Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 4th

I spent  July 4th in a town  somewhere in the middle of America. Each year they celebrate the day with a parade. The entire town gets decorated for the occasion: streets, homes and people all done up in red, white and blue. People set up picnic tables in their driveways and lawn chairs along the curbs to reserve their spots. They have been holding this parade since 1911.  Many residents trace their families there even longer. This 4th had a bit of rain early on, but it turned sunny and everyone looked happy. I had a hot dog at a church booth. I shot lots of photos. I would like to go back next year.  Or maybe before that.  Somebody told me that they have another parade on St.Patrick's Day .................

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Subway Buddy

#7 Train Platform, Grand Central Station, This Evening:

You are smiling, aren't you?

Monday, June 26, 2017

My New Vintage Lens, Lovely Lesbians and A Rant

I saw this lens at a flea market on a table with a bunch of photo junk. The dealer asked $5 for it. He was firm on the price, which I usually consider a challenge to my ethnic traditions, but in this case I kind of had an idea of what that lens might be, so I popped the five bucks and walked away with it.

Turns out the lens was made by a company in England and I since found out, was made for 16mm movie cameras. A friend who is incredibly knowledgeable about such things told me it is a “Petzval Portrait” design that originally dates from the 1890's and there really was a Dr. Petzval who came up with the design long before that. Anyway, that English company copied it and produced the 'new' version in the 1930's.

Now, as it happens around the beginning of this year I switched my professional gear to a relatively new line of cameras. They are smaller and lighter and have some spectacular technical capabilities. And they are lighter. Lots lighter. Also, because of some technical design stuff that I won't get into, I can now use a whole slew of lenses on these cameras, lenses that were never intended for digital cameras. Like this one. My new lens lacks any automatic features which means I actually have to focus and set it. Kind of what I did with film cameras for my first 40 or so years in the business. My sympathies to the kids who don't know how to do this. Tough! That's what they pay me for! Go do something else with your life!

Where were we? Oh, yeah: so for another $1.77, I got an adapter direct from China to me via eBay and now we are in business.  And on that same site, I saw this lens for sale for $365!  So now I feel lots better paying retail.

 I tried it out for the first time this weekend. First on Jake since he was closest, then at the Pride Parade which, unfortunately, was almost as close (see Rant, below). The results are soft, and flattering, do in part the result of an optical factor called 'spherical aberration,' and mostly to Dr Petzval's skill. Portrait of Jake and some lovely lesbians. No doubt more will be posted. Meantime


OK, I have officially had it with the “Pride Parade!” E-friggin'-nuff! I live in the Village, the parade route is right past  my apartment building. I mean right past the friggin' front door. OK, so you think" big deal?"  It's the Village, right? Most of us here are either in the parade or we take off for someplace far away on parade day, right? Hey, I have walked the parade to photograph it several times and actually marched in it a few times as part of the police contingent. Past parades were sort of fun. Those fun parades are  friggin' history! Good times past. The parade has grown. This year there was live TV coverage.

This year the friggin'  parade ran for over 9 Hours! Further more, it wasn' t really a parade anymore: it was hours of horrendous, cacophonous, ear-splitting mish-mosh that left a trail of physical, moral and emotional damaged throughout the neighborhood. Fact is. this year's so called “Pride” parade was actually a cover for the largest gathering of the most destructive weapons-grade monster sound trucks in history!

These trucks were multi-mega-mega sound generating weapons, the kind that dictatorships use to evict native populations and discourage Jehovah's Witnesses. You could actually taste the sound. You could also count your fillings as they popped out. Sound systems like this are not usually sold to the public, but somehow these folks got a hold of 'em. Lots of em! Sometimes 3 or 4 blasting away at the dame time on a single block! It was friggin' devastating!

And they were not there for any sort of social or political cause: they were there to sell! Gay has become Big Business. Corporate logo's adorned the monster machines to show just where their heart was. Seems like any company with the bucks to lay out had their logo's large and in your face. Gay or straight, they all wanted us to know they loved our money. My personal favorite: the frigging M&M candy folks had their own sounds blasting away for the cause. No candy, just friggin' noise!

And by 6 PM there were more people marching than there were watching. Smaller groups with signs that were less readable. And more sound trucks

. Fifth Avenue stayed closed until after midnight!  Cops worked 14+ hour shifts.

Next year a group of neighbors is planning on removing Fifth Avenue south of 14
th Street the day before and not returning it until the next day. That'll show 'em!

