Sunday, June 28, 2009

Making Laundry Night Easier

Laundry night at the apartment in Brooklyn. And to make things easier on the tenants, a nice selection of reading material is available. I've never lived in a place where things like this are so organized. And the stuff to read comes in handy because, while there's a timer on the washers - 21 minutes - there's no timer on the dryers. So I might check out the FOOLS book to see what it's all about since I'll probably wait out the end of the dry cycle.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More From The Sky

After last night's thunder storm and resulting great sunset with the unusual mamma cloud formation, tonight's shots feature a picture from yesterday and today. The moon was easily seen after only a brief rain shower. I was hoping I could put another jet in this shot with it flying past the moon while I took the picture with the zoom lens, but no jets were in sight.

And a favorite from the mamma clouds file, another jet flies under the rare cloud formation during the late evening hours

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mamma Comes to Visit

At least the latest round of rain in New York produced a rare weather phenomenon - this very unusual cloud formation known as Mamma clouds. Unusually - as was the case this evening - these clouds occur in connection with heavy-duty showers that also produce plenty of thunder and lighting. The lucky ones are the people on that jet who have window seats and a camera and are able to get some photos of these clouds from 30 - thousand feet.

Here's how it looked as seen a few miles away at Citi Field where the Mets were hosting the Yankees after a one hour rain delay. The TV cameras captured the beautiful scene as the sun was setting and illuminating the rare cloud formation over the ballpark.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Guess The Weather in New York

Yep ... more rain on what figured to be a nice summer day in the tri-state area. Instead, the near-record wet June weather continued with some heavy downpours - such as the case here when I took this shot. BTW, I hadn't planned on using the flash on my camera, but the flash was set to go and the result is a nicely lit photo.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bobble Headed President

Cashing in on the popularity of President Barack Obama took another turn in Brooklyn as the Cyclones minor league baseball team (the Mets class A short-season club) changed their name for the night and handed out bobble-head dolls in the likeness of the President. And they were known - for the night -as the "Baracklyn" Cyclones. The players wore uniforms with the temporary new name and afterwards, the jerseys were auctioned off to fans.
They did a nice job with the uniforms with the incorporation of the stars and stripes on the sleeves.

The game was sold out and fans arrived early to make sure they weren't shutout of the night's prize give-a-way.
I bought a standing room seat for $9 and I was worried I wasn't going to get my bobble -head doll of the President.

Those of us at he back of the long line had just about given up on getting in on the fun because we thought for sure they would run out of dolls before we got to the front. This shot is from behind the left-field fence and we had to go all the way to the home plate entrance to get the bobble -head. Luckily the pessimists were wrong and there were plenty of dolls available when we finally got around to the lone open gate.

Of course, the real President Obama was in Washington dealing with his latest crisis - the deplorable situation in Iran. But a pretty good look-a-like actor was hired to take the bows on behalf of the Commander in Chief. He did everything the President would have done: wave, take pictures, do interviews and look ... Presidential.

The players - especially in minor league baseball - are use to being a part of different gimmicks and promotions. Along those lines, this was one of the better ones I've seen. And it's good they held it while President Obama's popularity rating is still pretty high.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shooting In The Rain

One of the wettest June's in New York history has provided photographers with ample opportunities to collect rainy day and night shots.

Looking for a different angle is always important and when I saw a bike and the lights from busy Atlantic Avenue, I knew there was a picture to be made. But I needed to have a person in it and the lady with the red umbrella - with the wet streets reflecting the lights - made a nice shot.

Here's the one-time tallest building in Brooklyn. One Hanson Place. Opened in 1929, it's now filled with ritzy, high-priced condos. Starting prices are in the low $600,000 range. Don't ask about the prices up near the clock tower. I liked the red neon clock face and hands. That feature really stands out at night.

Had To Do It

I bought a small TV to add a sense of normalcy to the apartment. It's only a 19 - inch screen. Got it at Target. Under $200 bucks and very lightweight. I've hook it up to the house cable system and I get a lot of channels. But no ESPN or HBO though. I do get the Food Network for some reason. I watch USA's BURN NOTICE on line - that's the only show I really think about seeing each week. I'll get a bigger screen and go in for the premium channels for the winter. Right now, I don't watch that much TV to justify spending my time and money on something I don't need yet.

