NYC Snow Job Walkabout Photo Bomb

I was going to start with a caveat that this was a “lazy” post because it’s mainly photos. Then I remembered that photography is a legitimate art form. I like to fancy myself an advanced beginner. I used to develop my own black and white photos in high school. I had an excellent instructor who taught me the basics about composition, framing, light, texture and all that jazz. The lessons stuck. Probably the only ones from high school that did. So I retract the caveat that I have not offered.

I went out on my lunch hour while it was snowing and took these in Bryant Park, which is located just behind the big library on 42nd St.

winter1Winter’s last gasp. We hope.

winter3There’s a fountain at the 6th Avenue entrance. They don’t turn it off when it gets below freezing. The water continues to flow until it’s a solid mass.

winter5Now it’s sculpture. [Mistyped as “scripture.” Hilarious, considering my feelings about scripture. ]

winter6Poor Patience. Blinded by snow. (Or is he Fortitude? I forget which is which. They all look alike to me.)

winter4I love this shot from my office. The best part? The water towers. Tiny white circles that punctuate the neighborhood.

winter12There’s an installation currently on Broadway in the garment district. Avian Avatars by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. Five bird sculptures that are, according to the literature, considering the state of the world. Don’t we all?

winter7 This owl is the best of the lot. Two pics for him.

winter9winter8Crow with caution tape.

winter10Yet another illegal depriving an honest, hard-working American of a food delivery job. Obama’s liberal immigration policy must be STOPPED. Send this lazy, entitlement-sucking bum back to where he came from.*

winter11*If you think I’m serious, you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. If what I’ve written reflects your true feelings about this poor bastard, you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. If you don’t feel any compassion welling-up inside you, there’s a hole in the space where your heart should be and you are not allowed to read my blog anymore. Go away and don’t come back.

I (bravely) took on Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starring Brian Dennehy and,Β in a rare dramatic turn, Nathan Lane. The program said it was 4:45 long but what the hell, let’s call it an even 5:00.

icemanIt was pretty rough stuff. Curtain was at 7:00 and we got out just before midnight. Three intermissions. It was a Herculean effort and while it was awfully good, it fell short of greatness. Dennehy is a hulking mass of actor. Lane, on the other hand, is burdened with the baggage of his success. This happens with movie actors who take the stage. He had a long, passionate soliloquy near the end and I kept hearing Timon peeking through singing Hakuna Matata.

Eugene O’Neill was mad. Sitting through one of his plays is a long, hard slog, but it’s usually worth it. Here are some memes I found that will tell you everything you need to know about an O’Neill play.


100 thoughts on “NYC Snow Job Walkabout Photo Bomb

  1. Love the pictures, especially the fountain. I wish they would keep the one at work running; especially since it resembles a block ice to begin with. As for the delivery man, my whole body hurt looking at the picture especially my heart. Hope they tipped him well above & beyond.

  2. I had to comment right away because last time I popped over you had hundreds and I was afraid to be lost in the crowd πŸ™‚ (it’s not like real life where my height and hair ensure that doesn’t ever happen)

    I loved the pictures. Agree they are not lazy…and regret not having my “real” camera when I was in your city recently. These are lovely. And I am fully allowed to read your blog still…I see so many jobs that Americans would never want their family or friends to do and yet complain about those who are willing to do them. I don’t think we realize what it’s like.

    • Hundreds. I wish. You’re very kind. You won’t get lost in a crowd because of your aura.

      NYC is very photogenic. I give myself pats on the back for shots well taken, but serously, you can’t go wrong with material to work with like this.

      Look at the look on that poor kid’s face. Heartbreaking.

      • Okay admittedly it might have just been 192 πŸ™‚
        And I think complimenting me on my aura is probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

        (and BTW I have said that before – hard to take a bad picture with the scenes you are given. But it IS possible. You still have a good eye for composition).

      • Thank you. I will take that compliment to the bank. I will refrain from putting on my “I’m not worthy of praise” routine because it’s tedious. I’m leaving that noise behind.

  3. Very interesting photography work in the latest and hopefully last snow burst, Mark. You do know how to frame a scene. The arch of the tree canopy caught with the line of the walkway is artfully pleasing. Do you think the Bryant Park workers leave the fountain water on because they realize sub-zero temperatures will make it look great, or are they just lazy? And that yellow caution tape is perfect for the crow. What a nasty bird. All in all, I’m glad you paid attention to this high school class. Nice photos, as usual. And it is an art, you are so right about that. I’m taking Photo 101 from WP right now, and I’m actually learning tidbits to help me with my iPhone 6 that either didn’t filter through in newsroom osmosis all those decades or that I’ve forgotten from my two basic college black-and-white SLR journalism photo classes and all the things photographers told me while we were photo-choosing and cropping over the years. It’s different behind that tiny screen of the smart phone.

