Archive for August 2007

Times Square Church Redux

August 27, 2007

As usual, I went to my Episcopal church on Sunday.  We had 16 attendees.  Yowza!

However, I’ve been noticing that my site still gets some hits from people going to my Times Square Church post and thought I’d drop by there after today’s Episcopal service to get a picture or two with my new camera.

Times Square Church is located on Broadway and 51st Street.  As you’re walking up Broadway, here’s what you see:

Times Square Church general area 1

On the left, right above the McDonalds, is part of what is called the Times Square Church Annex.  I never went in there during my previous attendance, preferring either the actual church area or the downstairs area.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the front of the church.

Times Square Church main entrance 1

Times Square Church main entrance 2

Three comments:  1) there more people at the entrance there than attended my church.  Good for them!;  2) You can start to see some of the diversity of the attendees.  I’ve never attended a Church with such a wide ranging group.  This is NYC, of course, but it still goes beyond that; 3) Usually, I’ve seen a lot of homeless around the front.  They seem to be missing today.

I didn’t go inside (no way would I get a seat inside the service area, I don’t know what else to call it…sanctuary, pews, none really seems to work) because I felt like a jerk taking their pictures from across the street.


Ankling to the Pakistan Independence Day Parade

August 26, 2007

Today was the celebration of Pakistan’s 60th year of independence.  Technically, the anniversary was Tuesday, August 14, so you may have had your own celebrations earlier.  As part of today’s celebration, there was a NYC parade and Famous Ankles, a known habitue of such parades, couldn’t have been kept away with a stick.  Okay, maybe if it were a big stick, but then I would have missed an enjoyable time.

The parade was held on Madison Avenue between 41st Street and 27th (the parades on Madison Ave. typically go north to south).  My home and office are in the general area so it was a very easy commute to the site.

What did I expect from the parade?  My favorite parades are always the small ones and the biggest point is to see things other than the parade itself.  My “Famous Ankles” name comes from the Greek Independence Day parade in which my ankles became relatively famous by being next to two adorable little girls who received more pictures taken of them by official parade photographers (and people on the floats with cameras) than I could count.

As odd as it may seem for a Christian, my two favorite parades of all time are related to Moslem issues/countries.  First, the Shiite parade last year on Park Avenue was amazing for the intensity, friendliness, and neighborliness of the participants (several people in the march came to me, the most northern European of all spectators, to let me know what the parade was about, what everything symbolized, the history of the issues, and everything).  Second, the Persian Day parade from earlier this year had me interviewed by a Persian film crew who were thunderstruck that I knew why the parade was going in (they celebrate their New Year at the vernal equinox) and that I was delighted to see the incredible panoply of Persian culture including dancing girls and Zoroasterians.

So, to make a long story short:  I was looking forward to the Pakistan Independence Day parade and it didn’t let me down.  It was a small item that captivated me, but it was one that I enjoyed thoroughly and hope to be able to relate.

I showed up about 20 minutes before the start of the parade.  I was near the beginning of the parade so I did run into the NYC parade starting group:  cops and horses.

Cops and horses

The first marching group…wasn’t quite Pakistani…it was a marching band…playing Sousa!

Pakistan Day marching band

Okay, that’s not astonishing.  Even now, Sousa has a place at most parades.  And to get technical, this really wasn’t a Moslem parade.  It was a nationalist parade.  Sousa’s good for that:  nice marching music.

The next group was a group of police officers, apparently of Pakistani origin.  My picture didn’t come out.  Sorry, NYPD.

And then the dignitaries.  I did get a number of pictures, but I haven’t the foggiest as to who these people were.

Pakistan Day Parade - dignitaries 1

There is one item about the dignitaries that I don’t understand.  Who are the Black guys on each end?  They don’t look of an age that would lend themselves to being long-time supporters and friends of the Pakistani community.  They carried themselves more like bodyguards or something.  But that makes even less sense.

Another dignitary issue:  I’ve been to oodles of these parades.  Congressman Anthony Weiner is always a member of the nationality (at least for the day).  I know who he is because he loves to have people standing right behind him with a sign saying “Congressman Anthony Weiner”, just to make sure people know.  Maybe they wouldn’t give him a bullhorn today (and he does love a good bullhorn).  The mayor loves to come to these things.  No show today.  Both NY senators (Schumer and Clinton) come to them.  No show today.  It’s enough to make you feel for the Pakistanis.  To be snubbed by Weiner…  Of course, the obvious answer for all of the politicians is that they may not want to be associated with a country that is so Moslem and run under a military dictatorship.  But I would tend to say that today’s crowd would have been receptive to a democratic and tolerant message.  Hey, there were a lot of American flags being waved in addition to the Pakistan flag.

And that leads me to my absolutely favorite part of the parade.

