Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Tacombi 4

It's the name on a restaurant in Nolita (north of Little Italy) and a way to prepare and deliver a variety of Mexican tacos. The Nueva York version of the eatery is around the corner from the apartment of my niece and her husband. The concept is to cut off the top and back of an old VW microbus and turn it into a kitchen.

The tacos were yummy and cheap, by NYC standards. The place has the look of an artfully run down taqueria from Los Angeles.  And thus do we end 2013, St. Louis via New York via Los Angeles via Mexico. Happy new year.        

Tacombi 1

Tacombi 2

Tacombi 3

Tacombi 5

Monday, December 30, 2013

Above Ground, Below Ground

Diamond Tattoos (Times Square)

New York operates on many levels, and that means all kinds of things. From top to bottom:

Times Square.

42nd Street looking east from 6th Avenue toward the Chrysler Building.

Two views of the subway at Penn Station. The young woman in the third picture looks lost and afraid in the huge city. Much of the system looks post-apocalyptic but it gets you where you want to go. Unless you needed the E Train, which was out of service in Manhattan.        

42nd Street Chrysler Building

In The Subway 1

In The Subway 2

Sunday, December 29, 2013


MoMA 2013-12-28 1

Field trip yesterday to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. OMG was the city crowded. I don't remember this from when I was a child and a teen here. The subway line we needed to go from Penn Station to the museum was out of service so we had to walk up 6th Avenue past Radio City Music Hall and the back side of Rockefeller Center.  We could have used a bull whip to get through. Same when we got back to Penn on the way home, when people were emptying out of the city. Penn Station's current incarnation is horribly designed and a few hundred people were trying to press through a single doorway onto the platform for the train to New Jersey. Mrs. C felt in serious danger of being trampled at a couple of points.

I like to take photographs in art museums but there is nothing interesting in photographing the artworks. The fun part is the architecture, people interacting with the art and people taking pictures of the art on their phones. Starry Night, anyone? Or can anyone guess the neighborhood, if that's the right word, in the bottom photo? We've walked through it.

Home tonight.         

MoMA 2013-12-28 2

MoMA 2013-12-28 6

MoMA 2013-12-28 5

MoMA 2013-12-28 3

MoMA 2013-12-28 4 (Vision Of Sinjuku)

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Liberty Tower From Seacaucus

Liberty Tower on the site of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, seen from the Secaucus Junction train station in New Jersey.

Lots of good pictures in the big city yesterday. Going back in today. More to follow.         

Friday, December 27, 2013

New York, New York

Yankee Stadium In Winter

Is a wonderful town. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down. The people ride in a hole in the ground. New York, New York! Ah, back home.

We usually rent a car at La Guardia and drive over to New Jersey where my sister lives. It's always been expensive but this year the price of a Toyota Corolla (little) for three days was $500. Not paying it. We were going to take the bus to Penn Station and the commuter train to my sister's town but my nice brother-in-law sent over a car service. I'm always the one who drives this route and never get to take pictures out the window.

Above, Yankee Stadium from across the Harlem River. Below, crossing the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, or just RFK Bridge, from Queens to Manhattan. The sign is local New York code - 8 minutes drive from that point to the George Washington Bridge that goes to New Jersey, via Manhattan and the Harlem River Drive. You could go via The Bronx and the Major Deegan Expressway but I wouldn't recommend it.                 

Bottom, your airport moment of zen.              

On The RFK Bridge

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas In The Lou

Madaleine's First Christmas 2

Christmas Day on the South Side at Emily, Brian and Madeleine's home. Brian's parents and brother were here, along with our son Andy and his fiancee Claire.

Madeleine, of course, made out like a bandit. Above, Aunt Claire helps her inspect a new toy.

It is a good thing to have a professional chef in the family and Brian lays out quite a spread. He is doing something with duck as I write this.

Below, Grandma Carolyn tries to keep our star amused. Even Killian, the family dog, was dressed for the day. And it wouldn't be Christmas without a new lens for the author of this blog (picture taken with the gift itself).

We'll be in New York by late this morning, over to New Jersey in the afternoon. Sure to be a photo safari in the big city.        



Madaleine's First Christmas 3

Christmas Loot

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve at Emily, Brian and Madeleine's home. Her other grandparents and uncle were up from Houston. Uncle Andy and aunt-to-be Claire were down from Chicago. The menu was Polish - my first exposure to pirogies.

A rare appearance by me on the blog (iPhone shot by Andy). Madeleine had lots of entertainment but for some reason every time she was passed to me she started bawling. Never did that before. Mrs. C thinks she has taken a dislike to my glasses.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day at work. Our little firm is moving at the end of the week. We've been in the same building for more than half of my career. I've been in the same room for 12 or 13 years, with its gorgeous views of the Arch, sunsets, fog over the Mississippi and once, even, a tornado. The new place is nice and makes business sense but nothing like the old one. I had to break down my computer and received a final message. My law partner, Julie, says we are starting Act III of our careers but it made me feel melancholy.     

No Running Tasks

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Light Maze

Garden Glow 2013-12-20 2 (Light Maze)

Our Botanical Garden has a Victorian area around Henry Shaw's house. One of the features is a hedgerow maze. It's not as big and bad as some we've seen in Europe, particularly the UK. (My family thought they were going to have to drop supplies from a helicopter before we found our way out of the one at Edinburgh Castle.) 

