Sunday, December 18, 2011

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - December 18, 2011

It's Sunday morning, time for my off television topic look back on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. My apologies to the Plainfield folks who come by looking for photos of our town. I'm only posting a few this week -- I'll make amends next week!

The reason I'm not posting more Plainfield photos is because it finally wasn't raining on a Tuesday night. Yep, that's why! Y'see, one of my favorite things I used to do before bad knees was to head into the city (NYC) and do what I call "photo stomping." Well, the knees are both good now and it's the perfect time of year to start up my photo stomping once again! 

However, I'm fussy. I have to get up around 5 AM for work every day except Wednesday and Sunday (my days off) or Saturday morning as I go in to work later. I don't really love crowds (although they can't be avoided even in the middle of the night this time of the year in Manhattan). So I don't want to go on a Friday night even though I can sleep a few hours later. I don't want to go on a Saturday night because I get out of work too late and I'm tired. Weekend nights in the city at Christmas are twice as busy as weeknights. My day I wanted was a TUESDAY evening -- evening is better than the day to capture the holiday lights and stuff.

But it has rained every Tuesday night since the Rockefeller Center tree was lighted. Grr. That is, until this week! Yay! 

So I went into town and overdid my walking about so that I could barely walk on Wednesday, my day off. I took the train directly from work, ending up at Penn Station. From there I walked to Macy's, the NYPL (New York Public Library), Bryant Park, up Fifth Avenue, then part of Sixth Avenue, over to Rockefeller Center, down to Times Square, then ended up at the Port Authority Building to catch the 113 bus home. Mind you, that stops right across the street from my apartment, a good thing indeed because I was zonked!

I only have a few Plainfield photos this week, both of the same thing. Sigh. A fire has destroyed an historical (1885) building nearby the Plainfield Train Station on North Avenue. It's a building I've photographed many times in the past because it has (had) one of the best ghost signs in town. As a photography fiend in city areas, ghost signs always attract my interest. They're the old signage painted directly on the buildings. I called the now burned and slated to be demolished building "The Bull Durham Tobacco" building. 

The Bull Durham Tobacco building

As I had conked out early last night, I woke up around 4 AM and heard on my scanner that there was a fire on North Avenue. This is what it looked like when I arrived to the train station around 9 AM. Some smoke was still coming from within and firefighters seemed to be surveying the roof from the cherry picker. Part of the roof has collapsed.

A total loss

Sigh. When I heard about the fire, I automatically thought it was the abandoned building across the street. The Bull Durham building was abandoned with the exception of a restaurant on the first floor. The evening before, the Portuguese BBQ Restaurant on the other side of the train station burned down. Well, it's still kind of up, but will end up coming down. 

Onto photo stomping Manhattan in the holiday season! I warn you ... there are a LOT of photos here and video coming next week of the Lord and Taylor windows and more! You might want to grab a cup of coffee.


Macy's holiday theme this year is "Believe." I noticed that one of their Believe lighted signs over a marque lined up very neatly with the Empire State Building if you caught the right angle.

A holiday wonderland

While Manhattan itself is breathtaking during the holidays, everyone should go at least once to Rockefeller Center around Christmas. I was lucky -- the crowds were nowhere near as bad as the last time I photo stomped during the holidays in the city.


I edited this shot of one of the Macy's entrances. I like how it turned out. Do you know that the Manhattan Macy's holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest department store in the world? I didn't go inside on Tuesday, but I have been. It's really old school different.


Macy's street plaza

Similar to what they did in Times Square, they've shut off car traffic and made a pedestrian plaza with tables and chairs on one side of Macy's. I do like chairs. Yes, the knees are better, but the one is still healing. Places to sit are very welcomed!

A wildly white window

NOT a Macy's window, but it caught my eye.

Sandwich sign dude

Before I left the area, I saw him pass off his sandwich sign to an even less likely tuxedo hawker. Edited to leave only him in color.

Bryant Park

At least I caught skating action at Bryant Park, unlike the Zamboni action at Rockefeller Center.

Photography School times two

There is a very wide marble ledge in front of the School for International Photography ... perfect for catching the reflection! I set my camera right on the ledge.

Street cart times two

Then, using the same marble ledge, I caught the street cart and its reflection. I didn't notice the street vendor guy staring at me until I blew up the shot at home. The pretty lights had me all agog!

