Sofia? Sophia? Sofia?

August 13, 2012

This handwritten sign was posted on the side of a bus shelter in Coney Island.

I can’t help wondering whether the author taped it next to the model’s face because he thought she resembled the woman he wanted to find.

I haven’t yet decided whether Joe’s note is sweet and romantic or stalker-ish and creepy. Or both.

Sofia? Sophia? Sofia — Sophia — Sofia

This is Joe. Good looking Italian U met on July !!4th!! on the “D” train in Coney Island  — U are Spanish very beautiful  — 30, 125 lbs  —  long brown hair  — U gave me your ph. number and I lost my phone the next day!! I looked 4 U that weekend by the subway entrance but there were to many people  — anyone know a beautiful Spanish Sofia I described  —  help bring us together. Joe 374-816-3984 Thanx




Walk This Way

January 21, 2010

Two large arrows, each made of four overlapping yellowish triangles, are mounted on a corrugated metal wall at the Cypress Hills subway station in Brooklyn. The arrows seem to point towards a nearby stairway; however, there are no arrows directing riders to a similar exit at the opposite end of the platform.

The arrows have been a target for vandals

Riders follow the arrows to a staircase leading to the street

Mysteries of Manhattan: The Painted Car

November 28, 2009

It was parked at the corner of Second Avenue and 27th Street. A big old Ford LTD Crown Victoria with taped up windows, dented fenders, smashed tail lights and rusted chrome. But really, on this vehicle, who would notice a few flaws?

Thickly covered with images, objects and phrases garnered from sports, politics, pop culture and fantasy, this is a car with a message. Or, perhaps, several messages. But what is it trying to tell us? Who created it? And why did he or she decide to paint a car rather than a wall or a canvas?

I have no idea. Guess I’ll just have to categorize it as another of Manhattan’s many mysteries.

Left front corner


Right side

Gas tank cover


Religious symbols and phrases

Rear door

Driver’s side window

Broken tail light

Rear window


Rooftop collage

Mysteries of Manhattan: Phon Baseb

August 15, 2008

This sign was displayed on the sidewalk in front of a deli on 14th Street. It seems like the store is selling something called phon baseb. Sounds as though it might be a tasty Vietnamese dish, but … perhaps not. Whatever phon baseb is, it’s a mystery to me.


Mysteries of Manhattan: The MetroCard Bicycle

June 16, 2007

This bike was leaning against a signpost near Union Square Park.

Nearly every surface — spokes, handlebars, posts, fenders, basket — has been decorated with discarded MetroCards (bus and subway tickets). If you look closely, you’ll see that there is even a chain made of MetroCards.

Who? When? Why? I have no idea. Just another mystery of Manhattan.

The bicycle near Union Square Park
The bicycle near Union Square Park

The bicycle from the right
The bicycle as seen from the right

Mysteries of Brooklyn: The Russo Storefronts

June 13, 2007

On a busy corner in Brooklyn, across from the Smith & 9th Street subway station, stands a row of ramshackle houses. Two of the buildings are covered with signs and artifacts promoting Vincent Russo Realty and Vincent Russo Notary.

The question is: why? Why the crucifixes, wreaths, wooden soldiers and eagles? Why the sagging roofs, the peeling paint, the crooked signs and faded flags?

Is it an advertising tactic, an artistic statement or a convoluted combination of laziness and craziness? Just another mystery of Brooklyn.

Russo Realty & Russo Notary

Russo Realty

Russo Notary

Brownstoner: Russo Realty
423 Smith: Brooklyn’s Notary District
Forgotten New York: The Gowanus Canal

Mysteries of Manhattan: Nick Beef’s DieKu

April 19, 2007

These images of gravestones were pasted to the wall of a passageway in the West 4th Street subway station. They have a credit line (A DieKu – Nick Beef – NYC) printed in the bottom border but provide no other information about their origin or purpose.  

The gravestones in the upper image follow the classic haiku structure:

Corona Brewer
Noble Golden Beer Skillman
Wetmore Lips Aleman

The names in the lower image create:

Bizzaro Bushman
Texas Manno Wargo Wild
George Izzo Looney

Upper DieKu
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Lower DieKu
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Two DieKu Pasted to the Wall
Originally uploaded by annulla.

Lee Harvey Oswald & the Mysterious Nick Beef
The Story of Nick Beef
Wikipedia: Haiku

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