The Mansions of Bed-Stuy

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These photos were all taken on a long walk through the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn one Saturday afternoon almost a month ago. I’ve been very behind on this blog as of late, so sorry for taking so long, but alas, here is this collection. I was really in the mood for some Victorian architecture this day, so I headed out to Brownstone country to check out the old Victorian and Romanesque homes of Bed-Stuy and venture around a neighborhood I had never really explored, much to my own loss, since it’s quite a beautiful place.



Pittsburgh in the summertime

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"Freak Train" - Kurt VileThese photos are from a week long trip to one of my favorite places on earth: Pittsburgh. This year, for my annual summer trip, we mixed up the usual debauchery and lack of exploration, and we decided to ride bikes all over the city, and explore some places we’d never been before. From the west end, to Fineview in the Northside, to Penn Brewery, to Homestead & Braddock, to abandoned barges on the rivers, to dive bars in Greenfield, to Josza Corner, to Hazelwood, to The Run, to lower Lawrenceville, we did a lot of new stuff on this round in the Burgh. As always, I have a ton of photos (65 on here to be exact), so I hope you enjoy them, and the attached Kurt Vile song (“Freak Train”), which is currently one of my favorites. Until next time.


Hailey, Neon, and the Wildwoods

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These photos were all taken down the shore as my last effort to get some actually “summery” photos this summer. I’ve been taking really urban photos this whole summer, so I wanted to try and get a few shots that felt more like summer. So, when Hailey asked me if I wanted to do a shoot, I went for it. Unfortunately, we were a little late for sunset the night we shot, so instead we headed up to Ocean City and shot around some of the classic motels and seashore-looking stuff up there. The rest of the motel photos and neon photos were taken in the great bastion of neon-signage: Wildwood. Most of them were long exposures taken on my tripod. I’m really glad with the way that all these shots turned out, and I’m really glad I got some summer photos before the summer ended. Hopefully soon, I’ll have my Pittsburgh photos posted, after I scan three more rolls of film next week. And, now that school is starting and I’m back in New York, I should have some NYC photos to put up soon. I’m excited to be back in the city, and I plan on doing more photographing this year than I ever have, so we’ll see how that goes. Until next time…


Venturi, Victorians, and Biddle

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"Freeway" - Kurt Vile A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Philly. I had to stick around again to finish my photos for the Friends of The Rail Park, and so I decided to make a weekend of it. I visited some of the same neighborhoods I did on my last weekend in Philly: Port Richmond, Fishtown, Francisville, Brewerytown, and various parts of the southeast near the Italian Market. My love for Philly remains strong, and I think these photos are evidence to that. Included are the Venturi House, the Victorian apartment buildings of Parkside Ave., some industrial buildings, scenes from Port Richmond and Fishtown under the el, the Reading Viaduct and surrounding areas, the City Branch tunnel portion of the future rail park, and some scenes around the Divine Lorraine, including Nicholas Biddle’s Greek Revival building on Girard College’s campus, one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. I was really excited to see that. Unfortunately, I only had a disposable camera on me at the time, so that was kind of a bummer, but it was cool to see nonetheless. I walked around with Tyler from Above Mountain Tops, which was really cool. It’s always fun to meet photographers from tumblr whose work I admire. I have more photos on the way, mostly from the shore, and next week I’m heading out to Pittsburgh, so I should have some great photos from there. Until next time…


Around the Riverwards & Various Philly

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Film 515webFilm 516web"Baby Missiles" - The War On Drugs Three weeks ago, my friend and I spent the weekend in Philly. We roamed around the Riverwards, near the Reading Viaduct, and through South Philly a bit, and also made it up to the PSFS Building, now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, to take some great skyline pictures. It’s been a while since I’ve properly walked around Philly, and I’m glad i finally got to do it, even if the pictures came so late after I went. I’ve finally been getting around to some places that I’ve always wanted to see in Philly, and I plan on doing almost the same thing this weekend, as I’m planning on staying in Philly again. This weekend, I’ll likely be hitting the same areas in Port Richmond and Fishtown, and I’m hoping to get some better pictures of a few of the churches on Church Alley. I’m going to try and take a few pictures inside St Adalbert’s, and I’m also going to finally see the tunnel portion of the potential Rail Park and take some pictures of that as well.

I’ve said before that I really love Philly, since it’s more or less the first city i ever experienced. It’s very urban, very dense, and contains some really cool, unique neighborhoods that are hard to find anywhere else. Unlike many people that live in New York, I love Philly, and I think that it has massive potential to be a much better city than it already is. Philly’s rowhouse streets have a certain charm to them, and its size is just big enough to feel like a large city, while still having distinct neighborhoods that maintain a small-town feel. I’m really satisfied with this set of photos, as I think they capture the urban feel of Philadelphia, and I’m really excited to spend another weekend in Philly this weekend.


