They Call it Little India

August 31, 2006

The air is heady with the fragrance of cardamom, cumin, roses and incense. The markets are crowded with women clad in flowing saris and men wearing caftans and intricately-wound turbans. Shop windows display glittering gold jewelry, statues of Krishna and lacquered sitars. Sidewalk vendors proffer bunches of fresh herbs, sticky sweets and copies of the Koran.

This is Jackson Heights, also known as Little India. It has been said that this section of Queens is not really like Bombay (or even Mumbai) because there are no cows wandering the streets. But Little India certainly isn’t like anyplace else in the United States.

This is the place to go for books, newspapers, CDs and videos in Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati. Catch the latest releases from Bollywood at the Eagle Cinema. Bang on a tabla, have a salwar kameez made to measure, fill your arms with colorful glass bangles, get a mehndi tattoo, drop a coin in a beggar’s cup, have your eyebrows threaded or your handlebar moustache groomed.

The grocery stores and pushcarts overflow with the spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Intrigued by curry leaves, purple yams and ridge gourds but unsure what to do with them? Just ask (you’ll be inundated with “secret” family recipes) or leave the food in the hands of the professionals and fill yourself — cheaply and deliciously — at the local sweets shops and restaurants.

Fresh Pan, Kulfi Posted by Picasa

Outside a toy shop Posted by Picasa

Bejeweled necklace Posted by Picasa

Gold bracelet Posted by Picasa

Gilded statues of Hindu gods Posted by Picasa

India Sari Palace Posted by Picasa

Selling saris Posted by Picasa

Silk on display Posted by Picasa

Bolts of silk in a sari shop Posted by Picasa

Stacks of glass bangles Posted by Picasa

Vegetables piled on a pushcart Posted by Picasa

Grocers with cases of mangos Posted by Picasa

Okra and karela (bitter melon) Posted by Picasa

Methi and palak Posted by Picasa

Tiny eggplant Posted by Picasa

Cloth bags of rice Posted by Picasa

Delhi Palace Sweets Posted by Picasa

Sweets with cherries Posted by Picasa

Pistachio burfi with silver foil Posted by Picasa

The Eagle Cinema Posted by Picasa

  • Citysearch: Jackson Heights
  • Jackson Heights NYC
  • Time Out New York: 74th and Broadway
  • Jackson Diner

  • A Fence Full of Flowers

    August 27, 2006

    Strolling through Dumbo one Sunday, I came across a wooden construction barrier painted with white flowers and took a few pictures. About a month later the New York Times published an article telling the story of this fence, the construction workers laboring behind it and Pasqualina Azzarello, the artist who made transformed bare boards into a garden down under the Manhattan bridge overpass.

    At the corner of York and Jay Streets  Posted by Picasa

    What does humility require? Posted by Picasa

    Storage box Posted by Picasa

    Thank you Posted by Picasa

    Acera cerrada use el otro lado Posted by Picasa

    Th-an-ky-ou Posted by Picasa

  • New York Times
  • Pasqualina Azzarello’s Little Red Studio
  • New York Professional Outreach Program: Pasqualina Azzarello

  • Atlantic Yards Ruckus

    August 23, 2006

    In the decade or so since big developers “discovered” Brooklyn, sections of our community have changed radically. Right now, one company’s building plans are generating the biggest political ruckus seen here in decades.

    Forest City Ratner Companies wants to erect Atlantic Yards, a 22 acre complex including offices, apartments and a professional basketball arena. If constructed, the $4.2 billion Frank Gehry-designed project will add 16 highrises and 7,000 units of housing to what is now an area of lowrises and brownstones.

    It is a massive project mired in massive controversy. Tonight a public hearing on Altantic Yards was held at the New York City College of Technology in Downtown Brooklyn. Thousands of supporters and protesters arrived, trying to crowd into a room that held only 880 people. At one point, someone in the audience cried out that everyone was talking and no one was listening to each other. The speaker at the dais responded, “Welcome to New York City politics.”

