Tag Archives: manhattan

The Secret of 5 Beekman St. (ScoutingNY)

A foreign friend points me to this very cool blog, ScoutingNY, which is run by a film locations scout who, having the luxury to appreciate the hidden corners of New York, is kind enough to share them with the rest of us. Some great interior photos of 5 Beekman in downtown Manhattan, an abandoned building I’ve passed by many times without noticing, including what ScoutingNY says is “quite possibly the most beautiful atrium in New York City, rising nine stories overhead”

Spotted in the East Village: Hipster/Anti-Hipster/Anti-Anti-Hipster Spoof of Ghost Bike Memorial

Seen near 1st Ave. and 9th St. in the East Village, this stripped down white bike that, on closer inspection, is someone’s elaborate ha-ha for passersby and I’m guessing the cyclists and cyclists’ families who paid their respect on the Fifth Annual Memorial Bike Ride this January 5. (Gothamist: At least 10 cyclist deaths were reported in NYC for 2009. In 2008, the number was 25).

A close up of the letter (click to read the text):
East Village: Prank Ghost Bike Memorial

An excerpt:

A good hearted man with a caring soul was killed by police at this intersection on November 18, 2009 as he rode his bicycle. Junior was born to love and ahrd times would never break his spirit. A creative man down on his luck made some decisions that were not of his character and after paying society for his sins, he is killed by the very element that took away his freedom. Junior was released from prison on November 10, 2009 after serving 12 years for the crime of stripping abandoned cars to feed his family. Such punitive punishment for a starving family man. For only eight days would…Junior’s return to home before Gay Police Officer Trey… of the NYFP (New York Fashion Police) recklessly killed Junior while speeding to a fashion disaster in the West Village…

You dumb sack-of-shit tourists are probably crying for a dead New Yorker by now but hey the joke is on you for caring enough to look at an abandoned, stripped bicycle converted into a memorial to a car stripper. Plus does the man pictured look hungry to you? Right now I’m home laughing my ass off or maybe across the street spying on you but either way laugh and enjoy the art of Christina March…

Fuck you and go home. If you are a yuppie or hipster find a new city as your careless spending has made New York …[unlivable]

A pretty good prank effort (as someone who had to write obits, I feel it’s pretty spot on how many people would eulogize a ne’er-do-well) though probably the time and energy could’ve gone to mocking something more mockable than killed cyclists, who, if they had their way in imposing traffic-calming measures, would probably make parts of the city more livable. And telling hipsters to go away? Isn’t this a joke that a hipster-amid-a-heroin-rehab-program might pull off to show how counter-culture and ironic and edgy he is? Agh, irony overload!

Flickr Snowball Fight post-mortem: A lesson in being first

IMG_The photo that briefly led the Flickr blog
The photo that briefly led the Flickr blog

I’ve had a basic Flickr account for about a year now and before this past weekend, I don’t think I had more than 2,000 hits across the 150 random photos in my stream. After Flickr spotlighted my photos of the Times Square snowball fight at the top of its blog, I received about 71,000 hits and hundreds of comments in three days:

Flickr Stats

The funniest part of it is, is that I had uploaded pretty much the exact same set of photos more than 30 hours before. After work, while at the office, I noticed that CNN had spotlighted freelancer Doug Kim’s excellent B&W photos of the incident on his blog; I didn’t realize until I saw the reaction he got how amazing this event was to anyone who hadn’t been there that night, possibly even more interesting than for even those of us lucky to be there. I re-uploaded those same photos at a slightly larger size so I could post them “Big Picture” style to my blog. I’m pretty sure the important tags (“snow”, “snowball”) were in both versions (in fact, the picked-up version lacks “snowball fight” as a tag, which is the term that the Flickr blog post links to.

Apparently, I had good timing. Maybe ten minutes after I uploaded the larger-sized photos, I started noticing a stream of comments…and when I finally noticed that the thumbnail of my photo was not just showing on my Flickr page, but on everyone else’s…I hastily did a quick edit of the hundreds of other snowball fight photos I took that night and uploaded them. My two favorite of the secondary bunch…actually, of the whole bunch period, and I only bothered to look at them again because I figured Flickr users were OK with slightly more quantity than quality.

