Monday, December 31, 2012

New York by Gehry

On the recent trip to New York, we were blessed with a beautiful clear - and reasonable warm - day which was our cue to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. We took the subway from mid-town (my first experience on the NYC subway system) and arrived near City Hall at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. 

As we started the walk out onto the bridge, we looked back and got a wonderful view of Frank Gehry's new residential skyscraper - purportedly the tallest residential building in America - which is being marketed as New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street.

It was an extremely bright day and the building - especially due to it's organic curves - always seems to be glinting at you. The camera gets very shy with all this light and the aperture squeezes shut in an effort to protect itself. The sky gets dark and the result is an image that evokes a sort of heroic Objectivist feeling in the spirit of Ayn Rand.

Further out on the bridge we were able to capture both Gehry's building and the still under construction Freedom Tower (more formally known as One World Trade Center) in a more rational and approachable light. You can see the cranes still operating on the top of the Freedom Tower as they start construction of the spire.

The Spruce Street building is 76 stories tall while the Freedom Tower has already topped out at 105 stories. The perspective from this point makes them look of similar size but they definitely are not.

These buildings make me feel very small.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Grand Central Terminal

On a recent trip to NYC, we passed through Grand Central Station a couple times. It's a very cool space - very austere yet commercial (Apple Store) and of course there are people rushing from place to place actually using it as a train station to boot. 

The slow shutter speed (I think the image above was about a second and a half) renders those with places to go as ghosts quickly passing through.

This longer exposure (six seconds) below thinned the crowd even further as those on the move became just dark spots moving across the floor with only tourists and observers remaining. The longer exposure of course did manage to catch a couple of folks taking pictures of me taking pictures of them and so on.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jack #1 2012

I've come to really enjoy carving pumpkins. Here's this years first effort. Was looking for a wide grin with this guy...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Canaan Street Cemetery

Apologies for the hiatus in posting - I'll get back to our Europe trip shortly. In the meantime I wanted to post this photo of the late summer sun at the Canaan Street Cemetery.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Colmar & Eguisheim

The next day we took one more stroll through the scenic streets of Colmar before hitting the road.

We had this view of the Colmar train station as we headed out of town.

Our destination was a small town very close to Colmar called Eguisheim - a town on the Alsace Wine Route - and is incredibly picturesque. We parked the car in a public lot and walked through the pedestrian only streets.

Hunger of course set in and we were delighted to find an outdoor cafe which again blessed us with the Alsatian pizza called Tarte Flambée. We had first tried this in Baden-Baden and loved this very thin pizza topped with onion and bits of bacon. This time we tried a version with mushrooms and we were equally delighted.

With our lunch behind us, we reluctantly left Eguisheim and got back on the highway. Next stop: Besançon.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Colmar France

We spent the next day in Colmar, France. Colmar is a beautiful and touristy city - beautiful enough that it was spared bombing during World War II. We stayed in the Petit Venice part of town - so named for the tiny canals that crisscross it.

After breakfast we headed out - along with many other visitors - to check out the town.

Our first view of the historic (building started in 1234!) St. Martin's church included a feature unique to this part of the world: a nest for storks.

The buildings are amazing in Colmar and we were blessed with a truly beautiful day.

The other massive church in town is the Dominican Church.

This cat was watching a street performer (a man manipulating a puppet to play violin) and was even more fascinated than I was.

The colors of the buildings - and the shutters - in Colmar are all over the map.

In the heat of the afternoon, we toured the small and amazing Unterlinden Museum which hosts the Isenheim Altarpiece.

Our day ended near where it had begun near the canal that ran behind our hotel.

Next up: a travel day leaving Colmar, visiting Egguisheim and Beaseçon 
before arriving in Pommard France

Sunday, June 24, 2012

St. Hippolyte and Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

We hit the road from Strasbourg headed towards Colmar - behind schedule of course - and almost immediately Meg informed me of a site on the way: the Grandfather of Alsatian castles called Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. It was too intriguing to resist so we hopped off the A35 and headed towards the big castle on the hill.

As we continued onward we passed through many vineyards and the small beautiful town of Saint Hippolyte. This photo was taken after passing through town.

The road suddenly turned into a maze of switchbacks rising above the vineyards below. We climbed and climbed until we reached the castle which was both under construction and oddly deserted. Though there were parking places for hundreds of cars, only one couple on a motorcycle were visiting when we arrived.

The castle itself was so big and we were so close, it was difficult to get a good shot of it. 

It commands an amazing view of the valley below including St. Hippolyte.

After admiring the view for some time, we got back on the road and continued our journey to Colmar. We could not resist however stopping for a few shots of picturesque St. Hippolyte.

With the assistance of the TomTom, we rejoined the A35 and made our way to Colmar and found our hotel situated in the Petite Venice portion of Colmar. We checked in and had a wonderful dinner not a dozen steps from our small suite (which backed up on one of the canals). Afterwards we took a walk and tried snapping a few nighttime photos before retiring.

Wistub Krutenau on the canal. 

Rue Turenne near our hotel.

Canal near the Compoir des Georges.

Next post: our day in Colmar.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


We reluctantly left Baden-Baden and hit the road (in our Renault Migane - a very nice little station wagon) for Strasbourg, France. The drive was uneventful though Strasbourg is a pretty big town and it was busy on Friday afternoon. We persevered (with the help of the TomTom) and parked in an underground garage near Place Kléber. We came up and started looking for the giant Strasbourg Cathedral.

We first walked through some busy commercial streets.

The streets were lined with everything from high end clothing shops to delicious food shops. This was one of the more interesting bread slicing jobs I've seen.

We came around a corner and all of a sudden we saw the Cathedral. Stunning and a bit overwhelming, apparently this church was the tallest building in the world for over 200 years. I believe it.

After the Cathedral we realized we had another spiritual site we had to find: a micro-brewery called La Lanterne. We found it straight away and enjoyed a couple beers before renewing our quest for the Petite-France section of Strasbourg.

On the way, we saw this sign apparently suggesting you should clean up after your petit chien. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

The Petite-France section of town is beautiful.

After more walking we decided it was time to return to the car and head to Colmar. On the way, we stumbled upon something wonderful; I wanted to enroll but reluctantly decided that was not practical.

We did make our way back to the parking garage and bid farewell to Strasbourg. Again too short a visit but we had reservations that evening in Colmar about 50 miles away so we hit the road.

A funny thing happened on the way to Colmar...