Archive for the ‘Times Square’ category

What a weekend! Ankle reports forthcoming…

September 16, 2007

Okay:  three parades, one protest, and the Feast of San Gennaro.  That’s a heavy weekend for Famous Ankles.

Parade 1:  Steuben Day Parade

Parade 2:  Mexican Day Parade

Parade 3:  African-American Day Parade

I even had to give up on “Broadway on Broadway”.  But here’s a few pictures of the preparations at Times Square.  I passed there on the way to Church this morning (we had 12).

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This next one is right after Church.  It was filling up fast, but probably didn’t start for a couple of hours.

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Excepting Broadway on Broadway, I went to ’em all.  It’s going to take a day or two to come up with the reports, so hold on.

-H

I’m a star in Brazil

September 4, 2007

The title of this post actually comes from an e-mail I sent to friends and family last year.  Kind of the pre-blog days.  In it, I talked about the annual celebration that is held on Sixth Street in Manhattan.  It’s called “Brazilian Day”.  On Sept. 2, it happened for the 23rd time.

I had known it was going to happen, but had put it out of mind.  On my way to Church, I noticed a lot of parked trucks near 44th Street and as soon as I got close, I knew it all.  Last year’s celebration was big.  This one seems to have dwarfed it.  Lots and lots of people and a huge street fair going up to around 57th Street.

In my 2006 missive on the event, I talked about being near the boom operator and eventually being rousted by the cops who didn’t want anyone standing near the boom operator.  Well, the boom operator was back, I was back (but positioned differently), but it was a different cop who did the rousting.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  For the 23rd time, NYC hosted Brazilian Day (or maybe it’s Brazil Day, which is what I’ve called it for the two years I’ve been going).  It seems that almost every street in Manhattan has a second name, and the second name for East 46th Street is “Little Brazil”.  And when there’s gonna be a festival to celebrate all things Brazilian, what better place?  None.

I had known it was going on, but hadn’t thought about it for days and didn’t expect it.  Imagine my surprise when on my way to Church (we had, I think, 15 at the service), Brazilian Day beckoned me.  I was happy to oblige, after Church of course.  Actually, it’s better to have gone to Church than wait.  In fact, I would have preferred going to the next two services at my church rather than do what I did do:  wait.  And wait.  And wait.

First, here are some pictures, ’cause I gotta show pictures!  Here’s some stuff during the setup.

Brazilian Day 01

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The above were shot around 8:30am or so.  It got a little more crowded (okay, a lot more crowded) as the day went on.

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And there were the occasional props that I found lying around.

brazilian-day-03-setup-heads.jpg

I haven’t the foggiest who it’s supposed to be.  I think a soccer player.

And, as any good parade will have, there were characters.  The guy below is from the Philippenes.  He was posing for everyone.  I talked with him for a moment and he seemed a great guy.  I saw him off and on for the next couple of hours until the crowds overwhelmed everything.

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And the “heads” started to appear.

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The area I was in was right next to one of the cameras they used to film the crowd.  I found myself right next to it.  As soon as the boom operator started moving it, the crowd went crazy.  It was just a little odd standing within about three feet of it for a long, long time.

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Oh, and here are the boom operators.  I had stood near them last year when I first saw Brazil Day and it was like old home week for me.  I recognized the guy on the right as the main operator, but I don’t know if the guy on the left was the same operator as last year (that guy didn’t have a beard, but he could have grown it).

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And the crowds began to gather…

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And the boom operators began their work.

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And the crowd showed its desire to be on camera…

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Capturing the entire crowd was tough.  Every so often I’d see a nice vignette.

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A bit blurry, but the look they both had was too good not to include.

Here’s what it really looked like to me most of the time.

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While I was standing here, people began cutting over to the sidewalk near me; bypassing the intricate structure that the cops had set up.  Last year, I had stood near the boom operators in a little area that bypassed the intricate structures the cops had at that time.  One had finally come up and chased me and a couple of others away in a huff.  (It was hilarious that he was so upset that I had found a niche they didn’t spot during their setup.)  I knew another cop was going to spot this year’s problem and I kept waiting to see if the same cop would come up and roust me again (this year, I was perfectly in the proper spot, but the crowd was shifting the barricade inch by inch).  I eventually left, and just seconds after going I saw a cop striding puposefully to the area.  It wasn’t the same cop though.  Yeah, he did shift everything all over again.

I left the area and did some wandering.  There were some sights that you would have expected from the Brazilians.

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And finally the music started up.  In honesty, it wasn’t my cup of tea.  I had expected some sort of jazz/carioca sort of music and this was more of a traditional song standard.  But the crowd knew every word and they got into it.

brazilian-day-17-crowds.jpg

I left soon after it started.  I had been there way too long just watching the crowd and experiencing the rush that comes from a well-done festival like this.  I left the actual festivities to the Brazilians.  And, I think they had a good time.

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-H

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.

-H

Times Square on a Sunday Morning

August 12, 2007

As usual for a Sunday morning, I went to Church.  We ended up with about 16 attendees.  The sermon was on faith.  Of course, aren’t they all to some degree?

An interesting but unimportant, visual about today’s service was that someone had one wing-ding (I do have a fondness for old phrases) of a wedding yesterday and the place was pretty full of leftover flowers.  Big ones.  Near the alter, the arrangements were perhaps 8 feet wide (I was told they were gladiolas).  Unfortunately, time and the weather wasn’t being kind to them and some of the arrangements were in major wilting condition.  I don’t envy the cleanup the priests and ushers will have over the next few days.

Prior to the service, I wandered about Times Square. I did notice a small crowd of people sitting around one of the theaters.  They didn’t look particularly dangerous or disgruntled.  Nor did they look like actors waiting for an audition.

