While we were walking back to the subway from the Brooklyn Flea on Saturday, I saw this posted on a utility pole. It made me laugh ... and you should, too, if you're familiar with Bill Hader's SNL character. (It reads even funnier if you say it out loud, in character.)
From Brian Williams' Rock Center, the Rock Bottom segment, which includes some chuckles and shocks, as well as some remarkable footage from 1939 in full colour that shows off Manhattan. It was shot by a French tourist who had the presence of mind to keep the shots running. More here.
On Sunday, Improv Everywhere brought its pranks-on-a-grand-scale way of doing things out in the open again, or more to the point, underground, in New York City. Each year, the troupe asks ordinary people to take part in one of its videos by boarding the subway ... without pants. Awkwardness is the name of the game, and once again, they got it.
Stefon, the Saturday Night Live character created by Bill Hader and writer John Mulaney, is always a hoot to watch. That's in part because Hader rarely gets through one of the Weekend Update appearances, in which he purportedly talks about the best places to go, none of them particularly family-friendly, without cracking up. That, as it turns out, is because Mulaney changes the cue cards at the last moment, so that Hader is invariably reading some of the punch lines for the first time.
Another reason is surely the club names, including edgier ones like "... Kevin?"
I was surprised to read this evening that Andy Warhol died 25 years ago last week. It really didn't seem that long ago.
Warhol is pretty fascinating: vapid, a genius, an innovator, a thief ... he seemed to embrace all of the descriptions.
The photo above is a snap I took in New York in November. The tall, glossy, chrome-plated statue was unveiled just last March, near the Union Square building where Warhol operated the first iteration of The Factory, the quasi-underground studio/hangout where he mass-produced his work. (He moved to another neighbourhood in 1968.)
These are some snaps I took outside Bergdorf Goodman's store on Fifth Avenue in New York during our visit in November. It's one of the stores that constructs knockout arrangements for their windows in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and we were not disappointed.
The store had different themes, each built around a different colour. One window was all about black and white. Believe it or not, these shots are in full colour, with no PhotoShop changes. The window really showed how a monochromatic display can be so inventive.
I spotted this while we were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (an experience I'd recommend to anyone, by the way; it's a free and invigorating treat, with incredible views along the way). It caught my eye as a suprising, positive nodge for walkers.
However, when we walked past, I looked around to notice the other side of the coin, as it were.
One of the things that had been on Nick's list of things to do in New York (at the top, actually) last month had been a visit inside the Statue of Liberty. We missed out on this when we took him there when he was six, because the daily limit had already been exceeded, but this time there was a reason we knew in advance: Lady Liberty was closed up for maintenance.
Another time, definitely.
In the meantime, Nick, here's a mini-documentary from the Beeb:
These are cookies we saw at Dean & DeLuca, the uber-upscale food store in Manhattan. A small tin of salt that goes for 10 bucks? They sell it. (Mind you, it's a specialty type of salt. But still.) We had been there before, so when we were in the Soho area last week, I made a point of taking Nick to the cookie counter. Pricey as they are, the cookies are worth it.
I even got a good joke from the woman behind the counter. "Are these cookies made from real dinosaurs?" I asked with a wink.
"Only when the dinosaurs are in season," she smiled back. Nice.
Here is something you don't see every day: a replica of the AT-AT walker from The Empire Strikes Back, crafted from bits and pieces of metal scraps.
This is from a small shop in New York called Metal Park, located at Bryant Park. To call it small would be an understatement: it's like walking into a small storage room. The shelves, though, were filled largely with pop culture icons, particularly from Star Wars, all made from various bits of metal.
Here's what a metallic Yoda looks like:
And here are C-3PO and R2-D2 - the large versions, making for quite an investment!
One of the things Nick enjoyed most during our trip to New York was a stand that made crepes in Bryant Park, particularly a chocolate crepe. To call it delicious is an understatement. I shot this short video, which shows the delight Nick got in receiving, and topping it up with a few (OK, more than a few) sprinkles of extra chocolate powder.
We had an interesting experience yesterday on Fifth Avenue as we were walking to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The stretch of "museum mile" near Central Park not only connects several museums but is notably home to a variety of street vendors who will gladly sell you cheap reproductions of famous paintings, photographs and magazine covers.
Here's the story.
We saw one vendor who sold a variety of parodies of the "Hope" poster featuring Barack Obama. Some were funny, so I took my phone to take a snap. The vendor got aggressive. "Hey, hey, hey! This is my work!" he yelled at us, protecting his $5 products with his arms.
Now, of course, I found this instantly ironic. I pointed to the reproduction of the "original" Hope design, the one made by Shepard Fairey during the 2008 U.S. election campaign. "You made this? You actually own the copyright and trademark on this image?" I asked.
Well, that made him a little, um, upset. "Get outta here!!" he screamed. We left, and couldn't help but laugh.
Let's review the case: the fellow was not only appropriating the design of someone else (and, as someone reminded me later, Fairey himself ran into trouble because he used a copyrighted photograph owned by someone else), but a host of copyrights, including the owners of characters such as Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin.
Moreover, it's not like the fellow had come up with something remotely original. Parodies of the Hope design are rampant, and you you can easily make one yourself on the internet, right here for instance.
The lesson for our son, apart from those involving intellectual property and fair use, moreso pointed to a particular type of vendor: the raging idiot.
I snapped this in Central Park yesterday afternoon while we were out for a stroll, and before we headed up to see Andres (Martha's cousin) and his wife Michelle and their friends. We had an incredible feast.
I loved what someone had left behind with chalk on the path.
One of the highlights of our trip to New York, hands down, has been skating at Bryant Park, a little oasis in midtown Manhattan with a decent-size rink. Gliding around while they play Ella Fitzgerald, surrounded by tall buildings and the smell of warm food? A pretty special moment.
It was, by the way, the first time I've been on skates in a few decades!
We liked it so much we're going back tonight. The theme is reflected in today's pick for song of the day: see below.
We're planning a family trip to New York City, and each of us has a list of things to see. One of the things on mine is the High Line, a former elevated train track on Manhattan's west side that is now a park - or at least a linear park.
Yesterday, the High Line unveiled a partnership with Google Street View, bringing a new way to look at the attraction. I look forward to seeing it for myself!
Here's a brilliant idea that Life brought together: it asked people who use Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing service, to take shots of what they love about New York. On this weekend of remembrance, it's stirring. Here's the gallery. The photo above is by a user named ckc325.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.