Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dancing In The Streets

No time for writing so photos it is. This was taken just off Tompkin's Square Park (where I lived 18 years ago). A jazz band was playing on the back of a parked truck and this couple were grooving to the music. A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning. More proof of New York's increasing livability. This area although fun to socialise in, was dangerous and decrepit when I lived there. My roommate at the time had his neck slashed with a razor blade in a very nasty mugging. He was incredibly lucky to get a way with only a nasty scar. The EMT people told him if his attacker had been standing a centimeter closer he would have cut his jugular.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Chatting in the East Village

No time to write so some more photos from my trip to NY. This is on the corner of 6th and A in the East Village (the best breakfast place in NY is the 7A on 7th and A). I used to live on 8th and B eighteen years ago, and I always try and take in breakfast at the 7A when I am in town. I was walking around the neighborhood, which has been cleaned up dramatically since I lived there, when I came across a little outdoor stage with a jazz band playing. The couple in the photograph were hanging out nearby.

Single speed bikes like this are the new toy for urban hipsters. Even in hilly San Francisco they are very common. Simple, sleek, light and elegant, almost maintenance free. In relatively flat NY they are the perfect commuter vehicle. Most often the rear gear is fixed, i.e you can't coast, no freewheel. This means the bikes often do not have brakes, or at most a front brake (in this case a rear brake). You slow down by slowing your pedaling. This takes a little time to fully master, but it makes for a very efficient pedaling stroke when you switch back to a freewheel bike. You have to be able to pedal around corners and downhill, when many on freewheel bikes would coast.

Not wearing a helmet seems to be the norm when riding a fixie. Helmets will never make you look cool, but I've witnessed many bike crashes where severe head trauma was avoided by wearing one, and seeing people ride on busy city streets without one makes me cringe.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Brooklyn From a Taxi

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I've been traveling, hence zero time for blogging. I spent a very pleasant weekend in Manhattan, (followed by London and Ireland). Actually pleasant is probably not the right description of a weekend with an old college friend who was over from Ireland visiting his brother. Mildly debauched, actually on Saturday night it was quite debauched. It's been a long time since I was last up late enough to see the dawn. All in all it hit the right notes of drinking, eating, catching some music, sight seeing and shopping.

It was pissing rain while I was in the taxi from JFK, and the freeway was at a standstill. The driver decided to take local streets through Brooklyn to get to the East Village, where my mate was in a bar and had a pint with my name on it. It was the right decision, we made it from the airport in 40 minutes. I snapped this as we traversed the Williamsburg Bridge looking towards Midtown.

Luckily the weather eased off and was perfectly pleasant for the rest of the weekend.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's not the same is it...


Manhattan seems so much smaller without the Twin Towers. It still throws me a little when I see it.

We spent the last 10 days on the East Coast. The first weekend at my brother-in-law's wedding in Connecticut, which was great fun, despite the incredible heat and humidity. My parents, one of the brothers, my sister and her husband were all invited, so after the wedding, we took the kids and the gang of us spent a week in a rented house in Spring Lake, a beautiful little town on the Jersey Shore. The kids had a blast. We spent most of our time on the beach, or in the water. Shane even learned to boogie board.

We headed back to Connecticut last weekend, and on Saturday we jumped on the train to Manhattan, and took the Circle Line cruise around New York harbor. In all my times in NY, I had never done this. In fact I am not sure I have ever seen the Statue of Liberty before, even from the shore!

The picture of the Staten Island ferry reminds me of a joke.

Apparently Staten Island was named by a Limerick man. He was working as a sailor on a Dutch ship exploring what would become Long Island sound. It was extremely foggy, and it was his turn on look out. Seeing an object appearing through the murk, he peered out into the distance and shouted back to his shipmates:

" 'stat an island?"

Knowledge of the Limerick accent makes this funnier.

Labels: , , ,