The Manhattan Tourist, NY

It’s fun being a tourist.

Everything that seems so ordinary at home suddenly takes on the extraordinary when experienced in new surroundings. There’s always an excuse to take yet another photo of a streetscape, the same landmark (twenty times over, from different angles), that artfully presented dish or the elaborately prepared cocktail.

Yet, after having indulged in such a fresh and exciting palate, a return to the routine might take on that stale feeling of ‘sameness’. That which you found fascinating over there doesn’t seem so fascinating here.

Luckily, inspiration is never far away especially when looking outwards with a pair of tourist-inspired eyes. Taking a break as a traveler in your own backyard is such a good way to rekindle a bit of that spark that naturally accompanies pleasure-travel.

Everything really does seem new again.

Enjoy these tourist snaps on a very warm and sunny day in 75F Manhattan.

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Not a tourist.

Ubiquity on Broadway: yellow against Gray’s.

Daily subway reading.

Peter Woytuk’s art installation along Broadway

Break-time at Zabars

Taxis and delis on Broadway.

The corner shop deli.

Advertising mecca.

Birds. And another Peter Woytuk.

Delivery bikes.

Wrong way.

Globalisation in Greenwich.

A Village mainstay.

Seinfeld-ian roots.

Colour pops and patios.

Italian coffee and Fruta de Bosco at Cafe Dante.

Wall art.

Shadows and fire escapes.

Basketball.

Not basketball.

Pavement art.

Cushions, umbrellas, a tattoo?

Downtown dodging.

It’s Always Sunny in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

It is true that nothing is permanent; that some things are more temporary than others. As for moments – well, they are altogether fleeting.

After a period of hibernation, blooms symbolise the start of a warmer season. Their pinks, yellows, greens, purples, and whites brighten a landscape that may have at one time looked wintry bare. The sun may shine today, adding warmth and a zest indicative of an upcoming spring. But, what of tomorrow? (The weather channels have been proven wrong many times…)

In some parts of the world however, the streets are always splashed with colour, regardless of the day or the season. Williamsburg’s street art may be temporary, but it is always there. In an urban landscape constantly undergoing change, what you see one day may be gone – or replaced – the next. Nevertheless, the artwork persists; every piece the product of an expressive soul who is part of a creative, fearless, and diverse community.

I am reminded of how lucky I am every day when I walk within the neighbourhood’s maze of murals, paste-ups, graffiti, words, stencils, and paintings. Even a passing glimpse of colour through the car window can bring about a change in mood, attitude, or an aside to a conversation.

I hope you’ll get to see this part of Brooklyn soon. Until then, enjoy this curation– some of the artworks are old, some are new, and some are no longer in existence.

If we only walk on sunny days, we’ll never reach our destination ~ Paulo Coehlo

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people – simply forget yourself ~ Henry Miller

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see ~ G.K. Chesterton

Every day has the potential to be the best day of your life ~ Lin-Manuel Miranda

But how could you live and have no story to tell? ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today ~ Indian Proverb

I heart DUMBO ~ Brooklyn, NY

Lazy Sunday morning; in bed, watching music videos on my Archos G9 tablet (not an Ipad). One of the most oft-repeated songs on my playlist is the Café Del Mar N O W Remix of Letting the Cables Sleep by BUSH, though today I happened upon the music video for the original version of the song and found myself rewinding & relistening… Was the band’s lead singer, Gavin Rossdale, walking down one of the railroad-tracked cobblestoned streets of DUMBO? Was that the Manhattan Bridge, at the end of one of the neighbourhood’s streets, about 15 seconds into the clip? I couldn’t confirm it while trying to research the video’s filming location on the Net (I did learn that Joel Schumacher directed the video) but it didn’t matter. It was enough to inspire me (and my husband, after some coaxing) to drive to DUMBO for an early afternoon coffee… and to take some photos of the ‘hood… again.

Manhattan Bridge in the background

Railroads and cobblestones

We’ve had coffee at the Brooklyn Roasting Company a number of times, and I’ve taken photos of DUMBO many a time too; I just never tire of doing either. Give me any excuse, and I am there ~ I can wholeheartedly say that I love visiting DUMBO. If it suited my budget, we would have moved here after relocating from the West Coast. And yet, judging by the recent real estate valuations, this just isn’t going to happen anytime soon either. This is the third most expensive neighbourhood in New York; a place where it’s pricier to look at Manhattan than to live in Manhattan.

