Archive for the ‘Celebrity Points’ category

I missed a celeb photo…I think

June 1, 2008

I was wandering through the Lower East Side and spotted a film crew. As I went past, I saw a little girl perhaps nine years old lip syncing and shoulder-swaying to unheard music and surrounded by a film crew. The little girl look slightly familiar. Perhaps not.

I walked on as I was on a quest to look at a garden. I knew they’d still be there in five minutes. If you’ve never seen this stuff, film crews stick around for hours and do very little, at least to my eyes. It seems to be multiple takes and you never see anything. I did take a quick photo of the crew. I didn’t want to throw the kid off her acting.

I wandered into the garden and spent less than ten minutes just looking at it and photographing it (it was the Sixth Street and Ave B Community Garden that I will post on separately).

And when I came out. They were gone. Not even the slightest sign of them.

Well, maybe a sign. There were postings by the NY film board or whomever that the new version of the Electric Company would be filming in the area. Maybe that was them.

In any case, the only film magic I saw was a little girl doing a little dance and a little lip-syncing to unheard music and then vanishing.


Canyon of Heroes

May 9, 2008

The start of Broadway is downtown in the Financial District. And just after Broadway starts, you run into the fabled Canyon of Heroes. This is where the ticker tape parades are held. Well, there’s no more ticker tape but I think they do a simulated version of it when they have those rare parades.

The picture above is from the north looking southward.

All along the sidewalk are these inserts. They hold a date, a name, and a description. First, November 2, 1960 when President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon were apparently featured in such a ticker tape parade.

But, you object, 1960 was a presidential election year! Was there some sort of Republican lock on such parades. Nope, just past it is the October 19, 1960 marker for the Democratic presidential nominee, John F. Kennedy. (I guess V.P. Nixon had to share his parade with the sitting president while JFK got his own. But then, Nixon’s was closer to election day.)

Well, those are pretty prestigious individuals. It takes a lot to get a ticker tape. Well, maybe nowadays. Back on November 4, 1959, they held a ticker tape parade for Sekou Toure, the brand new president of Guinea. He was about 37 at the time and had set up a one-party system to lead Guinea after freeing it from French colonial rule. Nowadays, NYC gets a passle of presidents from other countries and I don’t see any parades for them.

Heck, you didn’t even have to be a president. Willy Brandt was the mayor of West Berlin when he got his parade on February 10, 1959. Of course, he later went on to lead West Germany so maybe it was just in anticipation…


Papal Ankling – Part 2 of 2

April 21, 2008

This is the second and last of my Papal visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral ankle. That is, this is the second post about me ankling to the Papal motorcade down Fifth Avenue. The Cathedral is very impressive, but it doesn’t have an ankle that I’m aware of.

So, I got to Fifth Avenue and 56th Street and was standing amidst the crowd. The line to the barricade was two or three people deep and this crowd had made a lot of home-made signs. The picture below shows the big banner they had. It was supported by some sort of long cardboard tubes. I feared for my chance to view Pope Benedict XVI once these people had all picked up their banners. But, he was supposed to come in the Popemobile and I figured I’d see at least a part of him.

Over the few minutes that I had been there, the dancers had grown in number and were doing their song and dance in a long line. As I said before, the crowd would occasionally join in on the chorus. To call this pleasant is a huge understatement. It was, at least to a very small extent, sublime.

At about 8:50am, I noticed a Secret Service guy walking just inside the street, looking very carefully at the crowd. In the distance, the number of flashing lights grew in number and then the motorcycles came. This is only one of four pictures of the motorcycles that I got. And my camera has a long delay between pictures. There were perhaps 30 of them.

Then the standard black SUV. I’ve no idea if it was staff or cops or both in it. Doesn’t matter.

Then a limo.

And another SUV followed by a limo.

And another limo. Actually, three of them.

Or was it a total of four limos after that second SUV?

At about this time, the woman next to me started yelling, “That was him! He looked right at me!”

But I hadn’t seen the Popemobile. No bubble-top. No standing,sitting, or propped up figure in ancient garb. Just a bunch of limos with no sign as to who was in which.

The limos were followed by this vehicle. Probably an emergency truck, maybe it was an ambulance.

And it was followed by this cop car.

Strangely, at that point helicopters appeared in the distance. Four of them. (Three are just specks in the next picture, but they were certainly up there.)

The helicopters had all of us wondering if the Pope was coming now. There was virtually no movement for a few minutes and then the cops started to let traffic start flowing east-west.

And I went home.

So, did I see the Pope? I’d have to say No. Did the Pope see me? I’d have to go with the woman and say, Yes.

The Pope got the lesser of the deal.


Papal Ankling – Part 1 of 2

April 20, 2008

On Saturday, I woke up early and said to myself: “Maybe I’ll go see the Pope.” So, off I went.

I live on the East Side and the Pope was going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in mid-town on Fifth Avenue. For days, we’d been plastered with notices as to what streets are open/closed and the like. So, my target was to get as close to Fifth Avenue and 51st Street as I possibly could.

I had heard they were issuing 5,000 tickets for St. Patrick’s, but I’m not Roman Catholic and I figured that there was quite a crush for them. But I had heard that the Pope’s route down Fifth Avenue was open to the public and I just viewed it as another sort of parade.

And off I went. I heard that security was going to be high, but (and I say this as someone who has seen a number of presidential motorcades and appearances) Wow! Oodles of security.

Madison Avenue is just to the east of Fifth Avenue. Security had cut off everything on Madison north of 47th Street. Here are those dumptrucks again. Papal Dumptrucks! There oughta be a marketing tie-in somehow on this.