The man with the golden trumpet

A man sits on a not swanky part of Fifth Avenue playing "Jingle Bells" poorly while shoppers pass him by.

Fun furs!

If it were colder on Tuesday, I might have been tempted to buy a fur. Well, one of these furs anyway. It's a hat, scarf and hand warmer muff type thing combined. They were only $6.

I met a mouse named Jorge

Nope, his name isn't Mickey. It's Jorge. He rents the costume, poses with kids for tips and roams the touristy areas for extra holiday money. He told me he has a job, but earns a lot of cash every holiday season doing this, making Christmas so much better for his family.

Characters abound

I didn't talk to him.

Who's going to untangle these?

These lights aren't as well known as the Christmas "floating balls," but they're way cool.

Love 'em!


Sure, I try to take a pretty street scene and Clifford the Big Red Dog jumps in my shot. No, I'm not going to tip him!

A mesmerized child at the floating balls

I'm always mesmerized by these, too.

Edited floating ball

I left only the single ball and the top part of the fountain (pool?) in color, the rest black and white.

More balls! Goodness gracious!

Solitary Santa in a sea of people

Poor Santa, neglected and alone. Plus, he's somehow in color in a black and white world!

Radio City Music Hall

What? Balls again?

I just can't stop shooting them!

Side of Radio City Music Hall

With a flash

I actually used the flash wanting to catch the fact that this is a normal traffic sign all duded up for the holidays. It didn't really help much in that respect, but made for an interesting shot. I normally don't use the flash in my night shots. I hold my breath and hit the button.

Neon Rainbow

No, I didn't go to the Rainbow Room, nor the Top of the Rock. But when you see this, you know you're right near ...

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

Zamboni action

See! It's a good thing I saw (photographed and video'd) skaters at Bryant Park as all I saw on the ice at Rockefeller Center was the Zamboni! Thousands watched it and a few hundred folks were waiting with skates on to go on the ice.

The crowd is enthralled

More Rockefeller Center

Big Drummer Boy

More Rockefeller Center

And even more!

Leaving Rockefeller Center

Looking up

I like this. It's tall and sparkly!

No standing!

It says NO STANDING ANYTIME, guys! When I was a child I really thought you couldn't stand there. I didn't realize the signs were meant for cars. When you're a child, you don't think of cars as standing at all.

Needs more advertising!

Street food

Gears not in motion

One of the Macy's windows. The gears are actually in motion. In the windows photos below, there is also movement.

Macy's window 1

Macy's window 2

Macy's window 3

Macy's window 4

Greeley Square

Greeley Square is the other side of Herald Square. But no one ever remembers me to Greeley Square.

Puppet Theater on 8th floor!

It was tempting. Nothing beats a good puppet show. But I resisted the temptation.

Pompei, the police horse

This is more towards Times Square. He was a very nice horse ... nice cop, too! I think they get their best goodwill ambassadors to be mounted police as they always attract attention.

Auction in action

I didn't go inside, but I could hear the auctioneer doing his stuff. I saw a few of these auctions, all with two fake lions out front and the same signage. The woman in front of me was videotaping them.

Smokey ISH

Every time I passed a street vendor with roasting chestnuts, my eyes burned from the smoke. Now I can't even listen to the song without my eyes tearing up. By the way, the ISH is KNISH missing its KN. It scrolls. The street carts have gone all high-tech on us, but still sell dirty water dogs. Years ago, practically all they sold was hot dogs and drinks. Now you can get almost any food imaginable from them.

Times Square

No way will I be there on New Year's Eve! I've done it twice in my life and I'm more than content to watch the ball drop on television these days. But it, like the food carts, is very different. I went for 1976 and 1982. Back then it was before terrorism scares with the backpack (etc.) inspections and alcohol (and other substances) abounded. It is safer these days. But I'm still not going. I liked my little jaunt into Times Square on Tuesday night as it was less crowded than usual -- everyone was at Christmas attractions or shopping.

The Paramount Building

I like it. It has purty colors.

Times Square NYPD station

I've always liked the pink and blue neon of this sub-station. Maybe it's a real station. I don't know. It's small. And pink and blue.

Mary Poppins vs. McDonalds marquees

McDonalds has a wider marquee than Mary Poppins? Oh my. That's probably why the world is askew! At least Mary Poppins is taller!

