a philadelphian summer

I’m convinced block parties are the reason why summer was invented. Fairmount, Philadelphia.

Getting vertical. That’s Thom on the right. Tim (not pictured) had a bunch of people over during his block’s party, and was quite generous with the beverages. I owe you a few.

Earlier that day (this past Saturday), the annual Bastille Day event was going on over at Eastern State Penitentiary. Huge turnout, lots of French flags, crazy costumes, drag, etc, as they tossed things onto a massive guillotine.

• The massive old furniture warehouse near Girard and Front streets in Northern Liberties/Fishtown that Rich, Robin, and I checked out a few months ago (here), mysteriously burned to the ground last week, sadly. Luckily only one firefighter was injured, compared to Philly firefighters losing their lives in similarly-shady burnings of prime real estate. These gigantic structures have so much character, and it’s unfortunate when they disappear.

There’s this moment where you hit the edges of Port Richmond in Philadelphia, where the pavement gives way to plentiful urban weeds and dirt trails, and you’ve reached a kind of Mad Max environment.

I can’t get enough of oversized (and illegal) dirt bikes in the city. The temporary noise pollution is worth watching them buzz around and do wheelies.

Oh, and street racing. I was instantly taken back to the days on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, NC, about 14 years ago. Pre-Fast and the Furious, etc.


no such thing as a free lunch

The High Line in Manhattan.

Renita double-dutching, with her sister, Alison, and Mr. Appalachia manning the ropes, over at Prospect Park the other weekend. An intimidating pastime.

When Val and Verena came into town for an afternoon, Val demonstrated how to sneak dogs (in this case, Udon) into galleries, in the Red Hook, Brooklyn area.

Assorted thawing and rotting meat and cheese, in Brooklyn. Oddly, the same afternoon I found this box filled with homemade “ground venison with pork” and stuff, Pam, texted me a picture of some slabs of meat that were scattered on the sidewalk in front of her apartment over in Chicago (because it made her think of me). One of those meaty kind of days in summer, not vegan-friendly.

Sarah Sze’s impressive and high-profile birdhouse installation in the newly-opened phase II of the High Line in Manhattan. Certainly in a different league of sculpture, compared to the bird habitats my friends and I have been building along the Gowanus over the past few years – this High Line piece’s strongly skewed perspective lines and combination of modern/minimal nooks and feeders is drawing a lot of attention, from both passersby and birds themselves. This guy was kind enough to pose for my Yashica T4.


Mike’s Linus bicycle, in patriotic mode, in Prospect Park. It’s not summer in New York without bicycles and park time. Speaking of Mike, he’s premiering in a film tonight (Sat, July 16) being screened at the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village, at 10PM, called The Warm War. Definitely check him out if you’re around.

• Quick thanks to Big Joseph for dropping off some film for me over in Greenpoint, I appreciate it!

Medical advertising in Chinatown, Manhattan. “Excellent Results in Pain Relief, Asthma, Facial Paralysis, Depression, Insomnia, Anxiety, Stress, Fatigue, Gyn. Complains, Etc.”

you’ve been keeping a low profile recently

Brett & Amanda are getting married this weekend, and Jenn and I had the pleasure of shooting an engagement series for them a few weeks back, over in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Also wedding-related, today marks my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My siblings and our significant others are sending them on a vacation back to where they got married, near Lake Junaluska, in North Carolina, later in the summer. This shot is a repost (I first posted it in 2008) don’t know who shot it, possibly my grandfather, “Big Clay”? Amazing 70’s style with the touring motorcycle setup.

Grilling season is in full effect. This particular grill was manned by Mr. Appalachia at the time, down by the Gowanus, where he served up hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot & sweet sausages, and roasted corn to a large group of us.

• Also on the grilling front, Renita organized a great Prospect Park picnic last weekend for her sister, Alison, who finished up a Master’s degree recently (in Sustainable Education, I believe). Good times meeting some great, new people, and Michael killed it on the grill — with spare ribs and dozens of chicken legs.

People on the street in Camden Market, London, UK, 2003.

• OK, on the subject of Europe, and just so the cat is fully out of the bag, so to speak: Jenn and I are taking a two-month sabbatical in Europe before relocating to Philadelphia, PA. We’ve put in notice with our respective offices, and will be leaving our positions in July. We’re tossing everything into storage, and, after the wedding of some friends (up in northern Michigan), we’ll be heading out of the country for a bit.

With the current itinerary and plans, there shouldn’t be an interruption of ThisCityi$Mine — things should continue as usual. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you’ve got any Amsterdam/Prague/Budapest/Cinque Terre/etc tips, or if you’ve got any knowledge of some housing options in Philadelphia.

It should prove to be an adventure, but we’re up to the challenge. And we’ll have a camera or two to keep you abreast of the locations during the sabbatical.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s been super supportive thus far.

Some little birds near a drainpipe in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Former site of a children’s playground in East New York, Brooklyn.

I love moments like this in New York: when areas start to become full-blown meadows in Spring, with many different species of plants and grasses competing for coverage. Sadly this area has been mowed several times since I took this. Detective Joseph Mayrose Park, Brooklyn.

“Al-Noor School: Education for Life & Hereafter,” Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

“Come taste the tropics,” Kensington, Brooklyn.