Like its ambitious citizens, the Manhattan skyline is always reinventing itself with an eye to the competition. The newest super tall skyscrapers—some still with cranes—look like fishing lines to the stratosphere. Are they trying to catch birds, helicopters, clouds? Here are views for billionaires (and maybe global criminals) who need to show they are on top of the world. Not just the one-percent, but the one-upper percent—the “my treehouse is higher than yours” club. Like NBA basketball players or super models, the towers look down imperiously on older buildings. The formerly imposing now looks short and squat. But reflected in the dimpled water of the Central Park Reservoir, the Super Talls shrink like Legos and belong to everyone. Nature brings them down to size, and wins.
Whistles are a stop sign for the ears. Traffic cops, lifeguards and referees all use them to control the flow of action. But whistles have a happier side, too. A child with a whistle skips to a self-made joyful rhythm. Whistle-blowing can be fun, but it's not always easy. Sometimes it takes deeper convictions than lungs to blow a metaphorical whistle in corporations and government.
The annual NYC Pride March through Greenwich Village has always been a compelling mix of resistance, protest and celebration. The theme of this year's march (June 20, 2018), "Defiantly Different," protested the Trump and other world government administration's ongoing efforts to strip LGBTQIA protections and rights. Serious signs of protest joined bucketloads of glitter, confetti and rainbows on marchers and their floats.
This large green team from TD Bank walked by tooting their own whistles and handing out free ones to onlookers. I grabbed one as did the people shoulder to shoulder with me. Individually, our tiny shrill exhales were impossible to hear. But all together, we made some damn serious noise.
Photos of people taking photos are so delightfully meta. But not everyone feels that way. Here, I had to shoot quickly and move on before security could approach. My sidewalk lens was a random element in the otherwise tightly controlled chaos of the star-making machine. The event was the Manhattan premiere of the new hit movie, "A Quiet Place" (nationwide April 6, 2018) and the see-through street tent with red carpet was erected to create and control visuals of stars like John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. The inside group performed their roles with intensity. Strong men and steel barricades walled off media and stars. Photographers scurried around like they were covering breaking news (though they were actually shooting portraits in front of a logo wall for sites like celebmafia.com and snowceleb.com). Interviewers got themselves camera-ready in well-oiled motions. Not a hair was out of place. It was all very serious business. The movie made $50 million on opening weekend.
I love blank space. To me, it speaks of luxury and potential rather than the absence of things. But is it possible that inside every minimalist there's a hidden maximalist? The trendy gallery wall (above) at the special exhibition, "Forever Young: Selections from the Joe Baio Collection of Photography," certainly called to mine.
The Joe Baio Collection was one of three special collections (also "A Time for Reflection" curated by Elton John and "All Power: Visual Legacies of the Black Panther Party" curated by Michelle Dunn Marsh) at The Photography Show presented by Aipad (April 5-8) held annually at Pier 94 in New York City. The premiere photo show featured fine art galleries, book dealers, publishers and photography organizations from all over the world in mostly spare and chic grey booths.
Joe Baio, however, opted to create the feeling of a luxe Manhattan townhouse inside the vast pier space. The collectors brought in large oriental rugs, plush sofas, and antique tables and painted display walls in dense red, cobalt and light blue hues. More than 200 photos of children and adolescents ranging from the 1850s to the present were hung in intricate and beautifully executed arrangements.
Passionate maximalism ruled. People came, sat and stayed. Here, the fine art of hanging lead to the even finer art of hanging out.
King of the Mountain is serious business in Manhattan. It's not easy ruling the unruly kingdom (ask any builder or Wall Street trader). Usually, kids are on the losing end of the city's scale. Tall buildings shrink them down to mice. Elevators threaten to eat their tiny hands and sneakers. Dogs bark or growl nose to nose. Even kind strangers engulf like giant lampposts. But every now and again—on a swing, a parent's shoulders, or atop a manmade snow hill in Central Park—perspective reverses. Buildings become Lego blocks. Traffic runs on Matchbox toys. A snowscape becomes a moonscape; the sky tastes like cotton soup. Suddenly, the city is entirely theirs.
Construction peepholes are irresistible. For people like me, the chance to watch large machines at work as they dig and move dirt stops time cold. The view is never as surprising and disturbing as Marcel DuChamp's Étant Donnés at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but I always think of that weird and mysterious artwork nonetheless whenever I stop to sneak a peek through a hole in the wall at a building site.
What with all the 2016 election craziness, the rampant bigotry and depressing news like this recent study of a surge in opioid poisonings of toddlers, it's not hard to feel sometimes like an alien in your own beloved country. I literally can't believe my own eyes. So this futuristic big-headed mannequin, seen at Bloomingdale's New York, perfectly captured my November vibe right down to her big saucer glasses. After I played with the shot in Mobile Monet I had my "aha" moment: This is it! American life this election season feels like an out of control comic-book world where good and evil forces battle daily for domination.
Is it possible for flowers to photo bomb? I could swear this very urban sunflower found growing on a city rooftop farm is saying "Boo"! I love how a foreground object changes scale and heightens impact. The applied chrome filter reminds me of the heightened realism in a David Lynch movie. This sunflower is scary, but still a lot nicer looking than the the giant man-eating plant, Audrey II, in Little Shop of Horrors.