photography

Must-Follow Instagram Account: @NewYorkAirBook

I’m a huge George Steinmetz fan.

The photographer is known for his amazing aerial shots and is currently working on a book of NYC images.

I linked to some of his NYC photos last summer, and discovered a new trove of his work via his @newyorkairbook Instagram account. (He actually shot the photo of that amazing West Village rooftop cabinВ that I posted yesterday.)

A few of my favorite photos below, though his whole account is definitely worth a browse and follow.

(Images by George Steinmetz via @newyorkairbook)

A Future Ballet Dancer

This Humans of New York photo—and accompanying caption—made me smile:

Humans of New York

“I want to be a ballerina.”
“What’s the best part about being a ballerina?”
“Dancing.”
“What’s the hardest part about being a ballerina?”
“Dancing in front of people.”

I’d have to agree with her! Few things in life rival the joy I get from ballet. But working on a piece until it’s audience-ready takes lots of time and effort—both mental and physical, as you work out every tiny detail. And then you have to deal with the inevitable nerves that come once you’re onstage. It’s fun and rewarding, but really freaking hard!

Happy Friday!

(Photo via Humans of New York)

Photos of a Border Town, Taken by Kids

There has been a ton of press, recently, about the number of children trying to cross the US/Mexico border. Most of the kids are from Central America, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador—three countries with exceptionally high poverty and crime rates.

While this is a very politically charged topic, there’s no denying that many of these kids are desperate to escape awful situations in their home countries. Reading news stories on the subject makes me think back to the two weeks I spent in Guatemala, two years ago. Some teachers at my Spanish school knew people who smuggled their way into the U.S.—including their own family members.

One of my teachers, Flor, told me how her cousin made such a journey. His life was being threatened by a gang—every day, members told him his choice was to join the gang or else his family would be in danger. So with the help of a coyote, he left his family. He went from Guatemala to Mexico, then spent days walking trough the dessert with barley any food or water. He was just 16. And while he made it safely, he may never be able to see his family again.

Hearing that story, and others like it, humbled me. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by things going on in my life. But as trying as my problems can be, they’re often pretty first-world. I didn’t have to smuggle my way into a country as a kid, to escape poverty or violence.

Last week, I came upon some fascinating (and gorgeous) photos that touched upon the issue. Jason De Leon, an assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Undocumented Migration Project, and National Geographic teamed up for a photo camp in Arivaca, Arizona, a town on the US/Mexico border. Twenty-five kids, ranging in age from 13 to 18, spent five days shooting photos that depict life in border towns affected by this migration:

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National Geographic Photo Camp Arizona, 2014

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National Geographic Photo Camp Arizona, 2014

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See all theВ photos here.

(Images from the Undocumented Migration Project, via Quartz)

Crazy Days

paper airplanes

Whew! Apologies for being a bit MIA, lately—life has been so nutty! My schedule has been packed, though with all good things: family events, dinners with friends, bridesmaid dress shopping, ballet rehearsals, a reprise of Rock Band Night (!). Each one has helped me get through the Long Slog, day by day. (And hello?! Finally, some warm weather today!)

A few posts on escapes I’ve made during this never-ending winter to come. And I’m happy to report I have a few trips in mind for the coming months, as well. 😉

(Image via Venturous Endeavors)

Jones Beach

As a kid growing up in Queens, I always ended up at Jones Beach a few times, each summer. That and Long Beach were the go-to day trip spots for most people in our part of the city. I remember jumping through the waves there (before I developed my fear of rough water, which I still have today!), swimming in the shallows of Zach’s Bay and sunbathing in the ever-crowded—and sometimes scuzzy—Field 4.

This weekend, I went to Jones Beach with Mal and Peter—and realized it had been several years since I’d been. (Probably due to getting all my beach time in MD and DE, the past few summers!) The Field 6 parking lot was pretty crowded when we arrived at 9 a.m., but luckily, the beach wasn’t. We claimed a spot right by the water…and stayed for eight hours! The sand and water were actually cleaner and nicer than I remembered, and I had to drag myself away at the end of the day. But I was glad to have rediscovered that spot from my childhood—and am already looking forward to more days there!

Coincidentally, I stumbled upon this photo today. I couldn’t help but smile when I instantly recognized it as Jones Beach in the 1930s. The tower in the background is an unmistakeable landmark!

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(Photo by Willard Culver via National Geographic’s Tumblr)

Stay Cool

Children escape the heat of the East Side by using fire hydrant as a shower bath

It is crazy hot, here in NYC, but of course, I’m loving every sticky minute of it!В I’m still forgoing fans or an AC in my apartment, but I’ve been indulging in lots of ice showers—my indoor version of what those kids are doing in the photo above.

Maybe because it’s so old school, but I love that cooling off via fire hydrant is an NYC tradition.В (This photo was taken in 1943.) Today, local fire departments even distribute free “spray caps” for hydrants, to save water and create makeshift sprinklers for anyone looking for heat relief.

Stay cool (and safe)!

(Photo by Roger Smith via the Library of Congress)

Faux Inflatable Ducks

Remember that amazing, giant inflatable rubber duck that was hanging out in Sydney Harbor a while back? It’s still making its way around the world—Florentijn Hofman’s sculpture also made a stop in Hong Kong this year:

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(How I wish I could have seen it in my second favorite city!)

But the funny thing is, since then,В China’s knockoff industry has been churning out look-a-like ducks. Though Chinese officials aren’t thrilled about that, at least 10 replicas have been spotted inВ Wenzhou

Visitors look at a scaled replica of the rubber duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman as employees try to pull it upright on a lake at a park in Shenyang

Shanghai…

A scaled replica of the "Rubber Duck" by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is seen along a street next to a vendor waiting for customers in Shanghai

and Luoyang, to name a few places.

A labourer walks in water after setting up a scaled replica of the rubber duck, by Dutch conceptual artist Hofman, on an artificial lake in Luoyang

I’m wondering how many more are floating (ha) around out there!

(Top two photos viaВ Florentijn Hofman; bottom three by Reuters via Atlantic Cities)