Be honest with me, Nancy – do my ski goggles embarrass you?

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A few nice best of new york images I found:

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Be honest with me, Nancy – do my ski goggles embarrass you?
best of new york
Image by Ed Yourdon
More details later, as time permits…

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A year from now, nobody will remember (or care about) the details — but if you happened to live anywhere on the East Coast of the U.S. when these pictures were taken, then you surely know that we’ve just been hit by the first major snowstorm of the 2010-2011 winter season. Of course, upstate New York and the Midwest have already been hit by multiple storms, and they’ve gotten far larger accumulations of snow than we’ll probably end up with … but since a few of the nation’s major TV headquarters and newspapers are based in New York, we tend to get a disproportionate amount of attention when we’re hit with a major storm.

When I took the first few pictures in this set, it was too early to tell whether it really would be a major storm. But it snowed all night, and throughout the evening, we heard that some 1,400 flights in and out of New York’s three airports had been canceled, and that the Amtrak/Acela train service from New York to Boston had been suspended. And when we got up the next morning and found that the airports were still closed, and that 13 inches of white stuff had fallen in Central Park, we decided that it really was a significant storm.

At lunch-time on the day after the storm, I ventured out towards Central Park, with my Olympus E-P2 "micro four-thirds" camera and my Canon G-12 compact digital camera; with the blustery wind blowing snow flurries in all directions, I wasn’t willing to risk getting my Nikon D700 wet. I used a combination of slow-running subways and buses to get to the 86th Street entrance to Central Park, and then walked over to the Great Lawn, where I was fairly confident I would see people doing all kinds of interesting things — including a very energetic game of football! — on the large, snow-filled lawn.

And indeed, I saw not only the football players, but also people with skis and snow-shoes and sleds, as well as people jogging(!), walking their dogs, building snowmen, and just enjoying themselves as they walked through the winter wonderland.

The most amazing part of the day was the sight of quasi-snow-flurries kicked up by the gusting wind. If I didn’t know any better, I might well have thought I was at the North Pole; but the skyline view of skyscrapers and apartment towers all around was a constant reminder that I was still in New York.

Other parts of Central Park were probably equally photogenic, and equally filled with people taking advantage of the fresh snow … but after a couple of hours of wandering around and taking a few hundred photos, my feet were too numb to continue. If I have enough energy, maybe I’ll venture back out to the park during the next couple days; if not, you’ll just have to make do with these photos that I’ve uploaded.

This is how NYC apartment dwellers like to sunbathe
best of new york
Image by Ed Yourdon
This was taken on 83rd St Street near East End Avenue…

You will often see people sunbathing out on the tiny little balconies and terraces of their city apartments … but it’s not very common to see the little clusters of grass neatly planed along the length of the terrace…

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This set of photos is based on a very simple concept: walk every block of Manhattan with a camera, and see what happens. To avoid missing anything, walk both sides of the street.

That’s all there is to it …

Of course, if you wanted to be more ambitious, you could also walk the streets of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. But that’s more than I’m willing to commit to at this point, and I’ll leave the remaining boroughs of New York City to other, more adventurous photographers.

Oh, actually, there’s one more small detail: leave the photos alone for a month — unedited, untouched, and unviewed. By the time I actually focus on the first of these "every-block" photos, I will have taken more than 8,000 images on the nearby streets of the Upper West Side — plus another several thousand in Rome, Coney Island, and the various spots in NYC where I traditionally take photos. So I don’t expect to be emotionally attached to any of the "every-block" photos, and hope that I’ll be able to make an objective selection of the ones worth looking at.

As for the criteria that I’ve used to select the small subset of every-block photos that get uploaded to Flickr: there are three. First, I’ll upload any photo that I think is "great," and where I hope the reaction of my Flickr-friends will be, "I have no idea when or where that photo was taken, but it’s really a terrific picture!"

A second criterion has to do with place, and the third involves time. I’m hoping that I’ll take some photos that clearly say, "This is New York!" to anyone who looks at it. Obviously, certain landscape icons like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty would satisfy that criterion; but I’m hoping that I’ll find other, more unexpected examples. I hope that I’ll be able to take some shots that will make a "local" viewer say, "Well, even if that’s not recognizable to someone from another part of the country, or another part of the world, I know that that’s New York!" And there might be some photos where a "non-local" viewer might say, "I had no idea that there was anyplace in New York City that was so interesting/beautiful/ugly/spectacular."

As for the sense of time: I remember wandering around my neighborhood in 2005, photographing various shops, stores, restaurants, and business establishments — and then casually looking at the photos about five years later, and being stunned by how much had changed. Little by little, store by store, day by day, things change … and when you’ve been around as long as I have, it’s even more amazing to go back and look at the photos you took thirty or forty years ago, and ask yourself, "Was it really like that back then? Seriously, did people really wear bell-bottom jeans?"

So, with the expectation that I’ll be looking at these every-block photos five or ten years from now (and maybe you will be, too), I’m going to be doing my best to capture scenes that convey the sense that they were taken in the year 2013 … or at least sometime in the decade of the 2010’s (I have no idea what we’re calling this decade yet). Or maybe they’ll just say to us, "This is what it was like a dozen years after 9-11".

Movie posters are a trivial example of such a time-specific image; I’ve already taken a bunch, and I don’t know if I’ll ultimately decide that they’re worth uploading. Women’s fashion/styles are another obvious example of a time-specific phenomenon; and even though I’m definitely not a fashion expert, I suspected that I’ll be able to look at some images ten years from now and mutter to myself, "Did we really wear shirts like that? Did women really wear those weird skirts that are short in the front, and long in the back? Did everyone in New York have a tattoo?"

Another example: I’m fascinated by the interactions that people have with their cellphones out on the street. It seems that everyone has one, which certainly wasn’t true a decade ago; and it seems that everyone walks down the street with their eyes and their entire conscious attention riveted on this little box-like gadget, utterly oblivious about anything else that might be going on (among other things, that makes it very easy for me to photograph them without their even noticing, particularly if they’ve also got earphones so they can listen to music or carry on a phone conversation). But I can’t help wondering whether this kind of social behavior will seem bizarre a decade from now … especially if our cellphones have become so miniaturized that they’re incorporated into the glasses we wear, or implanted directly into our eyeballs.

Oh, one last thing: I’ve created a customized Google Map to show the precise details of each day’s photo-walk. I’ll be updating it each day, and the most recent part of my every-block journey will be marked in red, to differentiate it from all of the older segments of the journey, which will be shown in blue. You can see the map, and peek at it each day to see where I’ve been, by clicking on this link

URL link to Ed’s every-block progress through Manhattan

If you have any suggestions about places that I should definitely visit to get some good photos, or if you’d like me to photograph you in your little corner of New York City, please let me know. You can send me a Flickr-mail message, or you can email me directly at ed-at-yourdon-dot-com

Stay tuned as the photo-walk continues, block by block …

First Date – NYC Style
best of new york
Image by w4nd3rl0st (InspiredinDesMoines)
At the top of the Rockefeller Center there are three observation levels. 68, 69, and 70. The first of the three is enclosed, and there were a lot of couples there taking in the sights. I was waiting around for the elevator and saw a couple on their first date. I don’t know who they were, but I thought it was a great idea – they just sat in the window sill watching New York go to sleep on a Sunday night while they chatted away.

It was a really cool moment, and even though I didn’t exactly "share it" with them, I was glad to have caught it. This was taken with a Canon 7d and 15-85 hand held at ISO 3200.

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