Sunday, December 31, 2006

Guest Post: Some Favorites

Ellis Island ~ where my grandfather from Ireland entered the USA. This is CyberCelt with a guest post that I am happy to write for one of my favorite blogs, New York Nitty-Gritty. This wonderful blog features the photographs of Frederick Otilius.

My mother, father, older brother, and older sister were born in NYC, Bronx, and Brooklyn. Despite being the first member of my family to be born in Houston, Texas, I have been to New York City several times. However, it took Oti's photographs to show me the real New York City and to make me remember my visits.

I want to share just a few of my favorite pictures on New York Nitty-Gritty.

Happy Birthday to the Empire State Building ~ this was the highest building in NYC when I was five.

Little Man Big City ~ for Aunt Doris who was the first I know to use the term "concrete canyons" to describe NYC

Goose Bumps ~ I remember visiting the Statue of Liberty on a cold January day when I was five.

Cage 11211 ~ For all the walkup apartment dwellers in NYC that befriended me as a teen.

If you would like to know New York City, keep visiting New York Nitty-Gritty.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Guest Post: Kid String

A good photographer works in all 5 sensual areas of the human experience. Some photos are bland, venturing into only one of the realms of our existence. But this photo by Otilius is far from bland: it takes all of our senses to get the total thought of this photograph.

If you are but a hick from Kansas, you may have missed a few of the city things--the New York City things--in this photograph. Just as the apartment dweller in NYC may not get the whole picture when shown a picture taken at a tailgate party before a Kansas City Chief's game.

Most hicks from Kansas could not really see, smell, hear, taste or feel this photograph. But even a hick from Kansas would take a second look at this photo, for it is far from a bland photo.

Let's see how many of the 5 senses this photo projects to the viewer.

1. SIGHT is always the easiest to detect. Dah, it is a photograph and I don't think we have invented Braille photos yet. Braille Photos? Now there is a noble project, but who has the time anymore? Most people if given the choice would rather see an "accidental" crotch shot of Britney Spears, than a photograph like this great photo.

2. HEARING is one hard sense to project into a photograph, but this one is loud. This photo speaks. No sidewalk in NYC is quiet. Traffic whizzes by (taxicabs) with horns blaring, tires squeal and people shout obscenities and subway noises filter up out of the deep. The constant rattle rattle rattle of things moving beneath the concrete is a sound I will never forget. New York City is a museum of noise on the grandest scale imaginable. No use trying to have to be there.

3. SMELLING is a treat in NYC, and it is about 50/50 good and bad. You want to engage your sense of smell? Travel on foot through the various ethnic neighborhoods of the Big Apple. How many of you know what a banana frying in coconut oil smells like? Yes they are fried right out on the sidewalks...and they do taste better hot. NYC is a city that is both kind and cruel to the olfactory nerve.

4. FEELING is one sense you must be careful with in NYC, especially on the tubes. If you have the slightest feeling that someone has violated your space...turn around and punch the nearest person, and hopefully you can recover your wallet, passport or money clip. If you are one of the fairer sex, turn around and yell "RAPE". It works, even in NYC. Men always pay attention when "RAPE" is shouted out, or you could even yell, "FLASHER". In the resulting melee between those wanting to stop the crime and those wanting to join in, justice will be served--New York City Style.

From among "the rudest population in America", you will find some of the most generous, talkative, helping, and kind people. They are New Yorkers and will not show their good side to hicks from Kansas, unless there is a need to shift into caring mode. New Yorkers are not rude, they just don't have time to teach you New York City Survival Skills and so they clam up.

If you don't have a New York City friend, you are missing out my friend. They are some great people by and large, and this photo is a glimpse into NYC.

I dare you to try this experiment. Walk down a busy street in Dallas, San Francisco, Miami, and New York City and drop a wallet with $50 dollars and some of your I.D. Drop it on the sidewalk amongst a crowd.

You have a much better chance of someone contacting you to return the wallet if you dropped it in a crowd in NYC. Miami? Forget about it, won't be returned and any information in the wallet will be used against you. San Francisco? Dallas? You stand a little more chance of recovery than if you had dropped the wallet in Miami, not much, and nothing close to the rate of return from the streets of NYC. (I can't source this one, but I read an article in Time magazine about this, and it stuck in my mind)

5. Tasting is the hardest of the senses to portray in a photograph. If only Otilius had used a wide angle lens for this great photo, you could see the Sabrett's Hot Dog Cart that is everywhere in NYC. You would remember the sauerkraut laced gut bomb that we all love so much. You ain't lived until you have eaten a Sabrett's on the streets of NYC. Chew the Tums before eating. They do taste good.

Now mix all of those senses up and forget about them! What does this picture portray in the realm of reality? You see a group effort. It is called "getting the children from point A to point B, safely". A jump rope decorated with ribbons held tightly by two adults serves as a safe way to get children to walk the sidewalks. It is difficult to manage six young children on any cities streets, but these caregivers have it figured out.