Up on the Viaduct

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"White Light White Heat" - The Velvet UndergroundBehold, the great Reading Viaduct. For years, I have heard about this spot, that has been deemed “Philly’s High Line”, and still looks like New York’s High Line did back in the pre-development days. Lined with abandoned industrial buildings, some new developments here and there, and covered in plants and graffiti, the Reading Viaduct is a serene oasis in the heart of Philly’s Callowhill neighborhood, with beautiful views of Center City’s skyscrapers and vistas extending over the streets it soars above. The buildings that line the Viaduct ooze with residential conversion potential and this area could easily become a revitalized area like Manhattan’s Chelsea or Meatpacking District. However, I kind of hope that level of development never happens, since Chelsea and the Meatpacking district are arguably a bit too posh. I hope the development around the Viaduct in what some like to call the “Loft District” remains more true to the industrial nature of the neighborhood. (although most of the new buildings in the Meatpacking District are designed by the preservation-minded, context-oriented firm of Morris Adjmi Architects).

The plans for the Reading Viaduct, like those of the High Line, are complex and need to jump through a series of governmental hurdles before they can begin to come to fruition. Needless to say, it will be awhile before anything happens up on the ol’ viaduct. For that reason, I contacted the Friends of the Rail Park, the group working on the bridge’s conversion into a park, and volunteered to take some publicity photos to help them in their crusade. This is the first wave of photos I’ve taken, but certainly not the last. This first wave was a bit more art-focused and more for my own purposes, and I used Joel Sternfeld’s photos of the High Line pre-development as my main source of inspiration. My next task is to return and get some photos that are more marketable to the general public. I also need to get into the tunnel that is part of the proposed park to take some pictures down there. Hopefully I’ll have all of that done next weekend.

Also, there is one building specifically in the Callowhill neighborhood that I’d like to point out – the Lasher Printing Building (5th photo). This Art Deco masterpiece is quite the hidden gem, and seeing as I love Art Deco architecture, I was really happy to be able to photograph this building; albeit, not in the best light. I guess I’ll have to return to capture it under less severe lighting conditions.

Stay tuned for more photos from Port Richmond, Kenzo, and Fishtown coming up later in the week!


Bays, Subways, and a Supermarket in (the District of) Columbia

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"Bratislava" - BeirutTwo weeks ago, after my weekend in New York, I spent a weekend in DC, visiting two friends. You may remember my excursion to DC last year, in which I took a series of what I personally deemed lackluster photos that didn’t capture DC all that well. Again, this time I don’t think I’ve sufficiently captured DC, but I think I did a better job than last time. To me, DC is distinctive for 3 main things: outstandingly photogenic subway (I know, they call them Metro) stations with giant cavernous tunnels and epicly long escalators, strong bay window game, and the largest concentration of office buildings under 150 feet of any city. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up in the business district downtown frequently enough to take a lot of pictures there, but I did get some great shots of the subway tunnels and the classic DC rowhouse bay windows. Of all the cities I’ve seen, I’d say DC is right up there with Philly and San Francisco in terms of bay window game. DC’s bay windows, however, are distinct because they rise the length of the facades. Whereas Philly and Frisco have bay windows that extend out over the street, DC’s become part of the whole building. This is only possible because most of DC’s homes are set back from the street about 10-15 feet, with gardens in front. If those homes formed the streetwall, they would impede pedestrian movement, and most likely not be allowed.

Another thing i really love about DC is its diversity. Although it is gentrifying and becoming more homogeneous by the day, DC retains a diversity of restaurants and populations from around the world. In my one weekend, I visited Serbian, Russian, Ethiopian, Salvadorian, and Mexican bars/restaurants. DC’s ethnic communities, although scattered, are quite present around the city.
As much as I like DC, it’s quite different from the cities I’m more accustomed to, like New York, Philly and Pittsburgh. DC has been cleaned up quite a bit from its days of urban blight and crime-infestation in the latter half of the 20th century, as is happening with most cities these days. Not that that’s a bad thing, in fact, quite the opposite, it’s a great thing. But every time I visit DC, I’m shocked by how clean everything is. The sidewalks are even paved with bricks instead of concrete to mask their dirtiness in many neighborhoods. I don’t know quite enough about why the sidewalks are paved with brick, and whether or not this is a recent innovation or a tradition, but it always takes me by surprise. For being such an eastern city, with a well-developed subway system and largely urban, walk-able neighborhoods, DC is shockingly clean.
Also, continuing in my fairly recent tradition of taking pictures of old supermarkets, I present to you Brookville Supermarket in Cleveland Park. I was pumped when I stumbled across this one – the signage is wonderful, the aisles are low, and the freezer aisle consists of a uniform wall of glass. I do love old supermarkets. Note the Allen Ginsberg reference in the title of this post.
Stay tuned for photos of Philly coming soon!