Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer Streets in NYC

Two weekends in August

Photograph of Grand Central

A large stretch of Manhattan was closed to vehicular traffic until 1 pm these past three Saturdays in August. It was an opportunity for walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists to tool uptown or downtown on Park Avenue and see the city from yet another perspective. Last weekend I grabbed my camera and headed uptown, walking 35 blocks, taking photographs galore, people-watching and enjoying the beautiful weather. Getting up this close to Grand Central was a real treat.

Photograph of Central Park Summer Stage

The next day was the last Summer Stage Concert of the season in Central Park, featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Wow, can that woman sing! Mix in some James Brown, Tina Turner and maybe even a little Areatha Franklin and you have dynamite on stage, backed by a terrific band, the Dap Kings. Another beautiful day weatherwise, a great weekend overall.

Photograph from the Brooklyn Bridge

Last weekend I decided to take advantage of Summer Streets again and head downtown this time. I met a friend and off we went, walking down Park Avenue to Fourth Avenue and on. Another beautiful day weatherwise, and another great opportunity for photographing the city. We walked to the end of the route, made two quick stops at Century 21 and J&R Electronics and then decided to continue our day with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Lots of people had the same idea and there were many folks trekking the boards of this venerable landmark.

"Brooklyn Historical Society"
Oil on canvas
8 x 10 inches

Heading toward Montague Street to find a place for lunch we passed the Brooklyn Historical Society. I painted this building several years back and was delighted to see that the building had been lovingly restored recently. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the older buildings saved, restored and standing proud once again. After a chance to sit down and chow down, it was off to the Brookyn Explanade to check out The Falls art installation. Backtracking several blocks to Bororough Hall/Court Street we caught the shuttle bus to the new Ikea store in Red Hook. Always fun to check out the stuff in this store and I found some really nice square frames which I'll put to good use. The water taxi ride back to Manhattan, with a great view of the Lady in the Harbor, was a nice way to head back to the city. Disembarking at Wall Street we trudged several blocks up to Broadway and caught the subway back uptown. Eight hours after I left my apartment I arrived home tired but happy with the day's adventures. I like to think of these past two weekends as a mini-vacation and realize how lucky I am to live in NYC. I know there will be several paintings amongst all the photos I took and I'm looking forward to see which ones I choose to paint.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NYC

So many great concerts over the years

"The Bottom Line Remembered"
Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches

Heard on the news today that the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame will be opening an annex museum in Soho. That sounds good to me. Having seen soooo many great shows over the years, it seems only fitting that this town, which provided venues for many performers to get their music out there, will have a spot to highlight some of the memorabilia that accompanies the music.

I got to thinking that a lot of these venues have sadly disappeared from the NYC scene, places like CBGB's, the Bottom Line, The Fillmore East. When I heard that The Bottom Line was closing a few years back, my heart sank. I was in the audience the first week it opened, back in the 70's, and saw some memorable acts - Tim Hardin, Laura Nyro, Tom Russell, Joan Baez, Roy Buchanan, The Turtles, Barry Manilow (!!!!) and so many others. Seeing that familiar blue awning, getting tickets, squeezing into the tightly packed chairs, seeing and hearing the performers up was wonderful. The one concert that I WISH I could have attended was one of the August, 1975 Springsteen shows, just prior to the release of Born To Run, history in the making. I plan to check out the museum when it opens - sure beats the news of the opening of yet another Duane Reade.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Meeting at Brooks

Another sunny day in LIC

"Meeting at Brooks"
Oil on canvas
12 x 9 inches

This painting is a companion piece to the "Waiting at Brooks" painting posted earlier on this blog. It is said that every picture tells a story, and these two paintings together tell one as well. As I imagined it, a young woman is waiting for a friend at a restaurant, anticipating a nice meal and conversation and then meeting up, smile's "hello" and then off to eat and schmooze. A commonplace event, captured here with paint and brush. This painting will be featured in an upcoming LIC calendar project and will be part of my upcoming LIC exhibit in December.