Archive for the ‘NYC History’ Category

Protest at Gracie Mansion-Horses on City Streets

In NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on October 19, 2016 at 9:05 am

Monday, October 17, 2016.  6:00pm EST.


Animal rights activists gathered across from Gracie Mansion at the corner of East 88th Street and East End Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  They were shouting to Mayor DeBlasio to keep his promise and ban Carriage Horses in Central Park.  While running for office in 2013, DeBlasio vowed on Day 1 if elected, he would make changes. According to the New York Times there has been no resolution.

DeBlasio was entertaining on this unseasonably warm evening. The protestors took advantage as each guest passed by, to remind the Mayor of his promise.  Parade barriers lined both sides of East End Avenue as the NYC Police and the Mayor’s security detail stood guard at the adjacent entrances of Carl Schurz Park.

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

On Assignment: NYC Parks Project Stalls in Astoria

In NYC History, NYC Today on September 10, 2016 at 9:56 pm


September 11 will bring another New York City Parks pool season to a close, and another summer the Astoria Park Diving Pool is left to disrepair.  A plan to convert this space to an outdoor theater was approved in 2011 by former New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.  Capital funding of $5.0 million was allocated for the reconstruction.  Today a black chain link fence continues to separate the defunct diving pool from the main pool that teems with life.

Former City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. and members of the Queens Community Board 1 devised the plan.  With the assistance of then Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, the Parks Department allocated the needed funds for the project.  “It was all set to go” Vallone said, “but unfortunately due to term limits I was out of a job in 2013.”

Costa Constantinides, the current District 22 City Council Member met with the Parks Department to downsize the plan in January.  Michael Scholl, Press Officer for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, confirmed that the original proposal for a performance space has been scaled back by the Parks Department to build a plaza.  The one bid that was received during this four year period, came in over budget at $8.0 million.  It was determined then to modify the plan.

Constantinides’ office was unavailable to comment.

“To tell me it’s going to cost $4-$5 million to fill in a hole,  I can get a bunch of school kids to do it with shovels, is outrageous,”  said Vallone, now a Judge of the Civil Court of New York City.  “It would be an outrage for the Astoria community if this did not happen.  This needs to be what was promised, a beautiful outdoor theater for this community.  If not, an investigation needs to be done as to why that didn’t happen.”

The Astoria Park Diving Pool Reconstruction is a capital project that falls under Parks Department jurisdiction.  According to the Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, a capital project has three phases:  Design (10 to 16 months), Procurement (nine months) and Construction (12 to 18 months).  The project is currently in the Design Phase which began in December 2012 and was to be completed by October 2013.  The completion date of this phase has been adjusted to September 2016.  When I first started researching this article in July, the project was in the Procurement Phase and due to be completed that month.  Meghan Lalor, Chief of Staff to the Assistant Commissioner for Communications said “After Procurement, the project will enter the Construction phase which averages 12 to 18 months.”  As of September the project has reverted back to the Design Phase.

Kevin Quinn, Chief of Architecture and Engineering for the Parks Department Capital Projects was contacted to explain these hurdles.  His office has not responded.



The diving pool once known as The Olympic High Dive when it opened in the summer of 1936, hosted the 1936 and 1964 U.S. Olympic diving trials.  “It was closed in 1980 for safety reasons,” said Lalor.

36 years have passed and the only transformation to this space is decay.

Sean and Dior are friends that grew up frequenting the park; they have never known the diving pool to be opened.  They both expect it will be another seven to ten years before they see any changes to this space.  Sean said, “They wanted to do something with this, turn it into like a kids place.  They never pursued it.  It was just talk.” Dior said, “They’re building the luxury buildings and people want to leave the city, that’s when their gonna do something with that.”

With approximately 215,000 residents speaking over 100 languages, Astoria Park is an oasis for the neighborhood..  Many families live in multi-unit dwellings that have little or no outdoor space.  “Parks are our backyards,” said District Manager Florence Koulouris of Queens Community Board 1.

Astoria Park granted landmark status June 20, 2006, was once a training ground for athletes that would go on to the Olympics and win gold medals.  Today it offers an all-weather running track, tennis and basketball courts, multiple playgrounds and a skatepark that opened in the fall of 2010.  The main pool is the largest in New York City,  measuring 330 feet in length with a capacity of 3000. Throughout the summer this space provides entertainment, cultural activities, and a place for gathering.  “Astoria Park is our Central Park,” Koulouris said.

Where concrete and elevated train tracks define a densely populated neighborhood, this 59 acre park supports the physical and mental health of its users. The diving pool remains an eyesore and a missed opportunity for this community.

Repurposing an old pool into an entertainment venue is not new for the Parks Department.  Jessica Bathurst, Executive Director for the Astoria Performing Arts Center is familiar with pools having other uses. “I saw concerts at McCarren Park Pool before turning it back into a regular pool. It was a lot of fun.”