If you could prove you worked/lived north of there, you could go through. But probably only a block or two. And you saw a cop every 10 feet or so.

The rest of us they told to go over to Sixth Avenue. And so we walked over there, but had to go to 46th Street to do so. On Sixth, I found a huge line of people apparently waiting to be let to go onto Fifth Avenue. (When I walked past Fifth, I saw that they had empty barricades waiting for people to be let into the area.)

I first walked across the street and took a picture of the Sixth Avenue line. I joined it at 45th street and in less than 2 minutes had at least 100 people behind me. They were coming in droves.

Here’s a picture from within the line. The crowd was quite jovial and excited and I was delighted to be in it. A couple of people around me mentioned that they had their tickets and I thought that it was interesting that they hadn’t segregated out the ticket holders from the rest of us rabble.

Sirius Radio hired a number of pretty, young ladies to hand out placards. The placards were very popular. I got one of the hander-outers to pose for me.

And, of course, there were a number of people selling, as best as I can describe it, Pope Junk.

When the line got to 47th Street, the police had set up a line of cops to shunt people coming out of the subway stop to get in our line. By this time, I figured the line was back to 40th Street or so. For people going to see a moral leader, they had no qualms about cutting into line. No one denounced them. Just about the only ones who didn’t cut into line were the ones trying to cut into line further ahead. Oh, and ones trying to get the cops to give them a break and let them go down 47th. Apparently, people who could prove they worked/lived there were let through.

A common sight, a number of people would just caaaassssuuuuuaaaaalllllllyyyyy duck under the barricades and start walking down the street with the cops running up to them and throwing them out. The people were utterly bewildered, or seemingly so.

Once past 47th, the speed of the line going over to Fifth picked up. And so did the bad news. Just as I was nearly past 47th, a cop called out that the line was only for people with tickets. I didn’t believe him. It was 8:18am and I had joined the line about 7:20. I started wondering why no one had said anything earlier if it were true. Maybe they had segregated the ticket holders from the rabble and I, rabble indeed, had overstepped my bounds. I just kinda laughed about it and figured that maybe I wouldn’t get to see Pope Benedict XVI after all.

But there were others who weren’t going to see the Pope either. This fun little group of protestors tried to provoke people. I think once they passed us, they did get called names by people further back. Folks, that’s what they want.

Mostly, they were ignored by our group. Actually, it may have been inadvertent and the protest group was moving fast and most of the people around me were all deep in conversation with each other.

And the protestors did love getting their pictures taken. You just have to wonder about their priorities in this life and their willingness to make unfounded/provocative statements. No explanation as to why or what or how. Just a denouncement. (Maybe they were pro-Pope provocateurs trying to ferret out the unfaithful. Yes, that must be true. The young people below are doubtless Opus Dei insiders! Ha! I found you out! Don’t try to deny it.)

And when I got to 49th Street, a cop came by calling out that we needed to pull out our tickets or we needed to get out of line! I called out to her that I would get out of line and the cop started laughing. I had known I wouldn’t make it in, but had enjoyed the experience. The picture below is right at the spot where most of the line-waiters were directed to the right. And about 10 feet from where I was thrown out of line. I had been in the line for an hour and five minutes. It was 8:25 and the Pope was coming down Fifth Avenue for a 9am mass.

I decided that I’d head north and see where I could cut east. I just wanted to see how close I could get. I had to go all the way to 57th Street, which is a major east-west thoroughfare, before I could go east. And I did.

Once I got to 5th Avenue, I could see that the route was open for standing and watching. And people had apparently been waiting for a while. I ended up at 56th Street right across from Trump Tower. Most of the people in the area were Hispanic. If I had to bet, they were South Americans and they were having a good time singing and dancing.

And they didn’t mind having their picture taken.

Below is the musical source, just a little band without any sort of amplifiers. It was wonderful. Every so often, they’d break into a chorus that the whole crowd would join in. It wasn’t Choir-like, just a bunch of people doing a familiar song.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you how close I got.


Pearl Theatre Company and the LES Handprints of Fame

March 29, 2008

St. Mark’s Place (aka, 8th Street between 3rd Avenue and Avenue A) has some of the most interesting places in the Lower East Side.  I really enjoy it down there.

Recently, I was walking past a place I’ve seen a number of times, Pearl Theatre, and looked down and saw that they’ve got a sort of Mann’s Chinese Theater handprints and footprints thing going on.


Below are Dom DeLuise and Joan Crawford.  Now, that’s a strange twosome.


Next are Hildegard(?) and Myrna Loy.


Next are Gloria Swanson and Lillian Roth.


The next hold the prints for Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell.


Next, Kitty Carlisle Hart (who recently died and was a NYC theater/opera/philanthropic legend).


Next Allan Jones (an actor and the father of singer Jack Jones).


I just can’t read the next one.


There are two names on the next, but the only one I can read, sort of, is “Wimi Shawn” or “Shaw” or “Shaun”.  It almost certainly is not “William Shawn” as he was the famed editor of the New Yorker and it is hard to believe he’d put his handprints alongside people he may have covered.  It could be “Wallace Shawn” (son of William Shawn) as he has some association with the Pearl Theatre, but it sure looks like there’s an “i” or two in the name.


Of course, it is likely there’s only one name (the Shaw/Shawn/Shaun one) and a mysterious message.  Well, what’s life without some mystery?  (EDITED TO ADD:  thanks to reader “Brian”, it appears to be Winifred “Wini” Shaw.)

Under any circumstances, they haven’t taken great care with these names and prints. Too bad.