Sunday, July 15, 2007

New York/LES

Since settling back in New York after ping-ponging between NYC and Amsterdam for 15 years, I've made contact with several friends who I lost track during that time. One of them, Tim Raymond, came down from Upstate New York for a visit. Tim's a painter who I met back in Baltimore in the mid-seventies when I was in art school. Tim, like me, eventually made his way to New York, and cobbled together a living, like the rest of us, while painting these intense, sometimes serene, sometimes brooding, landscapes. I'll have to photograph the ones I have and put them up here.

Mars Bar by Tim Raymond

After an evening of reminiscing Tim hit two bars on the way back to where he was staying. One of them, the Mars Bar, is a graffiti festooned wreck at East 1st Street and Second Avenue. It was once the single watering hole amidst abandoned buildings and vacant lots on this part of lower Second Avenue. It's now surrounded by expensive apartments and an immense Whole Foods supermarket on Houston Streets.

Fake Graffiti in the Whole Foods supermarket

Earlier in the day I walked along the same stretch of Second Avenue with my friend Art Presson. He pointed out a chain bursting through the bared chest of a "bodog fighter" on a poster. I snapped.

Second Avenue between Houston Street and East 1st Street

Roosevelt Park near Delancey Street

Walking further south along Roosevelt Park we came across a group of elderly Chinese men who collect songbirds. They hang the cages along clotheslines, talk, and sip coffee. Coincidentally, an article appeared about the songbird men in today's New York Times. (registration required for the Times online)


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