Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chillmaster Dance Party VI

Once again, the Chillmaster was gracious enough to host a dance party and post-Thanksgiving get-together.  It was also a fellow Chiller's birthday, so I thought I'd try something different.  My first thought was to produce a hip hopera in 22 chapters, but I lack the genius and skills.

Also, I can't think of anything that rhymes with Chillmaster, so let's try a quick and dirty graphic novel...

Be sure to check out Marty After Dark for the full account.


Invasion on the Upper West Side

There are a couple of only-in-New-York things I've wanted to do for a long time.  The first is to see the circus elephants march through the Midtown Tunnel at midnight.  As of yet, I've not mustered the energy to go see this, but I have a feeling this tradition might not last long, so it's definitely on my list of unique things to do.

The other is to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated on the eve of the parade.  And, on the spur of the moment, I decided to check this off my To Do list..

I was stunned to see how many people were gathered around the Natural History Museum, where the balloons come to life - millions!  It was almost like being at the parade itself - being squished and funneled down the sidewalk with what felt like everyone in the city.  The crowd was happy, though, and the positive energy really made it a special experience.

Here is Tim Burton's B. Boy getting ready for his maiden voyage.

B Boy

Almost all the balloons were face-down, by the way.  I assume that's because they fly that way, but it was a bit creepy to see these characters with their faces pressed to the pavement.

Kermit is still looking a little sleepy...


As the Energizer Bunny is alert and ready to go.

The scene on 81st Street

Aaa!  Look out behind you!


Spidey was my favorite.


And, I couldn't resist this parting shot...

Spiderman takes one for the team

See more photos here.

Monday, November 21, 2011


On a recent walk through Chelsea, I came upon a wonderful invention:


An Art-o-mat, which is a re-purposed cigarette vending machine that now dispenses artwork.

I put my token in the slot, pulled a knob, and here's what popped out:

Corey Hengen

And inside, was this:

Corey Hengen

A mounted photo by Corey Hengen with a hook on the back, ready for hanging. I like it.

My friend also had a go with his token and came away with this:

Yoshiko Moon

Original calligraphy by Yoshiko Moon.

How cool and fun to enjoy a day of art and then take some home.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day of action

Today marked the 2-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Protests went on throughout the day at Wall Street, Union Square, in the streets and on the subways.  I caught up with protesters in the evening at Foley Square and was impressed by the sheer number of people gathered.

Foley Square

There were so many people, I couldn't see the end of the crowd in any direction. 

Foley Square

We began to march from Foley Square to the Broolyn Bridge.  The route was lined with police - more than I've ever seen in my life - but the mood was good.  We even made a few friends along the way.

Friendly cop

Upon reaching the entrance to the bridge, I was again amazed at the size of the crowd.

Foley Square

People streamed over the bridge, but I didn't follow as I've been kind of sick and didn't think I could physically handle it in the cold weather.  I felt bad about this, so thank you to all the people who marched all the way.  It was heart-warming to see so many New Yorkers supporting and encouraging each other.

Meanwhile, at Zuccotti Park...

Zuccotti Park

About 200 people gathered and rallied.  As so many signs said, you cannot evict an idea whose time has come.

More photos here.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drama at Duarte Square

I woke up yesterday angry and frustrated.  Zuccotti Park had been raided the night before and many journalists were arrested, as well as a non-protesting friend of mine.  Rumors were flying that there had been a deliberate media blackout.

As I walked outside, helicopters hovered over lower Manhattan creating more tension. Feeling more anxious the more I walked, I nearly lost it when one came swooping down over Houston Street. Was this really necessary?  The display of aggression conjured up the image of our Mayor giving his press conference on the subject earlier in the morning, reminding us citizens that "No right is absolute."

As I approached Canal Street, I saw protesters gathered at Duarte Square. The square is a public space, but the adjoining park is owned by Trinity Real Estate.

