A Trip on the Staten Island Ferry

May 31, 2006

Let The River Run
We’re coming to the edge
Running on the water
Coming through the fog
Your sons and daughtersLet the river run
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation
Come, the New Jerusalem

Silver cities rise
The morning lights
The streets that lead them
And sirens call them on with a song

It’s asking for the taking
Trembling, shaking
Oh, my heart is aching

— Carly Simon, 1989

Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of the city of New York (the others are Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan and Queens). It is located southwest of Manhattan Island, cut off from the rest of the city by a 5.2 mile stretch of New York Bay (also known as New York Harbor).

Every day, 65,000 people travel between the Northernmost point of Staten Island and the Southern tip of Manhattan via the free-of-charge Staten Island Ferry. On a steamy hot day, the temptation of a free boat ride was irresistible.

If you begin the trip in Manhattan, as I did, you’ll board at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. Completed in 2004, it replaced a structure identical to the century-old Battery Martime Terminal that still stands next door.

Approximately 25 minutes later you’ll arrive at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, where the tourists and residents immediately part ways; the natives rush off to work, play and home, while the visitors simply turn around and catch the next ferry back to Manhattan.

Foreground, Battery Maritime Terminal (c. 1904), background, Whitehall Ferry Terminal (c. 2004) Posted by Picasa

Waiting for the ferry Posted by Picasa

Passing another ferry; background: Governor’s Island Posted by Picasa

Catching a breeze near the statue Posted by Picasa

Approaching Staten Island Posted by Picasa

Pulling into the terminal Posted by Picasa

Staten Island: hazy, hot & humid Posted by Picasa

Outside the terminal Posted by Picasa

Exterior of Terminal Posted by Picasa

Running to the Manhattan-bound boat Posted by Picasa

The Statue of Liberty Posted by Picasa

Sailing on Posted by Picasa

Manhattan coming into view Posted by Picasa

Carly Simon called it “the New Jerusalem” Posted by Picasa

Terminal on the left, Brooklyn Bridge on the right Posted by Picasa

Pulling in to the terminal Posted by Picasa

The view from inside Posted by Picasa

Inside Whitehall Terminal Posted by Picasa

  • Staten Island Ferry
  • NYC Department of Transportation
  • Carly Simon: The New Jerusalem

  • Seeing “Together” Together

    May 25, 2006

    Tonight, in the offices of a small, local non-profit group, I attended the special invitation-only screening of a new film. In middle of a large, loft-like room, screens were erected, folding chairs arranged, a projector set up, and long tables covered with movie-fan-appropriate food (popcorn, soda, candy bars).

    Friends, fans and family of the cast and crew filled the seats and watched the sort of, kind of, semi-official premiere of “Together,” a quirky romantic comedy set among geeks and artists in New York.

    From the film’s Web site: Together was written in the summer of 2005 by Jason Hammonds and Mike Murphy. Murphy is a law student and writer at the University of Michigan and he and Hammonds have collaborated solely via the internet and phone on this project. Much credit to Emmanuel Ording, Nick McIntyre and Chad Jenkins for helpful edits and insites [sic] along the way.

    The film was shot in October/November of 2005. Together takes a look inside of [the] reality and fidelity of a single man, living in NYC [and] running a business from his cramped apartment. It is a comedy with a darker side that speaks to the slightly tempestuous situations that most of us face in the course of our lives.

    Smattered with characters that are just pure funny, this tragic comedy is something that everyone can relate to. The story unravels around decisions about getting married wrapped with reflections on what brought the two main characters to where they currently sit (literally at a dinner table).

    This little film is low budget, but definitely not low talent.

    Together: On the lake Posted by Picasa

    Together: Central Park Posted by Picasa

    Together: Friends talking Posted by Picasa

  • Together
  • Together credits
  • Open Door Productions
  • Zoe Hunter
  • Alex Emanuel
  • Emily Fletcher

  • Blue Angels over Brooklyn

    May 25, 2006

    Yesterday marked the beginning of Fleet Week, when thousands of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from around the world descend on New York City in a celebration of all things nautical. This morning, the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s aerobatic flight squadron, flew over and around the city as part of the Fleet Week festivities.

    Unfortunately, their flight received little advance publicity. Many people in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn heard the jet engines overhead and, feeling as though they were in a replay of September 11, 2001, braced themselves, waiting for the sounds and smells of an enormous crash.

    As the jets continued to roar above, New Yorkers called each other, switched on the news and rushed to the rooftops to see what was happening. Once we knew that we were safe, many of us ran downstairs and grabbed cameras. These images were shot from my rooftop.

