The Color And Grit Of New York City


New York City is often described as a concrete jungle consisting of massive buildings made of concrete, steel, and glass.

Yes, parts of the city are very much like that. But not all of it.

Also, people who have never visited New York quite often imagine it as a city void of color, consisting of only black and gray, giving it a kind of Gothic appearance.

And if you're a fan of Woody Allen films, you can understand why people might imagine that because pretty much all of his films take place in Manhattan, many of which were shot in black and white, creating a wonderful vintage feel. You can't help but notice that in any Woody Allen film, New York City is not only a major backdrop, but also a lead character within the storyline.



However, today I'm going to share the color of New York City.

And I'm also going to share some of the grit that I so dearly love because that's what gives New York its uniqueness.

Some people perceive the grit as unattractive; something that needs to be either repaired or disregarded.

However, I see the grit as history.

I also see it as a piece of art.

I prefer cities like I prefer the human face.

I like a face that looks as though it's been aged and lived in.

That's why I prefer living in the Northeast.

It's aged and gritty here.

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First, I'd like to share two photographs I took while riding the subway down to Chambers Street. I enjoy taking the subways in New York. I much prefer taking the subways versus the buses because subways are a much quicker mode of transportation. Plus, I love traveling underground.

I took these pictures using my cell phone. Please forgive me if they're a bit blurry, but I was holding onto a pole while trying to balance myself so that I could steady my phone as the subway made a sharp turn...


Back when I lived in New York the subways were not air-conditioned, so they were hotter than hell during the summer months.

On the day that I took these photographs, it was well over 90 degrees in New York. So it felt marvelous to ride the subway and get some relief from the heat...


A street vendor selling some beautiful and colorful articles of clothing...


(serving: smoked barbecue, whisky, and beer)
Located on Stone Street in the Financial District...


Many people would look at this next picture and say, "Oh my god...that's disgusting! Why hasn't someone fixed this; painted over it; or tore it down and replaced it?"

Yet, I saw it and immediately thought, "Oh my god...this is so freaking cool!!!!"

And then took out my camera and snapped a photo...


A Mexican restaurant located in the Financial District...


The Stonewall Inn
It was here the Stonewall riots against a police raid occurred that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. In the 70's, I used to pass this inn on my way to acting class in the West Village...



I just so happened to walk past this next photograph while I was down in the Financial District. Upon seeing it, I immediately recognized it because I had watched an amazing documentary many years ago about this particular fire house: Engine 6.

This firehouse was the first to respond to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

I was standing across the street when I took this photograph, talking to someone who was visiting New York City from Ireland. He too knew the history of Engine 6.

The two of us stood there and became teary-eyed as we spoke of the bravery of those fire fighters, many of who lost their lives...


As I was walking down a side-street, I looked up and spotted this fire escape balcony and thought it was so charming. I love how the potted plants are hanging from the stairs...


Later in the day the sky became cloudy and stormy, which I think looked beautiful against the old buildings in the Meatpacking District...



This is perhaps the most stunning mural I've ever seen. 
Not only the colors, but also the images of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.
One of my favorite photographs...


Thanks so much for taking another tour through my favorite city. I'll be sharing one more post next week.

Have a glorious week everyone!
X

26 comments

  1. Val DaggattOctober 16, 2019

    I like the sound of Mad Dog and Beans. New York has a tendency for using catchy titles. Some fabulous photos here, most enjoyable to see and read about and all making me wish I was there again. This morning I dropped a compact bought in New York, of course it broke! Of course, I am upset. I'll have to go again to buy another!

    Have a nice day, Ron.

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  2. FABULOUS photos, Ron! Such crisp, clear shots! I enjoyed each one. The colors in that mural are just beautiful. I understand the charm of gritty, living in the CLE. Both of those restaurants look like places you would see here, in various areas around the city.

    I enjoyed comparing the two pictures of the Stonewall Inn. And I love the cleverness of the tenant who hung those plants on the fire escape. Hope you're week is a good one! I did something really unusual yesterday which I will post about next week. It will crack you up! XO

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  3. You found some amazing color in NYC! And it's it nice of the first photo to dec itself out in Autumn color?! I absolutely love the Engine 6 house and can't even imagine the time it took to create the Mother Teresa/Gandhi mural. I've always been fascinate with urban decay photos. They have a beauty all their own. As for *grit,* I don't believe we see that much of it anymore with the younger generations. I see grit when people come together in the aftermath of disaster to their community. I see grit in people who continue fighting to beat the odds in challenging situations. I see grit in those who choose joy instead of giving in to the darkness of this world. Thanks for sharing some beautiful photos of your beloved New York City. :-)

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  4. Ron I LOVE THESE PHOTOS! Man, your love and understanding of New York City is always so evident in your words and the images that your capture. And I totally understand what you mean about finding the art and history in grit. That photo of the wall is awesome! I could just stand there and stare at it for hours. Also, that last photo of the mural is incredible! I like you you captured not only the magnitude of the mural itself, but also the people on the street.

