27 April 2010

Stopped in My Tracks: Oh Just Cut It Out Already

Outside Madison Square Park, the verbally abusive sign wearer again. Next to him, a woman, also wearing a sign:
It's not a hoax.
I was verbally abusive.

No, it didn't make any sense to me, either.

As I passed the VASW he was saying to someone who'd stopped, "It's been great. We're really touching people." The woman added, "I'm Megan."

Of course she was. Since the VASW showed up last week, he and Megan have been in the news a lot -- he was being sincere; he's an actor looking for attention; they're both actors with day jobs. Looking for attention.

Well, you've got it, Megan and Jeff. Not sure what you plan to do with it, but here it is, your attention. Now go away.

23 March 2010

Stopped in My Tracks

I passed this sculpture being installed Saturday outside Madison Square Park in the new pedestrian island in the confluence of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Apologies for the crappy cell-phone quality of the photo.

It turns out to be part of an installation called Event Horizon -- figures by British artist Antony Gormley. This guy is on the ground, but several of them have been or will be placed on rooftops and ledges in the area around the park. The park always has at least one major art installation in the spring-summer, and since I'm there a lot, it's something I look forward to.

Apparently, the rooftop men have already been making people nervous:
Police are trying to reassure New Yorkers that life-sized figures placed on rooftops by the British sculptor Antony Gormley are not people contemplating suicide.

The New York police department issued a statement after the first of the 31 figures started going up around Madison Square Park in lower Manhattan.

The police are trying to avert a spate of emergency calls similar to those made after the exhibition went on display in London in 2007.

“We were notified because of concerns the public might misperceive what they see and call police. We will respond no matter what because you can have an actual jumper at the same building,” a police spokesman said.

Well, yes. In a city where people routinely jump or fall from roofs (not going to link to any of the recent examples, since they are uniformly upsetting), I can imagine why people might be disturbed by seeing these figures without warning.

That said, I passed through Madison Square Park again last night, and looked up at the surrounding rooftops. If you know what you're looking at, the men -- none of the sculptures appear to be female -- are graceful and haunting. You can't help but look again and again as you pass by, to see if they are watching out for you, too.

More, and better, pictures can be seen here: Event Horizon New York.

19 March 2010

Walk to Work: Peeing in the Corner

New York has not really taken to the public toilet concept. They've been introduced and rejected over and over. I guess people think they're gross, despite the fact that the designers have gone to some length to make them self-cleaning. I guess I must think they're gross, too, because I've never used one. For any given neighborhood I'm familiar with, I have a mental map of where all the Barnes & Nobles or other pee-friendly places are, but I understand that not everyone is as, er, anal as I am, and that not every coffee shop is going to throw open its stalls to bike messengers. Which is how you get scenes like this morning, me minding my own business on 35th street, that guy urinating in an irregularity of the Macy's building.


18 March 2010

I See Famous People

Those of my readers who are not from New York, or wait, not New York, Tennessee, might not know who this handsome fellow is. Former Tennessee Congressman, once potential New York Senator, present Morning Joe contributor Harold Ford crosses my path from time to time on the walk home from daycare. Weirdly, given how much he's been in the news lately, no one else seemed to notice him. Then again, given how badly he messed up that potential Senate run, that's probably a good thing for him.

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10 March 2010

Stopped in My Tracks

At the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones, a somewhat oddly colored door.

I wouldn't have noticed it as much for the color, though, as for the sign affixed to it.

Because this is Manhattan, and people will have opinions, and my guess is that whoever painted that door that color just did not want to hear them.

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09 March 2010

Chooseday: Swings or Slide?

On the walk home today, A. and I stopped at the playground. We had enough time for him to go on the swings or the slide, which did he want to do? Advanced kid that he is, he looked at me and said, "ducka ducka duckaaah," which I took to mean swings. Good thing, too, since there were some older kids on the slide and I really didn't want to have to muscle them out of the way.

A. has never really been on the swings before -- we stuck him in once when he was four months old, and in danger of slipping through the leg hole if we let go -- and his reaction was just what I had hoped for: pure joy. He was in between two other boy babies being swung by their nannies, who were both very friendly to A. and sweet with their charges. Then the mother of one of the boys came charging up to the fence. "Esther, how do I get in here?" Esther turned towards her to tell her and gesture to the gate. "Keep your eyes on him!" the mother shrieked. Sigh. The baby was, of course, fine in the swing for the two seconds Esther looked away.

This is one of many reasons I'm glad A. is in daycare. It's incredibly hard giving up control of what happens to your child when he's not in your direct care. Daycare can be chaotic, with its many children and several caregivers, and after the first few days, I realized I just had to go with it. But when you have a nanny she is, technically, your employee. And as a manager, you can be of the micro variety, which sadly for Esther, hers seems to be.

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07 March 2010

What Did I Tell You?

I knew that as soon as the temperature got close to 50 degrees, we'd be seeing feet, and my neighbors didn't let me down. I saw no fewer than four people shuffling along in flip flops yesterday. Most of the rest of us still needed our winter coats.