    Blue Angels over the Brooklyn Piers Posted by Picasa

    Blue Angels circling above the river Posted by Picasa

    Plane speeding overhead Posted by Picasa

    Blue Angels at the Statue of Liberty Posted by Picasa

    Blue Angels heading north Posted by Picasa

  • Blue Angels Official Web site
  • Fleet Week

  • Welcome to 7 WTC

    May 23, 2006

    The first tenant moved in yesterday, but the grand opening of the building at 7 World Trade Center was delayed until noon today. The usual dignitaries spoke, a blue ribbon was cut, cameras flashed, reporters took notes and then the real welcome began with a free concert featuring what was billed as “seven downtown artists.”

    The show started with famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who performed in front of the new fountain with a choir of neighborhood school-children, then climbed onstage and sang solo, ending with the words “God bless America.”

    He was followed by Americana-gospel hybrid Ollabelle, the legendary Lou Reed (who sang his classic Sweet Jane), folk troupe Pharaoh’s Daughter, singer-songwriter Citizen Cope (who gave me one of his CDs), singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega (who sang her hits Luka and Tom’s Diner), electronica quartet the Brazilian Girls and the jazz of Bill Ware & Vibes.

    An extra treat was provided the Soda Shop, an old-fashioned soda fountain situated on Chambers Street, a few blocks north of 7 WTC, which dished up free snacks of pure comfort New York food – egg creams, lime rickeys, pretzels, macaroni & cheese, miniature hot dogs and tiny pastel-buttercream frosted cupcakes.

    Hanging a banner on the facade Posted by Picasa

    Ronan Tynan performs Posted by Picasa

    Member of Ollabelle performing Posted by Picasa

    Lou Reed performing Posted by Picasa

    Lou Reed performs Posted by Picasa

    Pharaoh’s Daughter performs Posted by Picasa

    Citizen Cope performs Posted by Picasa

    Suzanne Vega performsPosted by Picasa

    Brazilian Girls perform Posted by Picasa

    Bill Ware performing Posted by Picasa

    Elaine Amherd of Bill Ware & Vibes Posted by Picasa

    Ollabelle signing autographs  Posted by Picasa

    Lou Reed signing an autograph Posted by Picasa

    Taking an order for an egg cream Posted by Picasa

    Fountain with Balloon Flower by Jeff Koons Posted by Picasa

  • 7 World Trade Center
  • Newsday: 7 World Trade Center Opens
  • Soda Shop
  • Ronan Tynan
  • Ollabelle
  • Lou Reed
  • Pharaoh’s Daughter
  • Citizen Cope
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Brazilian Girls
  • Bill Ware & Vibes

  • AIDS Walk New York

    May 21, 2006

    In 1986 the Gay Men’s Health Crisis held the first AIDS Walk in New York and 4,500 walkers raised $710,000. Today, the 21st AIDS Walk New York saw 47,000 walkers raise an estimated $6.47 million.

    The 10-kilometer walk began and ended at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Central Park, looping around the park and overflowing the streets. Three checkpoints along the route, staffed by volunteers, provided walkers with refreshments, toilet facilities and cheers.

    Waiting for tables at Checkpoint 3 Posted by Picasa

    Setting up trash bins at Checkpoint 3 Posted by Picasa

    Young walkers on Riverside Drive Posted by Picasa

    Offering drinks to the walkers Posted by Picasa

    Providing drinks … and more. Posted by Picasa

    Checkpoint 3 getting busy Posted by Picasa

    Walking family Posted by Picasa

    Walking in memory of a lost sister Posted by Picasa

    Walkers from Community Service Club  Posted by Picasa

    Crocheting while walking Posted by Picasa

    Walking while looking glamorous Posted by Picasa

    Young walkers reaching Checkpoint 3 Posted by Picasa

    We miss you; RIP Mom Posted by Picasa

    In loving memory of Raymond John Helm Posted by Picasa

    Walking (not hopping) bunny  Posted by Picasa

    Volunteers working at Checkpoint 3 Posted by Picasa

    A young walker Posted by Picasa

    Volunteers sweeping up at Checkpoint 3 Posted by Picasa

    The rain waited until the walk ended Posted by Picasa

  • AIDS Walk
  • AIDS Walk New York Volunteers
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis

  • New Apple Store in the Big Apple

    May 19, 2006

    Today, at 6 p.m., the Apple Store at 767 Fifth Avenue & 58th Street had its grand opening. The sole part of the store visible from the street is the entrance, a 32 foot glass cube marked only with the Apple logo. The interior, which is below ground level, can be reached via a glass elevator or a glass spiral staircase (similar to I.M. Pei’s pyramid entrance to the Louvre museum).

    One young man was so determined to be the first customer that he arrived Wednesday night and camped out in the street, underterred by three days of thunderstorms. By Thursday night he was joined by several other Apple fans and on Friday, the hordes arrived; thousands of people formed a queue that eventually went all the way around the block, across the street and up three blocks, ending somewhere around Madison Avenue and 60th Street.

