Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Great 8th Avenue Red Light Stare Down

There's nothing quite like standing in the middle of 8th Avenue with a monopod. Putting myself in harms way from the likes of speeding taxi cabs and BMW driving upper class Manhattan-ites, this coincidental shot was acquired while doing some shooting for another project. Taken near the corner of 14th in Chelsea, Manhattan.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slightly Haunted

Anyone that personally knows me would tell you that I'm not the type of person that's subscribes to the supernatural. They would be correct, I don't; that doesn't mean however, that I can't portray these themes in my work. Urban hauntings will be the theme of this post.

The Gas Light Inn is a working class pub on the south side of Indianapolis, near the corner of Meridian and Pleasant Run. They make a gigantic pork tenderloin sandwich and is rumored to be haunted.

Tank-o-graffiti, what makes you appear so ominous? Achieving an ominous feel in photographs taken in underground places such as in this subway station (86th and Lexington) is not difficult, I just wish I would have caught some photos of ectoplasmic rats floating about.

Have you ever experienced the phenomon of an ice cream truck equipped with less than optimal speakers that make the music it plays sound slow and out of pitch? Its sounds like haunted clown music from IT. You expect to be served by Pennywise, but it turns out to be an amputee, who has fewer teeth than limbs. The most frightening aspect of this image however, is the use of the improper homophone, SUNDAYS. This shot was taken on the west side of Indianapolis.

I ain't superstitious, but a black cat just crossed my trail...wha wha. Jeff Beck walks with me through the 5 Pointz area of Long Island City, Queens.

This shot was also taken in Long Island City, ghostly light and tree shadows haunt Queens Plaza. The clang, clang, clang sound of the elevated train adds to the mood.

How many things are more frightening than street signs making shadow puppets? Not many, except maybe the haunted pathogens stagnating in the nearby Gowanus Canal. Taken in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Gotham City lives through dead industrial buildings. On this chilly night, a cloudy, moon lit sky overshadows abandoned art deco industrial buildings along the New York Navy yard in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. This area is rapidly changing, and its only a matter of time before variances are made and apartment/condos are available at inflated costs (insert scary, sinister laugh here)...

Damn! Haunted garbage, but sill an unmistakable lack of an ectoplasmic rodent presence; only the occasional hipster rapidly passing through this rougher stretch of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This photo was taken under the old BMT Jamaica Line spanning Broadway.

Can't really explain why I find this place a little eerie, but I do; maybe its the gas meter... Taken near the corner of Virginia and College in the Fletcher Place neighborhood of Indianapolis.

Throw in some lousy graffiti, ivy, and a little fog, and you have one bona fide haunted photograph. I'm not sure what role this structure was assigned at one point, but there are several signs stating "government property, keep out". This shot was also taken near the Navy Yard near Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trash Bags / Chaos on Bedford

Breaking the monotony of doing laundry at my neighborhood laundromat, I started shooting shots through the window, this was my favorite of the bunch. I was wondering through the glass what was being said for their body language indicated mutual agitation. I was also wondering who the hell opens a trash bag store?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Pressures from the holiday season can take its toll, the key is to pace yourself and a beverage containing ethanol also helps. This and many other tips are available from my baby niece Raegan, who says, "I don't have a drinking problem, except when I can't get a drink".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Homefront

I've been dedicating much of my photographic time to projects as of late and haven't been able to capture assorted urban scenes. This effort will contribute to great, less succinct, blog posts at a later date, but I am faced with the dilemma of providing immediate content; my solution, photograph close to home, as in, right in front of it. This is an autumn shot of the street, in which I live, in Brooklyn.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicago Rail Yard Skywalk

Roosevelt Road traverses a massive rail yard; seen from a spacewalk like perspective. This was taken from the Willis Tower, but this yard is on the near south side of Chicago.

I wanted to use the extreme height (and distance from the surface) of the Willis tower observation deck and combine it with the inversion to give the shot a space walk feel. Imagine if you are walking on the surface of the moon or the hull of a ship orbiting Earth; this would be the perspective. This is the first time I've ever experimented with this concept and still don't know what to make of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Deli @ Myrtle & Adelphi

This shot demonstates the current and rapidly changing state of the northern section of Clinton Hill; that is, the section between Myrtle and Flushing, near the Navy Yards. A largely industrial area is rapidly becoming residential.

Ft. Greene Junction-Still Life

Brooklyn gets very calm and quiet late at night, shooting her during this time becomes euphoric. There's a certain serenity to be found in watching traffic signals change without drivers there to heed their direction.

Taken at the corner of Lafayette and St. Felix in the Ft. Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Its Coming

Snow and ice will be here soon enough. This shot was taken at the corner of Lincoln and East on the south side of Indianapolis last February.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Just wanted to see how retro I could get with the composition of this shot. This is the corner of Fulton and Vanderbilt in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I've Been Bad...Very Bad

The Metropolitan Correctional Center is located in downtown Chicago and houses prisoners conviced of federal crimes. There's even a workout yard of the roof! This obviously institutional-looking building sits at the corner of Van Buren and Clark Streets.

