Posts Tagged 'new york city'

Cyclist Protests Ticket for Not Riding In Bike Lane

I love this — this guy has a sense of humor about the way that our cities always find a way to punish the most innocent behavior (while the real dirtbags walk free, I might add).

Storefronts From Bygone Days

James and Karla Murray have been photographing the unique and quirky storefronts of New York City for over 10 years. Their documentation is especially nice considering how quickly independent stores are disappearing and being replaced by boring corporate chains. In 2009, they released their book, Store Front, which features 225 businesses — half of which are now gone. They started the project because they were attracted to the signage, but then they met and talked with the owners and learned their stories. Their work has turned into an archive of New York City commerce.

It sounds like a cliché, lamenting the “good old days,” but when you look at these great old businesses and think what’s now in their places — Starbucks, Foot Lockers, cookie cutter condos — you have to admit, we are losing out.

To see more of their work, go to the Clic Gallery.

Photo by Erik Calonius/The U.S. National Archives

Q&A…The ‘Chasing Sanitation’ Duo

Photos courtesy of Chasing Sanitation

Writer Lisa Dowda and photographer Liz Ligon decided an oft-overlooked population of city workers needed their due. So, in 2008, the Brooklyn residents joined forces to create “Chasing Sanitation,” a project to promote the “oldest green-collared profession,” New York City’s Department of Sanitation workers.

Now that they’ve met their goal of raising $7,500 (and then some) through a campaign, they’re talking to exhibit curators and looking for sponsors and gallery venues.

Here, we talked to the duo about the thrill of the chase.

Why sanitation workers?
Lisa: If we chase cops, we’ll get arrested. If we chase firemen, we’ll get in the way, and it’s already been done by countless fans. So we Chase Sanitation workers – and we never stop laughing and crying and being amazed at the stories of their lives. Who knew there were so many germophobe sanitation workers?

Why does it matter that people know who these guys are?
Lisa: Guys and GALS! Because they catch such flack all the time and they’re everywhere, all day, all over the city, every day. Once I noticed one, I couldn’t stop seeing them everywhere. They’re the caretakers of all we discard. No one wants to talk to that person. There’s too much of some sort of elusive societal continental divide between that person and us. That’s what I’m interested in – the person that people just take for granted and shame or ignore but need so inherently.

Why not bus drivers or corrections officers?
Liz: Well, when you put it that way, it does matter that we know who our bus drivers and corrections officers are, too.

Lisa: Ha! I’ve thought about bus drivers. A lot. But there’s 7,000 employees of sanitation and we’re only two people! We knew we had a big project. Especially how we wanted to do it, the time we want to take to chase and interview them. And corrections officers … well, with as many parking tickets as I’ve gotten doing this project, I may be stuck interviewing them from prison anyway.

How do you decide who to approach?
Lisa: It’s all such a feeling, a connection. We’ll get in the car, early in the morning, drive around looking for trucks, try to catch someone’s eye – it’s really all in the eyes. If we can connect to them, we’ll go running up to the trucks at a stop sign or red light. I’ll give them our schpeel, and if they’re willing, Liz will shoot them for about an hour as they work and I’ll chat them up. I’m looking and listening for the strength of their own individual story and the life they live every day.

There must be some serious surprise and skepticism.
Lisa: Always. Everyone.

Continue reading ‘Q&A…The ‘Chasing Sanitation’ Duo’

The “Tiny” Apple

In world that more often than not goes to the extreme,  maxes things out, and super-sizes everything, filmmaker Sam O’Hare chose to follow his own miniaturized path by pulling a Wayne Szalinksi on New York City in his wonderful and tiny short film, The Sandpit.

What’s amazing about O’Hare’s miniature world is how much it mimics the insect world. For instance, the helicopters look just like dragonflies stopping for a quick drink at the water’s edge before they leave as quickly as they arrived. And of course, all of the people resemble marching ants, hustling in and out of their nests, searching for their next bite of food.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to bust out the Legos and Tonka trucks.

New York City, 1972

Photo by ©2010

Ground Zero Tolerance

Photo by Jens Schott Knudsen

Strip clubs a block and a half from Ground Zero are OK. Mosques are not. To see more photos from the neighborhood, see Jens Schott Knudsen’s photo essay on TPM.

MTA Workers Harass Photographers, Make Stuff Up

Photo by maisa_nyc

Since when do MTA workers care what anyone does in the subway stations?

This past weekend, a group of transit workers at the 9th Avenue station in Brooklyn harassed photographer Maki Isayama, telling him he wasn’t allowed to take photos because…well, “you’re not allowed.” When Isayama protested, another worker said he would have to confiscate his camera and erase the images.

But it wasn’t an isolated incident! Another photographer encountered a similiar situation last week when he took this photo in the subway and an MTA worker threatened to confiscate his camera.

Wait – I’m confused. Don’t MTA guidelines clearly state that photos are allowed in the subway?

Photographer Sues Homeland Security Dept.

Software developer, amateur photographer and self-proclaimed libertarian activist Antonio Musemeci and the NYCLU are suing the Department of Homeland Security for what they say was an unlawful arrest during a protest at the Manhattan federal courthouse last year. The lawsuit challenges a “government regulation that unconstitutionally restricts photography on federal property, including public plazas and sidewalks.”

Musumeci was videotaping the arrest of protestor Julian Heicklen in November 2009, when officers approached and asked what he was doing. Because he said he was freelancing (which he does for Free Talk Live – for free), he was arrested under a code which prohibits news or commercial photography on federal property. The situation was classic — very similar to the dozens of ones we’ve reported on here. The agents took his camera and poked around on it, talked down to him, threw their weight around. Ultimately only Musumeci’s memory card was confiscated after he suggested that would be the only relevant information for the agents. While charges against him were eventually dropped, Musumeci never got his memory card back.

From the NYCLU:

“We understand the need for heightened security around federal buildings, but the government cannot arrest people for taking pictures in a public plaza.”

It will be really interesting to see how this turns out, as it could be a watershed event for photographers’ rights.

You can read all of the events leading up to the arrest here.

Article from New York Daily News and blog of bile

PATH Cop Targets Mom, Grandma and Newborn

Kim Hudson

On Friday afternoon I was in the Christopher Street PATH station in New York City with my mom, my sister and her baby. My mom and I were taking pictures of the baby, her with an iPhone and me with my camera, when the Port Authority officer came over and told us sternly “No pictures, no pictures.” Though I knew this was absolutely ridiculous – and groundless – I wasn’t going to make a scene there with my family. All we could do was laugh. If three women cooing over a baby are now a security threat, well … I don’t know. It’s just unfathomable.

Considering the hot water New York’s MTA subway system and Amtrak have been in lately, you’d think the PATH would be more aware of the law. What’s more, Boing Boing posted an NYPD document yesterday outlining their stance on photographers – and, in a nut shell, it says it’s perfectly legal and they should refrain from harrassing people shooting in public places. (The NYPD does not patrol PATH stations, but the agencies work very closely with each other.)

I contacted PATH authorities to find out their policy on photography. They told me their private bylaws allow them to outlaw photography in their stations – despite it being a public place and a government entity. To voice your concerns about this incident, contact the Port Authority Police at (201) 216-2677.

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