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February 4th, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Urban Life & New York City

Lovely Snow Day in NYC


The snowy winter of 2013-14 continued yesterday with an all-day storm. By late in the afternoon Kyle and I got out for a walk and found that a beautiful and unfamiliar landscape had been created by the snowfall. The snow defined the contours of tree limbs, rocks, paths, and walls.

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January 24th, 2014

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

Rural Alberta Advantage, Another Great Indie Band from Canada

Had a great time last night at a live music show put on by the Toronto trio, The Rural Alberta Advantage, my first time hearing them live after enjoying them the past few years on CBC Radio 3. They played a sold-out show in front of a boisterously appreciative full house at the Mercury Lounge on the lower east side of Manhattan. I have a full post with pictures at my other blog Honourary Canadian. Here are shots showing all three band members, first Amy Cole, keys with Nils Edenloff, guitar and lead vocals, then Paul Banwatt, drums. I hope you enjoy the rest of the post over there.Mercury Lounge Jan 24 2014Mercury Lounge Jan 24 2014

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December 8th, 2013

By Philip Turner in: Art, Film, Photography, Fine Printing & Design; Urban Life & New York City

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Abandons Renovation of Metro Theater in NYC

Despite earlier reports from Austin, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse NYC that they would be renovating the Metro Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Broadway at 100th Street, word came today that actually the movie chain has abandoned those plans. This is a big disappointment for all denizens of my neighborhood who lament the lingering blight of recession upon our neighborhood, and had hoped that this new establishment would bring renewed life to this part of town. More’s the pity, since my wife, artist Kyle Gallup, had some years ago created a visual homage to the theater’s facade, which we hoped to see back up in lights sometime in 2014. Alas, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Below you can see images of the banner on the Metro marquee that will presumably come down soon, a photo of the facade, and Kyle’s painting. Alamo MetroMetro Theater facadeMetro Theater marquee Kyle Gallup

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October 13th, 2013

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

Enjoying the Little Red Lighthouse Fall Festival

Fireboat spray 3Hundreds of New Yorkers found their way to Fort Washington Park yesterday, underneath the George Washington Bridge, aka the Great Gray Bridge, for the 21st Little Red Lighthouse Fall Festival, co-sponsored by the NYC Parks Dept and the New York Restoration Project (NYRP). The latter is Bette Midler’s organization, aka MillionTrees.org. I had no idea the festival’s been going on every year since 1992! I biked up there and had a fun couple of hours, marveling at the big crowd, including many families with young children, all enjoying a great NYC landmark, one that I’ve cherished a long time, though usually alongside only just a few other visitors to the site, not dozens.

As is the custom on the second Saturday of each month from May-October, the little red lighthouse was also opened to visitors yesterday, and long lines of people waited a turn to get inside and see for themselves this treasure of naval architecture and maritime history. I had toured the lighthouse and taken many photographs in August and September, and so happily left it to other visitors yesterday. Booths at the festival included such exhibits as Urban Park Rangers (a career I’m sure I would enjoy); NYRP and their Million Trees initiative; and such local businesses in Washington Heights, the neighborhood adjoining Fort Washington Park, as Word Up Bookstore and Storefront Science. Festival organizers had also printed poster-sized reproductions of Lynd Ward’s art from Hildegarde H. Swift’s classic children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, and from a stage that earlier sported a quite good cajun & roots band called The Amigos, the book was read aloud with help from teenagers from BuildOn.org and an NYC Parks Dept official. I was amused when the official announced the youth group as Move On, which sounded odd–it seemed a bit far afield for MoveOn.org–and the kids quickly corrected her, saying, “We’re from Build On!”

For a finale, an FDNY fireboat cruised up the Hudson, drifted close to the shoreline and then turned about so spectators could see the vessel from every angle. And then the crew provided a great water exhibition, shooting great arcs of water from the boat’s hoses and spouts, creating transparent scrims of water shimmering against the blue sky and bright sunshine. It was a splendid sight and an enjoyable festival. Below are my photographs from the delightful day.