<Property Shark runs updates on NYC’s most expensive neighborhoods and in Q3 2012 Dumbo came in 3rd place with a median sale price of $1,460,000.>

Brooklyn Roasting Company on Jay Street

Doughnut Plant donut and almond latte at Brooklyn Roasting Company

Mopeds are the new bicycle...

DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

Every time I come here, I think of the scene in Bladerunner, when Harrison Ford’s character is having noodles in Chinatown. Now, many people may think otherwise – my husband-the-movie-aficionado included – but for me, the streets here conjure up the same feelings as those when I watch that part of the movie: mystery, darkness, cutting edge. Alot of DUMBO’s life happens under the Manhattan Bridge – it casts a shadow over the neighbourhood’s streets; the sound of the subway that rambles along it can be heard periodically overhead.

Manhattan Bridge Overpass

Life under the Bridge

In the late 1800’s, it was primarily a manufacturing district, housing warehouses and factories including Arbuckle Brothers (coffee and sugar), J.W. Masury & Son (paint), Robert Gair (paper boxes), E.W. Bliss (machinery) and Brillo (soap pads). With deindustrialization, it began becoming primarily residential, when artists and other young homesteaders seeking relatively large and inexpensive loft apartment spaces for studios and homes began moving there in the late 1970s.The acronym Dumbo arose in 1978, when new residents coined it in the belief such an unattractive name would help deter developers.*

The developers do not seem deterred at all.

Residences, businesses and a Con Edison power plant exist, side by side

New loft developments ~ living in a magazine?

Water tower as real estate advertising

The vista from the westernmost part of DUMBO, along the East River, is of downtown Manhattan; the neighbourhood is flanked by the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, yet not overrun with yuppies and fleeing Manhattanites, who still seem to be headed in the direction of Williamsburg – a place I also love (it’s where I Iive) though one that is busting with people, especially around Sunday brunch.

Brooklyn Bridge in background, Manhattan - in foreground.

JANE’S CAROUSEL:

Located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges at Empire-Fulton Ferry Park, the carousel is a ‘new’ piece of history in the industrial neighbourhood (cannot be seen in image above) ~ it was opened in September 2011 and costs $2 per ride.

The carousel was built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, based in Hatfield Pennsylvania. It was used in Idora Park, a private amusement park in Youngston, Ohio, until the early 1980s. In 1984, Walentas, a New Jersey native, traveled to Ohio to save the carousel from being taken apart and sold off in pieces.

She and her husband purchased it for $385,000.

Todd Goings, who specializes in carousel restorations, put the carousel back together for its opening. It is a three-row machine with 48 horses and two chariots.

Two Trees Management Company, LLC, a company her husband David Walentas founded, constructed the building in which the carousel is now housed on Water and Old Dock streets in DUMBO. The construction of the building cost $8 million.

The Walentases commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel, to design the building, which is essentially an encasement that allows the carousel to operate year-round. The 72×72-foot acrylic building provides framed views of the nearby bridges as well as the Manhattan skyline.**

Jane's Carousel - looking at the Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge through the panes enclosing Jane's Carousel

DUMBO also has a thriving arts community ~ street art is intermittent yet frequently visible; a few galleries can be found here; and, St Ann’s Warehouse, a respected theatre, is located on Water Street.

Since 1980, [St. Ann's Warehouse] has been putting on cutting-edge music, dance and puppetry productions…[Their] signature programming is just as enticing as ever… (Time Out)

Mural on Water Street

More street art on Water Street

On December 18, 2007, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate the Dumbo section of Brooklyn as the city’s 90th historic district.*

Brooklyn Bridge, seen through a window of The Tobacco Warehouse.

THE TOBACCO WAREHOUSE:

It’s hard to miss this now-roofless, 25,000 square foot warehouse, which is situated directly under the Brooklyn Bridge Overpass in close proximity to Jane’s Carousel. It was constructed in the 1870s as a tobacco customs inspection center, saved from demolition in 1998 and, repaired and stabilized by The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation in 2002.

