I am going to Paris! (and having a gallery showing here in NYC in April!)
I am really, really over-the-moon excited to announce that I will be going to Paris in March.
I have been invited by the French Government’s official tourism office to take photos of Paris and other various sites of interest in close proximity to Paris.
What will happen with this photography? Well, that’s the other exciting news! This voyage has been planned in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Liberation of Paris in 1944. To celebrate this amazing time in France’s history and its impact on modern-day Paris, my photography will be displayed in a solo art gallery showing at The Park Avenue Armory here in NYC in April.
The 1940s time period is near and dear to my heart as my mother and her family were victims of World War II. They survived being held in labor and concentration camps for a number of years and after the war ended they were able to traverse Europe freely and eventually make their way over to the United States.
I grew up hearing about The Liberation of Paris and the surrounding events that marked the end of World War II. The Liberation of Paris in particular meant so much to my mother because it was one of the most enduring symbols of the end of World War II and her family’s freedom. I am beyond thrilled that I will be photographing Paris to celebrate what the Liberation of Paris has meant both for the citizens of France but also for the world.
I could think of no better collection of images to convey my excitement for this incredible adventure I will be embarking on than the work of Robert Doisneau. Doisneau’s body of work has had an immeasurable impact on my own photography. His images of Paris throughout the occupation, through the Liberation as well as after the Liberation phenomenally capture the mood of the time in such a powerful way.
1.- Les Jardins du Champs de Mars, Paris, 1944
2.- Au Bon Coin, Saint-Denis 1945
3.- A Snapshot of Victory, August 1944
4.- Typist, Square du Vert Galant, Paris 1947
5.- Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, 1950
6.- Bastille Day, 1949
7.- Pierrette d’Orient strolls along, 1953
8.- The Last Waltz on Bastille Day,1949
Visit: Rendezvous En France
Images: Robert Doisneau - Paris (a book I own and highly recommend)
New York City Adventure: Take a tour of Grand Central’s Secret Places
New York City - Grand Central - Private Tour
I had the rare opportunity to get a private tour of Grand Central’s unusual and special spots and views today. I got to climb a ladder and explore the inside of Grand Central’s huge clock, traverse a hidden staircase, see the master control room, walk around with a hard-hat on in the secret underground station that hosted secret service agents and presidents. In short, I am not sure how much can top this rare New York City experience.
Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):
1. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor once we entered the super private glass catwalk that runs along the top floor of Grand Central. A few panes of glass were opened so that the best camera angles could be accessed and it was pretty much people-watching photography heaven for about 20 minutes. Having only ever admired Grand Central (for the most part) from the ground looking up, this view looking out and over the entirety of the main concourse is something I will never forget.
2. As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to go inside of the information booth that sits in the center of the main concourse. People who visit Grand Central or pass through daily know the information booth as the ornate booth that sits under the famous four-sided clock. It’s been my main meeting point in Grand Central whenever I meet people in the terminal and it’s been in countless television shows and movies throughout the years.
So you can just imagine how giddy I was that I got to go inside of the information booth today. Not only that but there was a pane of glass missing which was perfect to capture an unusual angle of the clock. I also got to go down the secret staircase in the middle of the information booth which led downstairs and fulfilled my early Nancy Drew-fueled dreams of traversing a secret staircase.
3.The center of Grand Central’s Information Booth also still has quite a few of the original travel advertisements pasted to the inner parts of the structure which was awesome to view. Nothing like gazing upon early 20th century travel ads for early to mid 20th century steamboat and steamship adventures.
4. A classic view overlooking Grand Central’s original light structures. I learned today that the reason that all of the light-bulbs are exposed on all of Grand Central’s chandeliers is due to the grand age of electricity. The Vanderbilt’s were extremely proud that Grand Central was one of the first all-electric powered buildings in the world and celebrated by honoring the light-bulb in all it’s exposed glory.
5. As if the day couldn’t get any better, I was treated to a view inside Grand Central’s clock tower which sits behind the massive Tiffany glass clock (the largest in the world). I happen to be extremely scared of heights which is a fear I am trying to get over. Today was definitely a milestone for me as I climbed the largest ladder I have ever climbed (major achievement) to get inside the clock tower. I am so happy I did! This is the view of Grand Central’s Tiffany Clock from inside the clock! One of the panes of glass opens allowing for some super unique views of the top of Grand Central.
