Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Three Canadians Cities in 3 Days.

Decided to drive to Canada in the winter time... plenty of cold, rain and a bit of snow; not disappointed.  Drove to Montreal first and in the way there, stopped at Montmorency Falls (above), had the whole place to myself. It was a trying day to photograph due to the mists and the frozen fingers.

I found the city full of energy with lots renovations downtown, no doubt is undergoing a revival…the sad thing, I was there 30 years ago and did not recognize anything except from areas in the waterfront and the Notre Dame Cathedral.  They have great graffiti such as the giant cock stepping in the top of a car and a giant genie.

There is a great  degree of sophistication in the city as depicted by the images above.  The citizens have taste as expressed by the statue of the snobbish women with a dog, the image in a glass door as well as the architectural design that took advantage of the glass walled building reflecting the image of a neighboring hotel.  Montreal has a lot to offer but have to go to Quebec (below).

Quebec is the most European city I have encountered in North America. Very historical when it comes to the wars between the British and French Empires…one may have won the battle but the culture wars  has not been settle yet…hope it stays that way.  Where can one see the whole history in a spread no longer than 4 feet or is it 1.2 meters?

The streets in the old town are not much different than those in a French or Dutch small town in Europe. But unfortunately all the all houses first floors are tourists traps ready to take your Yankee dollars that most merchants were willing to accept.  And there is always a one-horsepower cabbie waiting around the corner.

Since there it was a low tourist season, I had the privilege to get a private tour of Parliament and rub elbows the bored Quebec Press and the accosted politicians.  The live of a photo journalist is one of hurry up and wait.  The building was impressive with its own private restaurant and everyone is allowed to eat there; very democratic.

There is a lot the city has to offer to all ages as well as old landmarks as the Frontenac Hotel to a more contemporary waterfront building, a great place.  On my way to Ottawa next.

Ottawa is no competition for either Montreal or Quebec; wonder why the capital is here?  There was a surprise; Maman, the cosmopolitan spider was here in front of the National Gallery of Canada.  She travels wide; I previously photographed it in Bilbao, Spain (second image above).  Wonder is she gets to fly first class?By the way, this is an outstanding museum and I spent most of the day there neglecting the rest of the rainy cold city.  In the way back to the USA, visited Niagara Falls, they are spectacular in the winter.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The High Line in NYC

 After leaving the elevator that took me to the High Line Park proper, the first sight at the street level below was a bicycle rental post.  These are common in Europe but I believe something new in the USA.

 This park was built in the abandoned West Side Line spur of the New York Central Railroad facing the Hudson River.  Whoever came up with this recycling idea is a genius.  Walking the line it was so quiet that I felt removed for activities in the streets below but still connected to it.

The elevated railroad tracks were converted into a green park with a concrete walkway including benches, and yes, with trees, grasses and monuments an even a sun deck. Construction began in 2006 and the first section opened in 2009, and the second section in 2011 and it is still an ongoing project. A hotel was built with the park going through and opening in the structures as it crosses in 13th Street W.

This elevated park is an unlimited source of photographic opportunities for amateurs, hobbyists and professionals too.  There are lots of architectural photo opps particularly at sunset when the sun settles above the skyline in New Jersey for silhouettes as well as for the buildings in Manhattan that will be backlighted at sunset, the time that I was there.  This may be the best time to take opportunity of the light and of the citizens just enjoying the open space after a busy day.

And the people, such a variety of personalities and mostly, all agreeable to being photographed when asked…those not asked because they were at a distance had their souls robbed too. 

There are some cultural items along the walk as artists displaying their creations, children parks with colorful game sets, and sophisticated graffiti that get a higher level of provenance by being called murals.  One of the iconic photograph of the Sailor kissing the girl in Times Square at the end of WWII.
And there are also occasions for peeping thru the windows of the various office and residential building that form like brick, glass and steel canyons along the High Line…one really gets a view of a pigeon flying among the buildings… what a treat!!!  There is a website for the park at http://www.thehighline.org/about/park-information worth visiting.  If you give me a choice between a day a Central Park or the High Line, I select the later.
At the end of the walk, there are new buildings been constructed and it appears that work goes on 24 hours a day.  I took another elevator here and descended to street level and when walking to an Italian Restaurant for dinner, passed this Martial Arts center...great kick; glad I was not the target.