    Member of the carpenter’s union waits outside Posted by Picasa

    The auditorium was packed Posted by Picasa

    Standing room only Posted by Picasa

    Document inspection Posted by Picasa

  • Forest City Ratner Companies
  • Atlantic Yards
  • Develop Don’t Destroy
  • Atlantic Yards Report
  • No Land Grab
  • Fans For Fair Play
  • New York Magazine: Mr. Ratner’s Neighborhood
  • New York Times: Blight, Like Beauty
  • New York Times: Raucous Meeting on Atlantic Yards

  • Borough Park: Part Deux

    August 22, 2006

    Borough Park is a neighborhood largely shaped and defined by its large population of Hassidic Jews. Last spring I visited on a Friday afternoon when the area’s businesses shut down to prepare for Shabbos, the Jewish Sabbath (see Erev Shabbos in Borough Park).

    In sharp contrast to the stillness and quiet found here at Shabbos, during the business week Borough Park is bustling. The busiest street, 13th Avenue, is lined with hundreds of mom-and-pop shops and restaurants. It doesn’t take many mothers pushing strollers to fill the aisles of these small stores, so on a sunny day most of the shopkeepers move racks, tables and boxes of merchandise outdoors. Their sidewalk displays serve to both promote the business and make more room inside. Everything from earrings to suitcases to toys can be purchased curb-side, giving the district the air of a gigantic stoop sale.

    The prices aren’t far above those of a stoop sale, either. While some stores cater to the needs the religious community, dozens of places offer deep discounts on designer and name-brand goods, particularly women and children’s shoes and clothing. Buy a few items and be prepared to be offered a discount — or just ask for one. In addition to shopping, Borough Park is a great place to practice your bargaining skills.

    Kosher pizza guys Posted by Picasa

    Strolling near 48th Street Posted by Picasa

    Three mommies on 13th Avenue Posted by Picasa

    Yakub’s Shoe Repair Posted by Picasa

    S&W Ladies Wear Posted by Picasa

    At the corner of 13th Avenue and 44th Street Posted by Picasa

    Stationery – Cigars Posted by Picasa

    Klein’s real kosher ice cream truck Posted by Picasa

    Newsstand on 13th Avenue Posted by Picasa

    Rack of dresses displayed on sidewalk Posted by Picasa

    Towels for sale Posted by Picasa

    Old man on 39th Street Posted by Picasa

    Mother and daughter running errands Posted by Picasa

    Sign in window of butcher store Posted by Picasa

    Join us for dinner. Gas is on us. Posted by Picasa

  • Wikipedia: Borough Park
  • Village Voice: Close-Up on Borough Park
  • Boychiks in the Hood: Travels in the Hasidic Underground
  • Etude: At Work in the Fields of the Lord
  • Baal Shem Tov Foundation

  • Garden of Delights, Part Two: Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park

    August 13, 2006

    More from the Garden of Delights show, these sculptures are in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. George Spencer’s Gumball Machine actually works; insert two quarters, turn the lever and you’ll receive a plastic dome containing a tiny clay building. Hurry over to the park and you, too, can own an authentic Brooklyn brownstone for only 50¢.

    Nielson Amon & Ruby Levesque: Shark Tooth Auxesis Posted by Picasa

    George Spencer: Gumball Machine (view 1) Posted by Picasa

    George Spencer:Gumball Machine (view 2) Posted by Picasa

    Kevin Barrett: Slingshot Posted by Picasa

    Karen McCoy: Sensory Station Posted by Picasa

    Cynthia Karasek: Cedars Posted by Picasa

    Matt Johnson: Gluttony Posted by Picasa

    Matt Johnson: Greed Posted by Picasa

    Richard Brachman: Power Totem Posted by Picasa

    Stephanie Bloom: Before And After Posted by Picasa

    Antoinette Schultze: Earth Shine Posted by Picasa

    Antoinette Schultze: Earth Shine (close-up) Posted by Picasa

    William Zingaro: Landscape #12 Posted by Picasa

    Bill Berry: Too 2 (view 1) Posted by Picasa

    Bill Berry: Too 2 (view 2) Posted by Picasa

    Steve Dolbin: False Oracle Posted by Picasa

    Ursula Clark: Stick Dome Posted by Picasa

    Ursula Clark: Stick Dome (close-up 1) Posted by Picasa

    Ursula Clark: Stick Dome (close-up 2) Posted by Picasa

    Lori Nozick: Genesis Posted by Picasa

    Bernard Klevickas: Waveforms Posted by Picasa

    Charon Luebbers: Bird Flew (view 1) Posted by Picasa

    Charon Luebbers: Bird Flew (view 2) Posted by Picasa

    Charon Luebbers: Bird Flew (view 3) Posted by Picasa

    Julia Ousley: Skyline Posted by Picasa

    Michael Poast: Sound Structure Posted by Picasa

    Miggy Buck: David Posted by Picasa

  • Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition
  • Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park