6. And the view looking out towards Park Avenue South was pretty spectacular!
7. These are the massive gears and master controls looking towards the Tiffany glass of the clock from inside the clock.
8. Another view of the streets below as seen while hanging out of the Grand Central’s clock.
9. And if the clock tower and glass catwalks weren’t enough, I also got to see Grand Central’s abandoned Track 61 which I was always told was the stuff of urban legend. However, it turns out to be real! When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office, he utilized a secret train line that connected Grand Central to the Waldorf-Astoria. The area even has a huge freight elevator that was used to fit his limousine allowing FDR to travel to and from New York City in secrecy during World War II. This was the train he used which still sits on Track 61.
10. And finally, another view of the Main Concourse of Grand Central from high above. I can’t get enough of this view.
I want to thank Grand Central for having me as a guest and giving me the grand tour and for my friend Lexi (check out his Instagram) who not only put this VIP tour together but helped me out in the clock tower! For news, cool events, and updates about Grand Central:
View these photos and more of Grand Central Terminal’s unusual views (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):
Las Vegas in 3 Days at CES 2014—-
Sony at CES 2014 - Las Vegas
Before I get into my experience attending CES 2014 in Las Vegas, I want to just say wow! and thank you! to everyone for my last post of photos of New York City in the snow right before I left for Vegas! My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I got home and saw that the post was up to 30,000 notes here on Tumblr. I spent the majority of time in Vegas posting to my Twitter and so I was blissfully unaware that my post was being passed around so much. Thank you sincerely everyone!
I was invited to work with Sony earlier this week to cover Sony’s new tech releases at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. I didn’t have the smoothest time getting out to Vegas since I got stuck in Chicago in the polar vortex (if you are curious and want to be amused, you can scroll through my posts on my Facebook about my Chicago polar vortex experience). However, I made it on a secret unlisted flight out to Vegas hours later than I was expected to arrive but in one bemused piece.
I had never been to Las Vegas or CES so my short stay was punctuated by a lot of jaw-dropping overwhelmed and slightly surreal moments. I spent the majority of my time on a tight itinerary with Sony so I didn’t get to fully explore Las Vegas. I did end up walking around the strip with some really awesome and hilarious people some of whom are listed and linked below (also brought out by Sony) the night before I left which resulted in the few photos that appear in this photo-set. Perhaps one day I will go back to Vegas and give it a real whirl.
Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):
1. A view of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant which is part of the Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. This is about as close as I have gotten to an Eiffel Tower and while it most likely pales in comparison to the real thing, it was fairly enthralling at night.
2. And while we are on the subject of Paris, here is a view of a Paris street projected onto a wall in the Sony Life UX room at CES 2014. This was, hands down, my favorite place at CES 2014. It was meant to give a glimpse into future entertainment options. The device responsible for this uncannily real view of a Paris street is Sony’s state of the art 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector which has the ability to project an Ultra HD image up to 147 inches onto a wall.
The bonus part of the room though? The entire room took on the same lighting present in the video of the Paris street creating a pretty awesome mood. There was a skylight that projected the same type of light and a lamp on a table outside of view here that fulfilled all of my Minority Report dreams of the future since the images projected from the lamp were fully interactive.
3.I was fortunate enough to get an exclusive invite to the official Sony keynote on Tuesday morning where Sony’s President Kazuo Hirai gave an invigorating presentation on where Sony is headed in terms of its main goals. Hirai emphasized that Sony is concerned with injecting the “wow factor” into every element of what it envisions, creates, and produces with an extra emphasis on “play”. To emphasize this emphasis, the keynote was supplemented by one of the most riveting artistic presentations I have seen. Artists created art live while Hirai spoke bringing his words to life. You can watch the keynote here: Kazuo Hirai Keynote - CES 2014
One of the highlights was the appearance of Vince Gilligan who is the creator of Breaking Bad. Kazuo Hirai interviewed him on stage and during the interview the artists backstage created an ongoing montage to Breaking Bad complete with a blue meth-filled volcano, Walter White, and a nod to the spin-off Better Call Saul.
4. Ended up at the Bellagio for a grand dinner for Sony’s influencers at Yellowtail. This is the ceiling of the lobby of the Bellagio which is the work of master glass artist Dale Chihuly. It was hard to pull all of us away from gawking at the ceiling.
5.I have been obsessed with virtual reality for years. Sony stepped up their game at CES 2014 released an update to their Head Mounted Display which now includes head-tracking. There are a number of important players in the virtual reality arena right now with Oculus Rift being one of the prominent players. Sony’s addition of head-tracking ups the ante since it gives a more life-life feel. Let’s say put the display on and are in a car. With the new head-tracking you can look around at the view which immerses you deeper into the virtual reality landscape. This was someone testing out Sony’s Head Mounted Display.
