Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013: Fun on the Subway: Sketching Man

Date: July 26, 2013
Event:  Fun on the Subway:  Sketching Man
Location:  New York City Subway
Cost: FREE
Summary:  Sometimes subway rides are horrid.  Most of the time they're just the best way to get from point A to point B.  And then there are the times that make you smile.

Today I got on the 6 train to take me from 33rd St to 14th St.  Not a long ride for sure, but I saw this:  a man sitting on one side of the train and randomly offering to and then drawing strangers sitting across from him, then signing and giving them the quick sketches.  I love this city to death.

Drawing on the Subway
Drawing On The Subway

July 24, 2013: Set Stalking: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Date: July 24, 2013
Event:  Set Stalking:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles near Wall Street
Location:  New York City, ~Wall Street
Cost: FREE
Summary:  My previous encounter with TMNT was completely by accident.  This time, not so much.

Thanks to (they're awesome!) I knew that TMNT was filming in around the Wall Street area for several days during this particular week in July. After my encounter with it in Times Square and having seen some pictures of the Turtles out and about in NYC on other sets, I had high hopes of an actual Turtle encounter. Sadly, while I saw their trailers, I didn't see Turtles. I did see Megan Fox, though. That's something, I suppose. And, let's be honest, I love seeing ANY filming, whether I know anyone actually filming or not! So, here was the experience.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013: Accidental Set Stalking: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Date: July 21, 2013 
Event: Movie filming: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 
Location: Times Square (New York City) 
Cost: FREE 
Summary: I have no idea if any of the stars were on set. It didn't really matter, though, because all I know is I loved watching the extras throw themselves to the ground over and over.

After watching Body Painting (see previous post), I was walking home talking to my mom about it and I literally stumbled upon this movie set. I mean *literally* stumbled upon it:  I about tripped over one of their wires as I was directed by an assistant to please stay on the other side of the island. I guess I should pay attention to what I'm doing.

And what I was doing was, apparently, watching / walking through an active movie set. When asked "what are you filming?" the answer was always, "4 Square". However, I have reason to believe those answers were little fibs (or at least a code).

In any case, I got there just as they were filming what appeared to be a major disaster / explosion / crash / building collapse. While there were not *actual* explosions, there was (fake) wreckage everywhere, (fake) cops everywhere, a (fake) firetruck and crew, and extras were throwing themselves on the ground and pretending to only painfully pull themselves up. In short, it was awesome!!

July 21, 2013: Nude Body Painting Near Central Park

Date: July 21, 2013
Event: Body Painting
Location:  New York City (near Central Park)
Cost: FREE
Summary: The human body is beautiful; this artist uses it as a canvas...(also, let's be honest, who can deny the draw of seeing someone nude in public?)

Last year I saw this artist, Andy Golub, do body painting in Times Square.  Nude body painting.  It was wonderful all around -- the painting itself that was laid down on the model's skin, the atmosphere of creating what really was a bit of a spectacle, the various reactions from the people in the crowd from aghast to leering to enthralled to giggly, and just the feeling of freedom that surrounded it all.

I became a fan.

And I knew I wanted to see him perform again.  I missed him a week earlier but was happy to see that he'd be performing today (July 21) on the corner of 5th Ave and 60th St (essentially one of the corners of Central Park).

The experience was so, so different than in Times Square!  Whereas in Times Square a crowd gathered and watched; there was a constant circle of people looking on.  But in this location?  People seemed to not know what to do...they looked, their eyes widened, they laughed, they grabbed the person they were with and pointed, they might take a few pictures, and then they moved on.  Very few people stayed to watch for any length of time, and rarely was there much of a crowd.

Further, there were problems with the Central Park police (unlike Times Square where the police hovered at the background but never interfered).  It appeared that the Central Park cops didn't like the performance.  At all.  And they made Andy Golub (the artist) and the model move off of official Park property after about an hour.

