Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Posts Tagged ‘New York

A little bit of Bushwick

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We stayed in Bushwick in an Air BnB flat that was rather nice and possibly the cleanest accommodation I have ever stayed at. Bushwick is one of those emerging neighbourhoods, so it’s got some cool places, but also a lot of stodgy old places. And great restaurants but more boring dives. Unfair to compare it to Williamsburg, except that I keep hearing it’s the new Williamsburg. Maybe in ten years. And that’s fine.

First thing I noticed was the subway station. Dekalb Avenue. Bog standard, run of the mill, out of a movie set subway station.
17-3-15 subway-1And the people down there, waiting for trains, I suppose they’re your bog standard people.

17-3-15 subway-2Funny how the Bedford one is so cool, you can feel the buzzy energy… and just a few stops down the line… oh well…

So I didn’t take many photos ‘of’ Bushwick, but I took some photos ‘in’ Bushwick. Like these:
Bushwick-3Just a great sense of urgency here…

I thought this was a sacrilegious Madonna -until I went to process the photo and saw it wasn’t one at all…

And, yes, everything is art now – the beer on the wall

And also the wall

Bushwick-4And the tabletops

Bushwick-7And the slightly crazy lady taking these photos…

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18/04/2015 at 10:48 pm

A short stroll down Mulberry Street

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Wandered into Little Italy a few weeks ago. It’s a bit of the same as it’s ever been and a lot like it never was, except maybe in movies and TV and what we expect of it. Part history, part fantasy. We had a brilliant cannoli at Cafe Roma though, along with an exquisite piece of Italian cheesecake, which might be the most important thing.

The streets are narrow and cluttered with cars and people and lights and banners waving in the air, trying to grab your attention. Despite the cold winter day, vendors and restaurateurs beckoned as the aromas of a few thousand years of tradition wafted by.LittleItaly-4 Classic restaurants, straight out of 1952, or maybe Goodfellas or The Sopranos: LittleItaly-6This guy was determined that we were going to eat here… no discussion! Would you say no to him? Really?

LittleItaly-5While I enjoy al fresco dining, there was snow on the ground! This old place probably hosted a speakeasy back in the day.

This guy with the accordion however, as enchanting as could be! Did not notice the creepy dude peeking out over his right shoulder until I got home, though.LittleItaly-3 And who could resist Umberto’s Clam House??? LittleItaly-1 Or the charm of statues of Native Americans guarding the entrance to the cigar shop? LittleItaly-2 LittleItaly-7And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a slightly menacing corner, with a couple of slightly unsavoury characters strolling by.

But despite the sentiment, Little Italy has all but disappeared, mostly gobbled up by Chinatown and SoHo and areas that have just stopped being Little Italy and become something else.

Kinda sad, kinda just how it is. Kinda weird being old enough that history is not something relegated to old books and movies. I remember how it used to be and see how it is now. And it’s not that I think it should be any different than it is – I just marvel at what has changed.

And if Little Italy is transformed, then I suppose I am too…

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06/04/2015 at 11:14 pm

Kicking Around Brooklyn in the Snow

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I’ve been beating myself up lately for neglecting this blog… sigh… the reality is I’ve been doing so much travel and making so many pictures, I’ve really not had the time to develop or share them. Just got back from the US on Saturday. There’s over a thousand photos to process…

Let’s start with a Fabulous Snowy Day in Williamsburg! We rented an Air BnB apartment on Berry St and waited for the world to happen. The World did not disappoint!!!

wmsbg- 5-3-15-6

It’s kind of sad that the smokers are really the only ones out there savouring the moment. Everyone else was in a rush to get somewhere out of it.

wmsbg- 5-3-15-7

Looking down the street.

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And up the street!

wmsbg- 5-3-15-10

And just not going to be going anywhere, really… Better get back inside where it’s warm. (And I mean warm! Why are all New York apartments so bloody hot???)

I just love Williamsburg 🙂

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26/03/2015 at 11:30 am

Tiritiri Tomtit

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Tiritiri Tomtit

Revisiting my photos from Tiritiri Matangi Island in January. The Takahe were such scene stealers, quiet little birds like this sweet little tomtit just can’t compete. Not that it’s a competition. But here’s his chance to shine.

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15/03/2013 at 11:39 pm

Secret Passage

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I’m pretty sure there is a tall, slim old man with enormous ears hiding behind the door. He’s sitting on a stool, waiting for me.

If I open the door, he will stand and raise his arms and come after me, chanting, “I’m going to con-tam-in-ate this little girl!” Over and over. And I will run as fast as I can, so my legs hurt and my hair is flying in, getting into my eyes. If I try and look back he never gets much closer or further away.