Waiting crowd in Times Square

I’ve seen a number of odd things go on in Times Square on early Sunday mornings (my favorite was a car commercial complete with smudgepots and a racecar going down the “deserted” street).  I’ve seen protests and I’ve seen partiers.  Was something up?  Nah, the people were just getting in early for the play “Legally Blonde”.  I didn’t have the heart to ask them whether they had tickets or were just waiting for the chance to buy tickets.  I think the show’s pretty popular so maybe they’re having some sort of wait-in-line-to-get-a-ticket promotion in order to gain the notice of the ignorant (that would be me) and perhaps get them to join in.  Otherwise, there may be some disappointment by the group when they find out it’s already sold-out.

Incidentally, the old cheap tickets place (“TKTS”) used to be right across the street from where they were.  It’s been leveled and something’s going in there.

Times Square - TKTS old location

The two people I spoke with said that there’s a crowd every Sunday here.  The theater’s about a half-block from where I normally go up from 7th Ave. to my church, but I haven’t noticed them before.  Then again, I was never armed with my cool new camera.

-H

Times Square Church

August 9, 2007

One of the benefits of this blog is finding out what people are looking for…at least sorta.  WordPress (the blog provider) gives the blog’s info to Google and other search engines (an option I selected) and when people search for words/phrases, my blog is in the running.

Well, I wouldn’t think it’s rank very high.  Maybe out of 100,000 matches on Google, my blog might place on the second from the last page or so, but some people seem to like the second from the last page.  I find some interesting phrases in the “referrer” portion of the blog report.  For example, today someone came by looking for “Duane Street photos”.  My blog may be one of the few that makes a reference to Duane Street so whoever it was somehow found me.  Great.  I have no problem with that….except I probably disappointed the poor guy as my photos were near Duane Street; not of Duane Street itself.

Nevertheless, I have a bit of the “guilts” about one search that someone made recently.  It was a simple one reading “Times Square Church”.  I do go to Church in Times Square virtually every week, but not at “Times Square Church” itself.  Instead, I’m currently attending the Episcopal “Church of St. Mary the Virgin”.  It’s a high Episcopal church with the nickname of “Smokey Mary’s” for their habit of using incense at the drop of a hat.

I, on the other hand, am about as low an Episcopalian as you can find.  I go to the early service simply because it is a low Episcopal service (they love to call it a “Mass”, but my lowness has me refer to it as a “service” whenever I can).  Although I’ve got a number of real qualms with the modern Episcopal Church, the service is one that has appealed to me for a great while.  In addition, the Book of Common Prayer, even in its modern re-write, is a wonderful guide to the Christian Faith.  The service and the Book of Common Prayer are inseparable and just touch me in my old fogey heart.

Nevertheless, I have gone to Times Square Church quite a number of times and, if that searcher ever comes back here to see what a former attendee has to say about it, I’m happy to provide an answer.  Misguided and probably so wrong that I’ll flinch upon re-reading it; but an opinion nonetheless.

First, what is Times Square Church?  It’s a Church founded by David Wilkerson sometime in the 80’s or 90’s.  It is a rollicking, soulful, loud, and perfectly vibrant Church located around Broadway and 51st or so.  The church building is actually centered around an old theater and it has a great view of the place from nearly everywhere.  The denomination, I believe, is standard Pentacostal.  The services last about two hours plus.  My Episcopal services have anywhere from 3 to 25 attendees.  Times Square Church has about a zillion (that’s a technical term).

Their services are centered around a very long musical intro and a moderately long sermon (an important caveat:  they would say, and I would agree, that it is really centered around the worship of the Lord, but I’m only describing how they do that worship).  I’ve only seen Wilkerson preach once.  Usually, the sermon is provided by one of a number of staffers.  Wilkerson is usually on the stage.  However, I’ve only been there once in the past two years or so and can’t say what his habits are now. 

I did enjoy the services when I went and the people there are about as friendly and outgoing as you’ll ever find in such a big Church; but it has a couple of problems that I couldn’t get over.  First, the actual viewing area is limited to a few hundred people and do they show up early!  Services start at about 10am on Sunday, but people start getting there somewhere after 8am, from what I understand, just to reserve a spot.  You can reserve a spot just by leaving a personal item, but I think that a lot of spots have long-term “claims” on them of some sort.  What it really means is that I would almost always end up at one of the annex areas (I used the one downstairs) where I would watch the service on a big TV screen.  That got wearisome after a couple of months and I guess I just decided to move on to my old Episcopal Church.  The other problems were minor.  For example, I didn’t enjoy some of the music as it was a little too soulful gospel for me.  One of the “benefits” of low-Episcopalian-ness that I’ve got is no music is necessary or expected.  But, that’s my own fuddy-duddy side coming out. 

The Times Square Church has to appeal all across the range of tastes because it is such a big Church, but I tend to prefer a little more solemness than the joyfulness that TSC uses to express their worship of the Lord.  I admire and envy their connection; but I just don’t really share in it.  I was the guy who just stood still while everyone else swayed.  I’m just the whitest-white guy around.  No big deal, but that’s the way I tend to be.

I was there a couple of months ago and did manage to get a seat in the main theater area.  It was really nice and highly enjoyable, but I honestly get a real connection to the Lord in the reading of Creed and the Confession and the oh-so-familiar reading of the Passion (all of which are part and parcel of the Episcopal service).  That’s a big deal and it matches the way I tend to be. 

Nevertheless, sometimes I think the Episcopal Church (at least at the highest levels) is trying to drive away everyone that isn’t willing to go with their modernization agenda.  And I don’t really feel that willing.

-H