Posts Tagged ‘ new york ’

Old’s cool? Retro Film Cameras

By Jack Berglund

I leave my apartment and find myself reaching for a small black plastic film camera, the Black Slim Devil.  The Nikon D3 I reach past probably has more processing power than the original Apollo missions to the moon.  My Casio point and shoot is a technical marvel with its 240 frames per second video shooting.  And yet its the one button (the shutter) and one dial (wind on the film) simplicity that draws me to the Devil.

As a technophile, proud to own the latest electronic gadgets, I find this situation puzzling.  Could less really be more after all? The simplicity puts you in a different mindset.  All the variables of taking a photo are reduced down to: what are you looking at and how is it lit, arguably the most important elements of any picture.  Freed of some of the more left brain concepts like balancing aperture and shutter speed, selecting the right focal distance etc, good old creative right brain gets to run the show. Continue reading

Explore NY: City Island

By Jack Berglund

City Island is a small outcrop on the East side of the Bronx.  It gained some fame recently as the scene of the 2010 movie by the same name.  You can get there by a combination of subway and bus in a little over an hour from Manhattan.  Why would you make such a journey?  Going to City Island from Manhattan is like being transported through both space and time.  The whole point of traveling is to go somewhere different from where you started (and if you’re me to eat in different restaurants), and this 1.5 mile long island certainly delivers on both counts.

City Island feels like its 1970-something, somewhere far far away from the city streets of the Big Apple.  Its very much the US equivalent of a British seaside town. Like so many of those seaside towns, you get the sense that City Island’s hay-day has long since past but you still see its charms, all be it faded, showing through.  British fish and chips are transposed to fried shrimp and beer.  Check out Reef at the south tip of the island and wash your shrimp down with some bargain Pina Colada’s!

Getting to City Island is not especially difficult but if you’re a typical Manhattan-ite for whom traveling to Brooklyn takes a special occasion and the 15 minute journey to Hoboken is only to be considered under serious duress then you might have a problem.  Ride the 6 train as far North as you can to Pelham Bay Park then find the Bx29 bus to City Island. Alternatively rent a car and drive there in less than an hour.  You can wonder the length of the main road in a few hours.  If you’re feeling homesick, check out some of the side streets to the west for a view of the Manhattan skyline.

As often seems to be the case when I travel, most of my memories seem to be centered around food and drink.  The place to have dinner is Sammy’s Fish Box.  It seems to be the special occasion place on City Island and was full of couples celebrating anniversaries and birthday parties.  The menu consists of giant portions (and I mean truly giant, even by American standards) of butter covered seafood with every side and trimming.  Healthy its not but it sure tasted good!

If you’re looking for something a little different to do on a summer weekend, and need to get out of the city check out City Island.

Explore NY: Old Westbury Mansion and Gardens

By Jack Berglund

Less than an hour east of Manhattan, Old Westbury Mansion and its accompanying gardens are well worth a visit.  Old Westbury Mansion gardens have been named as one of the six best public gardens in the United States by Forbes magazine and often referred to as the finest example of an English garden in North America.


Whilst undoubtedly stunning, I’d be worried about the state of gardens in the US in general if this is truly the cream of the crop.  In many ways, the Mansion itself stands out more than the garden as one of the finer examples of its type.  The house was built in 1906 for Henry Phipps and family who made his money as an original partner of Andrew Carnegie in the Carnegie Steel Company.  With its 23 rooms, still with original furniture it makes for an impressive place to visit.  More recently the mansion was used for mob boss Dominic Cattano’s house in American Gangster and home to Dudley Moore’s millionaire character in the original Arthur movie.

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Explore NY: Five Pointz Graffiti

By Jack Berglund

They say Golf is the best way to spoil a good walk.  In which case I contend that photography is the best way to make the most of one as you tend to look around and notice more things. Five Pointz is a self proclaimed ‘graffiti mecca’ in Queens New York on the outside of an old factory building.  If you’re in New York, its definitely worth a look in and of its self but also makes a good starting point to explore some of the other neighborhoods nearby.

5 Pointz "Institute of Higher Burnin'"

Take the 7 train to 45 Rd – Court House Sq or the E, M to 23rd St – Ely Av.  You can also take the G train if you believe it really exists (I have seen no evidence to support this, having waited on two different occasions and never had a train show up.)  5 Pointz is right by Moma’s PS1 if you want to take in some art or attend their summer parties while you’re out there.

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