...........And you did not friggin' read that here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

some shots

Vet's Day Parade, NYC, 2016

Manhattan Legs

On The Job, Queens, NY

Ever wonder what happened to the Kingston Trio?

Shopper, India

Boatman, Ganges River, Varanas,i India

Parade, NYC, A Long TimeAgo

Someplace In India

Antigua de Gutamala


Nepal, Too

Art Critic, NYC

Just Because

Buddhist New Year Candles

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Each year, for many years, a group of veterans and their supporters gathers on Memorial Day in lower Manhattan and they march for peace. It is not a big group. Most are older, remembering service in Korea and Viet Nam. Some are the children of men lost in WW II. They carry a flag draped coffin and bagpipers play. And they walk through Battery Park, past the War Memorials that most New Yorker's don't even know are there. Tourists heading for the Staten Island Ferry and the Statue of Liberty take snapshots.

The event ends with a few speeches and then some stand to remember the names of fallen comrades and in their names toss a flower into the harbor. A bugler plays taps and everybody goes home. The press rarely pays any attention to this event, so politicians don't show up, so this is probably the first you have heard of it.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

East First Street Revisited

East First Street: My first solo apartment back when the neighborhood was the Lower East Side – that is, before it was the “East Village” - the difference being around $1500 a month; Flower Power was in bloom and my block boasted 3 bodegas, a real candy store owned by an elderly Italian couple named Mama and Papa and a Chinese Hand Laundry run by a smiling lady whose single word of English, as far as anyone could remember, was “Starch?” We also had our very own outdoor drug supermarket at the corner of First Avenue in the ruins of a boccie court that was also occasionally used for a film location. At the other corner was a real gas station that was opened all night. Along with the “Summer Of Love,” two of my neighbors were murdered and one committed suicide. But all in all it was a pretty good block. And a cheap place to live.

There used to be a vacant lot in the middle of the block right across from my old apartment. It is still sort of vacant, but it now has cobble stones instead of garbage to walk on and someone has painted the walls of the buildings that face it. My old building is still there along with several new ones. None of the bodegas are there. Mama and Papa are long gone and their candy story is pretending to be an art gallery. There is a huge new building going up at the corner where the gas station used to be.  I wonder if the 'art' will be there when the new folks move into that building.

And: After I posted this, I got a note from Ed Pacht. Ed and I were roommates a long, long time ago, actually pre-First Street longtime ago. It was a place on 9th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. It was my first experience living (sort of) on my own. I was 19 and life was lots simpler and easier and I had no idea. Anyway as it usually happens, Ed and I went on to lead our separate lives separately. As it also happened to those f us who are lucky, we reconnected a few years back and now manage to get together once or twice a year. Ed writes poetry. I am flattered that he remembers me in this piece and I wanted to add it here:

2536. May 25, 2017.  Several things worked together to bring me here.  In yesterday’s poetry class I mentioned that it was Bob Dylan’s birthday.  I drank beer with him once before he was famous.  I am reading “Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan”, which brings back many New York memories.  I had an email from my old roommate about a slightly later place he’d lived.  All of that keyed in this bit of reminiscence…

East Ninth Still

In days gone by
when rent was cheap
and hopes were running high,
in a world gone mad,
or so it seemed
(but not as mad as now),
when streets were full of freaks,
and immigrants of every kind,
and every faith (or none) was held,
and many tongues were spoken,
a motley, grungy culture thrived,
and youth descended on the place,
and I,
young, naïve, and learning much,
was one of those who came,
one of those young and restless souls,
unsatisfied with the homes they had
and with the lives desired for them
who sought a different way,
and came,
and lived in a place like this:
five floors high, on each floor four
apartments much the same,
a motley group contained within,
a theater person, Jewish Bahai,
a Polish couple of factory work,
an artist whose comics were very strange,
a poet who dealt in many drugs,
and me,
with a roommate who sang folk songs,
and a stream of strange folk ever coming,
and conversations ever changing.
It was a time of endless learning,
and a time of foolish failing;
a time of splendid moral growth,
and a time of moral failure,
a short time many years ago,
a fraction of a man’s long life,
and yet a time to be remembered,
a time to be cherished,
even though it be regretted
in part, for some of what it was.
It was a time,
for an aged poet-sometime-preacher
that built on what already was
and helped to make him what he is,
and still East Ninth is in his heart,
and in some undetermined way,
still guides him,
still feeds him,
and feels like home.
-Ed Pacht

Monday, May 22, 2017

Alien Occupation Blockades Village- Press Blackout! Exclusive photos!

Masked demonstration leaders refuse comment.