Situated between two iconic bridges with the New York City skyline as the backdrop, Astoria Park is the perfect setting for a stage.  “We have so many professional actors, musicians, you name it who live in Astoria now.  Everyone was looking for a place to put on shows.  They were renting out churches, doing all these strange things in order to get performances in Astoria, we thought this would be a great way to give them a place,” said Vallone, a professional musician himself.  “Could you imagine how beautiful it would be to watch a play there, the river, the two bridges, the city behind you?  It would be like ancient Greece.   And now we’re getting a hole filled in with dirt.”


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

Obsessed with a Royal Typewriter-Spring Cleaning

In NYC History, nyc photographer on April 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Springtime in the North Eastern part of the United States is noticed by warmer temperatures, longer hours of daylight and the budding of flowers and trees.  It’s been a long cold winter, and now this change is truly welcomed.  Time to shake off the heavy coats and boots-just throw on a pair of sungalsses and head outside.  (OK, maybe in May)

On the calendar, Easter is also a reminder that nature will be bringing changes to the world.  For me this means it’s time to overhaul the inside (apartment) once again.  Time to put away all remaining winter themed items (yes that includes some Christmas…) and brighten up the place-it’s time for “spring cleaning”!

So on Monday, the process began.  I fixed shelving brackets in my closet and dish cabinet. Scrubbed the grout in the shower.  Moved stereo equipment to clean behind the wires and speakers.  Polished mirrors and screens.  Threw out things that clearly should have been tossed long ago.  And then I came to the “end table” of my sofa.  (Which is really an antique sewing machine).

You know that expression “you don’t see things until you are ready”?  This might have been the case here.  This was day 2.  I needed to dust off my old Royal Typewriter.  It had been sitting at the end of my couch for years.  Back in the late 80’s I took it from my grandmother.  Along with her rotary phone.

I can still hear her now:  “I rent that phone from Bell.  They will expect it back!”  

Put that into perspective!

This poor old typewriter really needed more than just a quick dusting.  It was crying out for some love.  I lifted it up and placed it on my dining table.  Looking at it from a different perspective I began wondering if it would still work.  In these moments of curiosity, my mind was reeling as it went through stages of excitement and then a slightly obsessive behavior.  I needed to know everything I could.  Including finding a ribbon to type with.

View 1 Royal Typewriter

Some of the keys were sticking.  The carriage did not move easily across the line of type. But there was a beautiful ding as the end margin was reached-the bell still rung out clearly.

I started to ask the “google” all sorts of questions.

As I got answers to these, other questions came to mind.  And so for about 24 hours I obsessed.  I called my mother to find out the type of oil I should use.  I bothered hardware store men with my questions.  Clearly this has not been a topic of discussion for probably decades.  But I did find some extraordinary resources online.  And a segment done by The CBS Sunday Morning Show in 2012 sharing a resurgence of typewriter use.

With a bit of cleaning and drops of oil the keys work effortlessly.  There is something magical that happens as I strike each key.  The words form on a sheet of paper right in front of my eyes.   Call it nostalgia, memory of my grandmother, memories of how I got through college [yes, I had a blue Smith Corona electric typewriter in college with blue ribbon (film)] or maybe because it is different to how we type today.

Simple.  Manual.  All you need is a good ribbon and sheets of blank paper.  You can feel the words come through your fingers.  Whatever it is, the change is exciting and new and will add a nice dimension to my life.  And hopefully this obsession will just blend into my normal life.

View 2 Royal Typewriter

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

The Blizzard that Wasn’t…at Least in NYC

In NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on January 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

I love a good snow storm.  A blizzard even better, especially if it shuts down the “city that never sleeps” for a day or two.  There is something special about the quiet and stillness that Mother Nature brings to us.  And it gives a photographer a clean canvas to create a new story.

012515_iPhone 5_2772The Weather Channel and local news were doing everything they could to prepare it’s audience for the “big event”.  Grocery and hardware stores were reaping the benefits of this forecast as customers waited outside in long lines, only to find empty shelves and longer checkout lines inside.

The Governor and Mayor of New York/City determined a State of Emergency would be best to keep it’s citizens safe for the anticipated weather event.  (And it allowed the folks that clear the roads a safe way to do their jobs.)

The impending doom would happen sometime in the overnight hours and throughout the day on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.

I listened to the forecast until 2:30am and determined getting up in a few hours would be a great time to see how this storm impacted New York City.  This is what I discovered.


Beyond the city limits and north to Maine, the impact was much greater.  People lost power.  Winds blew upwards of 70MPH.  Snow drifted to feet vs. inches.  I wish all my readers safety and hope recovery is swift.

Stay warm.  And thanks for taking the time to watch.


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®



Fifth After Midnight-HARRY WINSTON

In NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on December 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Harry Winston has a timeless, classic, elegant style.  Each year their Flagship Location on Fifth Avenue is decorated with green garland, blue & white lights and their signature Winston Cluster:

  • Harry Winston celebrates the holidays with a tribute to its founder’s most iconic design, the Winston Cluster. Capturing the brilliance, beauty and enduring glamour of this timeless motif, clusters of meticulously crafted “diamonds” illuminate the House’s New York Salon façade, transforming the corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue into a whimsical Winston Wonderland, for all to experience and enjoy.**

Around 1:30am on the morning of November 7, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time as the talented decorators transformed the building inside and out.