    Five hours of O’Neill and Nathan Lane. Wow. You fed your theater jones fully this time. Speaking of film impressions lingering, I think I may have sat there wanting Brian Dennehy to stick Nathan Lane into one of those giant Coccoons by hour four.

    • What do you mean hopefully the last snow burst!? Don’t put that out there. Of COURSE it’s the last. How could it not be?

      As I said above, the key to finding the right angle and exposure is just keep clicking. Eventually, some real gems surface. As far as the fountain, I don’t think they’re too lazy to turn it off. Perhaps they need to keep it going so the pipes themselves don’t freeze and burst? I have no idea.

      So are you saying WP offers classes? Is that true? I had no idea. I would definitely sign up for something like that. Just imagine…taking a class because I want to. Long road to this spot.

      In addition to Iceman Cometh, I’m also seeing a stage adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall that also runs about five hours. It’s really unusual to have two long productions in the same season. I can’t help myself. I love it.

  4. I know you think this is a throwaway but I love this post. Who knew there were O’Neill memes.
    I’ve never seen Iceman, and the prospect intimidates me. Remember what you told me about difficult fiction? Five hours of O’Neill is enticing to me as a weeklong fast.
    Love the pics. Shooting snow is one thing. Shooting IN snow is something else. I too learned darkroom photography. One of the many things I’m glad I learned before it disappeared, like manual typewriters and stacking 45s.
    My eldest child is an all-season cyclist. For fun, not work. She’s going to save the world.

    • Believe it or not, this is the second time I suffered through a production of Iceman. I saw Kevin Spacy do it on Broadway back in 1999, although I don’t recall that one being five hours. I think it was pared down to three or three and a half. Spacey did a much better job than Lane. Sorry, Nathan.

      Do you remember the smell of the chemicals in the dark room? I do. The dark room at high school is where a lot of making-out was going on. Not by me, mind you. Other, more popular kids.

      Being an all-season cyclist requires a grit that I lack. All hail to her.

      • I had a darkroom. My dad was a photographer in the 1960s and I set up my own with his equipment when I was in high school. I loved it. I can bring back the chemical smell just by thinking about it. But I’m afraid I’ve lost all of the talent to process film now!!

        I was also on the yearbook committee and in theater πŸ™‚

      • Darkrooms are a lost art. People will never get to experience that again. This morning I used the GPS on my phone. Getting lost is also something kids will never experience, much to their disadvantage if you ask me. You can learn a lot while driving around lost.

  5. The photos give me a nice feel for your city in the snow. Looks cold but beautiful. I’m starting to get into photography a little bit myself. Just bought a low-end mirrorless digital camera. Now I have to learn all the fancy features.

    • Photography got away from me for number of years but it was reintroduced with the advent of smart phones. You can create amazingly sophisticated shots with the combination of an iPhone and the Photoshop app.

      • That’s true. Smartphone cameras are as good as point and shoot these days. And I understand that even some professionals use point and shoots.

  6. I still remember developing photos with my father in our tiny bathroom temporarily converted into a darkroom. Which is why I love the digital cameras.
    That fountain reminds me that there is a frozen waterfall not far from my house. I’d take a picture, but it requires slogging a quarter mile through a waist-deep snow in a forest, so not this year.

    • Because digital photography is so much easier, or because you wanted your bathroom back?

      I had to jump through some mean puddles of slush, but it’s nothing like traipsing through a forest just for a decent shot. Considering the amount of snow you’ve had, it still might be waist high come May.

      • Because it involves work, smelling chemicals, and not being able to use the bathroom.
        Even though I didn’t get to a waterfall, I’ve actually put some of that snow to good use:

  7. I have no compassion at all for the guy on the bike.
    I ordered the Kung Pow chicken, and he brought me General Tso.
    Didn’t find out til after I tipped him.


  8. Haha, I see Mr O’Neill was an expert at projecting hostility! I might watch one of his plays to punish myself for excessive frivolity. It’s funny to think he was in the same line of work as Noel Coward, who was a master of the social graces. When Coward was being interviewed on his 70th birthday, his interviewer apologised for asking questions about his life he must have heard many times before. Coward replied “Not at all, the subject fascinates me.”

