I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

I hadn't seen one of these beautiful creatures in ages -- a red-bellied woodpecker at the feeders in Central Park.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday reflections

Looking out from the mall at Hudson Yards and seeing it reflected back.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Urban poetry

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was working on an art project and meeting a friend for lunch, and just forgot. How time flies when you aren't employed is something that continues to astonish me.

Here are two pedicabs parked on the street next to more traditional cabs. They're for the tourists obviously, but I did ride in one of these years ago when I was leaving a work event late on a bitterly cold, blizzardy night and there were no taxis to be had. I was reasonably warm under the awning and it was surreal to glide so slowly through the snowy streets, behind plastic sheeting like the temporary walls surrounding delis and flower stands in the winter.

I negotiated a cheaper than usual price for the ride before I got in (the usual fare is $5.00 a minute) but it still cost me three times as much as a regular cab, so I will almost certainly never do it again. But I do love that memory, of the snow whipping past, the driver a black shadow with legs pumping, and the empty streets vague and magical through plastic windows.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

I like the question mark shape of these three galaxies, collectively known as Arp 194 (the third one is the smaller oval on the right side of the top galaxy.)

It's theorized that the bottom galaxy passed through the top galaxy sometime in the last 100 million years. The trail of gases still between them has become a star nursery, full of brand new, bright blue, baby stars.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing and License: Judy Schmidt

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A house finch, perched in a satisfyingly gnarly tree in Albany.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Vessel

The center of the Hudson Yards development is this climbable piece of public art, a tower of copper-clad staircases designed by Thomas Heatherwick.

Some people are called it the Shawarma, or the Giant Wastebasket. I think it looks like an overly precious parking garage, and I haven't yet gone inside (there was a long line the first day; now there are timed tickets so not too much of a wait, but I'd rather wait until nobody cares.) It's definitely photogenic, although the owners initially tried to implement a very restrictive photo policy that allowed them to have rights to any pictures, which makes me less than eager to share my own.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Urban poetry

An abstract of facades at Hudson Yards, a new shopping/living complex built over the old rail yards west of Penn Station, which opened last week.

It's a ten-minute walk from my apartment, so I went down there Saturday despite a fierce wind that moaned across the plazas like the soundtrack to a bad horror film. I got some interesting pictures, but overall, it's not all that impressive. (One of the articles in the Times compared it to “a gated community in Singapore.”)

If you've been dying to go to Sally Hershberger for an $800 haircut but didn't feel like schlepping all the way to Barney's, or have felt that the lack of a Neiman Marcus store in Manhattan was nigh unbearable, you might feel that Hudson Yards fills a real gap. I think that most of us will find that it can comfortably be ignored.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

The star cluster NGC 3603 consists of hot young stars, formed perhaps a million years ago. You can see how the rapid star formation carved out the center of the gas cloud surrounding the cluster.

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A chestnut-backed chickadee in Pleasanton. You can't really see the chestnut in this picture except on the top of his head. The New York chickadees all have black heads.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday reflections

As it's (finally) almost spring, here's one last snowy winter street.

All that reddish brown is actually a brick building across the street, reflected into abstraction by the slushy water.

Friday, March 15, 2019

A few more Cloisters pictures

Glass art

Closeups of some of the exquisitely detailed windows at the museum.


The view from inside the museum, looking across the Hudson.

Rockefeller purchased several hundred acres of the New Jersey Palisades and donated it to the state just to preserve this view.

More cloisters


One of the four actual cloisters at the museum. 

The collection was started by George Barnard, one of those eccentric artsy Americans who moved to Paris to study art. He was a talented sculptor who supplemented his income by  dealing 13th and 14th century art, and he built a private collection of architectural artifacts he got at bargain prices. He eventually sold his collection to John D. Rockefeller on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum.

Rockefeller purchased the land to create the park, and the museum was built from abbeys in France and Spain that were disassembled stone by stone and rebuilt into one cohesive building in New York, incorporating the cloisters and other art Barnard had collected.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Urban poetry

The view from Fort Tryon Park, at the northern tip of Manhattan, looking south towards the George Washington Bridge.

I was visiting the Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum specializing in medieval art. I love medieval art, but although the museum is technically in Manhattan, the round trip bus ride through Washington Heights and the Upper West Side takes several hours.

So it's yet another place I always meant to visit and seldom or never got around to.

Until this week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

A gorgeous image of Saturn's moon Enceledus, taken in November 2016 by the late great Cassini probe.

Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A flock of cattle egrets in the park in Pleasanton.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Saturday reflections

There's not much distortion in this reflection, taken on Fifth Avenue near the Library, but I like the way that wire makes another angle across the image.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Urban poetry

Away from the colorful walkways, this is what winter in Manhattan actually looks like.

This picture is a few months old, as you can tell from the piles of dead leaves which are long gone now, but the palette remains the same: blacks, grays, browns, grays, dingy white, more grays.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I walk away like a movie star

There are several of these passages in Midtown Manhattan, a way to cut through to the next street without having to walk all the way to the corner. I snapped the picture on a whim as I was walking home, immediately forgot I had taken it, and found it a week later when I was going through the last batch of park pictures.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

This 2009 Hubble image of the Butterfly Nebula in Scorpio has been beautifully reprocessed to bring out the detail. The old star at the center of the nebula is a white dwarf, much smaller than our sun, but unusually hot, giving a spectacular glow to the surrounding gases.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Reprocessing and Copyright: Robert Eder

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

I have several more bird pictures from California, but this female cardinal from Central Park a few days ago looks so gleeful with that nut in her beak she had to jump to the front of the line.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Saturday reflections

A ridiculously lengthy stretch limo on a street in the West Forties.

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