    Great post, dude!

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  5. Ron, people back home think I'm crazy for taking the subways whenever I'm in NYC because they have this notion that they're riddled with crime. And perhaps they were at one time. However, I've never felt fearful or apprehensive about using them. I'm in awe at the subway system in that city because you can get anywhere in Manhattan or the boroughs by using them.

    You mentioned Woody Allen films. I love them! No one can film the city of New York like he can. It always seems so romantic.

    Fabulous photos, Ron!

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  6. Great photos, as I've come to expect from you! NYC is pretty colorful, even without the glitz of Times Square. I love when you post before & after pics like the one of the Stonewall. It's too bad the original sign is gone, btw...that would have added a great retro vibe!

    I love the tiger on the door of Engine 6. (The redhead ain't bad, either!) Have an excellent rest of your week!

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  7. Yes it does, Valerie! And I love the sound of Mad Dog and Beans as well!

    Thank you :) I took so many pictures that day, that I'm having to stretch them over a period of a few weeks. Next week will be my last of my most recent trip. However, I'm hoping to go pack end of this month or sometime in November.

    "This morning I dropped a compact bought in New York, of course it broke! Of course, I am upset. I'll have to go again to buy another!"

    Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooo! Damn, don't you have when things like that happen? OMG, and you must have had that compact for quite a will too. Yes, please make a trip to buy another one and I'll make plans to meet up with you. I would LOVE that!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. And happy to see that you were able to comment on Disqus this time. Yahooooooooo!

    Have a superb week!
    X

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  8. Aw, thank you, my friend. I took so many photos that day, that it's taking me forever to organize them and post them in groups. Next week will be my last post from this trip. However, I'm planning to go back at the end of this month or the beginning of November!

    " I understand the charm of gritty, living in the CLE. Both of those restaurants look like places you would see here, in various areas around the city."

    Don't you just LOVE grit? I've never been to CLE, however, I've seen many photographs of that area from someone I used to blog with and from what I could see, it looks like such an appealing city, with lots of diversity in the architecture.

    "I enjoyed comparing the two pictures of the Stonewall Inn."

    Isn't that interesting? I had originally planned to post only the present photo, but then last night while googling the history of the inn, I decided to do add a comparison photo. That inn has a lot history for the vast gay community in New York City. It's a historical landmark. And there is a beautiful park right across the street from the inn, as well. I love the West Village.

    Oooo.....can't WAIT to read your post next week. You have me so curious!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific week!
    X

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  9. You know, I thought about that first photo being associated with Autumn, but you're so right Lisa, it is! I guess subliminally I planned it that way. HA!

    Isn't that mural AMAZING? Yes, I can't even image how much time went into creating it and the various stages. The colors are stunning, aren't they?

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your insight to the various images of *grit* because you're so right. Those things are beautiful examples of grit as well!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing your insight, my friend. Always appreciated!

    Have a faaaaaaaabulous week!
    X

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  10. Thank you, Matt :) You know, from the very first time I visited New York City, I felt a deep love and understanding. That city resonates with me and I resonate with it. It's the city where I feel my best.

    " And I totally understand what you mean about finding the art and history in grit because I feel the same. "

    I've always seen the beauty in grit. And I enjoy living amongst it as well. It makes me feel a part of the history.

    That photo of the wall I took in Tribecca. I love that area of the city.

    I saw that mural while walking the High Line. So glad I ran into it because it was such a highlight of my day.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome week!
    X

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  11. Hey there Daniel!

    "....I've never felt fearful or apprehensive about using them."

    Me neither. I know, people here in Philly think I'm insane for riding the subways in NYC. I've also taken them here, but not much because this city is much smaller than New York, so I pretty much walk everywhere.

    "I'm in awe at the subway system in that city because you can get anywhere in Manhattan or the boroughs by using them."

    OMG...it's mind-blowing to see how VAST the subway grid is in that city. Yes, you can literally get anywhere.

    I've always been a fan of Woody Allen films. People seem to either love his films or hate them. I think he's a genius! And so many actors/actresses who have been in his films agree. They all want to work with him because of the way he shoots a film.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrreat week!
    X

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  12. Thank you, Mark :)

    Yes, even without the glitz of Times Square, NYC is very colorful. And it's funny mentioned TS because when you live in New York City, that's an area you rarely go because it's so touristy and crowded. But I think everyone should experience it at once in their lifetime because it's bigger and brighter than life!

