Thursday, December 30, 2010

before the firestorm

i personally cannot complain about the christmas weekend blizzard.

i don't have a car.
i don't need the subway or bus to get to work.
i wasn't stranded anywhere.

and: we have the best team at our condo--by 10am on monday they'd shoveled clean the widest swath of sidewalk in all of murray hill.

but it's hard
not to be outraged after reading and hearing about conditions in other parts of the city, as a result of misjudgment and inaction at the local level.

(meanwhile, jersey knew what to do.)

here are a few shots from the very first afternoon, before the city got all stomped on and sloppy, and well before the effect of bloomberg & co's snafu was fully evident.

it was pretty, especially in madison square park...

all photos from december 27, 2010.
© anita aguilar

"starry" night

34th/lex, nyc. december 29, 2010.
photo ©anita aguilar

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

read a good poem: voyage

l'evasion de rochefort. edouard manet (1832-1884). circa 1881. oil on canvas.


I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages
and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage:
sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas
and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on

in a novel without a moral but one in which
all the characters who died in the middle chapters
make the sunsets near the book's end more beautiful.

—And someone is spreading a map upon a table,
and someone is hanging a lantern from the stern,
and someone else says, "I'm only sorry
that I forgot my blue parka; It's turning cold."

Sunset like a burning wagon train
Sunrise like a dish of cantaloupe
Clouds like two armies clashing in the sky;
Icebergs and tropical storms,
That's the kind of thing that happens on our ocean voyage—

And in one of the chapters I was blinded by love
And in another, anger made us sick like swallowed glass
& I lay in my bunk and slept for so long,

I forgot about the ocean,
Which all the time was going by, right there, outside my cabin window.

And the sides of the ship were green as money,
and the water made a sound like memory when we sailed.

Then it was summer. Under the constellation of the swan,
under the constellation of the horse.

At night we consoled ourselves
By discussing the meaning of homesickness.
But there was no home to go home to.
There was no getting around the ocean.
We had to go on finding out the story
by pushing into it—

The sea was no longer a metaphor.
The book was no longer a book.
That was the plot.
That was our marvelous punishment.

--by tony hoagland via the writer's almanac

union square: post-blizz

Monday, December 27, 2010

snow day: morning walk

i tuned in to the local morning news for the hour or so it took for me to have coffee and mentally brace myself for a walk to work in the -2 windchill. blizzard coverage is really no more informative than accuweather or mta sites, is it? and it's gets stale pretty quick what with the studio anchors "sending it out," again and again, to the same poor reporters stalking the same corner for "stranded stories" and "intrepid tourist tales." not sure why we need hours and hours of that kind of coverage but for a little while, i liked the soundtrack of it, essentially unchanged from the "old days" when we had to rely on AM radio and TV to find out about school closings. i daydreamed for some scrolling text that would say all small businesses in manhattan are closed...take off those ridiculous winter boots. but i didn't really mind having to go into work. i figured it would be a light day. and it would at least get me out of the house to snap a few photos.

not too much action on park avenue. but here's what i saw:

park ave

outside the morgan library and museum

i appreciate wanting to protect your feet (cold, wet toes equals no fun) but this plastic bag technique virtually ensures that this guy's gonna bite it. hard. and then he's cold and wet, bottom down...

not many grown-ups would look so cute in that hat.
all bundled up

generally unstoppable, but temporarily stuck...
union square

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

read a good poem: silence

at joseph leonard...jan 30, 2010
photo © anita aguilar

There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

--billy collins, via the poetry foundation

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the scene: fire on first avenue

i try always to have a camera with me, even if it's just a point and shoot...

my friend, mary and i were finishing dinner downtown, when this scene started to unfold. engines and ladders and mervs (mobile emergency recon vehicles)--it was a big fire.
we didn't see it, but could see the firemen with flashlights in one of the apartments on the top floor.
and we could smell the burn.

i feel strange saying this, but i like some of these shots, especially the one of the girl with the fur-lined hood on the bicycle and the one of the red bike (lonely in the right frame), mostly for the drama of all the artificial lights against the cloudy sky. they are not crystal clear--i probably needed a faster lens or a tripod for that. but i think they work somehow.

hopefully no one was hurt.

shot with the canon g10
december 22, 2010
all photos © anita aguilar