

A steady stream of neatly-dressed commuters flowed towards the swinging doors that lead through a short tunnel to the A train on West 184th Street. Donald Trump's biggest fan did not yet reveal himself, as he readily offered me a light. I turned casually away, and reached into a newspaper box for a copy of Metro NYC. "Thanks," I said. Then he spoke. 

His voice was gravelly and smoky, and it carried clear down the street. 

"You know what?" he said, "I think that what Donald Trump has been saying is right, and I'm glad he's speaking his mind, we should listen to him, he's a self-made man, and he knows what he's talking about."

For anyone who does not yet know, Donald Trump is running for election to become the Republican Party candidate for U.S. President, in the very early days of a campaign that promises to be really quite wild, and also utterly meaningless: candidates will heap scorn and outrage upon each other in the manner of those WWF wrestling morons, then they will try in turn to look their most operatically outraged: a nonexistent moral high ground will be fought over. Casualties will include the truth, and candidates who are vying to show their abilities to control the public purse strings, will spend like shopaholics. 

New Yorkers have an undeserved reputation for being horrifically rude, and an actual horrifically rude native son like Trump is unlikely to find any love in his hometown — which is what made this sudden outbreak of pro-Trump trumpetry surprising, spilling like a chamber pot and its contents, out into the beautiful August morning: a Trump supporter, here, in Washington Heights? 

But what completely shocked me was this: as I turn slightly to get a better look at Donald's biggest backer, and just as he's going on about how honest Trump is and what a hardworking straight arrow New Yorker he is, a real reproach to all his critics, I see that our man is now elbow-deep in a trash can, rootling and rummaging away, until finally he pulls out… a paper coffee cup

And then he's over at the swing doors to the A train, swinging one of them open for each and every commuter, and each one gets a hearty "good morning!… what a fine day, sir!… good morning, ma'am!… thank you, sir!… hello, little fella! Off to school?…

Each commuter faces a shake of the cup, which is soon rattling with coins. 

Donald Trump, self-made man, up-by-the-bootstraps local lad, total boor and sexist pig: you have a fan in Washington Heights. He blows a lot of air on your behalf. And he's a homeless bum.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Look Who's Back!

There I was, on an early morning stroll through Times Square, when suddenly I saw them, lips locked in that eternal, age-defying kiss, as if time itself had locked, and it was August 14th, 1945 again, just after 7PM… 

Imagine the crick in their necks after 75 years! 

"Rigidly they 

Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths 
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light 
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright 
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same 
Bone-littered ground. And up the paths 
The endless altered people came, 

Washing at their identity…

Monday, July 06, 2015

Are You Interesting!?

If you are boring... please visit our competitor, next door. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Good Grief! London Underground Will Rumble Underground... All Through The Night!

What you see above seems remarkable: London has an overnight subway service, and will no longer screech and clunk to a halt at midnight, forcing thousands of marooned commuters out into the dark jungle of the night bus with curried chips. 

BUT. Before you rejoice, it's only a couple of lines that will run all night, and only at the weekends! That's the spirit, London, ever-cautious, mustn't grumble, keep calm and just put up with it. 

I have more than a passing interest in London's underground and its night schedule, if only from the melancholic perspective of having once had a friend who died in an accident on the underground late at night. Someone I knew in my two final years at college was in London the summer of our graduation, and — well, it was speculated that he fell asleep on a train that was being parked for the night, woke up in confusion and tried to get out of the still-moving train, and he fell between two carriages. 

I can still hear the voice of another friend on the phone, telling me about Edwin's death, his voice calm and unwavering, yet so sad, so somber. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ezra, G., & 'Budapest'

George Ezra (above) is a Brit from Bristol, and is a singer with a voice that seems weathered and worn by far more years than its owner has lived. He is 22. You can hear it and see him in the music video for his top ten song 'Budapest',

I can't get my head around the fact that someone born in 1993 is today 22 years old!

Continuing in a vein musically, I recently started listening to some Anton Bruckner symphonies, prompted by nothing more mundane than talking to someone one day about the south Bronx, and what a horrible stretch of road the Bruckner Expressway is...

At his most heavy-handed, Bruckner may make you feel like you are a helpless passenger in a small, flimsy car, as enormous juggernauts bear down on your tail at hysterical speeds, on the Bruckner Expressway; if you are screaming, no one can hear you, because of the deafening roar of pistons, gasoline, sparks, shocks, thundering wheels...

I was most surprised in listening to Bruckner again, that many themes came up that I would have almost certainly have said were the work of Mahler.

And I also did not know until today that a Bruckner symphony which he did not think was coherent enough, has been designated his Symphony # 0... For what it's worth, here are the opening bars...:

Monday, June 08, 2015

So Good They Say It Twice

As seen on Canal Street, New York, New York. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Puerto Rican Pride, East Harlem

East 119th Street & Second Avenue.

Who Was The McKinley?

At 63 Perry Street, who was The McKinley, for it certainly was not MySelf?

Meanwhile, on West 21st Street: 

…the now-abandoned underground missile silos of West Chelsea? 

Ulster Would Say No

Irish voters on May 22nd voted yes to extend the right to marry to same sex couples, by a two-to-one majority.

Several people contacted me to show their approval, to say "isn't that progressive?" and so on. But I had to point out that the referendum was held in the Irish Republic. I am from Northern Ireland, which is a separate jurisdiction. There are two Irelands on the island: 

If that doesn't clear things up, the Guardian put it like this: 

After Friday’s historic referendum, in which the Irish Republic’s voters endorsed same-sex marriage by 2-1, Northern Ireland remains the last country in western Europe where LGBT couples are barred from getting married.

So there! Had they been voting in the referendum on Friday, it's likely that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland would have voted no.