J.P. Chan 

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Public Service Announcement

Public Service Announcement

This small bit of sunshine and warm weather is for everyone enduring a gray rainy day in NYC (and elsewhere).

(Long Beach, CA, March 14, 2004)

 

Always A Diversity of Opinion

Always A Diversity of Opinion

NYC’s high density of zealots and smart-asses of all stripes means that signs and ads often become mini public forums. I love the juxtaposition of messages, the multiple layers of meaning, and always the humor — intended or not.

(Whitehall Ferry Terminal, Manhattan)

 

What in the world…?

What in the world...?

This is my own version of something I remember reading as a child – the “What in the world…?” feature of World magazine, now known as National Geographic Kids. Every issue they’d print a closeup photo of something from nature and challenge the young readers to guess what it was. As a clue, the answer would be scrambled as below:

RANNIWG TSRPI

You can use this blog’s Comments feature to post your guesses.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: As always, no prizes of any kind will be awarded and all ideas having potential financial value will be considered property of the blog author. And no, it’s NOT cool to ask your parents for help.

 

Meet Me at the Corner of Dirt & McGirt

Meet Me at the Corner of Dirt & McGirt

I’m a fan of Mayor Bloomberg. I think his pursuit of educational reform is nothing short of noble and I hope he’s re-elected this year by a large margin. Fixing the City’s schools is a politically risky and hugely complicated task, but he’s shown real courage in tackling the issue head on. New York City has a million kids in the public school system, many of whom are poor and/or immigrants. For them, a decent education is their only chance at a better life. Let’s support the Mayor in his efforts.

It’s true, however, that Mayor Mike can come off as being “out of touch” with the common man at times. However, I think this is because he does much less cheap populist pandering than most other politicians, which on the whole is a good thing. But the truth is we’ve been weaned on political gimmickry and we can’t help but be a little suspicious and disappointed when we don’t get it. For example, I wish he had pandered to us a little bit by renaming this street Ol’ Dirty Slip after ODB’s untimely passing last year.

(Old Slip & Water St)

 

Old & New

Old & New

I was taking a short nap in the corner when Clocks burst into the break room. (His real name was Hoyt, but everyone in the precinct called him Clocks because he always wore two watches [“in case one dies,” he’d always say].) Clocks was balding, plump, and also a bit of a police buff, even after ten years on the job. But he always seemed like a kid because he was never ashamed of his enthusiasm.

“Guys,” he said breathlessly, “It’s here. It’s finally here.”

“What’s here, Clocks,” asked Stick, whose real name actually was Stick.

“The new RMP,” he cried. “I gotta tell the others!”

And in a blink he was gone and we could hear his heavy footsteps fading away in the direction of the locker room. The rest of us got up slowly, so as not to look too interested in the new arrival, even though we each knew how excited we all were. But we pretended not to care — not much, anyway. It was habit.

Twenty years later, I still remember the first time I saw that Radio Motor Patrol, that RMP, that cop car. Orange, blue, black, sleek. It made me feel proud — and it still does, even though I never did get to drive it. You see, everything on the job is doled out by seniority. By the time I had enough years to be first in line for a new RMP, this one was already too old for an old timer like me. We let the rookies have it.

(Old Slip & South St)

 

The Lean

The Lean

Maybe in other cities’ new-fangled subways they have those screens and announcements that tell you when the next train is coming, but here in NYC, we do it the old fashioned way.

 

Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising

This sign still makes me laugh every time I pass it. Are they being modest or evasive? It’s funnier not to know.

(Factory Shoe Outlet, 1 Rector St)

 

Church vs State (vs Market)

Church vs State (vs Market)

I wonder what would happen if there were only one spare bulb left and both the flag and the tree needed it.

(New York Stock Exchange, Broad St & Wall St)

 

A Six, A Gull, A Statue

A Six, A Gull, A Statue

I was going to make this entry a haiku (what else?) that would be this homage (aka look-how-smart-I-am-reference) to the William Carlos Williams poem “The Great Figure,” which I know only by way of the Charles Demuth painting “The Figure 5 in Gold,” which I knew only as “that cool painting at the Met with all the 5s in it” until I Googled it.

But the truth is that haiku, to say nothing of pretention, takes work and I’m just too tired right now to make the effort. So please enjoy this nice photo of a metal sign, a bird, and the Statue of Liberty on its own terms.

(Battery Park)

 

DT via EC #1

DT via EC #1

This is Hell, this is Hell
I am sorry to tell you
It never gets better or worse
But you’ll get used to it, after a spell
For heaven is hell in reverse

-Elvis Costello, “This Is Hell”

(Trinity Church, Wall St & Broadway)

 

Monday Music

Monday Music

Top 5:
1. Father To A Sister Of Thought – Pavement
2. Queen Bitch – David Bowie
3. Clocks – The Casual Dots
4. You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – Johnny Thunders
5. Siboney – Connie Francis

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I’m not one to impose my views on others, except everytime I open my mouth or send an email or post a blog entry or ‘tag’ a beloved neighborhood landmark or spray urine on the trunk of a tree, so I will only *gently* suggest that a good New Year’s resolution for virtually everyone would be to spend more time on a bike and less time in front of a TV (or even a computer) this year.

Happy New Year everybody.

(Prospect Park loop, from my bike [look ma, no hands].)

 

AM Routine

AM Routine

Marla awaits my arrival at the computer desk, where I’ll have my morning smoothie and tea while reading the NY Times online. I wonder if she likes my Mac’s wallpaper…

 

Priority Seating

Priority Seating

B train, heading home
An old man heads for the seat
Older man steals it

 

Chung-Wah Beauty Salon

Chung-Wah Beauty Salon

five week /snip/ hair cut
I look younger with short hair?
More gray every time

(19 Pell Street, ask for Ling [off Tues])

 

A Stranger Downtown

A Stranger Downtown

Two months ago, the department I work in moved from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. It was a change I wasn’t looking forward to for various reasons, not least of them being that I am just as fearful and intolerant of the unknown as all those people I like to complain about.

But almost from the first day here, I realized I was wrong in my preconceptions. Not only do I like this neighborhood, but I’m growing to love it. I like the hidden little chocolate factory that serves up tasty pain au chocolats and steams the milk even when you order just a regular coffee. I like the cream-colored lab with the sad-looking face that sniffs for bombs in cars entering the Stock Exchange security zone . I like looking out at the harbor, where the sight of all that water and sky remind me that even a little life is worth living, if only to be a part of the bigger, beautiful world. Most of all, I like being a stranger and a tourist in NYC again, not knowing where this street leads or what that store offers.

The City may have started here, but it left this place behind long ago in almost every way – the streets wind and cross each other at odd old angles, everyone leaves promptly at 5pm, and there isn’t a hipster-gentrifier-artiste to be found. A unusually urbane pop psychologist might say that all the post 9/11 hand-wringing about how to revitalize Lower Manhattan can be traced back to guilt over how it was allowed to decline in the first place, even before the terrorist attacks. (A pop political pundit might counter that the fault really lies with greedy Downtown property owners, but that’s another non-haiku blog entry.).

Whoever’s right, I’ll guiltlessly enjoy Downtown as long as I’m here.

(Photo: the old US Customs House at Bowling Green on a recent night.)

 

Monday Commuting

Monday Commuting

Prospect Park Station
Catch the B, the Q, the S< My own Grand Central!

 

Yuletide on Pell Street

Yuletide on Pell Street

Noodles with Spinach
A Christmas in Chinatown
May we have the check?

(Co-author: Elsa)

 
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