Intersected: Brooklyn Bridge and The Tobacco Warehouse

The streets may seem deserted in parts, and many of the buildings devoid of any activity, yet the cafes, bookstores, retailers (yes, Bang&Olufsen and West Elm have set up shop here) and the parks are full of life. Maybe that’s what I like so much about it – you can be alone, yet the neighbourhood isn’t a lonely one. And now that it has been decided to repurpose the Con Edison power plant along the East River, Gavin Rossdale will be right on the money with Letting the Cables Sleep.

Arched beauty

Streetscapes reflected

How to get to DUMBO: Walk – accessible via Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge; car – via BQE; ferry – East River ferry; subway – A and C trains; bus – B25, B67, B69.

*Wikipedia **Brooklyn Downtown Star – Jane’s Carousel

Postcards from the Edge… of the Manhattan Bridge

Though it was built after the Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge may be perceived as the middle child. Geographically located between them both, it is not as iconic and popular as the Brooklyn Bridge, further south; nor as artsy as the Williamsburg Bridge, to the north (my personal opinion, given its street art and hip connections). The Manhattan Bridge may seem understated yet it is on the cusp of cutting-edge cool. Its sweeping views of Manhattan and Brooklyn are better than those of its suspension-bridge-siblings and it fuses two of my favourite neighbourhoods together – Manhattan’s Chinatown and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn – both of which have made homes under the bridge’s overpass in their respective boroughs.

View of Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge (far distance) from Brooklyn Bridge

View of Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO

View of Manhattan Bridge from Chinatown

On the Manhattan Bridge, looking at Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO

If looking at a map of East Manhattan, from south to north, you’ll notice four main bridges that cross over the East River. In order, they are the Brooklyn Bridge, then the Manhattan Bridge; followed by the Williamsburg Bridge and 59th Street’s, Queensboro Bridge.

Having recently strolled along the northern and southern walk/bikeways of the Manhattan Bridge, more than anything else, I can easily attest to being mesmerized by the views offered from both sides.

From the graffitied rooftops of Chinatown, and their hanging laundry…

Business shirts and antennas

Graffiti and water towers

A Chinatown streetscape, from the northern side of the walk/bikeway

From Ground Zero towers and City Hall in the background, to laundry and graffiti on rooftops in foreground - from southern side of walk/bikeway

… to the vistas of the Brooklyn Bridge perfectly set as a backdrop, or against the skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan…

A beautiful winter's day, further brightened up by the Brooklyn Bridge - from the southern side

Brooklyn Bridge makes for a perfect backdrop

Up above the traffic

…to the buzz of boat activity on the East River under winter’s sunlight…

Cargo...

Sightseeing boats, downtown

Cargo, from a northern perspective

Sightseeing boat, with Williamsburg Bridge in background

… to the skyline of DUMBO’s industrial buildings and its streetscapes, down below…

A glimpse of a mural on DUMBO's Water Street

Vespas and industrial buildings

DUMBO's rooftops against the Williamsburg Bridge, on the northern side

Rooftops and patios from the southern side of the Manhattan Bridge

View of the Empire–Fulton Ferry Park in DUMBO

… the views from this bridge are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and enjoyed photographing.

Not only that, but the bridge has no air of pretension… perhaps due to the lack of tourists and crowds (unlike Brooklyn Bridge), which makes for a pleasurable walk across, no matter if you are walking to/from Chinatown or DUMBO. Both neighbourhoods are cool and understated in their own right, just like the bridge that connects them.

Not a bad way to see the Empire State Building. Framed daily, in DUMBO

This is DUMBO! Not many streetscapes can compare to this one

This part of Chinatown, clustered under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

Street vendors, setting up shop under the Bridge's Overpass, in Chinatown

The Manhattan Bridge was opened in December of 1909, and was the last of the three suspension bridges built to span the East River (after the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges). Since 1982, it has been undergoing a Reconstruction Program at a cost of $834 million that includes rehabilitation of its roadways, subway tracks, walkways, bikeways, replacement of its 628 bridge suspenders and restoration of the Arch and Colonnade that make for a grand entrance/exit on its Manhattan side. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.

Construction signage that pulls at heart strings

Interior rejuvenation

Barricades either left over from New Year's Eve, or for the construction works

That said, it is easy not to notice the construction going on as your eye is dragged across to the views of the East River and its shoreline. Depending which walkway you choose to stroll or cycle along, a vista of either one of those aforementioned bridges will certainly attract your attention. The construction also means that it is easier to use the walk/bikeways simultaneously (usually separate), given the changing construction detours. Surprisingly, bikers and walkers are very respectful of one another, made easier given passersby are frequent, yet minimal in number. (This has been my experience, anyway).

You can ride your bike...

...or you can walk your bike.

No matter what, walkers and cyclists can co-exist on the same walk/bikeway

Next time you’re in New York, make sure to take a strolling trip from East Manhattan to Brooklyn (or v.v.) over the Manhattan Bridge. You won’t be disappointed.

A part of the Brooklyn Bridge, framed

At the base of the Bridge, at Empire-Fulton Ferry Park in Dumbo

Turning to a New Year, and thank you to…

“Every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end.” ~ Seneca

Well, it was a wonderful way to see in the New Year – the weather in New York was comfortably chilly, which made for an even more enjoyable night out sans any sign of a cold snap, slush or snow. Relaxing with excellent company over a bountiful dinner against pristine, million dollar views of Manhattan was pure indulgence, as was the endless champagne sipping, midnight strolling and fireworks watching. Welcome twentytwelve!

Such a good start to 2012 was further enhanced by two fellow bloggers,  Pleasantries & Pit Bulls and lpphotosblog, who have nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award. It’s an honour to be recognised by such thoughtful and inspiring authors+photographers in this way and I thank them both for giving me this New Year’s present!

As I recently posted on this award, I’d like to dedicate this post to the two blogs as my token of thanks. It is a showcase of images from New York that I have entitled, Turning to a New Year. From the lights of Brooklyn and Manhattan on New Year’s Eve, to the perfect day that became New Year’s Day, the photos provide a night & day glimpse of how New York celebrated from another vantage point (that didn’t include a ball drop). A fellow New Yorker, I hope lpphotosblog will recognise some of the vistas.

Seeing as it is New Year’s Day and I do not have a list of resolutions to share, I’ve interspersed quotes about the present moment in response to the recent post by Pleasantries & Pit Bulls: Resolutions: Friend or Foe?

All this good fortune combined has been a fine way to start off the brand new year and I extend the very best wishes to everyone for 2012. Enjoy!

“There’s no time like the present.” ~ Proverb

Views and drinks at Bubby's in Dumbo, Brooklyn on NYE (2011).

“The meeting of two eternities, the past and future….is precisely the present moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau  

A night time stroll by the Manhattan Bridge with Williamsburg Bridge in background, and Empire State to left.

“People are always asking about the good old days.  I say, why don’t you say the good now days?” ~ Robert M. Young

...Past the Manhattan Bridge and into the bright lights of the Brooklyn Bridge.

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ~ George Orwell

Off to Brooklyn Heights to watch the fireworks. Moonlit ferry at Statue of Liberty, far left.

“Forever is composed of nows.” ~ Emily Dickinson

The decorated Empire State and Brooklyn Bridge, as seen from Brooklyn Heights.

“The living moment is everything.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Happy New Year! 12am fireworks

“No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today.”  ~ Brendan Francis

Fireworks from afar...

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though clear enough to see their beautiful colours....

“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”  ~ Cherokee Indian Proverb

... that vividly reflected off the water.

“The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Starting off the New Year with a walk over the Manhattan Bridge, New Year's Day (2012)...

“The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.” ~ L. Thomas Holdcroft

...and witnessing the effects of the past evening's festivities.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

"The sun is shining, the weather is sweet..." Bob Marley.

“Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going.” ~ Tennessee Williams

A swift capture through the bridge's grills of a sightseeing ferry -a perfect day for it.

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Never-seen-before-road-signage.

“I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough.” ~ Albert Einstein

The Manhattan Bridge walk ends in Dumbo. A mural graces a wall on Water Street.

“Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

Curbed Xmas trees outside an art gallery.

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” ~ Morris West

The view from Brooklyn Bridge Park is simply stunning.

“If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.” ~ Senegalese Proverb

Quiet contemplation - Brooklyn Bridge to left, Manhattan Bridge to right.

A jug fills drop by drop. ” ~ Buddha

Meaningful message on nearby scaffolding...

“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Families gathering by the water's edge (Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, by day).

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Buddha

"Jane's Carousel" against the Manhattan Bridge.

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

And then, a leisurely walk back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge!