Flat Stanley and Famous Ankles Part 3

Posted July 13, 2009 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Events, Manhattan

My continuing adventure with Flat Stanley on behalf of the fine and noble James T. of Falls Church, Virginia.

My next stop took me to a very famous location New York: Wall Street. That street is famous for the New York Stock Exchange which is where lots of people buy and sell shares of stock. When lots of people are buying, it is called a “bull market”. That’s always viewed as a good thing on Wall Street, so an artist created a statue of the bull. It was built in 1989. It is 11 feet tall and weighs 7,000 pounds.
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Flat Stanley also posed in front of one of the entrances to the New York Stock Exchange.

20090711 Flat Stanley 07 Stock Exchange

-H

Flat Stanley and Famous Ankles Part 2

Posted July 12, 2009 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Events, Manhattan

I decided that I needed to take Flat Stanley to see the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall and is located on a small island in New York harbor. That’s south of the island of Manhattan. The island is located pretty far out in the harbor.

When I got to the southern tip of Manhattan, I found two nice kids who were happy to pose with Flat Stanley. (The girl had just finished reading Flat Stanley’s book and was a big fan of his.)

20090711 Flat Stanley 02 Kids and Statue of Liberty
The problem with the picture is that the Statue of Liberty is very far out, so it isn’t very big on the picture. I didn’t want to spend about three hours to get out there, so I needed to find a quick solution!

So, I found another Statue of Liberty just a one minute walk away. There are lots of “street performers” who do strange things in Manhattan, and this is one of them. She poses for pictures all day long with tourists. She wasn’t 305 feet tall. Actually, I’m not sure she was 5 feet tall. But she was very nice.

You always know the ones that aren’t the real Statue of Liberty because they like to wear sunglasses. And they aren’t 305 feet tall.
20090711 Flat Stanley 03 Statue of Liberty

-H

Flat Stanley and Famous Ankles Part 1

Posted July 8, 2009 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Events, Manhattan

I received a letter from James T. from Falls Church in Virginia. In his letter, James sent a famous person to meet Famous Ankles! I’m honored to host a visit from Flat Stanley and show him around New York City.

The first thing I did was take Flat Stanley to see the United Nations Building. It is often called the “U.N.” and it has hundreds and hundreds of people from countries all over the globe. You have to have a special pass to get inside, so we only looked from outside.

20090708 01 Flat Stanley and the UN

Nearby, there was a small park called “Tudor City Greens” where there was a lot of music and singing going on. It was a concert featuring a lot of singers called caberet singers. Flat Stanley liked it. Especially the singer right behind him in the next picture. Her name is Julie Reyburn.

20090708 01 Flat Stanley listens to singer

After she sang, she came out into the crowd. Flat Stanley and I asked her if she knew about him, and she said “I love Flat Stanley!” She even posed for a picture with him.

20090708 02 Flat Stanley and singer Julie Reyburn

Stay tuned James, for more adventures.

-H

2009 Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue

Posted April 12, 2009 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Events, Manhattan, Mid-town, Parades

It’s Easter in New York City and the Easter Parade is still a major draw.

Remember, it isn’t a real parade.  The police cordon off 5th Avenue between 49th St. and 57th St. and people mill about.  The minority wear hats.  The majority have cameras.

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The place was jammed.  Biggest crowds there that I’ve seen before (this is my fourth or fifth of these).

Every so often, someone decides to do it nicely…or at least over the top in a more elegant manner.  The below were the ones I spotted this year.

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But it is almost universally a silly-hat-day.

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I liked this kid’s “bucket head” enough that I’m putting in two of him.  (The one below includes his mother(?) who didn’t quite go the buckethead route but kept her’s nice plus another person who went the hat-height method).  But the picture above was my favorite for the day.  So two of him in this post there shall be!

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You know, I really didn’t spot any absolutely-new-and-improved hats this year.  It all seemed a little derivative of earlier hats.  I guess that the tried and true route was the one everyone was really going for.

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But one thing was a little different from earlier years.  I’ll wait to the end to disclose it.

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Yes, there were lots of stuffed animals on hats.  And adorable children in colorful hats.

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And there were others who also took the “good” route.

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The weather was cold and windy. That’s sort of typical.

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The closer you get to St. Patricks Cathedral, the greater the crowding.

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An issue in the parade that happens every sunny year is that the shadows can really play havoc with pictures.  There are four carrot hats here.  The fourth one, on the left, sort of faded into the shadows.

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At this point I was in very close to St. Pat’s.  You can see it in the background of the next picture.

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I still had a number of pictures to take (I’m only halfway through with this post), but this just shows that the hat-wearers really hung around outside the Church.

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The next picture was a sort of traditional picture: dog with hat. In this case, the poor dog was surrounded by photographers and had put its head down and was completely unmoving. I looked at it for about 10 seconds and couldn’t figure out whether it was a real dog or a stuffed animal with a hat. Then the dog came to life and barked at someone near me. Yeah, it was a live dog. I took this picture just after it barked.

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Just more pictures of the hatted few.

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The next one was more imaginative than virtually all of the rest. Chia Lady.

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Down a block from St. Pat’s, there were some more commercial attempts at costumes. There were a small contingent of people dressed in bunny costumes and handing out eggs. I don’t know their reason for it, but I got the feeling that the eggs were promotional gifts. Maybe, maybe not.

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But the next guy was in it for the money. He did say something about how we could put money in his hat.

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Others seemed just to be heading up to the main crowd at St. Pat’s when all of us with cameras slowed them down.

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And when you pose with a costume character while 20 people are taking your picture…well, your picture ends up in places like this.

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Sometimes it was more difficult to tell the store-bought silly hats from the let’s-make-it-at-home silly hats. I hope this was just a family project as these 3 or 4 were amongst the most colorful of the day.

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Just as I was leaving the area, a bunch of people showed up and started to pose for us.

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And my last picture of the day. Once again, the shadows made picture-taking difficult for amatuers like me.

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Okay, all in all it was a little disappointing. A lot of that is because I was there until about 11:30am and there was still a lot of time left for the truly interesting ones to show up. But, this timing was pretty typical of my other trips so I don’t think that’s it. It was a lot colder than the last year or so and the wind was brutal. So that may also be part of it. Maybe I’m just getting blase about the Easter Parade.

I did note one difference from my earlier attendances: men in hats. The first time or two that I came, the only men in hats were those who had latched themselves to their wives as if to say: she made me do it! This year I seem to have noticed a lot of men just wandering around in their hats. Make of it what you will.

-H

2008 New York City Pet Parade on the West Side

Posted October 18, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Uncategorized

I had never been to the NYC Pet Parade and I decided it was time to go. I saw the announcement and thought that it gave me a chance to enjoy something a little different. You see, I didn’t have high expectations for it as I already understood it isn’t a “parade” in the sense of marching down the street. Instead, it’s much more in the vein of the NYC Easter Parade which is more of a large gathering of people (in that case, with interesting hats).

The parade was held on the far west side. Actually, on Pier 84 right on the Hudson River. That’s at about the 44th Street level which puts it mid-town. The announcement said from 1 to 4pm. I got there a little before 1pm and didn’t see much action. At 1pm, I took the following picture of the gathering. I was way too early, but that’s part of my nature.

The parade is for all pets. Got a tarantula? A ferret? Snake? All supposedly welcome. The only pets I ever saw were dogs, though. It was cool (high 40s with some wind) and I doubt the snakes and tarantulas would have enjoyed it. Nor the cats, I imagine.

The next dog also wasn’t too happy. The owners would put the halo on him/her for pictures, but the dog would shake it off as quickly as he/she could. Hey, I would too.

The next dog was pretty popular. Pirate dog! Arghh!

NYC is a land of small dogs. Little ‘uns that don’t need too much picking up after (yeah, they enforce that). It also is a land where the owners love, just love, to dress up their dogs. This little happy gathering included one I never would have expected, a lobster-dog. Two of the others were pretty conventional sweater/collared dogs. The dog in the t-shirt is one I knew would be there: Obama t-shirt dog. It’s NYC, a political dog is par for the course. I’m sure he’s old enough to vote…at least in dog years.

I couldn’t resist this next picture. I like small dogs (and large ones, too), but the next picture shows what I consider as “fake bravery dog”. Look at the guy’s jacket and you can see a second head. That little dog never stopped barking it seemed.

As I was leaving, I ran into a few later-arrivers (it was still early, though). Just a couple of more small dogs here.

And then there was this last one. In terms of parade-quality, this one was top-notch. Yes, it’s dog in a Wonder Woman outfit. The effect was very interesting to see the dog with fake arms and all.

But that wasn’t even the most interesting part of that dog. Look closely and you’ll see it’s a Chow. This wasn’t a particularly happy Chow, either. Chows are fighting dogs and this was an unhappy fighting dog. The owner had just strapped on the outfit and maybe the dog was just out of sorts about it and didn’t want the other dogs to see her like that. She didn’t snap at me or anything, but I got one of those feelings of “just a little bit closer so I can taste those famous ankles!” A bit of an exaggeration. The dog looked great and the owner was friendly. I just had the impression of an unhappy dog.

I left after less than an hour. The parade was probably just starting to get cranked up. I hope hundreds more showed up.

