Saturday, March 26, 2011

NYC Springs a Leak

April March showers bring forth May flowers (one hopes)...
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jersey Springs A Springtime

In Spring, so said the poet, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. Perhaps only the most charitable could describe me as 'young,' though I would also hesitate to be thought of as 'old'...

Love, spring, Nature's great, relentless process of procreation was much on my mind this week, as I witnessed with a pleasure that deepens every year, the arrival of Springtime in New York City.

I took off the other day to New Jersey, just a PATH train journey, to Journal Square and Jersey City Heights. Some of the following photographs are actually in Hoboken, NJ, the square-mile municipal weirdness that is surrounded by Jersey City on three sides, and washed by the Hudson River on its forth side. But it's all Jersey, glorious, beautiful New Jersey, and I won't let anyone dare say a word against the Garden State.

Near Journal Square, I saw this abandoned gas station on a sort of bluff or rocky outcrop. After I took the photo, a man nearby roared and shouted insults at me: I had seen him out of the corner of my eye as I snapped, and had noted near him a large municipal worker truck, engine idling and no one inside. The crazy man's clothing was utterly indeterminate: he could have been a city worker, road-mending man, but just as equally he could have been a homeless nutter. I waved at him cheerfully from the safe distance of several hundred yards. His indistinct voice was clearly raised in anger at my photographing.

Jersey City Heights has some folks who are proud of their awesome Dog God.

And this dingy club or bar has a severe dress code... An admirably-attired wearer of a kilt might cause the proprietor's brain to melt.

A feature of Jersey City and Hoboken that reminds the passer-by that he or she is not in New York City no longer, is the tangled criss-crossings created by electricity wires et al on poles ...

Around Ninth Street and Congress Street, a steep bank, part of the Palisades, sort of, has become a trash-strewn mess with a homeless person's grotto down there in the midst. If a homeless person builds a shelter which is sort of permanent, does that make him or her no longer homeless?

The same steep drop requires an astonishingly large elevator thing to take commuters to and from the Jersey Light Rail, which is on the lower-lying land.

That is the railway platform, far below.

And this is the elevator, seen from below.


And some weird construction thing near the Congress Street Station...

This above is in Hoboken, I believe.  I liked the strong lines of the stately school building, and the joining and parting wires, seen also below...

There's an aesthetic pleasure I get from this closer shot of the manifold mess of wires and ducts and pipes, both as a complex object and as a sort of exterior network around and over the building... like it's a partially-visible aura.

Finally, these stately townhouses (above) in Hoboken are two of an almost infinite set of variations on the townhouse style.

It was a beautiful day. In Hoboken, I sat for a moment on a bench to enjoy the sunlight before ducking down into the PATH. Then I heard a voice near me. A man with a moustache says: "What a beautiful day! You should come with me to — " and he named a local gourmet green grocer's, a block away. I watched as he bought kohlrabi, and some gorgeous blood oranges, and then he bought me a gala apple.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Two Hundred Years of Mean, But Regularly-Spaced Streets

The Manhattan grid was 200 years old on Tuesday!
The grid was the great leveler. By shifting millions of cubic yards of earth and rock, it carved out modest but equal flat lots (mostly 25 by 100 feet) available for purchase. And if it fostered what de Tocqueville viewed as relentless monotony, its coordinates also enabled drivers and pedestrians to figure out where they stood, physically and metaphorically.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lonely Lad on Lower Broadway

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The Giant Rat at Grace Church...?!

I would never have thought those nice people at Grace Church would have mistreated their hired skivvies... [The giant inflatable rat, above, is often present outside businesses where employers mistreat their employees, courtesy of a local union organization].

Grand Central with Chrysler Building

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Horsing Around 42nd Street