1 tr, broadway, bronx, elevated, monochrome, new york, NYC, Photography, subway, Wordless Wednesday
Posts Tagged ‘NYC’
Today, we visit the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to mark the passing today of former New York Mayor Ed Koch. The bridge, which carries New York State Route 25 from Queens to its terminus in Manhattan at 2nd Avenue, is known locally at the “59th Street Bridge.” It’s actually over 100 years old, having opened in 1909.
The Queens side connects to a tangled nexus of ramps that are mixed up with elevated subway structures. And as these structures are all aging, they become interesting photographic subjects. The bridge was named in honor of the former mayor in 2010.
Here is cute video that has been circulating today, in which Mayor Koch welcomes passersby (including the current mayor) to “my bridge”. (You need only watch the segment until about 2:00)
It’s very typical of his style, being a larger-than-life character but also a bit self-deprecating. It is quintessentially “New York”. From the New York Times obituary:
…out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.
I did have the opportunity to meet him twice on visits back from Yale to New York City, as part of the Yale Political Union. Although my colleagues seemed to treat him rather coldly, I was quite happy for the experience.
architecture, chelsea, monochrome, new york, new york city, NYC, Photography, Wordless Wednesday
Today we look back at the November 15 Ambient-Chaos night at Spectrum in New York. Spectrum is a new loft space dedicated to experimental music, and I was happy to have the opportunity to both hear new music and perform there.
The performance opened with LathanFlinAli, a trio consisting of Lathan Hardy on saxophone, Sean Ali on bass and Flin van Hemmen on drums.
Their music was an intense free-jazz style that moved between individual hits, bends and other sounds to more idiomatic and rhythmic sections. Every so often the intensity would swell to a loud hit or brief run on all three instruments.
The trio was followed by Groupthink an electronic duo featuring Darren Bergstein and Edward Yuhas. While the first performance was all about percussive hits and rhythms, this set was the complete opposite with ambient drones and thick electronic textures.
Throughout the evening, large programmable lights were pulsating, casting different color patterns on the wall and onto the stage. It probably worked best with Groupthink’s music.
It was then time to take the stage. I brought a relatively compact instrumental rig with a laptop, iPad, a garrahand (a metal drum from Argentina), a Luna NT analog synthesizer and a DSI Evolver.
The garrahand was the centerpiece of the set, both as solo tuned percussion and as a source for laptop-based processing. The texture of the overall performance was quite varied, ranging from analog noise to more melodic phrases on the percussion instruments. You can see a brief excerpt of this set in this video:
The final set featured Charity Chan on piano and Lukas Ligeti on drums. From the start, the pair’s sound was loud, aggressive and highly percussive. Chan definitely put the piano through a workout with her intense playing both on the keyboard and on the strings inside the instrument:
Ligeti was equally intense on drums, moving between loud hits and resonances.
The motion required for this music made the pair fun to watch as well as listen to.
Overall, it was a fun night of music and great way to start things out in New York. I am grateful to Robert Pepper (PAS) and Glenn Cornett
for hosting me at Spectrum, and hope to play there again.
architecture, graffiti, hipstamatic, inwood, iphone, new york, new york city, NYC, Photography, subway
architecture, brooklyn bridge, hipstamatic, new york, NYC, Photography, Wordless Wednesday
cat, graffiti, new york, NYC, Photography, spring street, Wordless Wednesday
Each trip to New York has been characterized by particular subway lines, and on this trip is was the 1 (Broadway / 7th Avenue) and A (8th Avenue Express). I usually began in the Bronx, not far from where I encountered the Bronx cat, getting on the elevated section of the 1 over Broadway.
At 168th Street, I regularly switched from the 1 to the A. This is an odd station. The tunnel for the 1 train is quite deep underground and the platform is in cavernous curved hall with old-time light fixtures.
It is an eerie place, but was the most important transfer point of this trip. The tunnel connects to the more conventional station for the A train above via elevators, the only station I know of that is arranged this way. From 168th Street southward, the A served as an efficient spine along the west side of Manhattan, connecting to Chelsea, the village, and on into Brooklyn.
