Posts in Cityscape
The Perfect View

Long Island City, NYC

It was the 4th of July 2015. We had a newborn to take care of and we were moving out of our apartment in the morning. We were doing the last minute packing, as we do, and I noticed two barges slowly coming into view and anchoring in the middle of the East River. This was odd, to say the least. Then the people started to arrive, lots of them. Then there was this ship shooting water into beautiful arcs as it traveled down the river. What was going on? Did I miss fleet week or something? Alas, I did not, it was the Macy's 4th of July fireworks and they were back on the East River after a long time on the Hudson. I was not aware of the change and I can tell you that I did not please my wonderful (but supportive) wife when I started setting up the tripod to take pictures instead of packing up what seemed like the entire apartment! I figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, we had a balcony on the 22nd floor facing the river, we had the perfect view! I ended up taking 150 pictures. There's another one I really like too, but I think I will save it for another time. For today's post though, I am sharing one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it and happy 4th to everyone!

Blue Lines

World Trade Center, NYC

I took this a few months before One World Trade Center (left) officially opened. I had been watching the tower go up from a distance for years from my apartment in LIC. This was my first opportunity to see it up close and to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Watching this building come up over the last few years of its construction has been a mix of wonder, curiosity and a rewind back to 2001. I remember the first time I drove into the city after 9/11 and saw the skyline missing the twin towers I had grown up seeing on every trek into the city from the island since the 70s. I remembered going to the observatory when I was a little kid and leaning against the glass and looking down in amazement at how ant-like all the people looked on the street. The twin towers were more than iconic, they were a core part of the NY ethos. Visually, the buildings are new and fresh and have interesting lines and personality and all that, however, I would be lying if I told you that I didn't miss the old towers.



Snowlight 2014 © John Virgolino. View License Information.

Long Island City, Queens, NY

This photo was taken one year ago today. I like the perspective and how the light hits the street and splits the scene up a bit, one might even say contrasty, but subtly. This makes me a bit nostalgic for snow, but then again last winter brought so much of it that by spring we had had it with winter. However, there is no denying the beauty in the flaky stuff even after some human meddling. Let it snow, let it snow (kinda, sorta).

Foggy River

East River (near the United Nations), New York City

One of the amazing benefits of living on the East River are the views. I was walking my dog (see previous post) one weekend and this fog started rolling in on the East River. It's not the first time I have seen this since moving here, but usually it covers everything so that you can see nothing. On this day, it split between top and bottom if you will, allowing for a peek through the clouds of the fog. This made for interesting composition opportunities, not to mention that bad weather shots tend to be more interesting, especially in cities. Anyway, like so often occurs, I didn't have a camera with me. Yes, I had my cell, but that wasn't going to cut it. I dropped the dog off, grabbed my gear and starting hitting the shutter as I leaped out of my building lobby because I knew the fog would go away in an instant. I managed to get this shot before it totally shifted and was gone forever.

Queens Rain

Hunters Point, Queens, NY

I thought about writing a Haiku for this picture. My wife likes writing those, but I will admit I do much better with images than I do with poems. The attempt was miserable, so I'll do what I always do, say what I felt when I pressed the shutter. Actually, I knew exactly what I wanted to see in the image, I saw it before I picked up the camera. I waited until the rain came in and the fog loomed just right. The rest was about turning it into black & white and dodging and burning in some spots.

What strikes me about the scene is that this could have been taken any time in the far past and you wouldn't know the difference, it's got an old feel to it for me. It's also not a typical New York image. There is deliberately no Empire State Building or other landmark. This is Queens, it has beauty in its own very special way, just not always.