As I stood waiting for the start, a family showed up to my immediate right.  Among the members were a doting dad and two cute little girls.  I had flashbacks to the Greek parade.  But, it turns out that the star wasn’t the little girls; it was “dad”.

Being little girls (one being “the girly-girl” and the other being “the tomboy”), they were as cute as you would expect and I asked “dad” if I could take their pictures.  He agreed, and even posed.

Pakistan Day Parade - dad 1

The second little girl was a lot more elusive, but they did get together and they did get the attention of official photogs.

Pakistan Day Parade - dad 4

(That’s “mom” collecting the kids.)

Pakistan Day Parade - photographer

For the most part, the girls just weren’t into the parade, but “dad” was.

Pakistan Day Parade - dad 2 

Pakistan Day Parade - dad 3

In that last picture, note that he has two American flags.  That’s the interesting part.  During the parade, he called to one of the people handing out placards and the like (they were inside the parade barricades).  He motioned her over and started speaking and then pointed out into the street.  About 25 feet away to my left was a fallen American flag, apparently dropped from one of the floats.  At his behest, the woman went out and picked up the flag and brought it back to “dad”.  Once he had it, “dad” didn’t let go of it.  “Dad” is a real American.  Yeah, it’s a small thing, but it strikes me just right.

The parade had started out on a quiet note.  A marching band playing some Sousa and then some bagpipers.

Pakistan Day Parade - bagpipers 1

And lots of floats.

 Pakistan Day Parade - floats 1

Pakistan Day Parade - float 05

I do kinda like the slogan “Life Comes At You Fast”.  It turns out to be a Nationwide Insurance Company slogan.  I had no idea it was a company float as the people obscured the logo, but it turns out that there is a small “Nationwide” sign there plus the company’s other slogan.  But, I didn’t see those during the march and thought the first sentence might be a homegrown/local slogan.  I shoulda known.  After all, I was on Madison Avenue, the home of advertising.

Finally, someone cranked up the music (which had been loud, but not too loud) and the dancing started.

Pakistan Day Parade - dancers 1

Pakistan Day Parade - dancers 2

The dancing lasted…one float.

An item I learned at the parade was who Allama Muhammad Iqbal was:  “the thinker of Pakistan”.  Actually, he turns out to have been a poet-philosopher who pushed to have a separate Moslem country split off from India.  He died in 1938, well before the independence of India from Britain and the partition of Pakistan from India.

Pakistan Day Parade - float 8

And then, it was over.  The whole parade was scheduled from 1pm to 3:30pm.  The actual parade lasted 18 minutes.  Well, it is a minor parade.  But it was pleasant.


Brooke Astor and the New York Public Library

August 25, 2007

I promised an update to my earlier Brooke Astor post.  Today, I went to the NY Public Library at 5th Avenue and 41st Street to see if I could get a picture of the bench in the Library’s main entryway.  Here’s the outside.  The lions continue to stand guard.

New York Public Library Lion

I went inside.  Security checks everyone’s bags but I had none, so I scooted in quickly.  Unfortunately, there is a ban on flash photography.  The light was marginal but I didn’t want to take flash pictures in front of the guards at the entrance, so the pictures aren’t particularly good.

As you go in, there are grand stairs to the left and to the right.  You go to the first landing on the right staircase, and there’s a large stone plaque (whose picture didn’t come out at all) and the bench.

Brooke Astor bench in the NY Public Library

When I continued up the stairs, I got a nicer picture of the entranceway.

Library grand entrance

And there was a display for Mrs. Astor.

Astor display

So, where are the books?  Actually, this branch of the Library is more the research area (and I presume the administrative departments).  If you want to find your standard novels and biographies, go across the street.


Minor feats of levitation

August 24, 2007

Just a picture of a couple of people who wanted a good view of some street performers.  This was taken right next to the New York Public Library.

Watching street performers

The guy on the left is actually in a suit and tie.  I’m really not sure how they got up there. 

  1. It really was too much of a jump for someone in a suit and neither seemed to have someone available nearby to boost them up. 
  2. The green tarped item to the right didn’t appear steady enough for someone to risk it. 
  3. They could have gotten onto the ledge at the far left and shimmied down to their location, but that’s a pretty obnoxious thing to do to the big crowd to the far left. 
  4. If they could have gotten onto that side from the other side, why didn’t they stay on the other side?

 Mysterious NYC!  (But, that’s how I like it.)


Addition to my blogroll

August 24, 2007

I finally decided to start up a blogroll.  That’s a list of favorite blog sites.

 My first addition is the Lone Prairie blog of Julie Neidlinger.  Her’s was the first “real” blog I ever found and I’ve been reading it regularly for years.  She’s an artist who lives and works in North Dakota.  It’s a fun read.

I’ve been adding a post every day this week, but today is a two-fer.  A post and a blogroll link.