This worked well, until the elevated section of the southbound 1 was closed last Monday. After weighing the options, I decided to walk the route instead. It was actually the first time I had ever walked on Broadway south of West 230th Street – in all the times I crossed the Broadway Bridge over the Harlem River, I had never done so on foot. The view from the bridge looking over towards Spuyten Duyvil and the Hudson River beyond is quite scenic.
Broadway continued south from the bridge to the Inwood section of northern Manhattan. This is another area I had never walked through before. Among the more interesting things was this mysterious looking archway behind some storefronts on Broadway near 216th Street.
I had seen it before from the elevated tracks, but now on foot I had a chance to take a closer look. It seemed to be incorporated into one of the auto-repair places, but nonetheless completely out of place from the current landscape. I posted it to Facebook and Twitter as the “mystery arch”, and a friend pointed me to some information about the arch and associated mansion. It is in fact The Seaman-Drake Arch, and its story from a grand landmark to a forgotten one is a bit sad. But it is still there, even surviving a 1970 fire, and could be restored and protected if there is enough interest. (It was still for rent as of this 2010 article).
Broadway continues south to 207th Street, where the A line begins. Before descending into the subterranean station, I saw a sign reminding us that this section of Broadway is in fact U.S. 9.. But rather than following the highway, I descend the stairs to catch the A and resume my regular journey.
The chance to explore a new neighborhood, so close to one I already knew, was an unexpected gift from what was annoying subway-line closure. I will have to come back to see more detail sometime (when it is warmer).
After the Issue Project Room show in Brooklyn last Saturday, I headed north to the Bronx. Out on the street in Riverdale in the Bronx, I came across this cat:
The cat was a bit shy, keeping a bit of distance, but not running away either. It eventually went up one driveway.
It seemed to be a pet cat, not a stray, and after several entreaties came up to me, even head-butting my hand. It is always a treat to encounter cats when out and about.
Weekend Cat Blogging Thanksgiving Edition is hosted by Jules and Vincent over at Judi’s Mind Over Matter.
The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this Sunday by Nikita and Elvira at Meowsings of an Opinionated Pussycat.
And the Friday Ark is hosted by the modulator.
As part of my wanderings around New York this past week, I had the opportunity to hear an evening of experimental music produced by Issue Project Room. The concert, at the Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn, featured two ensembles that were quite different in terms of music and instrumentation.
The evening began with a performance by the Brooklyn-based Ashcan Orchestra. The group is a project of composer p. spadine and involved a variety of colorful toy instruments.
Through the set of four pieces, the members of the ensemble rotated around the instruments, beginning with a piece for an ensemble of toy bells. The bells were actually quite sonorous, and one would be hard pressed to recognize this as a piece performed with toy instruments if only listening and not observing the bright colors. The colors were nonetheless an important part of the presentation and even part of the musical score.
As the performers rotated, the orchestration and timbres became more varied and complex, including more drums and other louder instruments, giving the impression martial music (ableit martial music with toys). In the end, however, they rotated back to the bells for one final piece. The music and presentation was a lot of fun, and I thought they could have easily done another piece. But the set as it was had a good structure. It was nice to hear the ensembles treatments of traditional harmony and ideas reminiscent of early-twentieth century music.
The second half the concert featured a collaboration of Mind Over Mirrors, the project of resident artist Jaime Fennelly, and the ensemble Zelienople. Fenelly’s work involves the use of harmoniums together with electronics. The combination was impressive to look at.
At least one member of Zelienople also used a combination of harmonium and electronics, while others used guitars and other instruments to produce music similar to droning or “space rock” that we have discussed on this site before.
[Mind Over Mirrors and Zelienople.]
In this case, the music was performed as a soundtrack to Gone, a film by Donald Prokop. The film appeared to be winter suburban scenes familiar to any of us who grew up around New York City, with bare trees, ranch houses, and white snow. A lone figure occasionally appeared, walking or entering and exiting a car, and occasionally the scenes dissolved into wintery abstract color contours. Throughout, the music remained based on long drones, but veered between moderate pads and loud dramatic flourishes. The structure of the music and the film both added to a sense of listlessness and disorientation – this was an experience to simply lose oneself in.
Overall it was a strong evening of music, and the performance was well attended. I hope that I can continue to hear programs from Issue Project Room during my visits to New York.