Two Sexy Italians Up for Grabs

September 29, 2005

Monday morning, a group of sexy Italians appeared in Grand Central Terminal. Under the star-spangled ceiling, a pair of Lamborghini sports cars was parked next to the information booth while four Augusta Brutale motorcycles were in the passageway to Vanderbilt Hall.

The reason? The Columbus Citizens Foundation is sponsoring two raffles for the benefit of their scholarship fund: Win an MV Agusta Brutale and Win a Lamborghini. A limited number of tickets are for sale and the drawing will be held when the last ticket is sold. Price per ticket? A chance to win the motorcycle is $50; a raffle ticket for the car costs $1,000. More than twenty tickets for the Lamborghini were sold the day they became available.

Of course, upon seeing the vehicles inside the train terminal, my immediate reaction was “A sports car? But if you won it, where on earth would you park it?” Sometimes I forget that there’s world outside New York where normal, average people have things like long, winding driveways and private garages. In this part of the world, those are ultra-luxury items; even multi-million dollars homes generally don’t include parking spaces, and private garage ownershp is confined to the very, very, very rich.

Yellow Lamborghini in Grand Central Posted by Picasa

Black Lamborghini in Grand Central Posted by Picasa

Agusta Brutale in Grand Central Terminal Posted by Picasa

Win Lamborghini Gallardo Posted by Picasa

Win Augusta Brutale Posted by Picasa

  • Columbus Citizens Foundation
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Lamborghini
  • Lamborghini Club
  • MV Agusta Brutale
  • MV Agusta Brutale USA
  • Jerry Seinfeld’s private garage

  • The 31st Annual Atlantic Antic

    September 25, 2005

    For more than three decades, Brooklynites have gathered on Atlantic Avenue once a year to celebrate themselves and each other. The Atlantic Antic is Brooklyn’s biggest community event, an opportunity for the residents of several diverse neighborhoods to come out, meet and mingle.

    It is a time to learn about (and join) community groups, cultural groups and polticial groups of every stripe and respresenting every cause.

    It is a chance for kids to follow their passions. A parking lot is turned into a playground. Face-painters, balloon twisters and pony rides abound. Civic-minded kids set up stands to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina and sell lemonade to benefit childhood cancer.

    It is the time to dance. Throughout the Antic, the air is filled with music as bands perform country, rock, oldies, middle eastern, hip-hop and folk from stages and in front of bars.

    It is an opportunity to find bargains. Retailers bring their merchandise outside. Artisans and craftspeople show off their wares and make connections.

    It is the day to eat. The doors of the Avenue’s many restaurants open their doors and food vendors from elsewhere join them. Walk a few blocks and you’ll be able to sample Barbeque, British, French, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Egyptian, Greek, Palestinian, Jamaican, Hatian, Soul Food, Spanish, Mexican and a host of other cuisines. Must your food be vegan, halal, kosher, fat-free, salt-free or wheat-free? Don’t worry, there’s plenty available here, no matter what you prefer, for little or no money.

    Kids Help Kids working to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina Posted by Picasa

    The pastor of a church just off Atlantic drums up business Posted by Picasa

    Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrar and wife Posted by Picasa

    Drummers in front of Stan’s Place Posted by Picasa

    Frying crawfish cakes in front of The House of The Lord Church Posted by Picasa

    Selling lemonade for childhood cancer research Posted by Picasa

  • Atlantic Antic
  • Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association
  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand
  • Project Backpack: Kids Helping Kids
  • Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
  • The Arab-American Family Support Center
  • Kane Street Synagogue
  • Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
  • Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
  • Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development
  • Willowtown Association
  • Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment
  • Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
  • Brooklyn Public Library
  • Brooklyn Community Access Television
  • Williamsburg Music Center
  • Doll & Toy Museum of NYC
  • Magnetic Field
  • Waterfront Ale House
  • Floyd
  • Last Exit
  • Brawta Carribean Cafe
  • La Mancha
  • The Soul Spot
  • The Chip Shop
  • Musician’s General Store
  • Urban Organic
  • Hope Vet
  • Providence Day Spa

  • Banned Books Week

    September 24, 2005

    Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is an annual event held during the last week of September. Every year I forget about it until something reminds me. This year, the reminder came in the form of an e-mail from Coliseum Books:

    Greetings Book Lovers!
    Starting September 24 to October 1, booksellers, librarians, authors, readers, students and other friends of free expression will participate in Banned Books Week. It was started in 1982 by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers and the National Association of College Stores to raise awareness of censorship problems in the United States and abroad. For the past 22 years, it has remained the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Book banning is nothing new. Dante’s The Divine Comedy was burned in 1497 on religious grounds. Queen Elizabeth censored parts of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of King Richard II in 1597. Jean Jacques Rosseau’s philosophical work was placed on the Roman Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Works in the 18th century. Click here to read a list of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression’s banned and challenged Books of 2004 – 5.


