J.P. Chan 

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West 65

West 65

There’s not too many pedestrian overpasses in Manhattan, so when you find yourself on one you pretty much gotta pull out the camera.

 

My Coffee Habits

My Coffee Habits

I’m been a coffee addict since my teen years, but it wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally optimized the process for flavor, cost, and time. Until I find something better, here’s what I’m currently doing:

Coffee at home: Organic Fair Trade Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans from Coffee Bean Direct. I grind the beans in an inexpensive Braun blade grinder and make the coffee in a Chemex eight-cup coffeemaker. This coffee will last in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated or served iced.

I might try a fancier burr grinder if I ever get the spare cash. Every now and then I’ll try different beans to mix things up, but I always come back to Yirgacheffe.

Coffee at the office: I keep a stash of ground beans from home in the fridge at my office. I make the coffee in the pour-over style, with a gold filter and a plastic holder and drink it iced.

Coffee out: Despite what you’ve just read, I’m not a snob about coffee so there’s lot of places I can enjoy a good cup. I just try to have it in places where I know the coffee won’t be too weak or too bitter.

But if Roasting Plants were everywhere, I’d probably be going there exclusively when I’m not at home. I love the coffee selection there and the vibe is like an amusement park for java addicts.

 

Coming soon: Citi Bike

Coming Soon: Citi Bike

I’m really excited about Citi Bike and I think it has the potential to greatly change the way New Yorkers get around. The stations are going up now and the bikes come next month. Check it out, New York!

 

Kips Bay Towers

Kips Bay Towers

I think Brutalist architecture is growing on me partly because I’m getting sick of all the mostly-pleasing but energy-guzzling steel-and-glass clichés that have defined early twenty-first century architecture.

So here’s a shout-out to I.M. Pei’s Kips Bay Towers. I suspect your fan base will only grow as the years go on.

 

These Kids Are All Right

I don’t have any kids of my own (birthing movies every now and then while holding down a full-time job is about as much as I can handle at the moment) but I appreciate them more and more as the years roll on. Children are the best reminder that a cynical — and ultimately selfish — worldview has real consequences for those who follow us.

Put more positively: our good choices today can really pay off for those who come after us. Is there any better reason to do the right thing?

That was the simple idea behind these PSAs I shot for MTA in celebration of Earth Day. Last weekend, twenty-seven volunteers — all children of MTA employees — spent an afternoon in a makeshift studio that myself and my hard-working colleagues set up in our midtown headquarters.

Some of the kids had a little experience with cameras and acting, but the majority of them were entirely new to the process. They were incredibly eager to participate and their energy helped all of us get through an exhausting five hours of shooting.

Like many filmmakers, I find it difficult to watch my own work once it’s done. Oftentimes, all you can see on screen are the things you wish you’d done differently. It’s extremely humbling and sometimes very painful.

These cheap and cheerful PSAs are by no means perfect. I still see plenty of things I wish I’d done better. But they were made in less than two days, with a production budget of zero, and they communicate an important message for the public.

Most importantly, these kids melt my heart every time I watch them. They remind me that the world will go on long after I’m gone, and that my choices today have consequences for that world. And also that traffic on the B.Q.E. is always going to be an epic fail.

 

My Naturally Continuing Education

My Naturally Continuing Education

In the past year, I’ve become increasingly worried about my lack of basic knowledge in science and the natural world. I’m embarrassed that as a supposedly-educated adult I still can’t explain fundamental concepts like how electricity flows through the cameras I use everyday nor can I name any of the trees I can see from my window.

I don’t want to leave this planet being so ignorant about how it actually works.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I rarely get to the exhibits at my favorite museum even though I live just a few subway stops away.

Hopefully, all of this changes starting today. I’m a now a museum member again for the first time in years and I plan to make the most of it. My goal is to (re)learn these fundamental concepts, with AMNH as my school.

My membership gives me a +1 on admission, so I plan to drag friends along for the ride as (involuntary) study buddies. After all, science says that humans are social creatures.

 

Model Rush Hour

Model Rush Hour

Stumbled on this photoshoot on my way home past 42 St & 6 Av. The model was standing atop a New York Times vending machine, so I thought it might be for the paper. But from what I overheard, the shoot is actually for LensCrafters.

It’s gonna be a cool shot either way. NYC rush hour may not be fun to be in, but it’s got great production value.

 

Blue & Yellow Both Ways

Blue & Yellow Both Ways

Look this way from Erie Basin Park in Brookyn and you get a spectacular sunset with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

Look behind you and you get Ikea. Just another one of NYC’s crazy, semi-naturally occurring juxtapositions that makes life here endlessly fascinating.

 

bfold

bfold

A week after my crash, I take my trusty Bike Friday to bfold for repairs…and to check out possibilities for a new bike.

I love the vibe and service here and I’ve been a loyal customer since 2006. If you’re looking at bikes, consider a folder. And if you’re shopping for folders, definitely consider getting it at bfold.

 

Filling Gaps at South Ferry

Filling Gaps at South Ferry

The old South Ferry station was known for its short, curvy platform and the gap fillers that kept passengers from falling into the tracks.

In 2009, the old station was decommissioned and replaced by the new South Ferry station directly adjacent. Unfortunately, in 2012, Superstorm Sandy “decommissioned” that new station.

Tomorrow, the old station comes back to life to fill the gap in service until the new one can be fixed. It was strange visiting the station today to shoot this video. It’s a real throwback, and I suggest those who have never seen it go visit. (Bring earplugs if you plan to hang out. The screeching is extremely loud.)

Despite its flaws, the station complex itself sure looks much better than when I shot there in October. Progress, definitely.

 

Monday is Cat Week: Splendor

Monday is Cat Week: Splendor

It’s week three (or maybe four) of Helena’s first-ever indoor grass patch. I’ve yet to catch her chillaxing on the turf, but the cat-shaped imprint there tells me all I need to know.

 
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