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October 9th, 2013

By Philip Turner in: News, Politics & History; Urban Life & New York City

In My Manhattan Neighborhood, a Day to Remember Fallen Firefighters

Laughing FiremanAs I began my workday this morning, I heard the mellifluous sound of massed bagpipes and knew that today must be a special day in the city for firefighters. My Manhattan neighborhood is home to the city’s Fireman’s Memorial, at 100TH Street and Riverside Drive. It’s one of the city’s sublime spots. When tragic events occur, or when anniversaries of them come round, like those for 9/11, hundreds of firefighters in full dress uniforms flood the area for remembrances that include fire engines and chief’s cars parked all akimbo on nearby streets, and dozens of bagpipers and drummers all marching in unison. With the sound of bagpipes drifting in my window, I went out for a walk to observe the ceremony.

October 9th–far as I knew, today was no anniversary of a specific incident. I asked one firefighter about the occasion and he confirmed what I suspected: this day is marked on the civic calendar as a general remembrance for all firefighters who’ve ever died in the line of duty, stretching all the way back through more than 250 years of New York history. Here are some pictures I took this morning, and one that I took of a child at the Fireman’s Memorial last month on 9/11, the last time that hundreds of firefighters made a pilgrimage to my neighborhood.

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October 2nd, 2013

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

Bike Ride Bench Break Photo Tweet

Taken at the West Harlem Piers section of Riverside Park in NYC along the Hudson River, about 125th Street, taken about 2:00 PM, October 2, 2013.

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September 17th, 2013

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

Restoring High Bridge, NYC’s Oldest Span, via Gothamist

A fascinating article with photos in Gothamist.com by Evan Bindelglass, covering the history and restoration of the bridge that connected the Bronx and Manhattan beginning in 1842, an interboro link across the Harlem River that was built to bring fresh water via the Croton Aqueduct in to Gotham. The span connects 170th Street in the Bronx to 173rd Street in Manhattan. In a deliciously arcane example of NYC geography, Bindelglass points out, that’s “West 173rd Street and not East,” though this is the east side of the island, “Because it is technically west of 5th Avenue,” the east-west midpoint of the island for road-naming purposes.

High Bridge has undergone numerous reconstructions over the decades. The current renovation–a joint project of NYC’s Parks Department and the NYC Department of Design and Construction–will allow the deck to reopen to pedestrians and cyclists upon its hoped-for completion in June 2014. In a suggestion that would delight many New Yorkers, Bindelglass reports,

“Some are already hailing the High Bridge as another High Line-like project.

 ‘Long linear spaces [are] en vogue in New York City,’ [said] Jennifer McCardle Hoppa,  Administrator for Northern Manhattan Parks for the Parks Department. 

As part of the project, the bridge deck will be restored and parts of it will be resurfaced. (An interesting thing to note is that the original stone arch portion of the bridge—and one stone arch remains on the Manhattan side—was surfaced in a herringbone pattern, but the steel portion was not.)”

My fondness for examples of New York City’s maritime and industrial past is probably well-known to readers of this blog, especially for landmarks like the Little Red Lighthouse, which I toured last weekend. That’s why I also appreciated this quote in Bindelglass’s story:

“‘Just the idea of that reconnection has tremendous symbolism, I think, for both communities,’ says David Burney, Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction. ‘It’s this piece of industrial archeology, this huge pipe system that was carrying water across and into Manhattan that we’re preserving and keeping as a piece of history,’ Burney says, ‘We do a lot of bridge reconstruction. But this is very special.’”

I have ridden my bike in the neighborhood around High Bridge, and up to the High Bridge tower, which dominates the area around it on the Manhattan side. I look forward to seeing the renovation work completed next year. The work on High Bridge will give all of us access to another splendid city landmark. Meantime, I’m happy I can share this good piece of NY reporting, and one of Bindelglass’s photos from his gothamist.com piece. The image shows the old deck, surrounded by orange fencing. High Bridge tower is in the distance, on the Manhattan side.

High Bridge deck Bindelglass photo

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August 23rd, 2013

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

Fun Friday in Coney Island


Kyle and I had a great time in Coney Island today. In addition to the photo I sent out with the above tweet, here are more highlights from my camera roll with about 20 shots of this supremely photogenic New York City attraction.