United Colours of Dumbo, Brooklyn ~ Capture the Colour

I’m a huge fan of colour. Even though my outfits are black dominant, I’m instinctively drawn to bright hues. A splash of pink on a yellow wall, a dumpster decorated in pink and green graffiti against a white painted wall, a pastel yellow-gold sunset against a light blue sky overhead – these are just some of the colours I noticed today. A Taste of Travel and WITH A HOPE nominated me to enter Capture the Colour PhotoBlogging Travel Competition: “…publish a blog post with a photo that captures the following 5 colours – Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red. Tell us where the photo was taken… what you could see, smell, hear, feel and perhaps a witty caption about that photo or trip in general. When you’ve finished writing your post, be sure to nominate 5 other bloggers to take part in Capture the Colour by listing their website…” Instead of going through my archives, I decided to challenge myself. My 35 mm and I, with husband in tow, braved the thunderstorms yesterday. I took  5 photos to showcase the colours of one of my favourite places in Brooklyn – DUMBO. BLUE The looming thunder clouds on a humid summer’s day provided such a contrast to both the demin blue in this street art installation, and the dirty blue of the Manhattan Bridge. DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. This neighbourhood is one of the priciest zip codes in Manhattan. RED You’ll notice an abundance of red when you’re looking for it. At least I did. From red fire hydrants, and red backed STOP signs, to bright red traffic lights, and scribbled red graffiti. DUMBO is a former hub of industry and many of its buildings are made of brick. By the Brooklyn Bridge stands the shell of a 25,000 square foot former tobacco warehouse. 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. It’s red brick frames an enviable view. YELLOW Each colour should be an element of the photograph and not dominate the whole scene. I am looking for something beyond the clichés like a red sunset, blue sky or yellow flowers. For me originality will always take precedence over a pretty photograph.” Judge, PlanetD Unlike red, yellow was a harder colour to come by. Apart from spotting a yellow flower, this advertising campaign, covering scaffolding around a construction site, caught my eye. The yellow in this part of the image series stood out. Is taking a photo of a photo considered cliché? GREEN Noticing a Vespa in Brooklyn is becoming as frequent as spotting a yellow cab in Manhattan. Well, almost! This photo may as well have been taken in Rome; the Vespa looks vintage with a bit of comic appeal stuck to its face.


“I love photos that tell a story.  I want something that could have only been taken by you, in that moment, in that way.  I love it when a photo captures a place so well that even if I’ve been there before, I think to myself, wow, I have to go there.” Judge, Christine Gilbert

Well Christine, if you haven’t been to DUMBO, I highly recommend it. There’s no better spot to view Manhattan from the East River.

The end date for this contest is August 29, and hoping there’s enough time for these bloggers to turn around their submissions, I nominate:


 I’monnet Photo

Tricia A. Mitchell


Pearls & Prose

Spirited Street Art ~ Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Along a quiet stretch of N 10th Street in Williamsburg, between Roebling St and Union Ave, stands a bottle company.

Over a week ago, I noticed street artists painting different works along the factory’s side wall.

I’m always inspired by the dedication of streets artists given the impermanence of their medium. It was only a couple of days ago that I’d spotted the blemish of blue graffiti disrupting the red background on the work below. The next day, it was painted over and looked new again. (You might notice the damage to the left of the left wing)

Street artist, Gilf!, who painted the work above, coordinated a group of artists to paint these quirky works.

“I would like to affect major social and environmental change… Life is too short and the world too delicate to ignore the serious challenges we face as a global society,” she said earlier this year.*

Gilf! went to art school, focused on interior design, but turned to street art in 2008 as response to “being completely outraged by what was happening in the world.”

“I’m motived by all the apathetic, uninspired people. I want them to care. That’s why my work is on the street, approachable, and easy to understand.”

About the collection of works on N 10th street, she told Brooklyn Street Art recently: “It’s so rewarding to know that we’re positively influencing the community by doing what we love.”

Above: art by Veng (RWK).

Icy and Sot, from Iran, contributed the “Dream” work, above -an international dose of whimsy to an eclectic collection.

Above: art by Joe lurato

Below: art by Sophia Maldonado (enlarge the photo to see its details)

I mentioned in a previous post  that Howard Truman’s quote speaks to how I describe Williamsburg, personified:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

This outdoor art exhibition, and the artists behind the works, is a grand example of that.