-H

Sorry about the lack of posts…

Posted October 6, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Uncategorized

I started Famous Ankles in July 2007 as a way to communicate with family and friends and to detail what I kept seeing in NYC.  Then, in August 2007 I started to post daily and after a while…well, it got to be a habit.  Unfortunately, I kept seeing mileposts along the way.  Two months of daily posts, three, four…  Eventually, I started thinking about hitting the one year mark of daily posts.  And I made it.  However, the last three or four months of the run were pretty wearing on me and I’ve decided to take a bit of a break.

I will start posting again soon.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to make it a little more fresh and interesting.  So far, the ideas just aren’t working out.  Strangely enough, I do have materials for posts as I still take some pictures but it just seems like variations on posts that I’ve done before.  I could just post the pictures, but I really hate putting in a picture without context.  A picture without a story is just somebody else’s picture.  It can be interesting, it can be terrific; but I don’t think my photographic skills are able to carry the post unaided.  Besides, I like to have the context and the story.  I just want to make it interesting for me to detail what I’m seeing and hopefully convey that joy to my readers.

So, in the meantime feel free to enjoy the blog.  I purposely fashioned it so that almost any part can be read without worrying too much whether it is outdated.  The events I’ve covered like parades are actually just moments captured and preserved.  As they should be, at least in my opinion.

I’ll post on occasion.

-H

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City 2008

Posted September 7, 2008 by Famous Ankles
Categories: Events, Manhattan, Mid-town, Wanderings

Well, it’s September, it’s NYC, and the supermodels are wandering about. It must be Fashion Week.

I have to admit that I’m not particularly thrilled by the whole concept of Fashion Week, but I figure that the well-dressed must have some place to go to; so why not wander around Bryant Park for a week or so.

Yesterday, I wandered by there and found the set ups in place with all the requisite security and people with clipboards noting who to let in. I haven’t checked, but I guarantee that Famous Ankles isn’t on the “send him right on in” list. Last year, I did spend a few minutes waiting around looking for models, but it left me feeling a little…absurd. I hadn’t planned on doing anything for Fashion Week this year, but had taken two pictures of the initial setup. Here’s the better of the two. (Note, it’s Saturday morning around 9am and there’s nary a supermodel in sight.)

So, today I was coming back from Church and I saw crowds gathering. I had my camera and thought that maybe, just maybe, there would be something to see. I didn’t really expect anything. New Yorkers are very much gawkers and it was only noonish.

I was wrong. There was something to see! There was a protest. A pretty fun protest. A pretty weird protest against pretty people wearing fur. I love the sign: Vanity Sucks. If they didn’t have all these very pretty girls passing out literature on their behalf (and, yes, they were very pretty girls) I might have taken them a little more seriously.

That’s not true, either. I don’t take people in bunny suits seriously. Although I do like the simulated blood. (I see dead rabbits. They’re everywhere!)

They were really protesting DKNY. The group, NYC Animal Rights, was nice and loud; and had obviously put a lot of work into their preparations. Good for them. I love a good incoherent protest. It makes me feel all nice and warm. (I don’t know if they’re associated with PETA or acting with PETA or what-not.)

And they were pretty incoherent/unreasonable on so very many levels. I thought I had a picture of my favorite protest sign, but didn’t catch it. It said “Real designers don’t kill animals.” That sort of statement just boggles my mind. I kept going back and thinking of designers that aren’t fashion-oriented. For example, the designers of the skinning knives and stuff like that. Yeah, it’s a reach, but my mind was just rocked by the idea that this group only thinks of design in fashion terms.

And, of course, I kept thinking of leather belts, shoes, etc. that all but the most diehard of the animal rights people still use. And, mostly, why the writer of that particular sign would imagine there’s a connection between fashion design and non-cruelty towards animals. But, I also just kept thinking that the members of the group were being…well, fashionable in their protest. Nice costumes. Protesting against cruelty (where or where is the group in favor of cruelty I always ask). Situating themselves very well for drawing attention. And they had about 10 or 15 very attractive young women passing out literature. I remember thinking they were very nicely dressed.

I admit that I have never watched an episode of Project Runway. It’s just not something that I have an interest in watching although I know people who swear it is actually an intellectual endeavor that shows how people are forced to extend their creative juices in all sorts of interesting directions, fashionwise. But I promise I’d probably watch if they were to have an episode where the cast had to slaughter, skin, tan, and sew the skins of animals into clothing for supermodels (or just ordinary models).

Lastly, I have to admit having an urge at the sight of them and their protest. I wanted to break out into song. You know, of course, that there’s only one appropriate song. Yep, it’s “Kill the Wabbit” from Merrie Melodies’ “What’s Opera, Doc?”. 

Yeah, it would have been way too over the top and let them interpret it as a threat or something rather than a meat-eater’s humorous poke at their protest.  (What do you wanna bet they wouldn’t have shown any sense of humor at it?)

-H