I did need to get a blackout curtain for the bedroom. The sun comes up through that window and I've been waking up at 6:30 a.m. That's not good (unless I just getting in at that time) so the curtain had to go up. I'm sure it will help.

And I'm thinking of ditching my car and, if I need wheels, taking advantage of Zipcar. It's a service that's popping up all around the country. It's basically a car service that you can pay for by the day or the hour and use it when you need to have a car. It's far cheaper that renting a car. The yearly cost of using Zipcar is a lot less than maintaining a car - with insurance and gas costs being what they are.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time to Explore.

Since the Yankees are on the road for the next 11 days, I have a chance to really get to know my new neighborhood. Lunch at Savoia produced this image - the table water comes in a neat blue pitcher.

I learned in live in BOCOCA part of Brooklyn. The first two letters of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and my place, Carroll Gardens - BOCOCA. I still like the DUMBO section of town. It stands for "down under Manhattan Bridge overpass.

Then, I started walking south on Smith Street and wandered into the PERFECT CORNER custom picture and framing store. An hour later I left. I met the owners, Joe and Marion Alameda. They're big baseball fans as it turns out. Joe has quite a collection of autographs. Like this Yankee Stadium Lithograph with signatures of many the all-time great players from the team (not that I'm an all-time great Yankee, but I did sign it as well). Click on any of the pictures for a larger version. I was invited to Joe and Marion's Staten Island home soon to see his big collection of bats, balls and photos from the Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers. I'm not a big collector of stuff like this, but I like to see the material none-the-less.

Then, a few blocks later I came upon John (L) and Butch. They were playing and singing Beatles' songs on their front stoop. I sang along to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- in the key of G which I can handle. They perform at neighborhood bars and functions and Butch says he can play, "Sinatra to Feliciano." I told them that as soon as I get my guitar chops back - I'm really rusty - that I'd join them in a sidewalk jam session.
And finally back home and a view from the rooftop deck. It's pretty big and I'm gonna get some plants to give it a little personality. I've already been urged to get a small grill for bar-b-q's. It's legal in NY as long as there's 10 ft clearance between the grill and the domain. That won't be a problem for me. Just another day in Brooklyn.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Letting the Light In

It's almost officially summer here in New York, but it's still hard to tell because of the continued cool and rainy weather. So my kitchen skylight is letting in lot of warm, comfortable, diffused light. But when it gets hot - before too long no doubt - the skylight feature might lead to higher air conditioning bills. I could go up on the deck and cover it with a tarp. But, for now, it's a nice addition to an area where I don't spend a lot of time

Here's Bronx street artist - and clothing tailor - Lou with one of his original creations. He set up his easel just outside Yankee Stadium. I told him I was looking for some "New York" art for some of the white walls in my Brooklyn apartment and he said he'd sell this subway scene to me for $450. Not sure I like the piece THAT much. But he said he has plenty of other finished canvases and that we could probably make a deal. I need something that no one else has and why not support local, hard-working artists like Lou?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Inside View

I've covered just about the entire apartment in Brooklyn on this blog.

Here, however, is an up-to-date look at the bedroom - with the actual bed (not a sleeping bag) in its proper place. I've yet to hang the pictures and I need a night stand. And there doesn't seem to be a consistent color scheme in the bed room. Does there need to be?

And as I write this, I'm sitting in the dinning area under the light fixture which has a futuristic look about it. Those hard shadows are being cast by those two thin lamp supporters. And there's a small wire helicopter on the edge of the light.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Taking Flight

The rain in the tri-state area finally stopped and there was perfect weather Sunday for jumping out of airplanes. And that's what the fans at Yankee Stadium were treated to - the United States Army's Golden Knights parachute team performed on Military Day at the ballpark.

They landed with a variety of banners - including one with the Yankees' logo on it.

There was very little wind to impede their progress towards making a perfect landing.