In researching Harry Winston I rediscovered some things long forgotten:

  • Inspired by the endless energy of New York, Harry Winston opened his doors in 1932, and began a process of transformation. Winston transformed diamonds into art and revolutionized modern jewelry design. With enduring optimism, new generations of Winston designers and craftsmen collaborate to create infinitely beautiful jewels of unsurpassed style.
  • From the legacy of the Hope Diamond to the sparkle of the red carpet, Harry Winston diamonds have become an icon of international glamour.
  • In 1958, Mr. Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as a gift to the world.**

A few mornings later I went back to see the façade it all its glory.  Rain was falling, it was magical.

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®


(**Courtesy of

Fifth After Midnight: TIFFANY & Co.

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on December 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

111414_Strolling Fifth Avenue After Midnight_8943

My commute to and from Mid-Town usually involves the M31 bus; I wait on the South East Corner of 57th Street at 5th Avenue.  This corner also happens to be home to the world famous Tiffany & Co. Flagship Store, which opened in 1940.

112314_Strolling Fifth Avenue After Midnight_0514

One morning in late October while waiting for the bus, I looked up at the building and noticed a large brooch-like adornment.  I assumed it was for a promotion as it “seemed” too early for holiday decorating.  Silly me.  That was the October 28, 2014.

On 5 early mornings, over 3 weeks (11/7, 11/10, 11/14, 11/16, 11/23) I photographed the installation of Tiffany’s Holiday decorations.  Adam Terasa, the Project Manager said it took 17 nights for the actual installation and display, but a total of 6 weeks with the behind the scenes prep. The installation began in October and was fully lit by November 14.

The men on the project were kind enough to let me interrupt their work to photograph them.

Here are some really amazing facts behind the design [provided by Adam Terasa of YESCO]:

  • This display is a representation of a diamond egret that was displayed by Tiffany & Co. at the NYC World Fair in 1939. The display contains exactly 1939 individually controlled diamonds to celebrate this date (1939). Feel free to count them.
  • YESCO is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. The display was fabricated at our location in Las Vegas, Nevada. YESCO designed, fabricated, and coordinated the joint installation and lighting effort of the entire Holiday Display for Tiffany & Co. We spent several months from design, engineering, fabrication, logistics. We worked with a local sign company to coordinate and instruct them on the installation procedures as well as the functionality of this complex illuminated display.
  • YESCO is famous for signs worldwide, to inlcude: Vegas Vic; Welcome to Las Vegas sign; and now; the Tiffany & Co. Flagship stores Holiday Display.
  • We were fortunate enough to work closely with the Tiffany team on the highly detailed faceted diamond design that incorporates a clean and realistic replication of all diamonds, in particular; the yellow Tiffany diamond in the center.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to Adam Terasa-Project Manager, YESCO and your team for everything!


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®




Fifth After Midnight: Preparations for the Holidays

In historic places, NYC History, NYC Today on November 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

Christmas is truly my favorite time of year.  And New York is the town that knows how to make things sparkle.

But who makes this happen?  This year I bring to you that answer from a small section of mid-town filled with history and glamour.  A ten block radius of Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 60th Streets.

Like Santa’s elves, these visual experts converge in the overnight hours to bring each store front to life.  Its a magical time, filled with anticipation and delight.


111614_Strolling Fifth Avenue After Midnight_9052

Here a window designer at Bergdorf Goodman peers behind the curtain to inspect his work at 1:20am on November 16. The unveiling to the world is a few days later.


As with the decorating of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, this doesn’t happen in just one night.  I invite you to stroll with me down Fifth Avenue to uncover the mystery and magic of the season in the city that never sleeps.

Please check back throughout December and follow along.

Until then, may you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


adventure is life, live it! ®

Domino Sugar-A Sample Image from My Exploration

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer on July 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm

In a few more hours I will have scanned all the negatives from my trip to the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  Here is a sample of things to come.


In a short time this building will be torn down and replaced by luxury hi-rises.

I hope you stop back to see the history and beauty of this old building through my images.


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®


A Day at the Beach

In NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on June 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm

I visited the Rockaways first in 2007 and again last summer.  Here is a Movie Short sharing these moments, including bull dozers on the beach during the recovery efforts post Hurricane Sandy.



Have a Happy 4th of July!


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®


Procrastinating (or working?)

In NYC History, nyc photographer on June 11, 2014 at 12:34 am

The summer solstice is soon upon us.  That means it’s time for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade!

In celebration, I decided to put together a special project.  Going through my archives of photo’s from the parades of years past, I discovered some pictures I haven’t looked at for quite some time.

Instead of working on the project (with a very short window to make it for Saturday, June 21), I edited my feathered friend below.

So while you wait for my next production, enjoy the company of the “un-official” New York City bird.

We spent an afternoon together watching the East River; her friends and the nearby sea gulls were investigating every movement on and off-shore for the food options of the day.

Me, I just sat with my old Leica M4 and Kodi George by my side waiting to see what would pass us by.


un-official NYC bird


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®