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November 1st, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio; Urban Life & New York City

Discovering The Pines at Mercury Lounge, Opening for Israel Nash

I delighted in that most welcome of live music-going experiences on Oct 22. Going to hear roots rocker Israel Nash for the first time—an artist whose recordings I’d heard and enjoyed for several months—I encountered an opening act whose sound instantly captivated me, which I immediately adored. They are called The Pines. I urge you to listen to them, and go hear them live if they’re playing in your area on their current tour, which will take them to Winnipeg, Canada, as well as to North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Iowa, the latter two being their home states. I was fortunate to arrive an hour early for Nash’s set, and so walked in to the Mercury Lounge just as The Pines were beginning their first song. Playing keys, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar, the trio had a gentle and disarming stage presence that was somehow emphasized by the fact they were all seated. My ears quickened to a lush and ravishing interplay of voices and instruments. I was evidently not the only stunned listener, nor the only person new to their sound, as, unusual at this venue, no one in the darkened music room spoke while they performed. It was easily the most hushed and attentive crowd I’ve ever been a part of at this usually noisy club. Their songs sounded as if they were either traditional ballads reworked by them, or originals that sounded like they emerged from the soil of the upper Midwest. One song, “Are You Ready for the Fair?”, reminded me of Greg Brown, a folksinger I’ve enjoyed for years.  Later, I got a copy of their CD “Pasture” and saw that that song is indeed written by Brown. And on The Pines’ website, I see that Benson Ramsey, who often takes lead vocals, while playing lead and slide guitar, and Alex Ramsey, who plays piano and organ, are sons of Bo Ramsey, Brown’s longtime producer and sideman. Greg Brown, it should be noted, is married to the great country singer Iris Dement.

Click here to see a video of their song “Cry, Cry, Crow” from their album “Dark So Gold.”

After The Pines finished their set, and before Israel Nash and his band took the stage, I introduced myself to Benson Ramsey, and his bandmate Dave Huckfelt. I told them how much I’d enjoyed discovering their music, and that I would be eager to write about them, and let others know of their music. Here are pictures from the show, including some of Israel Nash, who also played a great set, and who I appreciated for having invited The Pines to open for him. I was glad I had the chance to hear both of these bands, and that I had a meet up at Mercury Lounge with a new friend, Garrett Johnson, a Canadian music lover who like me is a member of the CBCRadio 3 music community. I’m glad he was in town and could join me to hear Israel Nash.

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October 21st, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Book Biz; Publishing & Bookselling; Urban Life & New York City

“Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York,” from Blog to Book

Hooray for NYC writer Jeremiah Moss, proprietor of the blog “Vanishing New York,” who will be writing a book inspired by his blog for a HarperCollins imprint. H/t to for reporting the news in their daily deals email. Subscription is required for viewing the book industry site, but here’s a quick screenshot of the item.  

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October 5th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Art, Photography, Design; Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels; Urban Life & New York City

Storify Post on “Money, Wheels, and Random Legs” at Firecat Projects, w/Highlights from a Week in Chicago

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September 18th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Art, Photography, Design; Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels; Urban Life & New York City

“Money, Wheels, and Random Legs” Exhibit at Chicago’s Firecat Projects

I’m excited to be traveling to Chicago next week where paintings by my wife, artist Kyle Gallup, will be part of a three-person show at Firecat Projects, with fellow NYC artists Oriane Stender and Melissa Stern. Watch this space for more coverage, as I’ll be blogging from the opening on Sept 25 and during our week in the Windy City. Here you can view “Pink Planet,” one of the paintings in the exhibit, with the rest shown at Kyle’s updated website.

More details on the show:

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August 24th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Media, Blogging, Internet; Urban Life & New York City

Twilight Cruise on the Hudson and NY Harbor

My sister Pamela and her good friend Billy visited NY the past couple days, and last evening she took us on a Classic Harbor Line cruise in NY harbor with an AIA-certified guide, Scott Cook, who spoke very knowledgeably about NY buildings and the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NJ waterfronts. It was far superior to NY’s more well-known and trafficked Circle Line!  The docent Cook, one of six architecture professionals who work these cruises for Classic Harbor, was very good, a fluent speaker, quick to deliver interesting information on individual buildings, their locations, the architects responsible for them, and details of their design and especially their ‘green’ features. He described NY’s waterfront as our “sixth borough,” an idea that really appeals to me, and he broached urban issues, from climate change to how the Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park are permitting high-rise development in exchange for resources for upkeep of these newly created public spaces. 3 Lounge

The docents have to be quick because the boats of Classic Harbor are so-called ‘motor yachts,’ and they cruise at quite good speed. The vessel we sailed on was the Manhattan II, nicely appointed with teak and mahogany and lots of clean, clear wrap-around glass. Inside was a lounge with many comfortable seats at wide tables, quite a roomy space. The copy on the brochure and map they handed out (pictured below) suggests that these NY Harbor cruises are the least crowded of all the lines offering these boat rides, and I believe it—nothing at all like being on the subway, an unfortunately apt comparison for the ride I took a couple years ago on the Circle Line. Out on deck there’s some bench seating, and enough room to walk and stand comfortably, though carefully, leaning on rails and holding on to pieces of the ship. The captain was a rather young mariner, who helmed the yacht very ably, coming to a floating rest a number of times, near the Statue of Liberty, the shore of Governors Island, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and Battery Park City.  Figured in to the price of a ticket is a free drink, so Kyle and I welcomed the discovery that Yuengling’s light beer is very drinkable!

A coincidental sidelight made me eager to go on this tour: when I was executive editor with Times Books at Random House in the late ’90s, I acquired, edited, and published the 4th Edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, an essential handbook that has been published continuously since 1967, with a new edition out roughly every decade. The edition I published—by architect and pithy writer about buildings and public spaces Norval White—included entries on more than 5,000 of the metropolis’s buildings in all five boroughs, a book I still treasure.

I hope at some point to take Classic Harbor Line’s cruise that circumnavigates all of Manhattan, a three-hour trip, twice the duration of the trip we took Sunday night. Given my personal interest in the GWB, aka The Great Gray Bridge, and The Little Red Lighthouse, I’m sure I will enjoy that tour even more. Here are lots more of my pictures, with commentary in the captions, though it’s a dead certainty I’ll come nowhere recalling most of the buildings and architects that Scott Cook named, but the day was so clear with abundant light, I think you’ll be able to appreciate many of the views and buildings anyway.

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August 22nd, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Bicycling; Urban Life & New York City

Ducks on the Hudson

Looking south with a flock of ducks from Hudson Beach w/a view of the west side of Manhattan and downtown w/NJ shore on the far right.

Source: Philip Turner

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May 8th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Books & Writing; Urban Life & New York City

Video Trailer for Thomas Kunkel’s new Joseph Mitchell bio, w/Images of NY Harbor

Good 3 min video trailer for Thomas Kunkel's new Joseph Mitchel bio. Great images of NY harbor:

— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) May 8, 2015

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May 3rd, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Bicycling; Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels; Urban Life & New York City

Sunday Afternoon in Upper Manhattan & along the Hudson Near the Great Gray Bridge

I hadn’t pedaled up to the Great Gray Bridge for a couple months, and today turned out to be an ideal day for it. Blue sky, puffy clouds, abundant sunshine. Perfect. Click here to see all photos in this post.

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