Duarte Square

A man leading the group said they had asked permission from Trinity to organize a prayer session in the park. I have to assume no permission was given as he then made it clear the group was splitting into two - his group would return back downtown and the remaining group was going to do their own thing, which was to occupy the park.

Duarte Square

Once inside the park, protesters took up signs that doubled as shields...

Duarte Square

...and pressed against the locked gate.

Duarte Square

Here is video of them getting organized:

It was at this time the police decided to do something.  Until now, everything had been pretty peaceful and the cops kept their distance, even as protesters climbed the wall into the park.  As soon as they began pressing on the fence, the police quickly stepped in and made all onlookers move back.  This is normal procedure, but considering the events of the previous night, people were wary of their intent.

In the video below, the police move onlookers and photographers back as more police in riot gear move up to the gate in the background.  When asked why they were doing this, one cop says it's to keep people from being hurt. You can then hear a woman say, "Or is it to keep us from seeing what's happening?"

I heard there were more arrests of journalists, although I did not see it myself.  A couple of hours later, the police had cleared the park of all people and banners, and the area looked as if nothing had ever happened.

Duarte Square

More photos here.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping it together

There's a lot going on with OWS today and I will have pictures and video of Duarte Square later when I get it all sorted.  In the mean time, here are some photos from Foley Square taken this last Friday at a rally and concert.  Thank you to everyone who organized this and participated.

John Penley, Norman Siegel and Jerry the Peddler.

Veterans Day rally

The Pieman!

The Pieman

Queen Mother - Dr. Delois Blakely

Queen Mother

Ryan Harvey, musician.

Ryan Harvey

See more photos here.  More to come...


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things that glow in the night

The moon over 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street...

Moon over the East Village

East 2nd Street...


Trinity Place...

Trinity Place

Bleecker and Bowery...

Spooky night on Bowery

A menacing ESB looms over 5th Avenue...

Twin peaks

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dreadful fun

I know Halloween is over, but it's my favorite holiday (any excuse to wear a wig!) and I just can't get enough of all things creepy, ghoulish and silly.  If it were up to me, it would be acceptable to wear costumes and eat candy every day of the year.  So, let's drag out the festivities with a few more images from this last week.

On the Coney Island boardwalk...

Coney Island

Also at Coney, live freaks and curiosities.

Curiosities and live freaks

Speaking of freaks, heeeelp!


Even scarier, yours truly with snakes in my hair. Despite clearly being a gorgon, a traffic cop accused me of being an antelope. Antelope must have evolved quite a bit since I last checked.

Medusa in the Blarney Cove

Day of the Dead offerings at St. Mark's Church.

Day of the Dead

And, finally, Greenpoint at night is wonderfully dark, desolate and spooky. This is my favorite time of year to explore the city after the sun goes down...

Night in Greenpoint

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trick-or-treating at Ray's Candy

I stopped in at Ray's on Halloween for a hot dog, friendly conversation, and plenty of entertainment as kids came in for treats...

Trick-or-treating at Ray's

The Flash!

Trick-or-treating at Ray's

Trick-or-treating at Ray's

Trick or treat!

We love you, Ray!

Medusa in Ray's

Ruby's last day...?

As of today, Ruby's Bar and Grill is still in negotiations for a new lease, so we don't know if they'll be back next season or if this last Sunday was really, truly, the last day.  Assuming it was, I went out to the boardwalk to bid farewell and to soak up everything I want to remember.

After a freak October snowstorm the previous day, Sunday was clear and sunny - perfect for sitting outside.

Ruby's last day

Inside, patrons watched some football...

Ruby's last day

Others played pinball...

Ruby's last day

While out front, a mysterious sea creature made an appearance...

Ruby's last day

What ever it is, I love it.

Mysterious sea creature

Meanwhile, the famous photographs came down from the walls...

Ruby's last day

And some parts of the room were already stripped bare.

Ruby's last day

Here's to a true Brooklyn/New York/American treasure.

A Brooklyn treasure...

You can see more photos of Ruby's here.


See also:
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York
Amusing the Zillion
One More Folded Sunset
Marty After Dark