    • Well, if you’re looking to punish yourself, many will agree that there’s no better way to do it than sitting through an O’Neill play. Being a big Anglophile, Coward is one of my favs. That was a golden era when the sun never set on the British Empire. Golden, that is, unless you were under their tyranny.

  9. Hi Mark. I like your posts because you cover a number of things all at one time. It’s cool to see what you see in the area where you work – very nice photos. My office is on the corner of 9th and Lakeside – do you remember where that is? I overlook the river so all I see right now (literally, I’m here) is white snow. I’m on the 8th floor so I do get to see planes taking off from Burke, though, which is pretty cool. Sorry about your play experience – 5 hours is too much time for me. I saw Nathan Lane a couple of years ago in The Addams Family, which was actually really good – took my kids. And who can forget The Birdcage? Still makes me laugh! As for the delivery guy, that looks pretty rough – but it’s good to know you’re a generous tipper. πŸ™‚

    • Well, thank you. Some would say that I can’t focus on one subject. I prefer your take on it.

      Hey! I think I used to work in that building! When I was in the Coast Guard, I worked in the district legal office which was in that building if I’m not mistaken. It’s government offices, correct? Across from Free Stamp?

      • Yes across from Free Stamp! All glass. Jones Day, IT, and consultants in there now. Interesting that you were in the Coast Guard!

      • The other day my pal up top, Ross, send me a link to Randy Newman’s “Burn On.” It made me miss Cleveland terribly.

        Do you know the story of Free Stamp? Claes Oldenburg created it for the front of the courthouse. It was supposed to be standing upright. The courthouse hated it and demanded it be moved, so they put it in that space. Oldenburg had it tipped on its side as though someone picked it up and threw it there. Isn’t thst great!

      • Is he from CLE? I don’t know if listening to a song about the river burning would make me miss the city – lol Didn’t know that about the Free Stamp either – I’ve heard it has a big cult following though. Love large outdoor art installations – esp pop art

      • There’s a red moon rising
        On the Cuyahoga River
        Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

        There’s an oil barge winding
        Down the Cuyahoga River
        Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

        Cleveland, city of light, city of magic
        Cleveland, city of light, you’re calling me
        Cleveland, even now I can remember
        ‘Cause the Cuyahoga River
        Goes smokin’ through my dreams

        THAT makes me miss Cleveland.

  10. Look at you, Mark. You’re quite the photographer. These are great shots!! You’re talented. Look at you hiding this from us. This is quite a lot more than just photos anyway, with all your commentary and asides. By the way, your little note to us is the reason I read your blog. Yes, how could anyone not feel compassion? Who are these people? I love the owl. Five hours is long no matter how great it is. I admire your dedication. That iced over fountain speaks volumes. Oh, spring will be here soon!

    • On second look, I think some of the shots are interesting but not terribly artistic. I like the first three but the others conveying information more than any artistic sensibility.

      I was going to pull that kid over and give him money even though the delivery wasn’t mine. What a way to make a living!

      Going to a five-hour play doesn’t require dedication. It’s a joy. Getting on a bus at 5 AM every morning? That’s dedication! It wasn’t cheap, either. I sat in the rafters and it still cost!

  11. Five hours in the theater? Not sure I could do it. I start getting antsy after ninety minutes. Sixty if my attention is wandering. At least they gave you two intermissions. My bladder would need that.

    The pics are great. I enjoyed the photographic tour through a snowy New York. Now you can follow-up with the same shots come spring!

    • I don’t know what happened to me in past that makes five hours of theater tolerable. I really think something must be seriously wrong with me. It’s not for most people, that’s for sure. Most people are too sensible to sit in an old theater in Brooklyn to see a five hour play. One that, frankly, was okay but not spectacular. Maybe it’s best not to look too deeply for a reason. Ride the wave.

  12. The photography is fantastic, but the O’Neill memes are my favorite memes now!

    About 11 years ago ( I was pregnant) I saw “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” on Broadway. It was an incredible production with a stellar cast. Dennehy, (does he get first refusal on O’Neill plays?) but also Philip Seymour Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave, arguably the best actress in the world. And yet at 4 hours, it felt interminable to me. I might have been hormonal.

    I love looking at the snow in New York without having to actually deal with it. Thank you, friend.

