Category Archives: New York City

Halloween Postmortem, Part II

By Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

Even skeletons check their cell phonesThis year’s Halloween decorations were plenty scary. But in our neighborhood, they’re just the backdrop: Every year, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, the local neighborhood association, puts on “Spooktacular”, a Halloween block party that features entertainers (including a lively DJ/MC playing dance music) and a costume contest—and of course trick-or-treating, with lots, and lots, and LOTS of candy!

Whole families show up in costume, including mother, father, kids, pets, and—this being the Upper East Side—nanny. (For those who don’t know, the Upper East Side is home to financiers, top lawyers, and other Masters of the Universe.)

The party is open to the whole neighborhood, and it seems to be getting bigger, and better, each year.  (Here are the photos from 2011, 2012, and 2013.)

Looking left... and looking rightVlad in the crowd

The photographer stalking his prey (while being stalked by a giant floating spider)…

… and here are some of his photos:

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What I Saw in the Park the Other Day…

By Vladimir Brezina

(click on any photo to start slideshow)


By Vladimir Brezina

The new World Trade Center tower can be seen for miles out at sea, and at night it becomes a luminous beacon to guide sailors, and kayakers, in—

Luminous 1Luminous 2Luminous 3

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Luminous.

Halloween Postmortem, Part I

By Vladimir Brezina

Halloween decorations 2015 4Halloween 2015 is over—and it was quite a party! So much so that I didn’t even have time to post my photos of the Halloween decorations—if that is the right word—seen this year in our neighborhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Some of the old favorites made return appearances (here are the photos from 2011, 2012, and 2013), but there were many imaginative, even artistic, new additions. Many of the residents of our neighborhood obviously feel a strong need to keep up with the Joneses, no effort or expense spared, in this department as in many others… The huge crowds of trick-or-treating kids loved it all, of course!

(click on any photo to start slideshow)

Even more photos are here.

Part II, with photos of the costumes at the Halloween block party itself, is coming soon!

New York City Celebration

By Johna Till Johnson

New York City Celebration

The festival arrives!

People often ask why I live in New York. Yes, it’s crowded. And expensive. And even though the crime rate is way down from the 1980s when I first lived here, it’s still a city—with all the dangers a city brings.

I try to explain, but the truth is, it’s not the cultural richness. Or the wonderful food. Or even the variegated mix of people.

It’s that New York can continue to surprise and amaze me. As it did on a recent overcast autumn day: I’d just finished brunch with a friend and decided on the spur of the moment to walk the three miles home. I made it less than half the way there when I noticed that the density of police officers had picked way up. And then I heard it: Music, and a few green-and-white-clad people dancing in the street.

A few more steps, and I was in the midst of a full-on street festival, with floats, marching bands, music, and dancing. Apparently it was the 55th birthday of Nigeria (who knew?) and celebrants were out in force. (Well, technically, modern Nigeria was founded on October 1, 1960, but close enough…)

I walked the next several blocks with a gigantic grin on my face. The music was infectious, the colors brilliant, and the energy electric. And by the time I got to the end of the festival, my heart was dancing along with the dancers.

Manhattan Ahead as Night Falls

By Vladimir Brezina

As we returned from our paddle on Sunday night, the Manhattan skyline glowed in the last rays of the sunset, then grew cool with a myriad twinkling lights—

(click on any photo to enlarge it)

Manhattan ahead 1 Manhattan ahead 2 Manhattan ahead 3 Manhattan ahead 4 Manhattan ahead 5

And here are some GoPro clips of that part of our trip (the water drops on the lens are a distinct nuisance!):

The story and photos of the rest of the trip are coming soon!

Paint, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

As we paddle through the backwaters of NYC’s industrial waterways, we come to close quarters with hundreds of barges and scows, many of which seem to have seen some service.

Colorful barges 1

As we brush past their battered sides, we admire their colorful peeling paint—

Colorful barges 2Colorful barges 3Colorful barges 4Colorful barges 5Colorful barges 6Colorful barges 7

A second contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Paint. The first contribution was here.