Above: art by Cake.

It’s my hope that this community spirit will be strong enough survive the neighborhood’s rapid ascent.

banner image includes art by LNY (left) and Joe Iuarto (right)

*It’s all Gilf | Rag & Bone Official Blog.

Bushwick from 35mm* ~ Brooklyn, NYC

I haven’t picked up a hard copy of a NYC guidebook in years, so am not sure if Bushwick has been listed as a ‘hood to visit in Brooklyn. If not, it most certainly will be (or should be).

My husband and I lived in Bushwick 4 years ago, and while its skyline hasn’t changed, it’s definitely coming into its own. The neighbourhood is located about a 40 minute walk from the heart of Williamsburg, or a short ride on the L line, where the action takes place steps away from the Morgan St subway stop. There’s no view of Manhattan from here, there’s no cool breeze from the East River; the inland activity pretty much centres around three streets: Bogart, Moore and Varet.

An industrial area made up of still functioning factories, the community is young, art loving, fedora wearing, and low key. It’s not unusual to see a Porsche parked near an 18 wheeler truck, alongside a row of bikes, at the curb of one of the many commercial-turned-residential loft buildings. The neighbourhood made a name for itself largely because of the appeal of Roberta’s Pizza restaurant, which I wrote about here: Bushwick, Brooklyn – the new frontier? Side note: wow, the photos in that ‘ol post…

“When we first opened here, there was nothing around,” said Anthony Falco, the director of mobile operations for Roberta’s Pizza. “It’s been great to watch the whole area grow…”**

Mario Batali, famed Italian chef, lists it as a favourite restaurant in Brooklyn; the New York Times has given it rave reviews. In the vicinity of Roberta’s, there’s a wine store, a couple cafes, a Natural Foods store, another restaurant, and vintage shopping – streetside.

The gritty streets are decorated with street art, and while the hordes of tourists haven’t made it this far (yet), it is possible to stay at recently opened New York Loft Hostel.

The neighbourhood is still evolving, and though my husband mentioned that he wouldn’t mind moving back (years ago, he knew then, the area was on the ‘brink’), I feel that I’ve outgrown Bushwick. Or maybe Bushwick has outgrown me. But I still like to return, reminisce, and see what’s changed.

This weekend, we walked in on Roberta’s Pizza Block Party. No invite required. Enjoy the photos!

*NB: All photos taken with my new 35mm 1.8 Nikon lens. I’ve found that it’s a matter of using the legs as zoom, and am still figuring out best aperture to use for different compositions.

Below: an adjoining taco shack by Roberta’s, further down from the main restaurant

Below: chicken taco. Behind it, one with pork topping.


A Sunday in West-Ho-Burg ~ NYC

Summer in New York.

It’s when life takes on a slower pace. Manhattan wakes up later. On Sundays, the streets are uncomplicated and easy to navigate given the lack of foot and car traffic. This is in large part due to the island’s residents escaping the heat of the concrete in favour of shorelines in far-flung Jersey Shore, Rockaway Beach, or The Hamptons.

Summer – a perfect time to appreciate the city. Starting with breakfast in the West Village, meandering in the quieter and more industrial parts of Soho, then cooling down in my home ‘hood of Williamsburg. This is what Sundays are all about.

Sunday, summery Sunday. My pictorial of New York, today. Enjoy!

Caffe Reggio on MacDougal Street. An institution since 1927 – apparently the first cafe in the US to serve a cappuccino.

Sidewalk breakfast dining…

Tableside cab spotting, pop art style

Traditional is always good when it comes to breakfast

Dave Chappelle, Gary Shandling, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Robin Williams… they’ve all got this place in common.

Not a bead of sweat in sight.

Waiting for the late rising brunchers.

Sunday news, sidewalk style. By the way, Alec Baldwin got married.

The streets of Soho decorated with pasteups and fire escapes.

One World Trade Centre – its construction is visible from Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Central Park, Manhattan. Seen here from Soho, at 1,776 feet, it will be America’s tallest building.

Graffiti isn’t exclusive to Manhattan’s walls.

A true delight in summer: blend a few cups of watermelon, add a squeeze of lime… maybe a splash of vodka. This is the season’s easiest cocktail to make – effortless, and one of the most delicious!

Historical sticker street art.

My husband took this photo. He thinks it’s a cool angled shot – I feel it is a little misaligned. What do you think?