Satan Takes the A Train

A bona fide 'only in NY' moment...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The Minton-Capehart Federal Building or as I like to call it, Boston City Hall-Lite, is a classic example of Brutalism. Taken from Pennsylvania Street in the Indianapolis neighborhood of St. Joseph.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

What comes to mind when you think about the aesthetics American infrastructure? Pleasing to the eye? Perhaps well maintained? The verdict: Not guilty on both counts. But seriously, I guess one thing most could say about the subject is that it repetitively sports an aging utilitarian motif. Case in point, the New York City Subway, an infrastructure system that was designed to be functional without much aesthetic flare. The years of grime and neglect however, have given it its own well known character. Any of you that have been regular readers of this blog for any given amount of time wont be surprised to hear that its a character I find fascinating.

To compliment this theme, I have compiled 'The Dirty Dozen', a collection of the 12 grittiest, grimiest, and strangest stations in the New York City Subway system. I base the results here on my experience and some may undoubtedly have different experiences in stations I may not have mentioned here; I would really love to hear other perspectives on stations.

Station: Lexington Avenue-53rd Street
Location: Midtown Manhattan
Service: E,M Train with transfers to the 6 Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, Rusted Steel Beams, and dangerously narrow platform.
Since this more of a celebratory post, lets get my gripes out of the way first. This could quite possibly be one of my least favorite stations in the New York City Subway system. The Lexington Avenue-53rd Street station plays host to the E and M trains and provides transfers to the 6 train. Its a deep, narrow station with a slim platform that makes for nightmarish rush hour commutes. MTA places people with flashlights every rush hour as a form of crowd control, but the sheer volume of people operating under their own agendas makes this effort somewhat futile.

Station: Court Street
Location: Brooklyn Heights/Downtown Brooklyn
Service: R, N Train with transfers to the 2,3,4,5 Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, Rusted Steel Beams, decades of accumulated conduit, and decaying tile
One feature of this station even the most unobservant person would take note, would be the snake pit of conduit running along the ceilings of the corridors. Closer inspection will unveil a hodgepodge of varying styles of replacement tiles, used during renovation or repair since the 1920's.

Station: Bay Pkwy
Location: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Service: D Train
Grit Qualifications: Aging, graffiti'd 19th century buildings encasing the station with old splitting railroad ties.
Typical of many of the elevated stations within the outer reaches of Brooklyn, these are some of the oldest stretches of track and stations still in operation. With that being so, the architecture and development along the right of ways tend to be quite old. I have found myself riding these lines down to Coney Island just to look at this unique perspective of Brooklyn from these elevated trains. Plenty of grittiness and graffiti to be seen from this station and the entire line in general.

Station: Bedford-Nostrand
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Service: G Train
Grit Qualifications: Plentiful peeling paint, lively rodent population, and a marked odor of creosote.
Perhaps my views of this station are clad in bias, for this is my station; everyday, I enter the New York City Subway system by walking down the very stairs you see above. Since this is the G train, I spend quite a bit of time down here waiting; this gives me the opportunity to engage in a passing hobby of mine: rodent watching! I don't know why, but I am fascinated by watching rats foraging the tracks and platforms. It also amuses me how afraid people are of these little beasts. Sure, they're filthy vermin, but people run at the site them as if they are being pursued by a madman with an axe.

Station: 190th Street
Location: Washington Heights, Manhattan
Service: A Train
Grit Qualifications: A deep-vaulted, bomb shelter feel.
The geologic layout and history of Manhattan is quite interesting and would love to discuss it with you sometime, but for sake of brevity, lets just say it has tons and tons of bed rock in the form of granite and Manhattan schist. This makes it possible for the iconic skyscrapers that Manhattan is known for and of course stations like this. Although, I bet this was quite an obstacle for the engineers of the day. This station is deep into bedrock and is equipped with large elevators to take you up to surface level. It also has a tunnel to take you out to the lower levels of the Washington Heights neighborhood.

Station: 8th Avenue
Location: Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Service: N Train
Grit Qualifications: Ancient station with plentiful graffiti, vines and ivy, and plenty of conduit.
This station sits on the BMT Sea Beach Line, an old open cut right of way that terminates at Coney Island. Like the elevated lines of outer Brooklyn, it has history and it shows. Along with rust and graffiti, which are stock visuals for stations like this, vines and ivy have began to envelop the area as if Mother Brooklyn is reclaiming her territory.

Station: 21st Van Alst
Location: Hunter Point, Queens
Service: G Train
Grit Qualifications: Massive damage, courtesy of natural water spings.
This is one of those stations where you don't even need to exit the train to know this station isn't well. Where's the public transit version of Jesus when you need him to come and cure this station of leprosy. Putting thoughtless, insensitive, and sacrilegious statements aside, it seems that MTA has forsaken this one.

Station: 20th Avenue
Location: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Service: N Train
Grit Qualifications: Graffiti, rust, and large amounts calcification.
Like the 8th Avenue station above, this also resides on the open cut BMT Sea Beach Line. The archways and architectural style is somewhat telling of its age, 95 years as a matter of fact. Some modernizations have been done, such as the installation of fluorescent lighting, but the original incandescent fixtures are still there. Miniature stalactites are also calcifying on the ceiling of the station.

Station: Bowery
Location: Bower/Lower East Side, Manhattan
Service: J,M,Z Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, visible abandoned sections, and obligatory Bowery bums.
The neighborhood has its own historic reputation of punk music and the 'Bowery Bum' who call the streets home, but that image is rapidly becoming antiquated due to sweeping gentrification. This station has one minor unique point to it; the arches within the dividing wall, although minor, are a rarity. If you take the time to look through the archways, you will see an abandoned section of the station complete with a defunct platform that has become a large graffiti canvas. Aside from what appears to be the walls of a crime scene, the mood of the station is very dark; especially during hours when its a ghost town.

Station: Chambers Street
Location: Downtown Manhattan
Service: J,Z Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, visible abandoned sections, and archeological layers of trash.
This could be one of the ugliest and smelliest stations in the system, but why do I love it so? I have previously done extensive photography in this station. It has layers of grime, has virtually been untouched since the 1930's, and and smells like urine and bleach. I suppose it fascinates me because it allows you to step back in time; there are stations significantly older than this one, but they have had enough work done to them to eliminate the original feel, but that's not the case with this station. Its pure and raw.

Station: Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets
Location: Downtown Brooklyn
Service: A,C,G Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, peeling paint, abandoned platforms, water leaks, bad lighting.
This station is huge! Its six platforms wide on one level, which, as far as I know, is the only one of its kind in the system. The two outer platforms are not in use, and have the historic distinction of being used to film the music video to the Michael Jackson song Bad!. Like the Bedford-Nostrand station, I possess a bias toward this one due to the fact that I spend a considerable amount of time here. The abandoned platforms are covered with layers from years of dirt and grime, complimented by pieces of the ceiling that have landed there. Recently, there was a broken pipe that spewed water onto the track and each G train that arrived at the station; this happened for a few weeks until it was repaired.

Station: Broadway
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Service: G Train
Grit Qualifications: Grime, Rust, courtesy of water springs

Like the 21st-Van Alst station, Broadway has suffered damage at the hands of natural water springs. As a matter of fact, a small stream trickles down the tracks at all times.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Auto Culture

Brooklyn begins to take on a less urbanized feel when you get to its outer areas and neighborhoods (ie. garages, driveways, small yards, and large offsets from streets). This shot was taken on Bay Pky in Bensonhurst, near the Belt Parkway, a far south west neighborhood that is close to Coney Island.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Virginia and College Part II

A different perspective of the street corner (Virginia and College in Fletcher Place, Indianapolis) earlier featured here...

Regular Service will be Restored....When we Say So

I just love waiting 30-60 minutes for the G train to come. They can only run one train at a time in each direction because the track is in use by these fellas. I know maintenance must be done and such things can cause inconvenience, so I sat there motionless...waiting until the next train came (they did the exact same). Classic MTA.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

191st St Entrance / Chuck Norris Dry Cleaning

This station is even deeper than the 190th Street Station featured in the previous post. Chuck Norris doesn't need to dry clean, the dirt is too afraid to adhere to his garments...Or something like that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bomb Shelter, err, Subway Station

The 190th Street Subway station in Washington Heights is a very deep station that is drilled into solid rock.

Best if viewed large...

Monday, November 8, 2010

College and Virginia

The old Virginia Avenue State Bank building; taken at the corner of Virginia and College in the heart of Fletcher Place in Indianapolis.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Needs More Flare...

Just a little Friday fun with lens flare. I know I don't meet the minimum of 15 pieces, but I hope you enjoy them none the less.

Taken on an eerily calm Sunday morning boarding the J train into Manhattan from the Lorimer Street Station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I wish I could say every morning commute went down just like this, but no such luck.

Your shadow casts itself one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it gets stalled by another waffling shadow looking at a map or texting... Taken at 31st and 6th in Midtown Manhattan.

Bars and diners go together so well don't they? Taken at the corner of Fulton and Waverly in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Metallic Overload

There's just something about fire escapes... Looking down Myrtle Avenue from Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brooklyn: A City within a City

The Manhattan skyline from East New York, Brooklyn...

This image should be viewed large, you may click on the image to do so.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 'Newer' Lower East Side

New, modern condos and offices now mingle with the old tenements of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The neighborhood was once a working class area of the city, is rapidly becoming one of Manhattan's trendiest areas to be. Taken on Essex Street in the heart of the LES.

Monday, November 1, 2010

John Adams on the Streets of Dumbo

Taken at the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the banks of the East River in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Dog Day Deli

Home of the canine hero, paw stew, and puppies in a blanket; don't forget to ask about our kosher menu... Taken on Myrtle Avenue, near Broadway in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.