    "It's too bad the original sign is gone, btw...that would have added a great retro vibe!"

    You're absolutely right, Mark, it certainly would have. I wonder if when they took that sign down, they stored it somewhere? Don't you love neon? It's so retro!

    "I love the tiger on the door of Engine 6. (The redhead ain't bad, either!) "

    HA! Yes, she is!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome week!

    X to you and Tara

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  13. Those are just fantastic, Ron. I agree with you about things being older and grittier and, as a consequence, more beautiful. That's what I loved so much about Havana!

    There are so many great captures here I don't even know where to start, so I'll just say Well Done!

    Hope you're enjoying the cooling weather!

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  14. " I agree with you about things being older and grittier and, as a consequence, more beautiful. That's what I loved so much about Havana!"

    You know, I've never been to Cuba but have seen many photographs and immediately knew that I would love it. The thing about Cuba that's amazing is that it's almost as if time never happened because it looks (the architecture, the cars, etc.) exactly the same now as it did then.

    Thank you :) I took so many damn photographs that it took me forever to organize them into groups so that I could post them.

    OMG...yes...I am sooooooooooo loving this cooler weather. I had off today, so I spent the afternoon walking through the parks, enjoying the gray sky, cool temps, and drizzle.

    Have a super week!
    X

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  15. Ron, what a wonderful walk through some parts of your favorite city that was! Thanks for sharing such awesome photos. I especially like the one of the brick building/pizza shop, AND that mural! Wow! You are right, it's stunning. I got a little dizzy on the subway, though... so it's time to chill at the Smokehouse for a bit. BBQ and beer sometimes sounds really good. Ok, I'd rather have a burger and a glass of wine... they probably have that too!

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  16. Hey there Mary!

    I walked through so many neighborhoods that day and took so many pictures that it took me forever to go through them and put into groups. I was there that day for 8 hours and I only stopped walking once to eat lunch.

    Isn't the mural phenomenal? I spotted that by accident while walking the High Line through Chelsea.

    "Ok, I'd rather have a burger and a glass of wine... they probably have that too!"

    HA! Me too! A burger with a fabulous glass of red wine. YUM-MY! And yes, I think they offer burgers as well

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor! Hope you're enjoying this wonderful Autumn weather. Hope you're healing, as well!

    ((((((((((((((((((((((( YOU ))))))))))))))))))))))))

    X

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  17. Rob LenihanOctober 17, 2019

    Gosh, Ron, Stone Street!?!? You were right near my office!

    And I'm a subway person, too! It's faster and you don't have to sit in traffic. But the subways tend to have the AC on well into winter!

    It's a bummer we couldn't do this tour together, but we'll meet up one way or another. Meanwhile I can feast my eyes on these beautiful photos of yours.

    You really have a great eye for capturing a story in a single image. The colors in these photos just about jump off the screen. I love the Gandhi-Mother Teresa mural.

    The image of Engine 6 is fantastic and the story behind it is absolutely heartbreaking. According to the New York State Museum, the duty roster for September 11, which bears the names of firefighters who were killed that day, was written on a chalk board and never erased.

    http://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov/wtc/rescue/menofeng6.html

    Great work, as always, buddy! Thanks so much for sharing them with us!

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  18. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comOctober 18, 2019

    Fabulous shots! Love the vibrancy of colour!

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  19. Thank you, Fiona! :) New York City always brings out an excitement within me. I think it's all that fabulous "creative" energy!

    Have a great weekend, my friend. And thanks so much for stopping by!
    X

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  20. OMG Rob, is that where your office is now??!? Honestly, if I had known I would have emailed you to let you know that I'd be in that area and perhaps meet for lunch. What a faaaaabulous area to work. Stone Street is AMAZING!

    Even here in Philly, I never take the bus because I could literally walk faster. Luckily for me, I don't live far from where I work, so I can walk there in less than 10 mins.

    Isn't the mural stunning? I spotted that while walking the High Line on my way back to Hudson Yards. I was in awe!

    "the duty roster for September 11, which bears the names of firefighters who were killed that day, was written on a chalk board and never erased." OMG..I got chills when I read that.

