Category Archives: New York City

Cardboard Kayak Race, Redux

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

Cardboard-kayak-race-100

Last year, I wrote about the first annual Cardboard Kayak Race, held on City of Water Day at Governors Island.  This year, I was in it!

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. We didn’t build a boat out of cardboard and then race it. But others did! And I was part of a fleet of “safety kayaks” whose job it was to rescue paddlers whose cardboard boats sank (and fish out the sodden detritus).

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Celebrity Sun

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

Manhattanhenge 17

In Manhattan we get our share of celebrities. Some live here year-round. Many zoom by in a blaze of flashbulbs and applause.

And some show up reliably every day, unapplauded, but make a celebrity entrance a few minutes out of the year. That’s what happens at Manhattanhenge. Twice a year, roughly three weeks before and after the summer solstice, the setting sun lines up precisely with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s street grid.

It’s  a well-known phenomenon, and has become more so with each passing year. Photographers gather at major intersections, awaiting that perfect moment when the sun touches the horizon, framed precisely between buildings on either side. For a moment or two, the sun is a celebrity.

I’ve heard about it, and Vlad has taken pictures of it many times. But this year was the first time I’d actually experienced it.

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Travel Theme: Decoration

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Decoration.

Inspecting the decorations at the 2012 and 2013 Tugboat Races—

Tattoo decorations 1
Tattoo decorations 2
Tattoo decorations 3
Tattoo decorations 4

We look forward to this year’s North River Tugboat Race & Competition!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Relic.

Kayaking around New York Harbor, we pass many relics of its maritime past—

Binghamton

Binghamton 1
Binghamton 2

Major General William H. Hart

Major General William H. Hart

— the Yellow Submarine, Quester I

Yellow Submarine 1
Yellow Submarine 2

— and, of course, the celebrated Graveyard of Ships

Graveyard of Ships 1
Graveyard of Ships 2

Independence Day Spectacular

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

DSC_0701 cropped small

“A ticket to see fireworks? Don’t you just, uh, look up?” That was my friend Kathy’s comment when I mentioned Vlad had made the long, hot trip downtown in a thunderstorm to pick up our tickets for the fireworks.

Normally, she’d be right: For the past few Independence Days, we’d gone up on the roof, or just looked out from our window on the 17th floor. Even in New York, some things are free!

But these weren’t just any fireworks.  This was the first time ever they’d be in the lower East River—even be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge! And our friend John, who, like Vlad, is a photographer, would be in town expressly to take photos, and we needed to find an uncrowded location for them to set up their tripods.

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Twist in the Sky for a Happy Fourth of July!

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge today is Twist. Just in time for the Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth!

These were last year’s fireworks (more photos are here). We’ll see what tonight will bring!

Here‘s another kind of Twist, in response to The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge, which also had Twist as its theme only a month ago.

Storm, Saved to Disk

By Vladimir Brezina

6:00 PM

Yesterday in the early evening a line of strong thunderstorms rumbled through New York City. This happens often in the summer and the sight can be awe-inspiring. But I was working all afternoon in a windowless room, and later, when I got to a window, it was too late to discern much. The building was already submerged in thick green fog. Lightning flashed and thunder cracked directly overhead.

What to do under those circumstances? Let’s go to the video replay!

And from where better to observe the arrival of the storm over New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline than the Statue of Liberty?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Contrasts.

Spot the kayak in these photos—

At the bottom of the food chain 1
At the bottom of the food chain 2
At the bottom of the food chain 3
At the bottom of the food chain 4
At the bottom of the food chain 5

The first set of Contrasts was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Contrasts.

Beauties and beasts—

Beauty and the beast 1
Beauty and the beast 2
Beauty and the beast 3

Seen at the 2013 Coney Island Mermaid Parade, the 2011 Carnegie Hill Halloween Spooktakular, and the 2012 Spooktakular, respectively.

Another set of Contrasts is here.

Where Are the Whales?

By Vladimir Brezina

IMGP1750 cropped small

Last Sunday, the current was predicted to ebb through the morning, then flood in the afternoon. Perfect for a paddle south, through New York Harbor out to sea!

But then where, exactly? Round Staten Island? Or to Sandy Hook? But we’d been there just two weeks before

This summer, we’ve been hearing a lot about whales. By all accounts, whales have been positively frolicking about, just outside the harbor. A whale-watching boat, the American Princess, has reported sightings almost every day. And many of these sightings, of feeding humpbacks as well as pods of bottlenose dolphins, have been off the Rockaways, just a mile or two from shore.

So that’s where we decided to paddle on Sunday.

In the event, we didn’t see any whales. (The American Princess didn’t either, that day.) Perhaps fortunately, neither did we see any of the great white sharks that (we read later) were present in that same area at the same time…

But it was a great ocean paddle nevertheless. Here are a few photos—

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