It's amazing how accurate they can be. Of course, if they're miss the entire field, they're probably not going to be on the team very long. But watching them swoop into the stadium was impressive. I wanted to get at least one shot where the letters, YANKEE STADIUM were in the picture so there would be no doubt where this is.

This shot makes the skydiver look closer to the Yankee Stadium sign than he really is (and all of the jumpers are men). This is the product of a super-zoom lens which compresses things in the distance to make them appears larger and thus closer to anything in the foreground.

Here, you can see the target landing area. A little patch of grass in short center-field where those three people are standing around a target flag.

Most of the players stayed inside their clubhouses during the jump. But a few--including the starting pitchers -- witnessed the parachute jump which - no matter how many times you see one - still leaves you with a feeling of, "I should try that ... one of these days!."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday in New York (Not the 4th of July)

As I left home for the ballpark, the Clinton Street Block Party was starting to take shape (my address says Clinton St, but I actually live on DeGraw). An open fire hydrant is a staple New York sight - usually indicating a hot, steamy, summer day. Only today was wet (again) and cool - in the upper 60's - despite predictions of temperatures in the 80's. Still, the kids had fun with the water and I assume (since I was at Yankee Stadium) the block party wasn't totally rained out.
And on the way back home - the first sign that this is a big weekend in New York. Sunday, the 52nd annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade along 5th avenue will be held with some 3 million spectators lining the route. This guy was wearing his PR flag like a cape - with matching glasses and jewelry. Again, I'll be at the ballpark, but we'll make an announcement about the parade. But the big show will be staged by the U.S. Army's parachute team. It's the annual Military Day at Yankee Stadium which is always popular - but in this time of war - the fans will really be into the festivities.

Yankees Get A Gift From The Mets

It's my first Yankees-Mets inter- league series and the long game was capped off by an ending the likes of which I've never seen in all my years of watching baseball games. It's called the "subway" series because you can get to both the Yankees and Mets stadiums in New York by the tube if you so desire. I take the #4 train from Brooklyn all the way in to the Bronx - about a 40 minute ride. That's plenty of time to read an entire newspaper. By the way - the new Eddie Murphy movie is getting really good reviews and, of course, there's a big sale at J.C. Penny.

It's always interesting to see who the fans are backing while sitting together. The Mets fan is the guy in the middle with the David Wright #5 jersey on. He's between fans of Hideki Matsui - who hit a homer on his birthday again - and star shortstop Derek Jeter. The guy on the right figures everybody knows Jeter wears #2, so he doesn't need to put a name on the famous Yankee pinstripe uniform.

The game ended with Alex Rodriguez being the "hero." Actually, with the Yankees down 8-7 with two runners on base, but two outs in the ninth inning, Rodriguez hit what we all thought was the final out - a high pop-up to shallow right-field. But the Mets' second baseman, Luis Castillo, dropped the ball and both runners scored and the Yankees won 9-8. And A-Rod was treated as if he hit a homer or something really good. The cameras had to focus on somebody, so why not him.

A-Rod was more than willing to go along with the celebration as he exchanged high-fives with his teammates as he ran off the field - moments after he slammed his bat to the ground in anger with himself for making what he thought was the last out of the game in a clutch situation with his team down by one run.

Here's my shot of the Mets pitcher, Frankie Rodriguez, who thought he had the last out and a save for his team. But he watches as the ball drops and the two runners score to give the Yankees the win. I had my camera trained on K-Rod - as he's known - because I wanted to record his elaborate victory celebration. Little did I know I would be his "in-shock" reaction instead.

Here's the same reaction, but from the YES TV Network. Teams can lose games in many ways, but the Mets found a new way to let this game slip away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Different Look

Here's a look at the new place in Brooklyn from the living room in front of the fireplace. On the right is the staircase leading up to the small office area and the large outdoor deck.
The living room is sunken and those two steps took a little getting use to.
The dining area is on the right and there's a closet (with the mirror-front) and the front door. The entrance to the kitchen is on the left
Soon, there'll be pictures on the walls.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finally My Furniture

After being without my furniture for the last two weeks, I can happily say that's not the case anymore. I took this shot from upstairs in the office area where I can get a good view of downstairs and the living room.
There's no TV yet. I have to buy a new one ... maybe one of the big flat-screen models which will be a major source of entertainment during the winter. Pictures are still to be hung and lots of little things need to be taken care of, but at least I'll be sleeping in my bed which might feel odd after spending so much time on the floor.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Range of Emotions

Yankee catcher Jorge Posada probably knows a good pitch when he catches one and when he sees one. In this case, Posada shows his reaction to what he thought was a bad call by plate umpire Adrian Johnson during the ninth inning of a 9-7 loss to Tampa Bay.