    I can't thank you enough for sharing the link to the exhibition. Several years ago I watched a short documentary about Engine 6 and bawled my eyes out. What is so incredibly touching to me is how loyal and bonded fire fighters are to one another. I so admire their courage to help others, knowing that they are constantly putting themselves in danger. We owe A LOT to fire fighters.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have an awesome weekend!
    X

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  21. Ron, I LOVE so many of these photographs, I can't even begin to choose which ones are my favorites! You have such a wonderful talent for not only photography, but also capturing the energy of NYC. You can feel how the city is through your images. I love the Financial District so much. To think how that area was rebuilt after the severe destruction on 9/11 is astounding. Your picture of Engine 6 is so beautiful. My hear still aches for those first responding fire fighters. Their bravery is something I can understand but am so grateful.

    That mural is fabulous! Incredible color. And the images of Mother Teresa and Gandi is remarkable because they're so perfect, they look like photographs.

    Thank you for sharing your love of my hometown. You are a TRUE New Yorker!

    Enjoy your weekend, neighbor! X

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  22. Thank you Elaine! :) You know HOW MUCH I love New York City, so I enjoy trying to capture what it is that makes that city so special. The city is my muse; always inspiring me!

    I love the Financial District as well. I lived in that area the first year I moved to NY. I lived at Pace University (in their dorms), and back then that area of Manhattan literally died on the weekends because it was primarily business. Now, it's not only business, but residents that populate it. I love all of Lower Manhattan!

    " My hear still aches for those first responding fire fighters. Their bravery is something I can understand but am so grateful."

    Me too. Me too! Fire fighters have my deepest respect and admiration. They literally place themselves in danger every single day they work.

    Isn't that mural exquisite? The colors are exquisite. And the images themselves are mind-blowing!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. Have a fantastic weekend. And enjoy this glorious Fall weather!

    X

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  23. Here I am, late again! I've discovered that your blog doesn't show up on my Blogger reading list - but it does appear on my sidebar blog list. I'll have to check the sidebar more often!


    I've always found delightful color on my visits to NYC, but you definitely do have to search for it. Your photos are fantastic and they bring the city to life. I never get tired of looking at them.


    The very first photo is gorgeous - and that mural with Mother Teresa and Gandhi is spectacular!

    I like the Stonewall Inn then and now. It certainly doesn't seem like 50 years. Where did the time go??

    And I'm still laughing at the Mad Dog and Beans!


    Great post, Ron - and I'll look forward to the next one (on my sidebar!)

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  24. Hey there Jon!

    No worries, I understand. You know, as long as I've been blogging on Blogger, I've never used their reading list. I started out using Google Reader (which I LOVED), but then when they discontinued that service, I switched to Feedly. I like it, but not as much I did Google Reader.

    Thanks! I love taking pictures when I'm in New York. That city always inspires me to notice everything. NYC is my muse!

    "I like the Stonewall Inn then and now. It certainly doesn't seem like 50 years. Where did the time go??

    I know, doesn't it blow you away by how fast times flies? I remember living in NYC in the 70's, which seems like only yesterday. There is a park across the street from the Stonewall Inn. It's small, but so beautiful.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaabulous weekend and enjoy this cooler weather!

    X

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  25. These are GREAT photos, Ron! They really capture NYC -- in fact, I can almost hear the roar of the traffic just by looking at them!


    Sorry I didn't visit here earlier, but I was taking a little break.


    Is that gray thing in the Smokehouse photo an underground cellar or something? It looks like that thing in The Wizard of Oz where the door rips off in the tornado, and poor Dorothy and Toto can't get in to safety.


    You snapped that fire escape with the plants just for me, didn't you -- knowing how much I hate those open-slatted stairs, ha?!? I love that last mural though -- so many colors!


    Thanks for letting me see some more of your favorite city -- enjoy the cooler weather! xx

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  26. Hellooooooo there Debbie!

    Great to see ya, my friend! Hope you had a wonderful break. And I know what you mean, sometimes you just gotta take a break. I feel that way myself.

    "Is that gray thing in the Smokehouse photo an underground cellar or something? It looks like that thing in The Wizard of Oz where the door rips off in the tornado, and poor Dorothy and Toto can't get in to safet"

    HA! Loved that! And yes, you're absolutely right, it's and underground cellar that you can enter from outside. Many of the restaurants, bars, and retailers have those here on the Northeast because those cellar doors where the way that people got things in and out of their businesses. We have them here in Philly as well. Aren't they cool?

    "You snapped that fire escape with the plants just for me, didn't you -- knowing how much I hate those open-slatted stairs, ha?!?"

    HA! That made me giggle! Sorry about that, but that's how MOST of the older buildings were built many, many years ago. They all have outside fire escapes. I actually love them because it's like having a part of the past in the present. When I used to live in NYC, my friends and I would walk out (through a window) onto the fire escapes during the summer months and just sit there and look out over the city.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fabulous rest of your week!

    X

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