    I plan to mark the week by reading and releasing Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams, which appears on the current list of banned and challenged books.

    Just a gentle reminder that those of us who are able to read and write what we wish must not take this precious freedom for granted.

    Animal Dreams Posted by Picasa

  • Banned and Challenged Books of 2004 – 5
  • American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression Banned Books Week Resources
  • American Library Association Banned Books Week Resources
  • American Library Association
  • Association of American Publishers
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • Association of College Stores
  • Barbara Kingsolver
  • Animal Dreams
  • Coliseum Books
  • Bookcrossing

  • Broadway on Broadway

    September 18, 2005

    Today the 14th edition of Broadway on Broadway was held in Times Square. This free event features some of Broadway’s best: hit numbers from nearly every musical now on the Great White Way, including performances from some shows that haven’t yet opened (The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd, In My Life) and one from a show that will close later this week (Lennon).

    The logistics are daunting, involving the closing of several of midtown Manhattan’s busiest blocks to traffic, the erection of an enormous stage and the installation of an extensive sound and video system. Television stars John Lithgow and Christina Applegate, currently appearing in, respectively, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Sweet Charity, hosted the event.

    Featured shows included All Shook Up, Avenue Q, Beauty and the Beast, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hairspray, Lennon, The Light in the Piazza, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Producers, Rent, Sweet Charity, Sweeney Todd, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Wicked.

    Representatives of various businesses strolled behind the police barriers distributing free souvenirs to the crowd, including paper fans, newspapers and CDs. The day was gorgeous, the singing was fabulous, the dancing amazing and the spectators enthralled. Darlene Love, currently appearing in Hairspray, had her first hit record (He’s a Rebel) more than 40 years ago and her soaring voice has lost none of its power. Her soulful, stirring rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” made her the brightest light on Broadway today.

    There’s a light
    In the darkness
    Though the night
    Is black as my skin
    There’s a light
    Burning bright
    Showing me the way
    But I know where I’ve been
    There’s a cry
    In the distance
    It’s a voice
    That comes from deep within
    There’s a cry
    Asking why
    I pray the answer’s up ahead
    ‘Cause I know where I’ve been

    There’s a road
    We’ve been travelin’
    Lost so many on the way
    But the riches
    Will be plenty
    Worth the price we
    Had to pay

    There’s a dream
    In the future
    There’s a struggle
    We have yet to win
    And there’s pride
    In my heart
    ‘Cause I know
    Where I’m going
    And I know where I’ve been

    Police barriers ensure no traffic on Broadway  Posted by Picasa

    Video screen displays performers onstage Posted by Picasa

    Confetti released during the finale Posted by Picasa

  • Broadway on Broadway
  • Playbill on Broadway on Broadway
  • Broadway World
  • Avenue Q
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • The Color Purple
  • Hairspray
  • The Lion King
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Sweet Charity
  • Wicked
  • Darlene Love

  • 12th Annual Bus Festival

    September 17, 2005

    In the mid-1950s, America fell in love with a television program about working class New Yorkers called The Honeymooners. Ex-vaudevillian Jackie Gleason starred as blustering Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden; 50 years later, the actor and the character he portrayed continue to occupy a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers and the New York Transit Authority. In fact, a statue showing Kramden in uniform stands outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal (New York City’s largest bus station) and a major bus depot on Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue is named in Jackie Gleason’s honor.

    Today the New York Transit Museum held its 12th annual bus festival at the foot of Borough Hall, drawing bus aficionados from far and wide. And naturally, Gleason’s presence was felt. As they walked along the avenue of historic vehicles, visitors were serenaded by the series’ familiar, brassy theme song issuing from loudspeakers. One of the highlights of the day was watching people suddenly stop, smile in recognition and happily exclaim, “Hey, they’re playing the Honeymooners’ song!”

    From the official festival announcement:
    September 17, 2005, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Join us as we celebrate a century of motorized bus service in New York City at the New York Transit Museum’s 12th Annual Bus Festival. More than a dozen vintage Museum buses, dating from 1917 to the 1980s, support vehicles, and more recent examples from the MTA fleet of buses will be on display in Columbus Park. The star attraction of this year’s festival is “Betsy,” the Museum’s newly acquired closed-top, double-decker bus (no. 1263), originally operated by the Fifth Avenue Coach Company from 1931 to 1953. Throughout the day visitors to the Festival may enjoy guided tours of the fleet, live musical entertainment, hands-on children’s workshops, story-telling, and complimentary rides around historic Brooklyn Heights on a horse-drawn omnibus. And everyone can shop for unique bus-related gifts and transit memorabilia in the Transit Museum Store tent. This event is free and open to the public.
    Vintage double-decker bus Posted by Picasa