And I ask you friend, have you ever seen a prettier smile then the smile on the face of the little one who broke all of the rules? Yes, I'm looking at the child who has let go of the jump rope to point a finger at something they wanted everyone to notice. You can see that these children were told to hold on to the jump rope and not let go. The only exception was to be one child holding the jump rope and the hand of another child. Look what happened, the rules were broken, but Otilius caught the moment of happiness--the finger pointing smiling and obviously happy child, has broken a rule...of passage.

I love this photo, and hope the children all got to point B safely.

Web Loafer

[photo originally posted September 15, 2005]

Friday, December 29, 2006

Guest Post: Snow Business

I was so flattered that Otilius asked me to do a guest post--this is my first one ever! So, when I went through some of the absolutely beautiful pictures that he has on his blog, I couldn't help but stop at "Weekend Report" from February of 2006.

I immediately laughed when I saw this picture and was flooded with memories of the Blizzard of '78. If anyone lived in New England then, you would know exactly what blizzard I am referring to. It brought over 55 inches to some areas, but where I live in New Bedford, MA we had 48 inches.

This picture was so typical of what we saw, with the exception of the fact we could not see the cars at all! My mother had to wait 2 days until she could actually open the front door to start digging out. We looked out the windows and saw tanks driving down the street in order to start to save people that had been stranded. It was quite the experience for a 5 year old girl!

Just like in this beautiful picture, there was no where to walk, no way to get around, and definitely no school! There is something so sentimental about this picture for all of us who have ever lived through a large snowstorm. It brings back memories of snowball fights, walking through 4 foot snowdrifts and falling in to your waist, and valuable family time that comes with not being able to leave your house. I wish everyone at least one large snowstorm in the coming year. Instead of dreading it, take the time out to enjoy the fond memories you will have and the unbelievable stories you can tell your grandkids!!

Happy New Year all!


[photo originally posted February 19, 2006]

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Guest Post: Brooklyn Doorstep

The pictures Otilius takes of NYC and the surrounding areas astound me. He captures what the day-to-day life is, rather than the glitz and glamour tourists expect. Every picture is an art piece.

In this picture, an elderly man has made himself comfortable within a busily painted background to rest and talk on the phone. We all seek our solace in different places. Where do you seek yours?


[photo originally posted August 29, 2006]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Guest Post: In Memorium

When Otilius asked me to do a guest post, I was honored and knew right then what picture was my favorite. This picture always had so much meaning to me.

There are so many Hero's in the World. Let it be the Fire fighters, Police, EMT, Doctors and let's not forget the Men and Women in our armed forces.

A Hero by Nicola Burkett

A hero thinks of others before they think of themselves
A hero will die to protect
A hero can be of any age, any color
A hero can be man, woman or child

A hero is courageous, loving and brave
A hero will never complain
A hero can be made in one act of compassion
Or years of tender loving care
Some hero's are remembered, whilst many are left forgotten
Hero's are angels in disguise, saving precious innocent lives

God Bless you all.



New York Nitty-Gritty remembers, too, James Brown and Gerald Ford who passed away recently. R.i.P.
[photo originally posted May 29, 2006]

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Guest Post: Underground

When Otilius told me that he was going to be doing a Year In Review series and asked me to be a guest poster, I jumped on the bandwagon quickly! I've been a fan of Oti's photography since the first day I stumbled across his blog on BlogExplosion.

I chose this photo as my favorite because it actually says something to me. As I sit here and realize that it's the end of December, I find myself wondering where the entire year went. It seems to have just been a blur that blew by me. When looking at this picture, I'm reminded that each day we have is a gift. Our days, months or years don't have to be a fuzzy blur to us if we take the time to savor each and every moment that we're afforded.

I encourage all of you to look at 2007 with a new and fresh view. Stop and take some time for yourself. Spend a little more time with your families. Listen to your favorite music just a bit more often. Don't find yourself facing 2008 with nothing but blurry memories to remind you of the last 12 months. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you a truly prosperous New Year!


[photo "RingStDiptych" originally posted February 16, 2006]

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

The combination of the angels of Rockefeller Center and the Saks Fifth Avenue snowflakes add up to Christmas magic. Merry Christmas everybody!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Guest Post: Imagine!

I don't think that my pal Otilius knew what an awesome thing he'd done for me when he finally made it down to 72nd and Central Park West to take a picture of one of the most amazing places I've ever seen. See, I'm a huge John Lennon fan, and I have been since the womb. John's music was one of the things that I shared with my grandpa that no one else in my family understood. Hell, I even have a tattoo of the cover of the "Imagine" film that I got not only as a tribute to a great musician, but to an even greater man.

My grandfather died last July, and we played "Strawberry Fields Forever" at his funeral...forever changing the meaning of the song for me. Little things though, like this photo, my tattoo, walruses, submarines, and skies of diamonds keep his memory picture perfect.



While I am away from NYC this holiday season, I will have some Guest Posts as a bit of a Year in Review. Tomorrow's photo will be new.

I had a good year visually and hope you enjoyed a photo or two yourself. To all the viewers of New York Nitty-Gritty, I wish you and yours a fantastic Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ode to Joy

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, you millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the star-canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.

