Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, Tower, New York, NY,  #brooklynbridge
Brooklyn Bridge Tower from Below

Tug Boat, East River, from the Brooklyn Bridge, NY, NY
Tug Boat
I hadn't walked across the Brooklyn Bridge since I did it with my friend Ann on a cold and gloomy day.  It was a leg on her farewell tour taking in the sights of NYC before she left for points West.  We spent a couple of weekends tooling around the city -- including a visit to the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Peace Park, both in Long Island City.  That was back in the day when Socrates was just a wide open field where artists would create sculptures out of whatever was lying around.  In terms of memories, that day has always stuck with me and I am sure there are some photos in the paper archives.  I most remember the orderly precision of Noguchi's work space and museum juxtaposed with the happenstance nature of Socrates.  Both beautiful.  Each in its own way.

This latest walk across the Bridge was on a late spring day with my niece Julia.  It started with the obligatory stop to gaze up at the Freedom Tower and some quick iPhone photos of children playing in the fountain that surrounds Jeff Koon's Balloon Flower.  Then it was off to the bridge.  I tried, very hard, to take some of those "big sweeping" photos of the bridge -- including making my wide angle lens the lens of choice at the start of our journey.  My eye, however, kept getting drawn to the details.

Tower Arch Close Up, Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY,  #brooklynbridge
Tower Arch Close Up - Brooklyn Bridge

Cable Close Up, Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY,  #brooklynbridge
Brooklyn Bridge Cables

Over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has become the home to many a lock -- affixed to the bridge by lovers as an expression of their everlasting love.  Some are just simple padlocks and others are more ornate affairs.  Here's hoping the relationships they represent last as long as the locks.

#padlock, #lock, #brooklynbridge, new york, ny
Brooklyn Bridge Padlock

#padlock, #lock, #brooklynbridge, new york, ny
Padlock Bouquet
 For a really cool full photo of the towers, check out Last Flight Out.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Freedom Tower, #NYCStreetViews

When we moved to our new offices in 2011, I did not realize that I would be able to watch the Freedom Tower rising up above the buildings that surround it.  Lately, I seem to be spending a bit more time at street level which offers a whole new perspective on things. Most of my photos are quick snaps with my iPhone that are sent to Instagram:

#FreedomTower, #Instagram
Freedom Tower

Saturday I stopped by the Tower on my way to walk the Brooklyn Bridge with my niece Julia AND my camera.  Now why I chose to do these shots with a wide angle lens escapes me but that's what I did and below is what I got.

Freedom Tower, New York City
Disappearing Edges
Freedom Tower, New York City
Reflections & Metal

Monday, June 17, 2013

Alone in a Crowd: #NYCPianoParty

Sunday was a grand finale party -- a veritable crescendo of color and sound as #88pianos came together on the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center before being disbursed to their new homes in schools, community centers, and health organizations.  I am sure they will be loved wherever they may land.  Yesterday, I wrote about the Lift to Begin Piano by James Alicia.  And I've chronicled about Sing for Hope, the nonprofit that puts this extravaganza together, in I am Opus the Octopus, and i love Music (other posts that I've written about the #SFHpianos are For My Grandma and The Loneliest Pianos).

It was busy at Lincoln Center as the spring crafts fair was also in full swing -- lots of traffic coming and going, piano playing, and hourly concerts.  Not to mention the free Chobani yogurt (thank you Chobani) and t-shirts (thank you Sing for Hope) that were available on the plaza.  My niece and I were just finishing up our tour of the pianos and the crafts fair when I spotted this gentleman seated at the Chobani piano.   Wrapped with the brand's "iconic foil lids," this particular piano is signed by employees from the around the world.

For what seemed like a long while, he was a pool of stillness and quiet in the midst of the crowd of folks milling about the plaza -- all of us lost in the joy of an event that brought together pianos and artists on a gorgeous sunny day.

Alone in a Crowd, #SFHpianos, #chobanipiano, #artforall, #singforhope, #NYC, 2013
Alone in a Crowd
And then he sat up, put on his hat, and reached out one hand to play a few notes at the piano.  Soft notes that one could barely hear above the sound of the crowd and the nearby pianos.  They were, without a doubt, the most poignant notes I heard all day.

A Few Notes, #SFHpianos, #chobanipiano, #artforall, #singforhope, #NYC, 2013
A Few Notes

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lift to Begin: #NYCPianoParty

Lift to Begin, #SFHPianos, #jamesalicia, #LincolnCenter, new york city
Lift to Begin, James Alicia
 Today was the last day of the Sing for Hope piano exhibition that has been gracing the streets of NYC for the last two weeks.  I managed to see eleven of the 88 pianos "in situ" (I am Opus the Octopus, and I Love Music, For My Grandma, and The Loneliest Pianos).  Today brought an opportunity to see them all in one place at Lincoln Center on the Josie Robertson Plaza.  It was quite something to see all 88 ringing the fountain and it will take more than one blog post to present them (if, in fact, I got pictures of all 88).