  • Garden of Delights, Part One: Brooklyn Bridge Park

    August 13, 2006

    Garden of Delights is the 24th annual outdoor sculpture show organized by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. About 25 artists from around the country contributed work that will remain on display in two adjoining public parks until October 13. These sculptures are in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    The instructions on the back of Rodger Stevens’ Public Sculpture and You say:
    1) Lift a door
    2) Put your face in there
    3) Get your friend to take a picture
    4) Come back anytime

    Doug Makemson: Royal Heron Posted by Picasa

    Naomi Teppich: Terra Stela Posted by Picasa

    Alexandra Limpert: Untitled (View 1) Posted by Picasa

    Alexandra Limpert: Untitled (View 2) Posted by Picasa

    Jack Howard-Potter: Fat Lady Posted by Picasa

    Rodger Stevens: Public Sculpture and You (back) Posted by Picasa

    Rodger Stevens: Public Sculpture and You (front) Posted by Picasa

    Allan Cyprys: Skyscraper the Father Posted by Picasa

    Thea Lanzisero: Starlight (view 1)  Posted by Picasa

    Thea Lanzisero: Starlight (view 2) Posted by Picasa

    Courtney Kessel: Il Nido Posted by Picasa

    Tyrome Tripoli: Travels With the Kitchen Sink Posted by Picasa

  • Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition
  • Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park

  • Middle Age Crazy

    August 12, 2006

    High atop a hill at the northern tip of Manhattan Island stands the Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art of the middle ages. Constructed in the early 20th century, the fortress-like building was inspired by medieval structures. The setting, structure and core of the collection were gifts from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to the people of New York.

    This building incorporates chapels, halls, rooms and architectural elements from Europe. The ancient stone portals, windows, columns and fountains allow many of the items on display to be shown in settings similar to their original situations. Visitors don’t simply view a wooden crucifix hanging against a white gallery wall; they see it displayed in a stone chapel, illuminated by sunbeams streaming through stained glass windows.

    The museum also features three enclosed gardens, including an herb garden containing more than 250 species that were grown during the Middle Ages. The plants, grown in beds and large pots, are grouped by their intended use: household, medicinal, aromatic, kitchen and seasoning, salads and vegetables, plants used by artists, magic plants, those associated with love and marriage.

    The most famous work in the Cloisters is the Unicorn Tapestries, a series of Belgian textiles portraying a party of nobles hunting and capturing the mythical creature. The collection also includes stained-glass windows, metalwork, sculpture, painting, liturgical miniatures, enamels, jewelry and of course, cloisters.

    Main entrance Posted by Picasa

    Lion wall fountain Posted by Picasa

    Doorway to a courtyard Posted by Picasa

    Butterfly in herb garden Posted by Picasa

    Dragon fresco Posted by Picasa

    Lion fresco Posted by Picasa

    Carved ivory Posted by Picasa

    Miniature ivory carving Posted by Picasa

    Cross shadow Posted by Picasa

    Red columns Posted by Picasa

    The Unicorn is Found Posted by Picasa

    The Unicorn Leaps Out of the Stream Posted by Picasa

    The Unicorn at Bay Posted by Picasa

    The Start of the Hunt Posted by Picasa

    The Unicorn in Captivity Posted by Picasa

    Window in gothic hall Posted by Picasa

    Swabian stained glass panel of groom Posted by Picasa

    Swabian stained glass panel of bride Posted by Picasa

    A seat in the shade Posted by Picasa

    Bonnefort Cloister on lower level Posted by Picasa

    Espaliered pear tree Posted by Picasa

    Exterior at closing time Posted by Picasa

  • The Cloisters
  • Introduction to the Cloisters
  • The Unicorn Tapestries
  • The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture
  • Middle Age Crazy

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