In my humble opinion,В few things are asВ quintessentially NYC as MetroCards. They’re literally your keys to the city, allowing you to travel pretty huge distances (e.g. my Washington Heights apartment to Coney Island) with a single swipe.
I never saw stars until I was 20 years old. As a kid in Queens, I sometimes glimpsed the occasional one or two, but never a sky filled with them. It wasn’t until I was camping in the Australian Outback, during a college semester abroad, when I saw a night sky completely lit up with countless stars. The sight both wowed and shocked me—until that night, it had never dawned on me that I’d never anything like it before.
That’s why I’m loving Thierry Cohen’sВ “Darkened Cities.”В The French photographerВ juxtaposes photos of, well, darkened cities, with the night skies of less populated areas along the same latitude. So this is NYC with stars from the Nevada desert. If we didn’t have so many bright lights, that’s what we might see, every evening. (NYTimes.com has a gorgeous gallery featuring several other cities from the project, including Paris, Rio and Hong Kong.)
And speaking of stars, check out this brilliantВ StoryCorps video—it’s sad, sweet, funny and inspiring!
Maybe it’s because we grew up in the city, but Mal and I are TERRIBLE at spotting wildlife. (She’s bad and somehow, I’m even worse than she is.) Anytime we’re hiking, our guide, or whomever we’re with, will point out an animal—a sloth, monkey, bird, deer, cool insect, whatever—and it takes us 10 years to spot it. Half the time, I can’t find them at all, no matter how hard I look.
So I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I came across the work of Art Wolfe, a man far more talented than I am—both at spotting animals and photography. For his “Vanishing Act” project, he somehow found wildlife camouflaged in their surroundings and captured them on film. I honestly have no idea how he did it. Because if I were embarking on a similar project, I’d have a grand total of zero pictures.
Here are a few of his incredible shots:
And, um, could someone please tell me where the animal is in the photo above? I haven’t been able to find it!
Sumus Technology, a Canadian software company, used MTA data to animate 24 hours of public transportation in NYC. The visual is totally cool; I love how you can see the city awaken as the various lines—which include the subway, buses, LIRR, Metro-North and NY Waterway in their corresponding colors—light up until you can basically see a map of their routes. (I was even able to pick out the LIRR line that runs out to Bayside, where I grew up!)
But really, the music makes the video! The old-school, honky-tonk rendition of “New York, New York,” alone, is enough to make me smile.
(And if you love this, check out “Flight Patterns,” another awesome animation of—you guessed it—airplane traffic over the U.S.)
As far as I’m concerned, the holiday season isn’t complete without seeing a performance of the Nutcracker. (Or, at least listening to the soundtrack a couple times in its entirety—something that’s driven my family mad over the years!)
Tonight, I’m seeing City Ballet’s production (with my mom :)). It’s been several years since I’ve seen their version, and I’m pretty excited—there’s nothing as inspiring as seeing the pros dance, live!
Recently, NYCB posted behind-the-scenes photos of their Nutcracker costumes on their Facebook page. I thought it was super-cool that they gave us normal folks (and professional dancer wannabes!) a little peek behind the curtains!
Yesterday, I stumbled across a post on Joycreation that made my day. It featured Dancers Among Us, a photography project and book by NYC photog Jordan Matter. He shoots dancers in street clothes in various locations around the country—but in every shot, they’re captured in the middle of a move, a jolting contrast to everything/everyone around them. Many dancers are soaring mid-air in Russian pas de chats, attitudes and jetes; you can’t help but feel a little exuberance and joy while looking at them!
I got sucked into looking at all the photos on the Dancers Among Us site, but was particularly impressed with the range of locations for the NYC shots. Some of my favorites: