Category Archives: visuals

photos, images, etc My new portfolio site in HTML5, with responsive CSS

After trying too hard to rewrite my really old Flash gallery as a jQuery plugin, I thought “to hell with it” and decided to join the one-pager trend: I have to say, this was one of the more pleasant site-designing jobs I’ve done in awhile. I’m going to try to limit my sites to one-page or fewer from here on out.

I started with a HTML5 template from and then tacked on the 1140 CSS grid sheet, a fluid framework.

As far as Javascript goes, besides jQuery, I’m using Ben Alman’s throttle-debounce plugin, Leandro Vieira’s lightbox plugin, and Ariel Flesler’s scrollTo plugin for the simple interaction bits.

It’s pretty rudimentary in terms of code sophistication…I haven’t yet decided how to lazy-load the images while still providing a full page for non-JS users. I think I’ll end up tacking on backbone.js and figuring out a JSON structure to load in the “galleries”. So, for now, deal with loading some 100+ images all at once from S3…

To me, it’s an improvement over the typical slideshow galleries in which only one image at a time is shown. Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough Big Picture show-stoppers to justify displaying every photo as full-screen. But I think there’s some artistic room in manually arranging the images as a collage and purposefully deciding the size of each image in relation to the others.

The best part is that with the 1140 grid system, not only was designing for variable-width desktop browsers (and placing the images) a breeze…the site works very well on the iPad and passably well on the iPhone…and I barely even left Google Chrome on my Mac during the whole development process.

Now I just have to get some better photos. And maybe think the typography a little more…Meanwhile, check it out:

The free list of free New York museums:

Last Wednesday, in my haste to get it over with before I forgot about it after a weekend at NICAR, I threw up a hand-compiled chart of New York museums and other cultural attractions, focused primarily on when they were open and free. This was in response to a NY reddit user who asked just the right question to hit my “hey-maybe-*I*-can-do-something” buttons:

Does something like this exist? A chart? It seems like every museum has a day or two that it isn’t open and then one day that it’s open late (ideal for me) but they’re all different. Today, for example, I thought “I’d like to go to a museum but it’s going to be 5 soon and I have no idea if any are open late.” If somebody has an idea how this could be most logically put together, I wouldn’t mind doing it. I just can’t even imagine what form this would take other than some dry list or spreadsheet.

Well, I’m not much of a designer but I like making stuff that uses simple color bars and graphics to represent data, ever since my boss made me attend a Edward Tufte lecture. I also am a big fan of the special nights that museums have; a friend took me to the MOMA on one of the Target Free Fridays and I became a member afterward; I can’t count the times I’ve been since or the number of friends I’ve brought in, at the $5 member discount rate. Considering my tendency to sit around at home, I may have never gone without that first free night.

I got interview requests from writers at the Village Voice and the WSJ the day the map went up, so hopefully this chart gets out to the people who need one more reminder to check out all that’s great in this city.

The site’s a pretty lame technical feat; I looked at list of museums from Wikipedia and Yelp and then hit up each website to fill out a spreadsheet, which I converted to a webpage that’s way too big of a file for being mostly simple HTML. I guess I could’ve run a scraper on each site, but I wanted to acquaint myself with each place so I could get inspired to check out some new places. The info-gathering was by far the most painful and time-consuming aspect of this (my humble explanation for why it would take 7 days to make a sloppy HTML page with a Google map on top). It reminded me of the many restaurants that make you click through bouncy Flash graphics just to find their business hours. In defense of the museums though, their site-design M.O. is probably to wow people enough with images so that they won’t mind digging through to find the pertinent visitor and admission info. Still, it’s kind of annoying for those of us who just want to get down to some art-seeing business.

Now that I’ve got the basic info down, along with a lot of the museums’ social media links, the next step will be to…well, make this a real site from a framework rather than a Ruby script that reads from a Google spreadsheet. Then, to make a newsfeed of exhibits and events and put everything in a standard hcard format. I’ll probably tackify the site up with photos I’ve taken, too. As someone who needs Google to find what direction I’m walking in, I’m always kind of reluctant to do what the Great Indexers, including Wikipedia contributors, have already done. But then again, those broad informational frameworks don’t always show you enough specific details up front (such as the existence of free hours) to encourage you to go beyond the first search results. And since working on the Dollars for Docs project, I’ve learned there’s always a way to make already-easily available information much more useful.

Check out here.

NYFW11: Moncler @ Grand Central Station Flash Mob (New York Fashion Week)

Usually it’s pretty easy to get to your train at Grand Central, unless someone decides to hold a fashion event in the main terminal. I was lucky enough to have been in the front when this fashion event’s organizers started making room for the 150+ dancers, I put a bunch of photos in this Flickr set.

