Uptown Number 2 Subway, Upper West Side, New York

Uptown Number 2 Subway train, Upper West Side, New York. May 2015

Uptown Number 2 Subway train, Upper West Side, New York. May 2015

Uptown number 2 Subway train, Upper West Side, New York. One of a series of images of everyday life in the City.

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No Smoke Without Firemen

Car fire, Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street, New York.

Car fire, Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street, New York. June 2015

In the old days when your car caught on fire at least there was a respectable looking skeleton. Today, it seems the thing more or less melts with everything dripping onto the road. I heard the kerfuffle when the this one went up in flames, saw the fireball, grabbed my camera and ran downstairs at least to catch the mopping-up.

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Bug-Eyed

Uptown number 1 train, 14th Street, Manhattan.

Uptown number 1 train, 14th Street, Manhattan. June 2010

They’re getting them younger and younger with digital devices. Seen on the Uptown number 1 train drawing out of the 13th Street Station.

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Chritopher Street Subway Station, New York

Christopher Street Subway Station, New York

Christopher Street Subway Station, New York. May 2015

Uptown platform, Christopher Street subway station, New York. One of a series of images of everyday life in the City.

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M5 Bus at 65th street and 5th Avenue

M5 bus on Fifth Avenue, heading downtown at 65th Street, New York

M5 bus on Fifth Avenue, heading downtown at 65th Street, New York. November 2011

M5 bus on Fifth Avenue, heading downtown at 65th Street, New York. One of a series of images of everyday life in the City.

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Bloomberg’s Folly

Rafael Viñoly's tower at 432 Park Avenue, New York, seen from Central Park

Rafael Viñoly’s tower at 432 Park Avenue, New York, seen from Central Park. April 2015

If you have 100 million or so, you may be able to bid for New York’s current number one trophy penthouse, nearing completion at at the top of architect Rafael Viñoly’s 432 Park Avenue. From here you can look straight downtown, over the top of the Empire State building the spire of which tops out some 150 feet below, to see how your money is doing on Wall Street. You will even be 28 feet higher than the top of the new Freedom Tower, or whatever it is currently called, on the old World Trade Center site. And this is just the first of a series of needles for the uber-wealthy, made possible by our previous Mayor’s administration, going up just beyond the south end of Central Park leading to concerns that over-shadowing will cause changes in the Park’s ecosystems. Needles are also what are probably paying for some of these helicopter-view apartments, many to be left vacant just as convenient places to dispose of hush-hush cash.

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Spring in New York, Sort Of

Cherry Blossom, West 92nd Street, Manhattan, New York

Cherry Blossom, West 92nd Street, Manhattan, New York

The cherry blossom would indicate that spring has finally arrived. The fact that it was close to freezing overnight and there were snowflakes yesterday would indicate that it hasn’t. Anyway, for a few days now the streets of New York will be a brilliant contrast between budding leaves, flowers, and our wonderful old cruddy apartment buildings.

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Musical Cars

Alternate Side Parking, Upper West Side, New York

Alternate Side Parking, Upper West Side, New York

In order to make life more exciting, the New York Department of Transportation (DOT) has developed a game for car owners called Alternate Side Parking. Based on Musical Chairs it starts with everyone going and sitting in their cars for two hours a couple of mornings a week. At an unannounced time the City springs a surprise attack by a large device with spinning brushes which picks up all the goo in the street and sprays it on passing pedestrians. When “The Machine” as it is called, approaches, everyone has to scatter while at the same time the DOT arranges for an extra car or two to arrive to compete for the places and for several taxis and trucks to attempt to pass through the block. This results in abundant fun as everyone fights to reverse back into their place again resulting in one or two unlucky individuals getting pushed out and having to go and find a spot in New Jersey. As can be seen here, looking down from our apartment, the sidewalks are also included in the game, leaving a very confused pedestrian wondering whether he will ever live to tell about it.

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Wild Bill Drucker

Wild Bill Drucker, Rosendale, New York

Wild Bill Drucker, Rosendale, New York

This weekend, between discovering that the taxi that was supposed to pick us up and take us to our house in the hills got the wrong date, and discovering when we finally got there that the water wasn’t working and there was a decaying cat on our doorstep, we got to wait a while in the bus station car park. This is not the most fascinating place to get stranded, but on this occasion we were wonderfully entertained for half an hour by local entertainer Wild Bill Drucker who just happened to be there picking away on his five-string banjo. In a deserted car park this was eerily perfect. If you ever want to make a feature film of the Rosendale bus stop car park, this is definitely the guy for the soundtrack.

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Onion Square

Union Square Market, New York

Union Square Market, New York

Union Square Market has been an enormous success ever since it began in a small way back in 1976, although in those days the market was tiny and the square was yet another needle park. We moved our office down there in 1983, and the area slowly went from “Designers could afford it” to become “Silicon Alley” as it was known in the Nineties. By 2008, with the influx of venture capitalist supported hi-tech businesses we could no longer afford the rents and reluctantly, after 25 years, moved uptown. Nevertheless, I usually sail down there when I can, today for some fresh Long-Island clams, although, not being Welsh, I passed on the leeks.

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