Lift to Begin, #SFHPianos, #jamesalicia, #LincolnCenter, new york city
Graffiti Meets Piano:  Love at First Sight
It's interesting to review my photos as there were some pianos that I was clearly drawn to based on the number of photos and taking into account that my first approach was to follow the concentric circles of pianos with my iPhone.  This was followed by a more haphazard approach with my camera (the very light SP-590 Utz by Olympus which fits into a pocketbook).  I sent a photo of the Lift to Begin piano out on Instagram and James Alicia, the artist, left a comment about how he is sad to say goodbye to his piano.  I can see why.  It's amazing.

Visit Sean Hoke Photography's blog for photos of the artists at work on the pianos including several of Lift to Begin, the piano featured here.
Lift to Begin, #SFHPianos, #jamesalicia, #LincolnCenter, new york city
Freedom's Just Another Word

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Junk Man

I was tooling around Central Park last weekend on the 2nd day of my quest to see the pianos in the 2013 Sing for Hope exhibition (I am Opus the Octopus and i love MusicFor My GrandmaThe Loneliest Pianos).  It was hot and the Play Me Piano was the third stop of the day.  After almost expiring of the heat the day before (figuratively, not literally), I was taking more time to relax and so was sitting on a bench in the shade watching the crowds go by and considering whether to relax with a mani/pedi or soldier on to the next piano on my list. 

Cherry Hill is a bit of a crossroads in the park -- it's a loading point for pedicabs, a stopping point for horse-drawn carriages, and a photo opportunity for tourists on the path from the Imagine circle to the Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain.  New Yorkers gather under the ginkgoes that sit atop the hill overlooking the Cherry Hill Fountain and on the benches that surround it.   

It is not the sort of place where one can overlook a homeless man pushing -- and then unloading -- a cart loaded down with plastic bags.  Yet, most folks did just that.  I, on the other hand, couldn't quite take my eyes off of him.  I don't know if he was just reorganizing his load or settling in for the day.  I wish I could know the story of his life.

homeless, central park, new york city

homeless, central park, new york city

homeless, central park, new york city

homeless, central park, new york city

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Loneliest Pianos - #NYCPianoParty

Mosaic Piano, #SFHpianos, Bryant Park, NYC
Mosaic Piano - Bryant Park
In my hunt for the pianos that comprise the 2013 Sing for Hope piano exhibition (see I am Opus the Octopus, and i love Music for more on the exhibition), I've pretty much been able to catch people playing the piano.  Of the adults, some folks played well and one even played and sang his own compositions (I'll chronicle those on another day).  The kids have been the most fun -- particularly the little ones who just can't seem to get enough of the piano keys even when they probably haven't gotten past their first piano lesson.  Both of these pianos are worth a visit and I suspect that there are times of day where they are not the loneliest pianos in the five boroughs.

Mosaic Piano, #SFHpianos, Bryant Park, NYC
Shadow of a Building in the Mosaic
In my journey's, there have been two pianos with nary a pianist in sight for the time I was visiting with them.  I had trouble finding the first one.  Hot and tired after a trek down from Rockefeller Center (see For My Grandma), I had actually sat for a while near the permanent piano that graces Bryant Park thinking someone had forgotten to unveil it.  Mercifully, I finally asked a security guard for directions and he pointed me in the right direction and I found the Mosaic Piano by Kathleen Ruel.  It's on the south corner of the library-- right on 5th avenue -- my problem was that I was convinced it would be someplace in Bryant Park with a crowd gathered around it.  Perhaps it couldn't go in the park because of the aforementioned Bryant Park Piano?

Mosaic Piano, #SFHpianos, Bryant Park, NYC
Mosaics Mimic the Piano Keys
The second piano by Linda Tagliaferro was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  This one was the end of the trail on a walk home from a meeting on the upper east side.  The walk had included another piano (well played by small children) and a stop to see a photo shoot at the top of Central Park (I learned that it takes a lot of people to make a fashion photo shoot).  It's a simply decorated piano that sits behind the Peace Fountain that graces the Cathedral grounds. 

Piano at St. John the Divine, New York City, NY #SFHpianos
Renaissance Angel
My favorite photo in this quiet spot was not the piano itself but rather the #selfie (that's the modern term for self-portrait) that I took of my shadow on the Aesop carving.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Before the #SFHPianos there was.....

...the #LEGO barrel organ in Times Square.

Lego #StarWars Barrel Organ, Times Square, new york city

Featuring scenes from Star Wars, the hand-cranked organ weighs 800 lbs and plays -- what else? -- the theme from Star Wars.  It was not the star of the show but it still drew quite a crowd on a rainy Saturday in Times Square.

