Sunday, April 26, 2009

Foley Square

It was wonderful weather and I took a stroll up towards Foley Square. This is the home of the legal system in New York City. There are many court houses in the area, as well as a prison called The Tombs. I've been on jury duty three separate times here (twice on murder cases), so I kind of know the area (which is close to Chinese food - Chinatown).

The primary building has grand steps that people like to stand on as it kills time between court sessions and presents a great view of the surrounding area. The guy below seems like an attorney to me.
There is a bit of a slope in the geography on the west side of Foley Square. This area was called Five Points at one time, and there was a stagnant pond in this area that reeked of odor. Five Points was also the setting of the film "Gangs of New York". They basically demolished the neighborhood and built the courts.

I'm not sure if this slope is related to the prior landscape, but I thought the shot below was quite interesting. From the perspective with the zoom lens, the buff security guard towers over the little walker to the left. He is the giant of the law. Behind, is a swiveling diagonally striped barrier that comes up from the street to block any traffic. It is lowered if you're a good citizen. There are similar barriers around Wall Street. In the picture, you can see the guards checking the underside of the car with a mirror.

By just swiveling in the same spot to the north, the City Clerk building is viewable. This is where marriages are performed. The couple in the picture had just gotten married. I thought this shot was interesting, catching the kiss, but also showing how this little bit of drama is absorbed by the activity of New York City.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Waiting for Ugly Betty

I guess since the weather is warming up, there is more film production taking place in New York. Last evening there were two productions within two blocks of each other near City Hall. These events can be easily spotted by the trucks that take over the street parking. There are equipment trucks, catering trucks and trailers for actors.

Since the parking is reserved, there are signs that get posted to hold the parking. These signs mention the name of the production company and of the movie /TV Show. I guess the main draw this time was "Ugly Betty". But, as I was passing it looked like it would be some time before they would start shooting (probably when it was dark).

That meant that there would be a lot of waiting around for the crew. I noticed these two production members killing time, sitting in the truck and waiting and waiting.... looked like they had some unloading to do into the colored bins when the time came.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I spend a lot of time in the neighborhood of the site of 9/11. So much time that it is now a routine part of my life. I regularly take the PATH train that circles the base of the site looking at the active construction. My office has a birdeye view of the pit from the building across the street. And, while I was not in the immediate region during the time of the event, I did watch it as it happened from a distance.

The area is very crowded, primarily by tourists, although there are quite a few business people on the streets as it is in the heart of the financial district. Large tour groups pass through as their guides lead them, holding umbrellas high, looking to be followed through the crowds and back to the buses.

Sometimes there are hundreds of people in a single tour, and they like to perch on the steps of One Liberty Plaza, an office building that overlooks the site, has a nice view, and has steps to rest upon. With the warmer weather coming, there are substantially more people sitting on the steps. Like typical tourists, they pose and take pictures of each other, and chat, listen to the tour guides and mill about. Sometimes there are those who seem to be emotional about the events that happened there, but mostly it is a standard tourist stop.

This time when I passed, there was a particularly large group on the steps and they were clustered in kind of an interesting formation. I took several pictures and thought it was ironic that the tourists are the ones usually taking the pictures and now they were the subjects.

Upon closer inspection, I found the picture above to be interesting. There are several groupings that stand out. And, it seems that this was a particularly emotional group. Looking at the large master, it is pretty much just a group sitting on the steps until you zoom in and look at the gestures and expressions. Here are some of the individual croppings:

A family obviously, the gestures draw attention, the boy pointing towards the site. Either he's bored, or was told something about the event and is making some sort of reference to it. I think more likely he is responding to the many cranes. It is a giant construction site with tall objects and trucks. The father appears to be reacting, perhaps to what happened. But, I looked at subsequent shots in the series and found him pointing and looking up, so I conclude he is also interested in the construction.

This woman is obviously disturbed. Those who are with her appear to be consoling her. A followup shot showed the man putting his arm around her. I believe she may be responding to the site's history.

This woman also seems to be on the verge of tears. A later shot made it more apparent. This is a bit more of a reaction that I commonly see in the visitors. Later in the day, I heard there had been a big crowd of perhaps 1000 people at the site. I did a google search to see if there was some sort of activity taking place but couldn't find anything. An explanation might be that there was some sort of organized 9/11 event happening. This usually happens at the yearly commemoration on September 11th, but perhaps there was something else. I really don't know.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Coffee Cart

Another rainy morning, this time I observed the activity at the coffee truck near Park Row, across from City Hall. I watched as various formations of people and umbrella made interesting patterns. It was windy and cold, shiny and bright.

Various people visited the cart for their breakfast, regulars mostly. Sometimes there are tourists but that is generally rare, and usually not on a rainy day during the morning commute. The tourists slow down the routine for the regulars.

As I took pictures, a construction worker stormed towards the truck. I could hear him even though I was fairly far away. He was steamed. "Look at this! Do you see what you did?" He held the bag up to display the contents to the coffee vendor, who looked puzzled. The coffee guy shook his head like he understood that the guy was complaining, but not what he was complaining about.

I was trying to think what was the issue? Was it the wrong order? In the end, I thought that it might be that they didn't put the coffee lids on tight enough and the pastries and rolls might have gotten wet. But, I really don't know. Any rate, it didn't matter if the vendor understood or not, as the customer is always right.

Some time passed while the order was fixed. It appeared to be a rather large order.

Finally, the construction worker left, appearing satisfied somewhat. He walked right up next to me, oblivious, and pulled out a walky talky and called his supervisor to explain why he was not yet back on the job with their food.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Under an Awning

Sometimes the best shots just happen as you're moving along... something catches your eye, you take a few shots and you're done. But, if you exhibit patience (hard to come by), you can stay in one spot, setup and hope something manifests itself.

In the rain the other day, I took the latter approach (because it was wet) and parked myself at a doorway and just shot as people walked past. I didn't realize it was an "active" doorway until the door behind me opened and pushed me out into the rain. I repositioned myself underneath the awning of a corner Sushi fast food restaurant. This spot was dry and I could look in multiple directions.

I waited and shot, and waited and shot. All together 117 shots. And, I considered these three of the most worthwhile.


"You Look So Relaxed"