[from Friedrich Schiller's ODE TO JOY, 1785]

Friday, December 22, 2006

Public Skating

Without having had any cold weather to speak of(it feels more like spring than winter), New York City has plenty of places to ice skate. Here we find activity at Bryant Park behind the main public library in Manhattan.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Midtown Jet

Walking through the tourist multitude in midtown, I happened to notice this scene with the scaffold. It looked interesting to the eye but not so great with the camera. Then, I looked up and saw a jet. Sure enough, with just a bit of waiting, the jet made it to its rightful place in the composition. The cosmic ballet continues...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

To Williamsburg

You have driven east on Delancey Street in Manhattan and have come to the Williamsburg Bridge. Next stop--Brooklyn!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Little Man ESB

The little man gets a view of the Empire State Building as he strolls along 26th Street.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Flat Iron

The unmistakeable Flat Iron Building in the late afternoon...One of Manhattan's signature landmarks, the Flat Iron Building stands on 23rd Street where Broadway crosses over Fifth Avenue--at least the north tip does.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saks Flakes

We have not had even a trace of snow yet this winter in the city. However, a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue can give some joy to snow lovers of all ages.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Chanukah ESB

The first day of Chanukah finds the Empire State Building in the colors of Israel. I took this in the late afternoon not long before sunset. Happy Chanukah! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

For the Scrooges

With all the Christmas imagery around and flocks of tourists in town to enjoy it, I offer the Scrooge in all of us something different: A rainy "empty" scene in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned [prisons and workhouses]--they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."
(from A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


In midtown Manhattan, though The Holidays loom, life goes on...Is your life in balance?

Monday, December 11, 2006


Not much winter in this Wonder Land...

One Square Left

One square left in my "25pix Contest"...Go for the 250 credits! What am I talking about? Click HERE

Sunday, December 10, 2006

25pix Contest Update

Congratulations to KizzyKim [10 correct!!], Cat [2 correct], smithfactory [2 correct], Erin, Jess, Riverrun, and Steve for winning credits. Plenty of credits available under squares: 2 x 250, 5 x 100...

"What is this?" Click HERE

25pix Contest

"25pix Contest" - for BlogExplosion members

Behold the "25pix Contest" square, composed of 25 smaller squares. Each of the 25 squares belongs in one of my posted photos. Find the whole photos by looking through the New York Nitty-Gritty archives.

A correct guess will uncover a square. Under each square could be 100, 250, 500, or 1000 BlogExplosion credits.

Play as often as you like. A total of 5,800 BlogExplosion credits available. To claim a prize, leave a comment with the number* of the "25pix" square and the title/date of the posted photo.

* Square #1 is the top row, most left; square #25 is bottom row, most right. In this example, square #14 is uncovered.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saks Flakes

Late afternoon light on St. Patrick's Cathedral and Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan...
It's Christmas time in The City!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holiday Drive-By

Driving in Manhattan at night, we see the Empire State Building with holiday colors in a GAP between a tree and a lamppost.

Friday Afternoon Special

Keen observers will recognize this viewpoint, although, this time, we find it veiled in the afternoon. Something a little different for you, an interior of seeming no consequence...

City Sidewalk

When you visit NYC, feel free to enjoy the many sidewalk activities but be careful not to fall into any of the various openings.
[on Kenmare Street in Manhattan]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For Mikey

There's a little guy up in Canada who likes abstract photos, especially ones that include signage silhouettes and city buildings. Here's to ya, Mikey, I hope you like this one from midtown Manhattan. Enjoy!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunny ESB

Such beautiful weather we have had lately. Here's a look up at the Empire State Building from Sixth Avenue and 32nd Street. And, no, that is NOT the Flatiron Building (23rd Street and Broadway) in the foreground.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

30 Rocks!

Okay, okay, I let you wait long enough. Here's a look at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree--lit! Yes, THAT time has come to town once again and brought millions of new friends along with it.

Standing on the Fifth Avenue sidewalk at my own peril, getting the shot for you, is my blessing and my pleasure. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saks PM

Late afternoon at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan...the snowflakes appear for the Christmas season...

Star 57th

A look at the star over the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan...

...and, here's a close up of the "star"...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Holiday ESB

Allow me to interrupt the tree lighting with a look up to the top of the Empire State Building--in holiday colors...from Sixth Avenue in Manhattan...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Unlit 2006

The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center tonight before the lights turned on...It's Christmas time, once again, in the city!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Here's a peek at one of New York City's favorites: DE ROBERTIS on 1st Avenue in Manhattan.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Partly Cloudy

Afternoon light in a TriBeCa* much for the blue sky of the morning!

*TriBeCa = Triangle Below Canal Street in Manhattan

Sunday, November 26, 2006


A lot of the fun of driving out of the city is going to or through little towns. This cafe window reflects some of the downtown area of White River Junction, Vermont. If you ever get near there, do stop in...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Big Wheel View

So, maybe the hotel where I stayed in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving didn't inspire THE SHINING. Though from New England, maybe Stephen King needed to go 2/3 of the way across the USA to Colorado's Stanley Hotel in order to come up with the idea of a winter caretaker losing his mind at a remote haunted hotel, et cetera. No matter. I submit to you my version of the view from Danny's big wheel...

NOTE: the double doors down the hall were only added in recent years.