There is a cute tower next to it called the Piper Observatory. One could observe the stars, the gardens or guide the lost to safety. The second photo shows the entrance to the maze. It was easier to find your way with all those LEDs marking the rows, at least if you are my height.        

Garden Glow 2013-12-20 14

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Or Halloween?

Garden Glow 2013-12-20 5 (Shaw's Tomb)

Although some may question my taste, this is my favorite photo from the Garden Glow series. It's called The Lantern Tree and looks more like an illustration from an Edgar Allen Poe story or maybe the scary middle parts of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. That's Henry Shaw's tomb lit from within. He's the guy who started the garden and my favorite STL refuge, nearby Tower Grove Park. Tomorrow's shot from the Glow will be less macabre. A little.

Madeleine Monday

Madeleine At The Garden

Getting our favorite tike ready to go out into the Garden. Just room light with a 50 mm lens. The bib says "I Run This Place."              

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Emily Brian and Madeleine At Garden Glow

The night at the Botanical Garden wasn't too cold. Emily and Brian bundled up Madeleine and took her out in her stroller, which seemed like a Ferrari compared to what we put Emily in. (The thought brought visions of tots doing four wheel drifts in their perambulators, screeching through crowded streets in a Fast & Furious movie.)

There were a few places obviously set up for portraits and we took advantage of them. A young man proposed to his girlfriend in the bottom location just before E, B and M stepped in (with a photographer at the ready, of course. Not me.)                     

A Family Kiss

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Garden Glow

Garden Glow 2013-12-20 1

LED outdoor lighting seems to be all the rage in St. Louis this holiday season. We saw it a couple of days ago at the planetarium. There is also a large and varied display of them in the Missouri Botanical Garden for the first time this year. It's called Garden Glow.

This is The Climatron, a greenhouse enclosed in a geodesic dome. Note also the lights hanging from the trees. Look closely and you will see a little disk above each one. They are solar panels - this part of the display is self-powered.

More of this in coming days.         

Friday, December 20, 2013

Life On The Mississippi

Riverboat Dock

That's the name of a book written by Mark Twain in 1883. That life goes on still, day after day after day. Looking at the great stream often reminds me of the Buddhist saying that you cannot step into the same river twice. But on the other hand, I don't know if I'd step into the Mississippi once.

This is the dock for excursion boats that take visitors on sightseeing rides. The river rises and falls so much that the dock has to float, connected to the levee by flexible walkways. Not much action at this time of year. The photo was taken from the Arch observation deck using my longest lens, 400 mm, on a camera with a 1.6 crop factor.           

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Celestial Light

2013-12-14 Planetarium 2

The St. Louis Planetarium is 50 years old and still looks modern. The managers used to put a big red bow around the neck and spotlight it for Christmas. But times and technology change. This year it got a whiz-bang LED light projection system with changing colors and patterns. Way cool.

Those dinosaurs from yesterday's post are just off to the side of the building. You have to hunt for them.               

2013-12-14 Planetarium 4

2013-12-14 Planetarium 1

2013-12-14 Planetarium 5

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thursday Arch Series

Arch 2013-12-07 1

A variation on last week's Arch photo, taken from the top. I like it because the vertical orientation emphasizes the height, the shadow of the legs is very sharp (the sun must have been a bit brighter) and they make a nice three-pronged fork with the highway.


Got some Christmas pix of the grandkid with parents Emily and Brian. The first was taken by me, the second by Emily.

Emily, Madeleine and Brian Christmas Photo 2013


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snow Monsters

Snow Monster 2

Keep St. Louis Weird Department: in the southeast corner of Forest Park, tucked behind the planetarium, not visible from any road, a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops face off. They never get past a staredown and stick to the same bit of turf. Hardly anyone knows they exist.

Maybe when they thaw out (they are cold-blooded, I presume) we will see some action.                 

Snow Monster 3

Snow Monster 4

Monday, December 16, 2013

Art Hill

2013-12-14 Art Hill 1

The best use of the great slope below the art museum: Art Hill is the city's premier sledding venue. King Louie keeps watch over the children and their parents.

The snow was thin and you can see grass poking through in spots. It will be warmer this week and soon the snow will be gone.              

2013-12-14 Art Hill 4

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Don't Get A Lot Of Snow


But when we do, it brings out something extra in St. Louisans, qualities like whimsey. Oh, and bad driving. This was found along Olive Street just east of Harris Stowe State University.

More snow than usual so far this month. A white Christmas is unusual here. But please don't let there be a blizzard in New York right after the holiday. Please. I got stuff to do.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

How You Get Up

Gateway Arch Funicular Car

We had a link the other day to a video about the funicular ride to the top of the Arch. One of the old cars is on display in the museum. The inside looks exactly the same today: five people sit in a little cylinder, one in the back, two on each side. It's cramped and not for the claustrophobic. Ain't no way out on your own.

The second picture is an old one of Mrs. C and son Andy squashed into one with me. Carolyn is not from Lilliput and Andy is not Gulliver. I was just using a really wide angle lens.

The sign in the bottom picture refers to the official name of the whole complex, The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It's about the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, when President Thomas Jefferson bought a great part of what is now the United States west of the Mississippi from France (useful map here) for, I forget, a few bolts of silk and a case of really good snuff, something like that. Westward ho!        

Carolyn and Andy In the Arch Tram

630 Feet

Welcome To The Gateway Arch