First, let's talk a little about television. I'm tired of the American Idol auditions. I'm glad they're over and it's onto Hollywood next week. Perhaps I've just wearied of the show concept, but no one I've seen has rocked my socks. Eventually, in just a few weeks, Idol will be up against Survivor on Wednesday night. When that time comes, I go Survivor.
Since we've entered the February sweeps, at least Letterman was new this week. I can't believe he's been hosting late nights for 30 years. The scary thing is that I think I've seen most of the shows! Although I got a new Southland, I want a new Castle!
Okay, onto my week ...
As I mentioned last week, on Sunday I went into the city to the big Lunar (Chinese) New Year parade in Chinatown. Oy. I really didn't think of how crowded it would be. I'm not a fan of crowds, especially ones which totally squish me. Had I realized it, I would have headed in earlier. Instead, I decided to watch CBS Sunday Morning and, at 10:30 when it ended, I packed up my DSLR and my best Canon point and shoot, then moseyed to the bus stop on the corner to catch the 10:41 bus which ended up being late. The parade was supposed to wind through the streets of Chinatown from 11 to 4.
But I didn't know 400,000 people would show up! The crowd situation was worse than the two years I've ventured into Times Square (and never will again) for New Year's Eve. The bus I took ends up at Port Authority which is way uptown from Chinatown. By the time I took three separate subway lines to end up down there, it was going for 1PM and the crowds were unbelievable.
Although there were tons of police, NYPD really did a horrible job with crowd control. I got really SQUISHED, to the point of being scary squished -- the pressure of the bodies was probably capable of breaking brittle bones. On one block on Mott Street (that's almost the Main Street of Chinatown), the police kept letting people in one end while the police at the other end blocked them in. The crush was horrid and only relieved when a bunch of folks started screaming that someone was hurt, someone fainted and one yelled that someone was dead. But no one either fainted or was dead that I saw. I think they just wanted to get the cops to let us out of the crush.
So the cops opened a barricade and let us go right into Hester Street where another segment of the parade was coming through. Now, they wanted us to go back onto the sidewalk on Hester. But I found a safe crowd-free place between two parked cars on the street and stayed right there for the rest of the parade. So, while this was a great photo op in thought, the reality was not as exciting. If I go again, I'll go early in the morning and stake out a spot right along the street, not stuck in the masses in the middle of the sidewalk.
Yet I'm glad I went. I did get some nice shots, not necessarily of the parade. Because I have so many photos, you can expect the Tropicana subway shots next week. Since I took the 6 train back uptown and planned to take the 7 over towards Port Authority only to find out that the 7 is shut down on the weekends right now for maintenance, I ended up on this bizarre Times Square shuttle which hyped Tropicana orange juice. It was kind of cool, but I didn't want to add that series to this already photo-laden entry.
Oh yes, I always seem to end up in Times Square. But, never again on New Year's Eve. The reason I always end up there is because I take the bus home (it stops right across the street from my apartment) and the Port Authority Bus Terminal is in the edge of Times Square. If I take a train home, I don't go that far uptown.
That was my big excitement for the week. Other than that, it was work, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. Onto the photos ... clicking on an image will open it larger in a gallery thingee.
|Call me a cab!|
Yes, that's a NYC cab. But take a closer look. That's the Plainfield Police Department in the background. Apparently some folks have money to throw away. The train or bus would cost $10 or less. I believe the going rate for the cab is $135 these days. That's not including the tip! Since his number light was lit, he was available. I should have hailed him to bring me home and found out the difference for the crosstown trip from him versus the local cabs. This was taken Monday afternoon on Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.
|Cover me -- I'm going in!|
I guess the parade is in there somewhere!
|Not sure what to make of it all|
I took this one stuck in the mob on Mott Street. Some parents were foolish enough to bring strollers. The best place for small children was atop the shoulders of their parents. It kind of spoiled the view for people like me, but it was the safest for the kids. This one wasn't quite that high. One idiot during my squished state actually had rolling luggage! I couldn't figure out why my upper body was moving around a bit in the crowd but my legs seemed to be stuck against a rock or something! I thought the knee replacements got bent!