Turn off the dark

Outside of 'Spider-Man: Turn off the dark" I left the red lights on. (Then I screamed ... "Roxanne, you don't have to turn on the red light...!")

Okay. I'm just getting silly now. Never mind.

Fortitude, the NY Public Library lion

This is one of the pair of NYPL lions (remember 'Ghostbusters'?). This one, on the north side of the main library entrance, is Fortitude. The one on the south side of the entrance is Patience. When I was out Tuesday evening, the library outside chairs made another sitting stop and were practically empty.

Vincent, a lion in his own mind

He thinks he's a mighty hunter. Thankfully, we've had no mice lately for him to demonstrate his skills!

How was your week? I'm sorry this was so long! There will be more next week, I'll warn you now ... but more video of the city and not a gazillion photos.


Delee said...

Marvelous photos! I am so happy you were able to brave the city to share with us! My favorite photo is Looking Up! All are good, but that one grabbed my attention.

Was dark when I awoke, 2 hours later upon taking S out, noticed we had a dusting of snow. Duh to me!

You sure did walk and walk all over. I think it helps to know the city, when the kids and I were there we had no idea where to go. Missed Macy's but did stumble to Radio City-Rockfeller-and Times Square. That was before we had smart phones which we could have used to navigate. Guess need to return!

See all tonight for Survivor!

Holly said...

Really enjoyed the photos Jackie!! Gives this "country mouse" a look at the big city=) Thanks!

rschnoop said...

You should have been a professional photographer. You have to get some books together of your work. (THIS work, not THAT work!)

Cathy said...

LOVE, LOVE , LOVE these photos! Thank you so much, Jackie, for doing this for all of us to see!

Sally said...

Jackie, I always grab a cup of coffee before I sit down to read your Sunday post and photos. Thanks for the very enjoyable tour of Christmas highlights in New York.

You're very good at capturing all the Christmas lights, which I'm sure isn't nearly as easy as you make it look. And you even took time to learn the name of the police horse.

JOEY said...

The photos are so beautiful and great. I agree with Rschnoop, you really should go pro with your gift and eyes for photography.
When I enlarge them for Joey to see, He say you make it so real like we are right there with you.
Thank you for all that hard work you do and this was a great photos to see as well.
I wish I could do as well as you do, but I just get a lot of blurry photos which make Joey laugh so hard so I guess I'm good for something.
Joey and I would like to wish you all a happy holiday and happy new year as well. We love everything about all of you and this blog is so great.
Joey is home now but still in theraphy but doing better. Yesterday was his birthday and I ask him what he wanted for his birthday, He just said, He already got the best gift of all,
To hold me in his arms again and to know his dream came true,
that to know real love and to see that love in my eye and to share it so much.
It a gift He will never take for granted and He just wanted to spend the day just holding me.
After the hard year we had and the up and down of the struggle,
We are so much happier now and never take it for granted.
I love this man and will alway cherish eash moment with him.
Sorry, I got carry away but just had to express my feeling.
Thank you for putting up with me and my silliness and the long year of hearing me go on about Joey. Thank you for your patience as well.
May you all be as bless as we are.
Much love and happiness to everyone.
Julie and JOEY

Becky said...

Jackie, I love the New York City photographs. NYC is my favorite vacation spot! I would love to see it during Christmas time one year.

I am sure that Vincent is every bit the guarding lion that he believes in his mind. No one has broken into your apartment have they? That is because Mr. V is on 24 hour duty!

See you tonight during Survivor.

Brent McKee said...

Great pictures Jackie. You have "the Eye" (and I don't mean the one at CBS).

Off topic, have you paid a visit to TVSquad in the past couple of days? Arianna has had her way with it and it is now HuffPost TV. No place there for a freelancer who writes about Survivor, Big Brother and The Amazing Race.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

Brent - Arianna had her way when we were all dismissed last spring. I can't do two full-time jobs and she didn't want part-time. I need my job security. I've been around AOL long enough to know there is NO job security working for them!

Rochelle said...

Like the new look Jackie - and that shows how long it's been since I've been able to participate here. But I WILL be here for tonight's Survivor finale. Not too delayed by the dreaded football...

olddoc said...

Jackie, At last I had a chance to look at this great album. This post is one that I weekly look forward to seeing. Have a great and healthy year.