6. Las Vegas has a number of extravagantly decorated hotels. The Venetian is one of the more beautiful hotel interiors I got to experience during my short stay in Vegas. This is one of the main corridors. In truth, the ceiling was an absolute masterpiece but I was hung up on the MC Escher-esque floor.
7. One of my favorite hashtags during CES was #4kfor2k . It referred to the new, more affordable 4K camcorder that Sony announced. It is the Handycam FDR-AX100. Specs: 4K capture at 30p and 24p with a Carl Zeiss F/2.8-4.5 lens and the ability to shoot 108oi at 120p. Pretty sweet! Previously, 4K cameras were far more expensive so this is an exciting price-point.
8. Everywhere you looked at CES 2014 there seemed to be yet another implementation of wearable tech. Sony’s wearable tech differs from many of the other options in that Sony’s SmartBand (pictured here) comes with the Sony Core and LifeLog software. Rather than just log fitness goals, you can track and log nearly every element of your day as well as your sleep patterns. The SmartBand can even wake you up at the time of your choice with a tiny wrist vibration. This wearable tech will be released in a few months for Android initially.
9. On the last night of my stay in Las Vegas, I walked around the Las Vegas strip with a few other people and ended up taking a late night gondola ride in the canals of the Venetian Hotel complete with a singing gondolier (evidence here: http://instagram.com/p/i5fOleCrI0/ ). This was one of my views from the gondola. I have never been to the canals of the real Venice so this was pretty cool albeit a bit amusing and surreal in a Las Vegas sort of way.
10. A big highlight was getting to meet and speak with Sony’s brand new COO and President of Sony Electronics Mike Fasulo. All of the influencers who worked with Sony at CES 2014 got to have a breakfast with him. Here we are with Mike Fasulo in Sony’s enormous CES booth (before the crowds got there).
Pictured here from Left to Right: Kewiki, Michelle McGraw, Swopes, Mal Sherlock, Frederick Van Johnson, Mike Fasulo, Amanda Brooks, Vivienne Gucwa, Ian Padgham, Leticia Barr, Katie Levien Babineau, one of Sony’s Social Media Team, Carol Cain, and Callan Green, one of Sony’s Social Media Team
I hope you have enjoyed the photo-set! All photos were taken with a combination of my Sony A99, Sony NEX-6 and my iPhone.
A travel-photo essay featuring the New York City views and amenities at One UN New York Millennium Hotel in midtown Manhattan…
New York City Skyline Views and Room Views - One UN New York
I had a great experience staying in One UN New York’s west tower this past week. One UN New York is part of the Millennium Hotels and Resorts group of global luxury travel properties and lays claim to some of the best views of the New York City skyline. Located on East 44th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, the hotel just completed a large scale renovation of its West Tower.
The hotel also just recently launched Sky-High Weekends which is a luxury package that includes a ton of amazing perks along with accommodations in the West Tower. One of the perks is a session with their Skyscraper Curator who shares history and architectural facts about many of the skyscrapers that surround the hotel. The package also includes access to a lounge on the 30th floor that serves up breakfast and evening beverages with hors d’oeuvres. And if that wasn’t enough, the kind hosts at One UN New York also provide you with a luxe box of chocolates, a set of collectible NYC coloring postcards that you can color in yourself, and tickets to New York City’s Skyscraper Museum.
During my stay, I received a grand tour of the West Tower and got to experience the views firsthand. Something that struck me about the hotel (aside from the jaw-dropping views) was how spacious the rooms are compared to other midtown Manhattan hotels. There are tons of hotels in midtown but usually you sacrifice space and noise levels for location. However, since One UN New York is located between 1st and 2nd Avenues, there is a lot less noise and space seems to be a top priority. I think the new West Tower is perfect for vacationing couples as well as families looking for great accommodations still in midtown within walking distance to many of the midtown tourist sites but also with easy access to many other areas of New York City.
The best part of my stay was that I woke up to a snowy New York City skyline view the next morning from my beautiful room in the West Tower. Perfect timing!
Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):
1. This is the spectacular view I woke up to. Does it get any better? It was sunrise and snow was swirling around the tops of the skyscrapers of midtown and coating the streets below. View this photo in my portfolio here: New York City Skyline in the Snow
2. The full view from my West Tower room. This is a unique view of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building while snow falls. It was hard to tear myself away from this view, believe me. View this photo in my portfolio here: http://nycphoto.smugmug.com/Photography/New-York-City-Photography/i-HJFLTMd
3. I loved these mirrors. This is a sitting area in one of the . Behind the cabinets are a ton of amenities to make your room feel like home. View this photo larger here: One UN New York - Deluxe Sitting area
4.This is the view from the swimming pool at One UN New York. Yes, really. View this photo in my portfolio here: Tudor City and the FDR Drive from Above - New York City
5. The hotel has a duplex suite which is spacious, modern, and yet still somehow maintains a comfortable vibe. View this photo larger here: One UN New York - Duplex
6. You know how I wrote above that it was hard to tear myself away from my room’s view? Well, the fine folks at One UN New York clearly knew that would be the case and so I got to enjoy their friendly room service which included a heavenly chocolate layer cake. Cake + city lights = perfection. View this photo larger here: Chocolate Cake and New York City Lights
7. A night view from my room. View this photo in my portfolio here: : New York City Skyline and Chrysler Building - Night - Facing West
8. A view of one of the deluxe rooms. View this photo larger here: : Deluxe Room in the West Tower
9. This is a view to the right of the lobby. While this is the original design and it will eventually be renovated, I really loved the mirrored ceilings and late 20th century vibe. View this photo larger here: : One UN New York Lobby
10. And finally, this is one of the views from the fitness center. View this photo larger here: : The Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island from Above - New York City
** All of these photos were taken with my Sony A99 and Sony NEX-6
View these photos (and more) of the views, accommodations, and amenities at One UN New York here (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):
Looking for more New York City Winter photos with snow? Here is a set (click on each photo to enlarge):
Autumn in the Pocono Mountains
In another life, I lived where open spaces wed themselves to an infinite landscape.
In another life, the city was a speck on the imagination of a wilderness so vast, it yearned to meet the horizon and keep stretching itself further into the collective consciousness.
In another life…
Travel is the glue that binds us to alternate narratives of our own lives.
I grew up in a family that didn’t have the financial means to travel and so I traveled in my own mind to the parts of the world I would read about or come across in cinema.
Traveling as an adult has started to become a never-ending way to stretch my mind’s interpretations of places far past their previous limitations.
My version of America outside the confines of cities has always been shaped by others’ interpretations. Growing up in New York City, the rest of America has always been a daunting concept. Beyond its plethora of symbolic meanings, America is the wide-open unknown that yawns across huge expanses of the United States. It’s the sprawling wilderness that stretches north into Canada. It’s the stunning array of countries that extend beyond the United State’s southernmost points.
And so, when I got the chance to explore a small part of the over 2000 square miles that the Pocono Mountains region covers, my mind was swimming in previous interpretations of that hallowed part of Pennsylvania.
Decades ago, the Pocono Mountains area was referred to as The Poconos and in the New York City area The Poconos was advertised as a honeymoon shangri-la of epic proportions. The commercials I grew up with referenced jacuzzis in the shape of champagne glasses and the mere mention of The Poconos in conversation would incur an amused eyebrow raise and chuckle.
Armed with these rather peculiar and comical interpretations of the area, I set out on a three day journey with the Pocono Mountain Visitor Bureau. My aim was to photograph the Pocono Mountain area and their aim was to open my eyes and change my previous perceptions about the area.
I didn’t come across giant champagne glass shaped jacuzzis at all during my exploration of the area. What I did come across were miles upon miles of untouched wilderness in the throes of autumn, a striking array of outdoor activities, and a large variety of small and medium size towns and cities that intrigued me enough to put them back on my bucket-list of American towns to visit.
One of the highlights of my journey was having the conductor of the LeHigh Gorge Scenic Railway allow me to take photos from the back of the train. Train travel and trains are some of my favorite things in this world.
Here is a location guide to the photos in this set:
1 - Autumn foliage and railroad tracks seen from the LeHigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The poles on the right are the original telegraph poles used for early communication in the mid 19th century.
2 - Spectacular autumn landscape and view at Calkins Creamery
3 - Autumn hiking trail and bicycle path at Woodloch Resort
4 - The site of “the first commercial locomotive on rails in the western hemisphere” in Honesdale
5 - Zip-lining through beautiful autumn trees at Pocono TreeVentures
6 - A view of the Delaware River at The Shawnee Inn
7 - Autumn lake landscape at Woodloch Resort
View these photos larger and in a set here (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):