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NYC Photos April and May 2018: Trump’s in town, U Thant Island, Gantry Park, Long Island City Queens

I got some good photos walking around the other day in New York (Wednesday, May 23). I gathered in the morning with my pastor-friend Ben to do some work in the Flatiron district at 26th street and then later walked North and East to 38th street as far East as the East River, and then back West to 38th and 2nd where I had a small group meeting. That is, a meeting with a small group of Christians I gather with on a semi-regular basis to eat and study scripture.

I love taking photos. I use an Honor 8 phone, a midrange-priced cell phone (made by Huawei, a company which the US intelligence community says not to use ) that happens to have a really good camera (The phone is fragile though and the screen shatters easily. I have been through 2 screens already. I probably need to find a new go-to phone but I’m used to this one). I edit the photos I take with the Google Photo app’s built-in editor and then maybe put an instagram filter on there too. Sometimes people say nice things about my photos on instagram and I feel like saying I cheated, because the Google app can can and does make regular old photos look a lot more stunning. It’s a little creepy too, how Google will randomly choose photos from the cloud to gussy up and present to me.

You see all kinds of things in NY. Trump was in town on this day so there was an increased police presence, a generalized air of expectation, and then later on in the evening interminable traffic delays. I engaged one of the traffic cops in conversation (you can see him in the photo) and asked him if the President was in town. “Trump’s in town,” he affirmed. I asked him what for. “Oh you know, some political things, or maybe some business things, you know, with the tower.” It was pretty clear the guy had no idea but just wanted to talk, which was fine cause I did too.

By the river I saw a police boat engage with a jet-ski in the East river. It looked like maybe the jet-ski got too close to a little tiny island [*Edit. I did a little (very little. I typed “tiny island East River” in my search bar) research and found out more about this tiny island, which is called U Thant island. Please watch this video for some fascinating and entertaining history.]

If you watched the video then you know that no one is allowed on the island. (“U Thant” touch this). Accordingly, the police boat shooed the jetski away. I have to wonder if the police boat is a constant presence near U Thant Island, or whether it was part of the beefed-up Presidential visit security.

Behind U Thant Island is Gantry park, in Long Island City, Queens, which offers stunning views of the NYC skyline. You might ask why it’s called Long Island City if it’s not in Long Island. The answer is that technically Queens (and Brooklyn) are part of Long Island. They comprise the Western Part of Long Island. But when people use the term “Long Island” they usually mean the eastern part. That is, the suburbs. By the way, Long Island is the 11th largest island in the US and larger than Rhode Island, which technically has the longest State name of all 50 US States (State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations)!

I hope you like these photos of Manhattan, the East River, and Long Island City, Queens (The Queens photos are from April 24).

Pictured: Friendly Traffic Cop.

 

I turned the red filter way up.  Can you tell?

I’m not sure what was causing the sun to dapple that building on the right but I liked it.

NYPD Police boat shooing away jet-ski from U Thant Island.  If you didn’t watch the video about U Thant you really should.

Pepsi Cola Sign by Night. Gantry Park.

View of Manhattan Skyline from Gantry Park. (Panoramic view which got kinda bent). On this night, the Empire State building (over to the far left) was not lit, in honor of the victims of the terrorist van attack in Toronto the day before.

View of Manhattan skyline framed by one of the eponymous gantries.

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Water Tower in the Flatiron District/Tesla

6th Ave and 27th Street.

This is a picture I took of a water tower on 26th Street, viewed from 27th (Here’s a good article on the ubiquitous NYC water towers, which look like relics of the past but are still very much in use). The church I used to work for had its office on 26th. Directly behind me is the “Radio Wave building,” So named because Nikola Tesla lived and experimented there. There’s a great park nearby, Madison Square Park. Once Kanye West held a free concert there and it was a *mess*. Harried police shut down several blocks and there were tons of people. Apparently Kanye came on super late. Kanye and Jay-Z own a club nearby, called the 40/40 club. I stuck my head in there once, but didn’t sit down.

Speaking of Tesla: There are two Tesla Plaques in NYC (that I know of). One on the aforementioned Radio Wave Building (which used to be called Hotel Gerlach), and one on the Hotel New Yorker Hotel at 34th and 8th, where Tesla died, destitute. This leads me to a question: how come a long time ago living in hotels used to be a thing?

National Cash Register Store

Walking into Faerman’s National Cash Register store, which sells and repairs old cash registers, is like going back in time. It’s full of elegant antique cash registers that still say “ka-ching” and have rows and rows of buttons and cool florid designs. It’s got the kind of old hand-painted sign out front you don’t see much anymore. I found a 2009 NY times article on the store (Apparently the same article which is framed on the wall in the picture below). In the article Mr. Faerman is warming up one of the cash registers with a hair dryer “because machines need to be warm to work.” Apparently there used to be lots of cash register stores on and around the Bowery, but only this one remains. I took a lot of pictures inside, but only a couple turned out ok. The rest were too blurry to post.

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AAA Avacodos

In Chinatown, on Grand Street, there is a store called AAA Avacados that sells only avacados, at one dollar apiece. It sounds like the brainchild of a Seinfeld character (Jerry: “Really? nothing else? only the avacados?” George: “That’s right! Only avacados baby!”), or the punchline of a Mitch Hedberg Joke. A few doors down there’s a rather stinky store (Durian New York) that sells only Durian. I didn’t get a photo of that one though.

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This is 817 Broadway (at E. 12th) in Manhattan. It used to be known as the Sprague building and was designed by George Post. It sits catty-corner from the splendid Strand bookstore (“18 miles of books”). This site has more photos and some history about the building. (I’d like to learn more about that “Fuller Detective Agency” shown in the 1905 photo).

817 Broadway “The Sprague Building”