New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New York Truck

It's sizzling today in New York. is telling me that the current temperature is 89 Fahrenheit and feels like 92 Fahrenheit. In celcius that's 32 and 34 degrees, respectively. If you ask me, it feels even hotter than that, but then again when I was last outside I was sweaty from leaving the dojo, which made it feel that much stickier.

As for the above photo, this truck was parked on First Avenue near the corner of 15th Street. I noticed it as I was headed to my bank, and I thought it looked cool, so when the light was red I walked across the avenue and shot three pictures of it. Only one car honked at me, but it didn't seem like a nasty honk. Some people just honk all the time, for no apparent reason. That's one of the downsides of New York. Too much gratuitous horn-honking. It's not that it's so horrible that other drivers hear you, but it takes away from the quality of life of the people living in the area with windows near the street. Imagine little Johnny, trying diligently to do his homework, so he can go to college and help his family. Just when he's about to make a breakthrough on a tough math problem, HOOOOONK! He loses his concentration, the homework goes unfinished, Johnny flunks out of school, and his family has to move to New Jersey. Please people, use discretion with your horn honking. Think of little Johnny.

That's a closeup of the alien. I call this photo Take Me 2 Yr Leader. I could easily dedicate this whole blog to New York graffiti, but there are other sites that do it better than I ever could, including gammablog and Streetsy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Long Island Golf

On Saturday Jenn and I took the Long Island Rail Road out to Mineola, to visit our friends Marty and Carolynne, who were having a house-warming party. Since it would be difficult for us to get back to Brooklyn that same night without a car of our own, we stayed over. The next day Marty drove us around Mineola to see the sights. I wanted to visit a park of some kind, and when I saw there was a driving range I insisted we go hit golf balls. I'm not much of a golfer at all, but I love driving ranges. Hitting golf balls is fun. Just remember, drive for show, putt for dough. If anybody out there has any advice for my swing, please let me know.

Here's an action shot of Marty. Everybody got the hang of it after a while. Just keep your eye on the ball, unless somebody's taking your photo. Then give 'em a Hollywood smile.

Here's a photo of golf's reigning power couple. We've got a little duffer on the way in November. And it's okay if he doesn't play golf, because I only play once every three years anyway.

Heavy Rain

On Friday it rained like crazy in New York. It's pretty interesting working in a skyscraper with floor-to-ceiling windows, because you can really see the weather roll in and feel very much immersed in the storm, like you're in an airplane (without the turbulence).

The rain, along with some hail, was coming down in sheets, and the wind was whipping through the streets, funneled by the canyon effect found in Manhattan. All of my colleagues were fascinated by it. The strongest part of the storm only lasted for an hour or so, but it was enough to cause problems in the subway system. Normally it takes me 25 minutes to get home to Brooklyn from 57th Street. On Friday it took 90 minutes.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Summer in Brooklyn

On Saturday Jenn and her friend Cindy and I watched the Dancing of the Giglio, an annual event in Williamsburg. We are fortunate to live just down the street from the carnival area, and we check out the dance and the carnival pretty much every year. Yesterday was a hot day but we had a great view of the Giglio from a raised viewing platform that surprisingly few people had availed themselves of. While I was looking for some shade to protect my fair skin from the sun's powerful rays I ducked into the shadow caused by this merry-go-round. While I was stooping down, cowering from the light, I noticed the carousel horses and thought that the angle was nice, so I snapped the photo displayed above.

The Giglio Boys carry the giglio all the way down Havemeyer Street, which we are looking down in the following photo. You can click on any of these photos to make them big.

The giglio makes periodic stops along the way, where the band plays several songs and the boys take a rest and drink from cans of Bud Light. The giglio is impressive to see close-up, especially when it sways back and forth as its bearers struggle to maintain balance.

The next picture shows you what the giglio band looks like. As if carrying around a huge tower isn't enough, the Giglio Boys also have to carry around a brass band.

This next photo shows you what the bearers look like. It's not an easy job, but it is a coveted job. Giglio bearer spots are handed down through the generations. It also looks like a lot of fun.

Here's another view of the Giglio Boys and their charge.

After we watched the giglio march by, Jenn, Cindy, and I went to Spike Hill, and then to the junk museum. After that I was tired, but Jenn dragged me to a clothing boutique called Catbird. She bought two shirts as I waited impatiently in the Man Chair.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Viva Italia!

Today was a great day for Italy and for Italians in New York as well. Italy defeated France to win the 2006 World Cup soccer tournament. What made it even sweeter for the Italians in Brooklyn is that it happened during the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and San Paolino, a big annual event in our neighborhood that famously features the Dance of the Giglio as well as a carnival with rides and various arcade amusements. The tower in the photo above is the giglio (lily), and the statue on top represents Saint Paulinus. During the opening and closing ceremonies of the 10-day festival, the giglio, which also features a brass band on its base, is carried by 150 guys from one end of the street to the other in a big production. It's pretty exciting to see.

This is another view of the feast, with the giglio in the background.

These are two of the "Giglio Boys" trying to find themselves in a photograph of the opening ceremony.

And here's a house on my block that was decorated in honor of both the feast and the World Cup. Yes, the Italians in Brooklyn are happy tonight, and I imagine that the Italians in Italy are pleased as well.

Monday, July 03, 2006

West Palm

Jenn and I were in West Palm Beach, Florida weekend-before-last to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her great aunt and uncle. Everything went well, and it was nice to see a couple still so happy together after all that time.

We stayed with Jenn's mom and stepdad in a development called Aberdeen Lakes or something like that. While we were there we took several walks around the neighborhood as well as one bike ride. The photo above shows you what the neighborhood looks like. This is Florida living. Not bad.

While we were taking one of our afternoon walks I noticed that one of the neighbors had left her garage door open, and in the garage were six exotic birds sitting on perches. There were a couple of big colorful parrots (macaws, I believe) as well as some of those big white birds with the head feathers that stand up when they're mad or curious.

Later that afternoon, when we were walking and pushing Jenn's niece in the stroller, I pointed out the house and we stopped to chat with the bird lady, since she was in the garage, tending to her birds. She was very friendly and told us about her birds and then brought one over to us on her shoulder. While we were talking and looking at the bird on her shoulder, a bird sitting on a perch to our left started howling really loudly skwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Then it dipped its head in an up-and-down, back-and-forth motion, like it was dancing. Then it squawked some more, really loudly, and for a sustained amount of time. It was disturbingly loud, like a fire alarm. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

The bird lady explained to us that that particular bird was very territorial and was disturbed by our proximity. We slowly backed away and thanked her for showing us the birds. As we continued our walk down the sidewalk, I noticed that one of the bird lady's neighbors was out on his front lawn. I thought, if those birds squawk like that all the time it must bother the heck out of him. The birds certainly look cool and it's amazing when they repeat what you say, but the noise they make is unbelievable. The poor guy wants a quiet place for his retirement years and he gets the blood-curdling screams of exotic birds from his bird-lady neighbor. Florida life.

Anyway, back to the area itself, technically we were in Boynton Beach, Florida. Jenn's stepdad told me that the body of water you see in the photo, a decorative pond for the neighborhood, had an alligator in it recently. Alligators come down the canals from the Everglades and hang out in ponds and water hazards, eating ducks and fish and sometimes causing trouble. I personally have no alligator attacks to report. We made it back to New York City with no problems.