Moncler @ Grand Central Station, New York Fashion Week 2011

Moncler NYFW Flashmob at Grand Central, NYC

NYFW: Boogie Woogie in Grand Central

NYFW: Paparazzi at the Moncler Grand Central station show

Finish to Moncler show at Grand Central

The New York Times wrote about how difficult it was to put together a show in a landmark like Grand Central post-9/11:

“The city was very specific about not mentioning flash mob,” Mr. Coppers said. Still, a flash mob is what it looked like at 7:25 to the unsuspecting travelers scanning the announcement board for their track numbers and reading about ice conditions on the Hudson shutting down the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry.

They suddenly found themselves infiltrated by a large and highly coordinated group of what appeared to be chic aliens, appearing out of nowhere to take over the terminal. There were 363 of them, 163 wearing goggles and vividly colored ski clothes and another 200 hired to pass as ordinary travelers.

At a signal from Etienne Russo, the Belgian mastermind of the Moncler Grenoble event (and the man who once had a Swedish iceberg cut into pieces and shipped to the Grand Palais in Paris for a Chanel show), the extras began clearing the concourse for what was surely the most ambitious and spectacular event of Fashion Week and the only one impossible to transplant to any other place.

“For months I thought it was not doable, but I was obsessed,” Mr. Russo had said. Six hours before the show began, he was pacing around a rehearsal studio in a warehouse set by the East River in the outer reaches of Brooklyn, as the choreographer Luam put her dancers — some trained but many not — through their paces.

“We wanted to do something in Times Square, but because of what happened, that’s impossible,” Mr. Russo added, referring to the attempted car bombing. “But as soon as we came to Grand Central, I said it has to be here.”

Some video:

More photos in this Flickr set.

New York City Blizzard, January 26, 2011

Another great snowstorm for New York, this one was definitely more substantial than the last one. I went out to Chinatown, NoHo, and Nolita to see the flakes come down and was lucky I didn’t lose a finger to frostbite. You can see all my Winter 2010-2011 photos in my Flickr set.

Ten Favorite Photos of 2010

Some favorites

2010 wasn’t a very productive year for me in terms of photography. I can think of two factors: this investigative project taking up most of my time the latter part of the year, and getting a Canon S90 (well, two of them, since I lost one). Not that the S90 isn’t great; a few snapshots from it are on this list. But it made photography a lot more casual for me, rather than something I worked at.

So as a result, there’s not a lot of variety here and everything seems somewhat distant and impersonal. I don’t know if these are my top sentimental or technical favorites, but they’re the ones that stood out after a quick look-through of my Flickr this morning.

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Snowloko: Getting Around in New York’s Blizzard

Subway, car, and foot…the snow drifts conquered it all. I’ve seen snow fall into a subway platform before, but not huge drifts (this photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the only one I have that actually caught the train in focus).

I love that mass-transit-dependent New Yorkers won’t hesitate to help push a car out of the snow. It’s so strange to walk through the otherwise traffic-clogged streets that pushing a car through Astor Place is actually a treat.

Pushing a car through Astor Place during New York blizzard 2010

Pushing a Taxi - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Thundersnow Blaaaaagh

I wish I had booties, like my friend’s dog:

Dog walking, the morning after New York's big blizzard

Whoa, slip-sliding down the subway steps - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Blargfest

Snowball fight in Times Square, Snowpocalpyse-Thundersnow 2010

During last night’s blizzard, there was an attempt at a mass snowball fight like last year’s. People spent more time pelting vehicles than each other, since they had to fight across a street, and It petered out after a few minutes.

I think the main difference between this year and last was that last year, the TKTS plaza area was open, providing a much bigger common space to goof around in. That area has been closed to prepare for New Year Eve’s festivities.

Also, the weather was much blustier this year…there was lightning and thunder, not that you could really notice the former in Times Square. See my pics of last year’s snowball fight here.

The Father Duffy Square, where the TKTS stand is, was closed off:

George M. Cohan statue, Times Square - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Blargfest

Last year was more of a big snow flurry. Last night was definitely a blizzard.

Trekking Times Square - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Blargfest

PIX newscast - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Blargfest

Jumping for joy in Times Square - New York Blizzard Snowstorm Blargfest

BARC Canines in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

One of my favorite volunteer activities in the city is walking dogs, usually pitbulls, for the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition in Williamsburg. You get some quality dog-time and get to see the scenic part of hipster-ville.

Walking a BARC pitbull in Williamsburg, Metropolitan Ave. near Kent Ave. Kayrock Screen Printing mural.

Walking a BARC pitbull in Williamsburg, Metropolitan Ave. near Kent Ave. Kayrock Screen Printing mural.

Walking a pitbull in Williamsburg

These two beautiful dogs weren’t from the shelter, but we saw them tied outside of Blue Bottle Coffee:
Williamsburg: Beautiful dogs