    New York Transit Museum Bus Festival Posted by Picasa

    Parked in front of the State Supreme Court Posted by Picasa

    Bus 303 (circa 1917) Posted by Picasa

    New York Transit Museum Posted by Picasa

    Getting ready to tow a bus back to the depot Posted by Picasa

    Jackie Gleason Depot, 871 Fifth Avenue (July, 2005) Posted by Picasa

  • Transit Museum
  • Transit Museum Store
  • Museum of Broadcast Communications on The Honeymooners
  • The Honeymooners
  • The Honeymooners
  • The Honeymooners Theme Song
  • Ralph Kramden statue

  • Tribute In Light

    September 11, 2005

    Twin beams of light now mark the place where two mighty towers rose and fell. Each year, on the date of the World Trade Center’s destruction, brilliant blue towers shine into the heavens from dusk until dawn.

    I shot this photo from my rooftop.

    Tribute in light Posted by Picasa

  • Tribute In Light
  • Tribute In Light Explained

  • Four years

    September 11, 2005

    Today a memorial service was held at the site where the World Trade Center once stood. Security was, of course, very tight. A chorus of children sang. A small orchestra played. Politicans spoke. The Secretary of State read a poem by Christina Rossetti, and then the brothers and sisters of the victims read the names and spoke briefly about – and to – those lost four years ago.

    We will be twins forever.”
    I know you are watching over the kids from heaven.”
    Every day brings us closer to the time we’ll be together again.”
    You are my hero.”
    In memory of my brother, my sister-in-law and their unborn child.”
    Thank you for the joy you gave us for 27 years.”
    Our hearts are broken.”
    You were my baby brother. I took care of you all your life.
    You did so much in such a short time.”
    I’m wearing this bright pink because he loved bright colors.”
    We are all proud of you.”
    I’d give up tomorrow for just one yesterday with you.”
    Daddy hasn’t been the same since we lost you.”
    We love you and miss you every day.”
    There was so much you wanted to do and you never had a chance to do it.”
    My brother….”
    My sister….”
    Mi corazón….”

    Four times bells rang out, four times the crowd was silent:

  • 8:46 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into Tower One
  • 9:02 a.m., the time United Airlines Flight 175 dove into Tower Two
  • 9:59 a.m., the moment Tower Two fell
  • 10:28 a.m., when Tower One went down
  • Hundreds of uniformed police and fire officers wore small black ribbons imprinted with “WTC” on their chests, indicating that they served at the site on that day. Many friends and family members literally wore their hearts on their sleeves, attending the service clad in t-shirts and badges printed with the names and photos of those they lost.

    Thousands walked down the massive concrete ramp into the gravel-strewn pit that had served as the foundation of the World Trade Center. Volunteers offered long-stemmed roses to those who were descending. Chaplains stood ready to offer comfort. Red Cross workers circulated with bottles of water, cookies and packets of Kleenex.

    Two shallow pools, edged with planks of raw wood, were erected where the two towers had stood. Mourners propped photos and stuffed animals alongside the edges, dropped flowers, notes and religious symbols into the water, and inscribed notes onto the wood. A childish scrawl alongside a drawing of a dog said, “Dad, I am being good and taking care of the animals.” Nearby, a neat, precise hand wrote, “Nancy, you were the best daughter in the world. I’ll see you soon. Love, Mommy.”

    Some of those assembled scattered rose petals to the wind, or used the flowers and stones to spell out their messages of grief. Several trained therapy dogs patiently allowed shaking mourners to hug them and weep into their golden coats.

    The sky was the same shade of blue. The sun shone at the same angle. But four years later, nothing else was the same.

    The survivors’ staircase Posted by Picasa

    At the bottom of the ramp Posted by Picasa

    Red Cross worker Posted by Picasa

    1WTC stood here Posted by Picasa

    2WTC stood here Posted by Picasa

    The pool filled with roses Posted by Picasa

    Memorial t-shirts Posted by Picasa

    FDNY mourners Posted by Picasa

    Therapy dog Posted by Picasa

    We miss daddy Posted by Picasa

    Jake Posted by Picasa

    Roses on a spot where a steel beam stood Posted by Picasa

  • American Red Cross
  • Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs
  • Delta Society

  • Red Dress Running

    September 10, 2005

    A quiet, calm afternoon at City Hall Park. Suddenly, without warning, a horde of … are they men? are they women? performance artists? political activists? monks? … comes running around the corner, heading up Park Row towards Broadway. They are all dressed in red robes. Or, perhaps in … red dresses?

    I jump up to get a closer look. Yes, those are definitely dresses, all kinds of bright red dresses. For moment, my view is blocked by traffic. Three more red-clad runners appear. They stand on a traffic island, waving, screaming and drawing chalk symbols on the pavement.