Tourist shops of New York can be so rude sometimes, but I love them anyway. Only NYC could get away with such shenanigans.


The coffee bean aroma of the Porto Rico Importing Company can be smelt stores away.

I wish I lived on Minetta Lane. It is perhaps NYC’s quietest street – but so central!

What? Exactly.

Teary street art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

July 1: Happy Canada Day….

The (above) swimwear and briefs brought to you courtesy of:

Attacked by a friendly pet.

See, very friendly, pawed out, and perhaps a little thirsty.

The Empire State Building, freeze framed by Strawberry, Ginger, and Rhubarb pops.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. This is what life is all about.

Summer Solstice, Part 2 ~ New York City

I often set time limits for myself to: a) get something done, and b) give the activity some symbolic meaning.

Yesterday, I was so in the zone to have my Summer Solstice post published at the official start of summer – 7.08 pm NY time, on the dot – that I overlooked some photos that may have given more context to the day. Moral of the story: don’t compile a post in the last minute. Side benefit: the start of summer is immortalised in my first post.

I’m calling this set of images Summer Solstice, Part 2 (as opposed to Take 2). Enjoy!

NB: Today’s temps were higher than yesterday’s. The heat continues.

PS: Don’t be shy – click on the images to enlarge as they look SO MUCH better!

PART 2 starts now

~ Penn Station area NYC: this building always has rotating painted advertisements.

Times Square NYPD precinct house neon follows the rules in this part of NYC. Yes, Times Square is the only zone where tenants are required to display bright signs.

The site of the ball drop ever New Years Eve – it all started back on December 31, 1907…

Above the Good Morning America studios for the Solstice Mind Over Madness event. Taxis and yogis, side by side.

Next to a Times Square billboard. This is the view at the top.

Everyday life soldiers on at The Crossroads of the World.

Scaffolding and pretzel stands – a regular sight in NYC. Under 97F rays, I was thankful for their shade. I didn’t have the appetite for a hot salty pretzel though…

A parking garage decked out in Broadway regalia.

Back in Chinatown…

More fans

Touristy Mott Street.

Red strings and jade pendants.

Celebrity, spotted: Anthony Bourdain

Simple signs and umbrellas on a side street.

Roast duck for dinner from a local supermarket.

Flags, united.

Midday Scenes ~ Brooklyn, NY

I read somewhere that for a photographer, 11am until 3pm is classified as ‘pool time.’

While others may be reclining back with cocktail in hand, I broke the rules (again) and snapped with the point ‘n shoot under the rays of the midday sun… In my opinion, since nothing is permanent in Williamsburg, every hour has to be a good time to photograph.

This is Saturday midday in the ‘hood. Enjoy!

PS. Personal note: Happy Birthday to my dad and my brother. Technically, both of your birthdays overlap at this time based on Aussie and NYC time zones. Dad: 16th; Alex: 17th.

Downtown LA Scenes ~ California

Oh LA, why do you keep trying to woo me back?

I know, I know… You’ve got the glorious Pacific Ocean. I agree, there’s really nothing better than starting the day with a glimpse of its sparkling blue, and inhaling its salty air. I hear you: the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most awe inspiring drives as you head towards a tucked away Malibu. But then, you’ve got the idyllic Hollywood Hills; I would love to live in one of their Neutra designed homes, or anything modernist architecture for that matter.

In all honesty, I am sold on living in one of the beach fringing neighbourhoods – Venice Beach, or Santa Monica; in a cute little shack and a garden brimming with bougainvillea, red hibiscus, and some roses, too.

On the other hand, a little further inland, there’s that Brooklyn-esque vibe of your downtown area. I’ve been reading about its revival; less Skid Row, more loft and (unfortunately) condo. When I visited, about 2 months ago, the Arts District was alive: its graffiti-decorated streets fringed with manufacturing and lofted warehouses, punctuated by railway tracks of an industrial past. I loved the bustling dining culture with lively spots including Wurstkuche, Church & State, and an outpost of Urth Caffe. Simply say, “Urth’s green tea matcha soy milk latte,” and I’m there.

I’m steps closer to being wooed back, LA. Here’s one reason: a glimpse into the Arts District, and the area around Hewitt Street. Enjoy!

Molino Street Lofts

Line at Wurstkuche

Urth Caffe

Financial District in the background