Lego #StarWars Barrel Organ, Times Square, new york city

Lego #StarWars Barrel Organ, Times Square, new york city

Lego #StarWars Barrel Organ, Times Square, new york city

Lego #StarWars Barrel Organ, Times Square, new york city

Always fun to see a photo of mine tweeted:
Thank you @Chobani!  See the full post at I am Opus the Octopus and i love Music.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For My Grandma - #NYCPianoParty

#SFHPianos, Times Square Piano, 2013 #maxinenienow

I am currently on the hunt for the pianos that comprise the 2013 version of Sing for Hope's 88 piano installation that has taken over New York city.  In  I am Opus the Octopus and I Love Music, I chronicled my visit to the piano that is located outside the Dairy in Central Park.  Today's post is about the piano in Times Square.

#SFHPianos, Times Square Piano, 2013 #maxinenienow
For My Grandma
A small confession -- I typically don't love to visit Times Square as it is usually packed and, for the most part, it's the out-of-town visitors who are thronging the area.  I've been twice in the past month -- the first time to see the Star Wars fighter (biggest Lego model EVER) and the second time to see the piano.  The fighter was a little easier to find -- occupying as it did a prime place near the stairs that serve as a gathering place for folks who want to get above the fray.  The piano, on the other hand, was tucked off to the side -- right next to the Rickshaw Dumplings kiosk if you want a good hint as to how to find it.   When I did find it, there was a couple figuring out their photo shoot and a fellow piano stalker waiting, like me, until they left.  My Instagram post is both a photo shoot of the photo shoot and of the photographer waiting to do a photo shoot.  Cute, eh?

#artforall, #nycpianoparty, #NYCpianos
Piano Paparazzi!
Maxine Nienow has written that her intention was to create a painting that Mexicans and Latinas will respond to when they see it.  I think she has accomplished that and much, much more with the dedication to her Grandma and the quote that she included on one side.  It resonates.

#SFHPianos, Times Square Piano, 2013 #maxinenienow
Words to Inspire

Monday, June 3, 2013

I am Opus the Octopus and I Love Music - #NYCPianoParty

#sfhpianos #artforall #nycpianoparty #singforhope
I am Opus the Octopus and i love Music
New York city has more than its share of public art -- both permanent and ephemeral -- and a couple of weeks ago I decided that I would get out and see as much of it as I could this summer.  I chronicled my first expedition in Art. Sofa. Rope. (a temporary installation in Madison Square Park) and Expedition Keith Haring (a permanent piece of Haring's work up at 128th & 2nd Avenue).

Opus Keys
Those excursions sandwiched a detour to see the Duke Ellington Memorial (nice, but why are there naked women (er caryatids) holding up the Duke and his grand piano?) and a quick dip into the Conservatory Garden to escape the city heat and visit my beloved gardens.

This past weekend saw me out and about looking for the artistic creations that comprise the 2013 version of the Sing for Hope pianos.  The mission of Sing for Hope is simple -- to make art accessible to all (#artforall).  Once the exhibition is over, each of the pianos will find a home in a school, community center, or health care institution.  For the two weeks they are on display (through June 16th), New Yorkers and visitors alike may hear the sweet sounds of a piano drifting softly through the air.

I am Opus the Octopus and I Love Music by Izabel Lamb isn't the first piano I saw but it is (so far) one of my favorites.  Much to my surprise, for a well-traversed section of Central Park (it is outside the Dairy), it was a fairly lonely little piano in terms of folks stopping to play.  For the most part, there were just a few tentative touches of the keys and a couple of photo ops but the piano wasn't  seeing much action.

That is until the arrival of one small boy who wanted to play.   The thing you have to know about this particular small boy is that he did not have mad piano playing skills.  In fact, he didn't know how to play the piano at all!  He was a joy to watch and list to all the same.  He had the dramatic flair of the greatest concert pianist and he moved up and down the keyboard trying out different sounds as if he were a composer testing out new melodies for his next opus.  He was quite engaging and I think he would have played all day if given the chance but, alas, a play date or errands called and off he wandered with his mother in tow.  Not before receiving an ovation from the crowd -- some of whom were standing!

#sfhpianos #artforall #nycpianoparty #singforhope
Piano Prodigy
The tales of more pianos to follow in the coming days....

#sfhpianos #artforall #nycpianoparty #singforhope
Opus the Octopus:  A 2013 Sing for Hope Piano

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Peonies in Bloom

Peony in Bloom, English Garden, Central Park, NYC
Peony in Bloom I
I have a vase from my grandmother that she would use for peonies every spring.  It's bronze with gold accents and it reminds me of her.  I can see it sitting on a dark mahogany table in the entry way of their house in Brooklyn.  A house filled with lace doilies and red velvet clad furniture, and come spring, the scent of peonies.  I don't know if my grandmother ever visited the Conservatory Garden in Central Park -- I do know she would have loved the way it comes alive in spring time.  She would have loved the peonies.

Peony Buds, English Garden, Central Park, NewYork City
Peony Stages
Peony in Bloom, English Garden, Central Park, New York City
Peony in Bloom in II
Peony, English Garden, Central Park, NYC
The Peony Show
Peony Buds, English Garden, Central Park, NewYork City
Peony Emerging