I was torn -- on the one hand, what Mr. Golub was doing was legal (he's had several legal battles with the city which were decided in his favor from what I gather) and he'd notified City Hall of his performance ahead of time.  On the other hand, Times Square (as opposed to the entrance to the Central Park zoo) does seem like a more appropriate place for this kind of performance.  The model, after all, was nude.  I could go on and on about this but it's not really the point so I'll just settle on, I could see both sides of the argument.  I'll also just say that I didn't like how the original park police officer on scene handled the situation, but the Sergent that eventually asked the artist and model to go was utterly professional about it.

Anyway, Mr. Golub simply moved over to outside the Apple store (which for some reason just made me giggle -- this nude painted guy and an artist working right outside this super geeky nerdy place -- it was kind of perfect in that way).  And even there, people would walk by on the sidewalk and gawk and stop for a picture (usually with an iPhone, of course, adding to the perfectness of it) but, again, a crowd didn't really gather.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this performance.  Again, there was this feeling of liberation and freedom by osmosis almost, via this model's nudity.  I heard more than one person voice their admiration for what he (the model) was doing.  And every comment I heard was positive.  There was nothing sexual about this performance, nothing salacious.  It was just art, with the human body as an integral part of that art.

Pictures below... there are one or two that do have male nudity.  Nothing you wouldn't see by looking at pictures of Greek statues, however!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 19, 2013: Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Date: July 19, 2013
Event: Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge
Location:  San Francisco, California
Cost: FREE
Summary: It was overcast, foggy, windy, and cold.  And I loved it.

Work took me back to the west coast again for a week in the San Francisco Bay area.  When I spend a week there, I usually try to get a very early morning flight on Friday back to New York.  But this trip I ended up booked on a 4:00 pm flight Friday.  I was very grumpy about that.  Until I came up with a plan:  use the extra time in SanFran on Friday to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

This plan made me less grumpy.

The weather, however, didn't exactly cooperate.  It was overcast.  It was foggy.  And I was there early (6:45 am) before any of the fog and clouds were burned off.  But you know what?  That's okay.  It made everything very moody but I still loved the walk and I loved the pictures.

A couple impressions of Golden Gate -- it's loud.  You're walking right next to the road deck where cars and trucks are whizzing by at 45 to 50 miles an hour.  Also, it's windy and cold.  Take a jacket.  It's might be a bit scary for those who don't deal well with heights, but not too bad.  The railing along the majority of the bridge is not super high but you certainly couldn't accidentally fall off or anything, and the bridge does move a bit (shakes and rumbles) as bigger vehicles go by.  But, as someone who does have issue with heights, I was able to make the walk without any problems.

But it is worth the effort.  The bridge itself is spectacularly beautiful, of course and an engineering marvel.  The walk is really pretty easy -- 3.5 miles round trip to go all away across and back.  And it's just wonderful to get outside and do something different!

And best yet -- I was able to get standby on the 11:20 am flight.  So I got to walk across the bridge AND get back to NYC at a not completely unreasonable time.  Win-win!

Okay, some mysterious and moody pictures...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

June 29, 2013: Apples On Parade

Date: June 29, 2013
Event: MLB Apples on Parade for the All Star Game
Location:  New York City
Cost: FREE  (well, except, ahem, for any props you might want to buy...)
Summary: 34 apples, 8 hours 40 minutes, 15 miles of walking,12.5 miles on the subway, 10-15 flights of stairs, sighting numerous landmarks along the way

A number of weeks ago I saw this big huge painted apple in Grand Central on the way to work. Curious, I went over to see what it was. Well, it was part of the lead up to the MLB All Star Game. I looked it up on line to find that there were going to eventually be 35 of these apples spread throughout the city.

An idea was born: go visit all 35 apples in one day.

A friend, Leigh, was going to be in town and I asked if she wanted to come. She was game. And then we got it in our heads that not only did we want to get our picture taken with each apple, but we wanted to do something special for each one – have a prop or a pose or something that was fitting for that particular apple. THAT spawned a hunt around my apartment for possible props and then a dash to Party City for more and then a realization that to carry all these props I’d need a suitcase. A SUITCASE.

But we were not daunted. So, on June 29 with the promise of decent weather, we met at The Apple Store (we thought that was fitting) at 59th and 5th. At 11:10 am we took our picture in front of the Apple Store and with a map and an Excel spreadsheet of the order we were to go in and what prop we were to use at each apple, we were off on our way.