Snowstorm and snowball fight in Times Square, Manhattan, New York (larger size)

Times Square during the snow storm

According to the NYT’s City Room Blog, one of the earliest popular mentions of the event was on BoingBoing, which linked to a Tweeted mobile phone photo. It wasn’t the clearest, but making something known is more important. I’m kicking myself a little for editing my photos when I got home but then only posting them to a private online album for friends. I’m glad Kim’s excellent photos got huge play when CNN’s iReport gave it a spot on CNN.com’s homepage.

Two days after the snowball fight, I didn’t have much to add to from what Kim’s photos had shown, so I figured the least I could do was license my photos under Creative Commons so that everyone could freely share them. I’m lucky enough to have a steady job now, so I’m just happy to show as many people as possible the cheery, smiling side of New Yorkers (or, at least its tourists’).

Some of my favorite comments, on Flickr and this Reddit post, which made it to the top of r/photography. I forget that not everyone knows what Times Square has been like since the pedestrian-calming measures took effect (and now I realize that this snowball fight probably wouldn’t have taken place any other year beforehand), or even what a snowstorm is.

This made me feel a little bit better about the world, so thanks! When I think of NYC, the last thing I expect to see is people laughing and having fun! 😛

Gets way too much crap for being an unfriendly city. Glad these photos show how untrue that reaction can be sometimes.

kevinbhookun Pro User says:
Reminds me of a Scene from Gangs of New York, except this is much cleaner :)

judo_dad1953 Pro User says:
I’m listening to Franz Schuberts Unfinished Symphony No.8 in B minor; as I’m wandering through your photostream. Its a perfect combination; it draws me to the image, making me wish I could pass into it and experience the moment wholly. Still, doing so vicariously is no small thing. Its an enviable record of an enviable moment. A tip of the hat to you for posting such a beautiful photo!

Kyle_Butler Pro User says:

I was so excited when I saw this picture I did a back flip. However, I was in a sleeping bag…so it got really weird. My cat looked at me as though he no longer accepted me as his owner. Then I realized I had no cat, and wondered why this creature was in my home!
See, your photo has set off a chain of events that not even Ashton Kutcher could fix!

Eric Austria Pro User says:
i was just there last nov. what a difference a day of snow is. if i’m gonna be stranded from a snowstorm this would be the ideal place.

Ta_nya says:
hah) “snowstorm”…for us it’s really fun to hear such a word. I know that you are not used to the weather like this and it’s really a storm for you, but here in Moscow we would have called it like “huh, snowy again”)) anyway, amazing pics)

Well, if spotlighting my photo was Flickr’s roundabout way to get me to sign up for a Pro account…well, it worked. I had a vague sense of the Flickr ecosystem work…but when no one stops by your photostream, you don’t see it in practice. Having interacted with dozens of other photogs and spending some time seeing the other great work out there…I’m seeing a lot more utility for a Flickr account than just providing people a repository for the random CC-images I have. And I’m going to try it out as the hosting service for my images. Dreamhost’s recent spottiness as of late didn’t give me confidence that it could handle serving up pages with multiple large images to thousands of visitors.

So lesson learned: when you have a nice camera, don’t keep the good memories to yourself. Happy Holidays.

Times Square during a snowstorm: hunker down and throw some snowballs

IMG_8659, originally uploaded by zokuga.

Snowball fights, slow traffic…if Times Square was like this everyday, the Manhattanites would fight to take it back from the tourists. See a bigger version of these photos on this page, where I’m slowly experimenting with WordPress’s templating…ouch, php, ouch. Also, my photo made it at the top of this Flickr post.

I hadn’t used my 5dm2 since I got the S90. I love the S90 but I became accustomed to not getting decent images in any kind situation where the ISO was at 800. In the snowstorm, I had a rain-jacket improperly fitted on the 5d2 and blindly hit the autofocus button…I didn’t expect to get anything but these didn’t turn out so bad.





Update: Some reflections about the “social media” aspect of what I thought was just a good-ol fashioned large-scale snowball fight

Snowball fight in Times Square, Dec. 19, 2009

Snowball fight in Times Square, on 12/19/2009, during the big blizzard of 2009 from dan n on Vimeo.

Some video of the spontaneous snowfight, mostly among patrons who had just gotten out of their Broadway shows, using my 5dm2. Not exactly the best quality considering I was sloppily using a rain jacket and haven’t ever really used the video function. But I was impressed that it’s slightly in focus.