    Employees flanked the entrance, applauding and high-fiveing each new customer. The first 2,500 to enter the store recieved special commemorative t-shirts packed in white boxes (similar to the packaging of Apple products) and an entry ticket to a series of drawings for free MacBooks, Apple’s newest laptops. Each MacBook slated for the giveaway was wrapped in a banner saying “We know what your next blog entry will be.”

    Celebrities attending the opening included Spike Lee, James Woods, singer John Legend, the “Fab 5” from Queer Eye for The Straight Guy, Kevin Bacon and most of the cast of Saturday Night Live.

    The store illuminated (I did not shoot this photo) Posted by Picasa

  • Apple Store Fifth Avenue
  • Gothamist: Apple Store Opening
  • Cnet: Meet Apple’s Version of Deadheads
  • Wired: Fans Storm Apple’s 5th Ave Store
  • The Louvre
  • Queer Eye For the Straight Guy
  • Saturday Night Live

  • Another Reason Why I Love Brooklyn

    May 18, 2006

    What Wine Goes with That?

    Customer: I’m not really much of a meat eater. What would you recommend?

    Waiter: Another restaurant.

    — Overheard in Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn

  • Overheard in New York
  • Peter Luger Steakhouse

  • 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

    May 7, 2006

    “Created by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, the mission of the Tribeca Film Festival is to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience. The Tribeca Film Festival was founded to celebrate New York City as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan”.

    The Tribeca Film Festival grows larger every year. This spring, for the fifth anniversary, the Festival broke all records: 274 films from 40 countries were screened at locations around Manhattan. Banners advertising the festival flapped from lampposts, posters appeared in shop windows, and information booths and free popcorn stands were erected in strategic downtown locations. For two weeks the city celebrated film, filmmakers and filmgoers.

    “The response to this year’s volunteer recruitment drive has been amazing. At present we have received our full quota of applications for our Volunteer Pool … [and] have begun a Standby List. While we can give you no assurance that you will be assigned to a volunteer shift if you are on our Standby List, you are welcome to send in an application to volunteer. Without the volunteers, the Festival could not operate.”

    While most Festival volunteers have (or wish to have) some connection with the film industry, many are simply passionate about the movies. Volunteers received t-shirts, sports bags, badges, a voucher for a free burrito and access to certain screenings – often without any information about which film they would see. The Festival ran from April 25 to May 7 and I viewed an average of one film per day.

    Air Guitar Nation Posted by Picasa

    Blood of My Brother Posted by Picasa

    Choking Man Posted by Picasa

    Dorothy Day: Don’t Call Me a Saint Posted by Picasa

    East Broadway Posted by Picasa

    Encounter Point Posted by Picasa

    Fat Girls Posted by Picasa

    I Am You Are Posted by Picasa

    Kiss Me Again Posted by Picasa

    Long Time Listener Posted by Picasa

    loudQUIETloud Posted by Picasa

    Middletown Posted by Picasa

    Mission Impossible III Posted by Picasa

    Tell Me Do You Miss Me Posted by Picasa

    The Treatment Posted by Picasa

    Wordplay Posted by Picasa

  • Air Guitar Nation
  • The Blood of My Brother: A Story of Death in Iraq
  • Choking Man
  • Dorothy Day: Don’t Call Me a Saint
  • East Broadway
  • Encounter Point
  • Fat Girls
  • I Am You Are
  • Kiss Me Again
  • Long-Time Listener
  • loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies
  • Middletown
  • Mission Impossible III
  • Tell Me Do You Miss Me
  • The Treatment
  • Wordplay
  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill

  • Pink and lavender clouds of joy

    May 1, 2006

    This weekend, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is celebrating Sakura Matsuri, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The Garden’s collection of cherry trees (200 trees, 42 species and varieties) is unmatched outside of Japan.

    Every tree in the collection is covered with lush, gorgeous cherry blossoms and the superb lilac grove is at its peak. The blooms have filled this corner of Brooklyn – and the hearts of those fortunate enough to linger here — with sweetly fragrant pink and lavender clouds of joy.

    Cascades of wisteria Posted by Picasa

    Purple lilacs Posted by Picasa

    Lilac Posted by Picasa

    Musician inside tent Posted by Picasa

    Musicians inside tent Posted by Picasa

    Buying bento boxes Posted by Picasa

    Festival goers playing “go” Posted by Picasa

    Festival goers Posted by Picasa

    Festival goers taking photos Posted by Picasa

    In the Japanese Garden Posted by Picasa

    Waterfall in the Japanese Garden Posted by Picasa

    Young festival goer  Posted by Picasa

    Festival goer Posted by Picasa

    Under a cherry blossom ceiling Posted by Picasa

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Sakura Matsuri

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