Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blue Listed Brooklyn

In its newly published annual best-of-the-world guide, international travel expert Lonely Planet has named Brooklyn as a top tourist destination.

Brooklyn? Honestly?

Yep, to the astonishment of many native New Yorkers, Lonely Planet's "Blue List: The Best in Travel 2007" says, "Brooklyn's booming. Any New Yorker worth their street cred knows the new downtown lies just across the East River."

The book, a collection of travel tips submitted by Lonely Planet's readers and staff members, includes a two-page spread on this borough and states that "a cultural movement has emerged" in what they call "the USA's biggest city-within-a-city."

Brooklyn? Seriously?

Yes, along with Hawaii and New Orleans, Brooklyn has been singled out as a favorite U.S. destination. While we've gotten accustomed to occasionally glimpsing double-decker sightseeing coaches on some of the streets closest to Manhattan, many (OK, most) New Yorkers still have trouble believing that Brooklyn is a hotspot for tourists.

In fact, the inclusion of Brooklyn in latest edition of the best-selling guidebook has made headlines here. The Blue List's recommendations include the Brooklyn Bridge, Prospect Park, Coney Island and the Mermaid Parade, the Brooklyn Museum and the Jacques Torres Chocolate Factory, all located in what Lonely Plant is calling "the hippest part of New York City."

Brooklyn? Really?

Yeah, really. So please pardon us while we take a moment to kvell.

Lonely Plant Blue List 2007 Posted by Picasa

Lonely Planet Blue List 2007
NY Daily News: Brooklyn's the REAL vacation hot spot
My Fox NY: Brooklyn Top Tourist Spot
NY1: Brooklyn Makes Lonely Planet List
Borough President Marty Markowitz Hails Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bare Chests and Bare Branches

Some thought it was frightening, others found it delightful, but all agreed that a 72 degree (22 C) day in January was astonishing. On a date that normally demands hats, gloves, mufflers and heavy overcoats, New Yorkers ventured out in t-shirts, shorts and sandals.

If not for the bare branches overhead, this could have been mistaken for a day in May. Since the unseasonably warm weather came on a Saturday, when most residents were free of commitments to work or school, many families were able to enjoy the sunny weather together.

Brooklynites walked, ran, rode and skated to Prospect Park to jog, picnic, relax, mingle and play. They scampered across still-green lawns flying frisbees and kites, read and picnicked under shadeless trees, romped through the playground and practiced yoga and Tai Chi under the clear blue sky. Tennis rackets shed their covers, volleyball nets were strung up, footballs taken out of closets and a clown made an appearance at the playground.

Tomorrow the temperature will drop 20 degrees; jackets will again be worn, ears will again be covered, tennis rackets and footballs will again be relegated to the closet. But for one bright, shining day, Mother Nature gave Brooklyn a brief, shining, early taste of spring.

The brilliant blue sky above Grand Army Plaza  Posted by Picasa

Sitting in the sun at Grand Army Plaza  Posted by Picasa

Sunbathing on the lawn  Posted by Picasa

Father teaching daughter to play  Posted by Picasa

Playing with a remote-control car  Posted by Picasa

Jogging  Posted by Picasa

Boys on the Harmony Playground  Posted by Picasa

Mastering training wheels  Posted by Picasa

Skateboarding  Posted by Picasa

Making balloon animals at the playground  Posted by Picasa

Muffin the cat, secure in his harness  Posted by Picasa

Climbing the harp sculpture  Posted by Picasa

Crowded roadways  Posted by Picasa

Biker in an Oscar the Grouch shirt  Posted by Picasa

Walking a dog  Posted by Picasa

Reading  Posted by Picasa

NY Times: 72-Degree Day Breaks Record in New York
Prospect Park

Friday, January 05, 2007

Yes, Spelling Counts

It isn't just something your teachers said; in Brooklyn, even vandals know that correct spelling and punctuation are important.

These notes appeared inside the Flushing Avenue IND subway station on a poster for Cedric the Entertainer's new movie, Code Name: The Cleaner.

Thoe's are real Posted by Picasa

"Those" - You can't spell Posted by Picasa

Code Name: The Cleaner
NYC Subway: IND Crosstown, Flushing Avenue
Station Reporter: G Train

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Goodbye to the Holidays

Tonight they changed the sign on the marquee at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema. The hoiday season is now officially over.

Happy Holidays - Watch More Movies Posted by Picasa

Cinema Treasures: Brooklyn Heights Cinema

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Holidays Underground

No one would ever mistake a New York City subway station for Rockefeller Center, but if you know where to look, seasonal decorations can be found underground.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) doesn't decorate the subways (not that anyone would expect them to do so) but they don't forbid holiday decor, either. The only official policy is a prohibition against anything that would block views into and out of the token booths and train dispatchers' offices. Other than that, decorations are allowed at the discretion of the station manager.

As a result, every year certain Transit Authority employees take the time to bring a bit of holiday cheer to their subterranean workplaces. Using their own materials and at their own expense, these men and women string tinsel, hang lights and garlands, draw snowmen and stars on whiteboards and even use discarded MetroCards to create tiny, bright pockets of merriment in the dark tunnels.

Time constraints allowed me to capture only a few examples before the decorations were taken down for the season, but if I'm still here next year, I'll be back and publish more.

Clark Street Station Posted by Picasa

Court Street Station Posted by Picasa

Train dispatcher's office at Cortland Street Station Posted by Picasa

Tree decorated with MetroCards and TransitCheks  Posted by Picasa

NYC Transit: Subways
Transit Chek
Gothamist: Token Booth Closings

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blues on the Street

I thought these New York Police Department officers on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street looked as though they were posing for photographs, so I took a few.

These members of the NYPD are standing in front of the main branch of the New York Public Library. This would have been a very bad moment for anyone to try stealing a few books.

NYPD at Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street  Posted by Picasa

Police officers assemble next to the New York Public Library  Posted by Picasa

Listening to instructions  Posted by Picasa