    Seemingly in response to the shouting and waving, the first group of runners in red dresses turns around and comes roaring back, rounding a corner, startling drivers and pedestrians and hurrying into a dark lane at the edge of Manhattan Island. I run after them and snap a few photos.

    Later, when I get to a computer, I google “red dress” and learn about a worldwide (but previously unknown to me) subculture called the Hash House Harriers that dates back to a running group founded in Kuala Lumpur in the 1930s. What I’d witnessed was announced on the local chapter’s Web site as the:

    Red Dress R*n 2005
    Trail start will be 3:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10th at The Patriot, 110 Chambers St,, off Church. There will be a 2:00 p.m. celebrity makeover hour preceding the start of trail.

    Running up Park Row Posted by Picasa

    Turning the corner by J&R Music Posted by Picasa

    Who are they? What are they doing? Posted by Picasa

  • Booger’s Hash Primer
  • Half-Minds on Hashing
  • Hash Heritage Foundation
  • Go To The Hash
  • Harrier.Net
  • Hasher.Net
  • New York City Hash House Harriers
  • Red Dress Run 2005 flyer

  • Stretching on the Brooklyn Bridge

    September 10, 2005

    It was the perfect day for a leisurely walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. A bit past the halfway mark, near the bronze plaques commemorating the bridge’s construction, I came across members of The Silver Brown Dance Company – a small group who were rehearsing for a performance they’ll hold here tomorrow.

    Walking towards Manhattan Posted by Picasa

    Midway across the East River, looking up Posted by Picasa

    Dancers stretching Posted by Picasa

    Warming up Posted by Picasa

    Preparing for rehearsal Posted by Picasa

    Reaching up Posted by Picasa

  • Silver Brown Dance
  • Brooklyn Bridge Web Site
  • Brooklyn Bridge Web Cam
  • Brooklyn Bridge: American Icon
  • The Brooklyn Bridge in Harper’s Monthly, 1883

  • West Indian American Day Carnival

    September 6, 2005

    The Caribbean Sea is so close to New York City that it is possible to hop on a flight at JFK Airport and be on a sun-drenched beach in about two hours. This proximity, combined with the difficult political and economic conditions in many areas of the Caribbean, has led to a continuing wave of immigrants from the region. Although they may have left their tropical homes behind, many of the Caribbean immigrants brought their distinctive island cultures with them. Over time, their music, food and celebrations have become woven into the fabric of New York.

    Caribbean Carnivals have been held in the streets of New York for decades. The biggest, the West Indian American Day Carnival, is a Brooklyn Labor Day tradition. The celebration is a combination street fair and parade, and the day is colorful, loud and chaotic. Everywhere, the people and music jostle for space and air. The pulsing rhythms of reggae drown out the steel drums of calypso, which give way to the brass and drums of soca. Shouting vendors circulate through the crowd hawking t-shirts, hats, towels, flags, bracelets and whistles emblazoned with the flags of West Indian nations. Young men spread counterfeit CDs and DVDs on the sidewalks next to booths selling handicrafts, toiletries and sweetly burning incense.

    The sidewalks of the parade’s route, the Eastern Parkway, are crowded with food vendors that fill the air with tantalizing aromas. The variety is astounding – everything from slick professional restaurants with neat, tidy signs and deluxe tents to grandmothers shyly offering a cardboard box full of cookies and slices of homemade cake carefully tucked into plastic baggies to lone men drinking and cooking mysterious bits of meat on greasy hibachi grills.

    Because this was the first time I attended the Carnival, I hadn’t been aware of two significant differences between this and most parades in New York, both of which made photographing the event a challenge:
    1) At the West Indian Carnival, the crowd easily spills over the barriers, mingling and mixing with the official participants.
    2) Parade participants compete for prizes and the judging stand is set up in front of the Brooklyn Museum, at the very end of the parade. That means that participants are expected put on their biggest, most energetic performance of the day after walking in the blazing sun for hours. As a result, many of the dancers and marchers contain their energy and pass the time (and miles) eating, drinking, chatting and talking on cell phones, not launching their full-out finest performances until they are in view of the judges.

    The lesson: anyone who attends with hopes of photographing the participants in all their glory should arrive early and stand as close to the judges’ stand as possible. And wear a hat!

    Angel on stilts Posted by Picasa

    Orange plumes and green cape Posted by Picasa

    Waving the flag Posted by Picasa

    Checking the cell phone Posted by Picasa

    Two of New York’s finest Posted by Picasa

    Large food stand Posted by Picasa

    Cow heel souse Posted by Picasa

    Sweet as her home made cakes Posted by Picasa

    Surrounded by masks Posted by Picasa

    Pink ladies Posted by Picasa

    Harlequin Posted by Picasa

    Uniforms Posted by Picasa

  • Our Brooklyn: West Indian Carnival
  • West Indian American Day Carnival Association
  • WABC-TV News
  • Wikipedia entry for Caribbean

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