The chanting continues as I run, on and on and on… into the drug store, through the shop, into the back room, where I slip through the trap door, and slide, speeding through the darkness.

I land with a bounce on my bed, which wakes my sister, who screams, bringing my mother in to comfort her. Never minding me, no one is interested in hearing where I’ve just been or what just happened to me.

One day I’ll lock my sister in there – and never come back.


This lonely winter garden reminds me of so many things. When I came upon it, somewhere in Lower Manhattan, it took my breath away – that sense of deja vu, of knowing something about it I couldn’t quite name, but could feel, in the same way my grandmother springs to life if someone walks by wearing her perfume.

The passing of Maurice Sendak and now Ray Bradbury has somehow sparked the storyteller in me, the lover of the non-rational, non-compliant, somewhat cuss-ed point of view. I was an avid reader from the minute I figured out how to do it (at the unremarkable age of six.) I had a lot of Little Golden Books. They were pretty, with lovely watercolour illustrations. But I was mostly dissatisfied with the stories, too many morality plays that bored me even then.

The Grimm Brothers were more to my liking, the more gruesome the better. My favourite was the luridly horrific The Little Goose Girl. I must have read it a hundred times, squinting in the dark after I’d been sent to bed – moving the book along the stream of light on the floor where my bedroom door had been left ajar. Never gave me nightmares, though… Not that I didn’t have nightmares, but the monsters in them were mostly the adults in my life. It confounded me that children were always being punished but badly behaved adults just got away with it, no matter how bad they were. And then it confounded me even more that when the grown-ups finally had to pay for their bad behaviour, it meant the children got even more punishment.

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08/06/2012 at 1:43 am

Not Ellis Island

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I remember reading or hearing that most New Yorkers never visit their biggest tourist attractions or pay much mind to their historic heritage, focussing more on the arts. I don’t know if that is actually true or not. I have been to the top of the Empire State Building and climbed the gazillion steps to the top of the Statue of Liberty, but that was after I’d moved away and was visiting the city with one of my Estonian relatives.

I’d certainly read a great deal about Ellis Island, and was very disappointed to learn that my mother did not enter the city there when she arrived by ship in 1950. She docked on the west side, I think I remember her telling me it was 23rd St, but I could be wrong about that. Immigration rules had changed significantly after the war, and she arrived as a displaced person, with a sponsor. According to my mother, it was a new form of indentured servitude and when she left their employ after six months, she gave them a lecture on how Lincoln had freed the slaves. She was 19. And feisty.

Ellis Island was closed for a long time, and while it has reopened, I have never had occasion to bring anyone there, and never wandered on my own. Which brings me to the subject of this photo. It is NOT Ellis Island. It doesn’t look a thing LIKE Ellis Island. But… you pass it on the Staten Island Ferry and for most of my life, I thought it was. So bleak, so sad, so lonely and desolate. All the hope those walls ever contained was hermetically sealed in the hearts of the new arrivals, clutching at their few mementos and praying they made it through the next few days… I know, I’ve been a new immigrant, too – and some things never really change.

But this is NOT Ellis Island. I have tried to find out what it is (not very hard, I admit) but have had no luck. I don’t know what this building was used for. Maybe a jail? It’s definitely a building full of sadness.

Perhaps next time I am in New York I will visit Ellis Island. I’ll pretend I’m just a tourist from out of town and ask a lot of questions.

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06/06/2012 at 12:14 am


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05/06/2012 at 1:06 am

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New York state of mind

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There are so many times when I wish for a knish, smeared with mustard, so hot the potato burns the roof of my mouth, but I can’t wait for it to cool down before I take another bite so I burn it again.

I miss New York…

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31/01/2012 at 10:15 pm

Beautiful Blue

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Apologies for the re-run, but it’s a bit full-on at the moment and this was taken back in 2009, the last time I was in New York. It’s a wig stand in a subway station. I do love New York!

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24/01/2012 at 11:24 pm

no left turn

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Seems sometimes the places you just can’t get to are the most appealing. And you’ve to wonder what would change if you could. This is an NYC subway station.

Day 3 of the NaNoWriMo. A wee bit ahead on the word count. A wee bit confounded at what’s coming out onto the page. I had deliberately not outlined a plot or thought too much about characters. I wanted it to be a real, in-the-moment piece. After all, it’s essentially a 30-day exercise, so why not try a technique that’s untried and its true-ness has not been verified?

Fortunately I am a most excellent typist as I find most of this is being written with my eyes closed. I think best with my eyes closed – I think most people do. How many brilliant ideas have you got in the shower, or in those quiet moments after you’ve gone to bed, but not yet fallen asleep? I’m pretty sure this is not brilliant, but it might be going someplace interesting…

Hmmm… 5000 words, 10% of the way there!

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04/11/2011 at 1:00 am

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