***CLICK THE 'READ MORE' LINK TO SEE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS***
|Stranger in a strange land?|
For some reason, this man saddened me. He kept looking at his flag, seemingly full of memories of another world. Although he's in Chinatown, a community full of folks with whom he can probably converse, he seems so all alone. I wonder what he's seen during his life.
|Confetti and dragons|
Help! Help! I'm stuck in a mob. I really couldn't see what I was shooting at this point. At least my camera and hand were above the crush of humanity. My left arm was stuck down for the longest time.
|Taking advantage of a pause|
This was after I escaped to Hester Street to my hide-out between two parked cars. The parade got jammed, so this woman decided she needed something out of her bag which was on the back of a pick-up truck. She searched forever and finally found what she was looking for in the stuffed duffel bag -- a paper clip. Um. Okay.
|Dragons from the mob view|
|Italy / China|
I swear that Little Italy is shrinking and Chinatown is usurping it more and more each time I go there. However, I do so love how you can step from one country to another in such a defined fashion.
|Friendly parade lady|
Edited to leave only the woman in color. The other reds and yellows drowned her out!
|We need a plan|
|Go Giants ... BEER|
I'd like an Asia Dog restaurant that delivers near me, please.
|Let there be a colorful walk|
The setting sun lit up the upper part of the building as I hit the edge of the Port Authority block. I saw this angle with the moon in the sky and had to shoot it.
|Strangers on a train|
Well, I guess they could be a couple. I don't think I want to know! On the subway.
|West 4 solitude|
Under Manhattan waiting for the subway train.
|Good thing there's a security camera|
The security camera is in the upper right.
|Who needs donuts?|
This was taken in Times Square. I don't know why. Mind you, I know why I took it; I just don't know why all the cop cars were parked like that up on the sidewalk. It was business as usual at the Red Lobster.
|Reflection in an SUV|
The lights from Ripley's Believe It or Not in Times Square are reflected in the car's window. I flipped this image so that it's readable, but otherwise I did no editing.
This is a real conglomeration of buildings outside the Port Authority Building.
|Red Rooster Ale and Money Monster|
Due to taking the Tropicana Times Square shuttle, I missed the bus I intended to take (113). Had I not already bought my ticket I could have jumped on the 114. So, I had time to waste. I had already eaten enough, so I did something which I do very rarely. I went into a bar alone for a beer. The Heartland Brewery is adjacent to Port Authority and seemed full of NJ people wasting time waiting for their buses.
The couple sitting next to me struck up a conversation. They were from South Jersey. After we chatted a while, the woman said she had something she wanted to give me. Cynical me thought it would be a prayer pamphlet or something really unwanted.
Nope! It was this cool little Money Monster change purse which can be attached to a key ring! She and her husband run an Etsy store selling them and were in the city at some show showing/selling them. It's really a neat little thing! I liked them on Facebook, but I really need to thank her again. That was cool.
|Red sky at dawn|
Back in New Jersey ... this was one morning in Bridgewater after I got off the train heading to work.
|Get your canned goods here!|
Still in New Jersey -- more precisely, the bench near the railroad overpass at Watchung and East 4th Street in Plainfield. Canned goods, in good shape. I don't know why. But it seems that some needy person could use them.
Back to Mott Street! Did you know Vincent has his own popular Italian restaurant? Just look at that crowd waiting to get in! Oh? They're there for the parade? Never mind.
|Vincent, restaurant mogul|
Vincent at rest. Which is a lot of the time, of course. Other times he races around like a crazy kitteh. And yet other times, he just drapes himself over me. If I went out in public like that someone would probably throw paint on me for wearing a cat fur!
I'll have the Tropicana shuttle shots next week as well as some of the stragglers from this week. If time permits, I'll piece together some video I shot, too.
How was your week? Oh. And, go Giants!