Smile, You Are in Greenpoint

Friday, October 24, 2014

O, Rego Park, O, America

Up from the underground, between signs for a pawn shop and a barber shop. Welcome to Rego Park, Queens.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ghost Busters?

I followed this van across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and through the toll gate. Fascinated not so much by the apparently unstable load above but by the ghostly shapes on the rear panels. Cookware? Art? Symbols? I caught a glimpse of the passenger side: More of same, with no English explanation. I prefer it that way. (But, hey, if you read Korean, feel free to clue me in.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pick Up Sticks (and Bones)

37th St. and BQE West on-ramp (Oct. 2014)
In mid-September, I reported on the installation of plastic lane dividers and paining of lines to recognize a de facto pedestrian crossing of the viaduct--and one of the busiest intersections in Queens, if not the city, where 37th Ave., Broadway, and both on- and off-ramps from the BQE come together.

(Source NYC DOT)
According to, the DOT has enlisted an artist and volunteers to make it pretty: "Late last week, the Department of Transportation and volunteers from New York Cares painted the concrete barriers along the pedestrian walkway at 37th Avenue and 69th Street. You can see the finished product — which stretches 150 feet — pictured above. The design is by the Greek artist Eirini Linardaki; she wanted to depict a game of pick up sticks. As the DOT stated last week in a press release, 'The artist aims to have the mural act as an illustration of the game, as a colorful abstraction, and as a New York City grid.'"

"Pick up sticks" seems an apt metaphor for the game of survival entailed in getting across the bridge alive. Art imitates life. (Thanks to Robyn Love for the highway art alert.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wile E. and Edge E.

I was stopped behind this sign company van on Victory Blvd. The graphic on the back doors caught my attention: Wile E. Coyote at a cactus payphone (sure) holding up a sign that reads "HELP." What other kind of a sign (or awning) would Wile E. need?
The kind that (he thinks) catches a Road Runner. In fact, signs of all kinds run wild in the Road Runner series, and plenty of other Looney Tunes cartoons. Check out Chariots of Fur from 1994 (7 mins.):

Friday, October 17, 2014

Special Deivery

In trying times like these, it's good to know the Wonton Specialist is on the job.

On the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights border.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, Baltimore

Early this afternoon, I spotted an Orioles cap in the middle lane of the viaduct over the Gowanus Canal. At that point, the O's were down 0-3 to the Royals in the playoffs; by the time I got home from work, they were eliminated. Congratulations, Saint Louis. As for always, Randy Newman says it best:

Oh, Baltimore
Man, it's hard just to live
Oh, Baltimore
Man, it's hard just to live.

Was it ever thus? Just take a look at the photograph above: Brooks Robinson, pitcher Dave McNally, and catcher Andy Etchebarren celebrate sweeping the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. Don't toss your cap.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Steinberg Street

The Sculpture Center in Long Island City has a show called Puddle, pothole, portal. One room contains  five drawings by Saul Steinberg, as well as a mixed-media construction: a desk with various tools of his trade.
Saul Steinberg, Bauhaus (1966)
One of the drawings, Bauhaus, made me think of my walk from the N train at Queensboro Plaza to the museum: The absurdity of nouveau housing units sprouting among the weeds.

And the building next door to the Sculpture Center itself.
Purves Street
Another Steinberg piece, Bauhaus Street (1982), not in the show, could be a map of the neighborhood to come.
The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society, New York