Emotions of a different kind are on display after the game as fans checked out some of the artifacts from old Yankee Stadium. For the right price, you can own a piece of the place. The '385 ft.' three - panel section of the outfield fence comes with a $15,000 price tag. Two seats from the old stadium go for $1,500. The Yankees struck a deal with the New York City - the owner of the previous incarnation of Yankee Stadium - to be allowed to sell off parts of the landmark.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taaa Dahhhhh ... The Shower Curtain

Here it is. One of the most important purchases I've made so far since moving to Brooklyn. A new shower curtain. Didn't need one in Burbank since I had a sliding glass shower door. Now I don't have to mop up the floor after a shower and since the floor of the bathroom is black and white tile and the walls over the tub is the same, then this curtain is a good match. The moving truck's arrival has been pushed back to Monday since I can't be here Saturday due to a day game at Yankee Stadium.

Night Shots

After being given credit for my role in still another Yankees' win (tied with the Red Sox for first place in the A.L. East,) I headed back to Brooklyn.

Two things were at the top of my list; get a shower curtain and take some night shots around the neighborhood. I did both. Once I get the shower curtain put up - I'll do a photo report.

I ventured downtown - by walking - to the courthouse where I saw this guy on the steps and the building bathed in a blue light. He was on the phone and maybe he was telling somebody that his case was continued but that he was determined that justice be done. As you know - sometimes getting justice done can seem like a lonely battle.
On a brighter note ... just across the street the waiting area in the Toronto Dominion Bank was an unusual place to fine a giant mural of Ebbets Field where the Dodgers played until they split Brooklyn after the 1957 season. I say unusual because of its location - a Canadian bank lobby. By the way, that move to L.A. by the Dodgers is still a sore subject in some parts of the borough.

And since the subway is such an important part of daily life in New York, I wanted to take a shot from a different perspective. Instead of an underground platform shot, I stood on the Manhattan Bridge where the train runs outside next to the bridge itself.
That's the train zipping by on the left and middle of the shot with the red light for trains coming in the other direction.
Don't worry, I won't forget the shower curtain shots.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Your Tax Dollars at Work

While driving from California to New York, I came across this scene many times in every state.

Road work.

I was a bit surprised, though, at the condition of America's roads; they're in pretty good shape. Given the amount of daily traffic, the highways and byways - at least I-40, I-70 and I-95 - were easy to drive and are getting plenty of attention and tax dollars to make them even better.

On the down side, I saw way to many dead animals - mostly deer - in every state. Far more roadkill than I saw just four years ago when I drove from Florida to California.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Getting use to the "New York" Way

My Tuesday morning routine thanks to living in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn will be to get up before 9:30 a.m. (maybe easy for you) and move my car for the 90-minute street cleaning window.

The alternate side parking rules are in effect You're allowed to block other parked cars as you double park to allow space for the sweepers. One lady told me nice people leave their phone number in the window of their car in case the blocked party has to leave during that period. I did.

And Tuesday was capped off at about 11:45 p.m. with a stop in the Community Bookstore which is located a couple blocks from my apartment. The open-for business hours are unusual - 4 p.m. to about midnight depending on how many people are in the shop. It's been operating like this for 24 years according to John who is the owner and a multi-pack a day smoker.

I don't read a lot of books, but I've always liked exploring old book stores. Eventually a movie will be made of every one of those books so why read them. But they're nice to look at and - as you can see - there's plenty of variety for the reader of every stripe.

The books are "arranged" by subject. But it's easy to get lost in the place and equally easy to stumble over books that somehow made their way to the floor. New York is truly a late night place.