    • I missed that production, but not because I was pregnant. And I believe you are mixing up your past a bit, my tiny rose. Hoffman, Dennehy and Redgrave did Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The prior Broadway production of Iceman was in 1999 with Kevin Spacey; a superior show to this one. That one also starred a then-unknown Paul Giamatti, who killed it.

      I didn’t write any of those memes. I didn’t want to take any credit for their brilliance. Because they are. Brilliant.

      There’s plenty of snow out here where we are. You’re not deprived.

      • I said it was Long Days Journey!

        I know I’m just a blogging heathen on WordPress, but I did really pursue acting in NYC. I know my theater!

        I loathe the snow. It just looks pretty in a photograph. Mostly because it’s of New York. That’s one love affair I’m having that will never end.

  13. O’Neil marathon, snow, Bryant Park, art,snow, wit, snow, compassion. The Banished One writes about his city…
    You do know I have a painting of a water tower on my living room wall?

  14. Excellent photos of snowy scenes. Your best photo? The delivery guy. Immigrants are willing do what lazy ass Americans will not. I see it in my small town. The Mexicans have a “corner” on lawn service and carpentry and mason work. Generally all of them do very good work.

    I’m also fascinated by the bird sculptures. Lots of work went into creating those.

    • I saw that guy approaching on his bike and knew it would make for good commentary. Blow it up and look at the look on his face. Pure agony.

      The sculptures are great because they’re so big. I think about 15 feet high or so. If they were just man-sized, they wouldn’t be so interesting. Bigger is almost always better.

  15. Wonderful photos – I don’t have your skill. How comes your snow looks more, well, snowy, than ours does??? All I see is slush and salt and road spray.

    I felt for the poor sop on the bicycle. I was in Michigan last week and there was a radio show on, some Mike Savage guy. Ever heard him? He was amazing. Ripping on Obama as though he were a tyrant, and going on about how the rightist parties in France have got it right. Throw out the immigrants. Put up the walls. That’s what people have come to, eh? Wonderful.

    I just got back from playing in the snow with my kids. First time all winter. It was all good except for the snow in the bum crack (no photos forthcoming).

    • Trent! How’ve you been you ole’ rattlesnake? Have you been traveling? Nice that you’re home with the kiddies. The snow looks that way because it’s just fallen. If I took photos two hours after the storm, you’d see a lot of hard, ugly black ice. As pure as New York snow.

      I’ve heard of Savage. A real nasty piece of work. I don’t think he honestly believes half of what he says. I think he says these horrific things just to rile his audience and keep his ratings up. Ratings = $$$ and that’s the language it takes.

      How is it you just now got around to playing in the snow? Good thing because it’s your last chance.

      • Not travelling, just buried under mounds of work. Makes for dull times. As for the snow… so bloody cold this winter that haven’t felt like getting out. But with a little sunshine and some warmth, it’s perfect.

        Avoid that Savage guy. You’re right, it’s a pure money deal. He even does his own ads and every couple of minutes peddles his book. It’s shameful and total crap.

  16. Great photos Mark. I think it is a very striking post – you see all this stuff daily – I’ve never seen it before. It makes quite a difference as to what is interesting – and your post is interesting. Carry on!

  17. My favourite is the guy peddling through the snow. I love pictures that tell a story and street life. Next I like the first picture of the tree against the building- nature against man made structure has a great feel. Third I like the owl.
    Of course photography is art and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • I felt awful for that poor guy on the bike. Just look at his face. All scrunched up in agony. What a life he must have.

      As for the rest of the pics, I think the first one has some real merit because of the juxtaposition between the branches and building, but the rest are functionally interesting. That’s fine. Sometimes function beats form. I can live with that.

    • That’s interesting you should point that out. The barroom setting and lighting was superb. Kudos to the sit and lighting designers. When you get to this level, you’re really treated to the best of the best.

  18. Nice pictures, again. What I like about your blog is, always something interesting, never boring, funny, entertaining and easy to read with pics. I love how NYC does installations on major streets. A great way to expose art to the public. I always wondered who is Eugene O’Neill after seeing ‘The Book of Mormon’ in the theatre with his name. I can’t imagine a five hour play. I would pack my own lunch on snow days.

    • Thanks, Tom. I figure if I address a variety of subjects in one post, something will be bound to please. In this one, I move from photography to quasi-political to theater.

      Everyone assumes that O’Neill must be rolling in his grave over having a fun, peppy musical playing in his namesake theater. And that show isn’t going anywhere. It just past its five year mark and shows no sign of stopping.

  19. *”If you think…….and don’t come back” You crack me up!
    Beautiful photos. You make me less scared of New York with every post! Why don’t they turn off the water in that fountain? Doesn’t that put it in danger of breaking? like the pipes rupturing? I always figured that was why they shut down Buckingham fountain.

    • Don’t be afraid! New York used to be much, much scarier. The subways covered with graffiti used to terrify me. I never got used to it. I was glad when the city started to gentrify.

      If you’ll scroll up, you’ll see that someone from the Bryant Park Conservatory actually addressed the frozen fountain question. I have no idea how they found this post!

  20. To me, the first pic drew me into the others … well done. The water towers on the buildings below was special in its own way. Five hours on a heavy play sounds exhausting to me.

    • It WAS kind of exhausting! I wish I could report otherwise. But there was a chance it could have been great and I was willing to roll the dice. You never can be too sure about these things. I have tickets to another five hour play in about a month. This time, about Henry VIII. We’ll see how that works out.

      • Honestly, I’ve seen masterpieces that ran no longer than :90 minutes. If you’re last name doesn’t happen to be Shakespeare, then there’s no reason for a show to run longer than 2:30, max. Some authors are so in love with their own voices. Just like some bloggers. Where did you see “Desire…”? Was it a Buckeye production? Aside from the length, how was it?

      • yes, a buckeye production – the most ‘serious’ of the local community theatre troupes. a friend was directing, so i felt compelled to attend. one excellent performance – Ephraim. Literal interpretation on a small, 3/4 stage made it very intimate – could see spittle when Ephraim went on a tear. Both disappointed, and quite relieved, at the lack of ‘skin’… i know these people! But could not get past the weight of the damn show, the dialect – compounded by uneven performances, and the numbness of my ass after an hour…

      • I had the same problem at Iceman! My ass was throbbing right around the 3:30 mark. Took me out of the story a bit, as you can well imagine.

        Good for them for tackling it, though. I think it’s important to keep the heavy stuff alive. It can’t all be fornicating puppets. (Or can it?)

  21. I’ve been in Bryant Park in the days I used to regularly be schlepping about East 42nd Street. Never seen it like that though – you have had a rough winter this year.
    I saw Long Day’s Journey Into Night with my kids a few years back in London – very good but like you say hardly a barrel of laughs. He lived in a house in New London CT – bizarrely a few doors down from another old office complex for the company I used to work for that took me regularly to NYC and 42nd Street and Bryant Park.
    Small world

    • You took your kids to Long Days?! When you say “kids,” what are we taking here? +/- 12 or older?

      That guy was a world-class drinker. It showed in his work. Iceman was five hours of alcoholics. Rough stuff. Not my typical Thursday night, that’s for sure.

      It IS a small world. I’m having a hard time picturing you in Bryant Park. You’re part of a different world, aren’t you? Perhaps not.

  22. Great pictures, I particularly really like the first one for some reason, kind of intimidating somehow. I also really like the view from your office. I don’t think I could go to a play that long, I really can’t sit still for too long, not for any medical reason, I’m just a fidget, always! And I don’t have a very long attention span! Even with a few breaks, I’d really struggle with that.

    • Never mind sitting through a play that long. How does one navigate the novel-length script!? That’s what I was wondering. Not one actor went up on their lines (that I could tell). How do they do it? You must have some insight into this sort of thing.

  23. I have life envy, again: big city, theatre, public art, snow, and social conscience all in one instance. Do you think your fellow countrymen (or the ones who dis immigrants) would rather there was no one to do those awful jobs?

    I love the crow with the caution tape, they are a much maligned creature.

    • The closer I look at these photos, the less impressed I am with their *ahem* artistic merit. The first one is nice but the others now strike me as being fairly pedestrian. I’m sure you, of all people, can see right through them.

      Don’t be jealous. I appreciate my lifestyle but I wear a thorny crown for plenty of other things. I’d never post them online but I’ll submit a list if you’re ever feeling REALLY bad about not being in a big city or have access to five-hour plays.

  24. The O’Neill memes are classic. Must show my wife, who’s Theater, so to speak.

    I’ve had a bout with a Kurt Weill double CD of City of Mahagonny going in my garage, loud. Brechtian bursts and wails. They’re trying to sell our house next door, flippers, to development. And so the loud Weill and the leftover Christmas tree on the side of our house serve as protest to would-be buyers.

    The water towers are the best, from your window. There were large cranes like that from my window, at Starbucks HQ, and they reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back. Art can take you away. But four hours is too much art, for me…even with Dennehy.

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