Tag: urban landscapes

Moscow: The city of millionaires

Moscow: The city of millionaires

Once a small village in the 12th century, Moscow today boasts its position amongst the largest cities of Europe and -of course- its 850-year-long history. Contrary to common belief, it is neither rather misty and foggy nor cold and bleak. Illuminated structures, avenues with luxury stores and buildings reminiscent of dreamlands are the very proof of this.

“If I invaded Kiev, it means I have conquered Russia’s feet. If I invade St. Petersburg, it means I conquered Russia’s head. However, a Moscow invasion means that I have conquered Russia’s heart.” This quote from Napoleon Bonaparte, revels secrets about Moscow.

Ranking amongst the 10 largest cities of the world, NMoscow enjoys its favorable position between Oka and Volga rivers. With the number of millionaries markedly higher than other cities, Moscow has granted the fame: The city of millionaries.

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Times Square: Crossroads of the World

Times Square: Crossroads of the World

You have often heard this place called the “Crossroads of the World” and you find yourself wondering if a crossroads of the world can really look so very much like Coney Island. You answer your own question with an emphatic negative, but you have given the wrong answer.

People have always had the wrong picture of the Roman Forum. It was not exclusively populated by crowds cheering Julius Caesar on his return from Gaul. It is not true that wherever you turned in that great central plaza of the Roman Empire your eyes fell on the great Pompey exchanging a few kind words with the poet Vergil, or the brilliant young Mark Antony congratulating Marcus Tullius Cicero on sending away the racketeer Catiline to the penitentiary. It is certainly not true that the public squares in old Athens were exclusively occupied by Socrates and Plato lecturing to Alcibiades and Aspasia.

Actually the philosophers in the Athenian market place must have been many times outnumbered by the cold drink vendors and the peddlers of woolen undervests to be worn under the tunic; and sometimes the philosophers were hard to tell apart from the peddlers. It is fairly certain that Vergil or Cicero could have crossed the Roman Forum a dozen times without being recognized. Most of the time the really interesting sight to the Roman crowd in the forum was the crowd itself, exactly as in Times Square on election night.

Times Square is not a crossroads of the world where famous explorers just back from the Amazon greet South African aviators on leave from ferrying new American bombers to Great Britain. Neither does it happen very often that motion picture magnates from Hollywood find themselves blocked by the red light on the traffic island at Forty-third Street in the company of Professor Einstein and Joe Louis on their way to a war relief luncheon.

Much more frequently the encounters on Times Square are by appointment between good housewives from North Bergen, New Jersey and their girlhood friends from Washington Heights. They may be seen any day in the week, especially around the matinee hours, waiting for each other at the corner of Broadway and Forty-third Street in front of the Paramount Theater. They look slightly forlorn until the familiar face turns up, when they greet each other merrily and trot off to lunch and a movie. Girls frequently wait for their boy friends. In this matter of the theater or the movie the law of nature which holds for shopping appointments is reversed for young people; nearly always it is the woman who waits for the man.

There are occasions when the population of Times Square would seem to consist chiefly of junior high-school girls in slacks with their boy escorts in Byronic shirt collars. They are most numerous on the first two days of the week when the new bill goes on at the picture palaces, and particularly if it is one of the famous band leaders. Tall women of riper years may be seen crossing Times Square at all hours of the day, but they are in the minority. In the main the swing-band female audiences give every impression of being turned out in a standard five foot one inch model by mass production methods.

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Focusing on San Francisco

Focusing on San Francisco

Take in the sights… and take home your best pictures ever. Go ahead, leave your heart. You can’t help leaving a piece of it, anyway. It will get lost in the crowded, bustling streets of Chinatown, the picturesque Victorian “painted ladies,” the vast green expanse of Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco is a photographer’s paradise, with its endless array of impossible-seeming angles, ever-changing show of light and shadow and treasure trove of old and new architecture. It is also a city that will make a photographer out of the uninitiated – one simply must capture a part of San Francisco.

Reduce the country’s most beautiful city to a mere few images? Impossible. But for starters, here are a few favorite shots from photographer J’vIark E. Gibson-who’s lucky enough to make a living at it. Gibson has been using Canon equipment for 22 years. “It’s performed extremely well for me-I’ve never been tempted to switch,” notes Gibson.

Cable Cars… Poetry in Motion

They are the only National Historic Landmarks that move-and perhaps the single most recognizable icon of the City by the Bay. The cable car system represents the charming contradictions of San Francisco at its best: functional frivolity, 120-year-old remnants of the old world stubbornly and happily bustling along with the new. Adventurers can still ride along on the outside-just hold on tight around those curvy streets and plunging hillsides.

Focusing on San Francisco

California Street, at the crest of Nob Hill

Gibson explains, “The perspective is from the top of Nob Hill, looking downtown. From here, you can get a great front end view, because tbe cable car runs up and down California. And, if you’re at tbe right cross streets, you can get wonderful sideviews of other moving cars, or people getting on and off. In the background, tbe view stretches all the way downtown, and beyond to the towers of the Bay Bridge. It’s a fantastic mixture of visual elements.”

According to Gibson, time of day is important for this shot. It’s best with good frontal lighting, so make sure the sun is behind you.

Fisherman’s Wharf… The Fabled Dock of the Bay

The pungent aroma of fresh seafood and the irrepressible pulse of seafaring commerce beckon us to discover the sights and sounds of the incomparable Fisherman’s Wharf. The Wharf draws in 87 percent of San Francisco’s visitors-unquestionably its perennial catch of the day. Enjoy the teeming humanity right along with the succulent crab, shrimp and fresh sourdough, as you stroll through the waterfront marketplace. But calm tranquillity is always as near as the water’s edge, where colorful fishing boats punctuate the horizon.

Docked fishing boats

“The vantage point of this shot is from the pier, approximately eight feet above the water. This tight close up shot emphasizes the repetitive pattern of the fishing vessels. Use a slow shutter speed and a tripod or pier railing to prevent camera movement and to get a clear sharp-focused shot,” advises Gibson.

Golden Gate Bridge… Gates of Heaven

“I don’t know who decided to paint it orange, but God bless them,” declared the author Susan Cheever, speaking of the Golden Gate Bridge. And whether it provides your doorway into the great city or your conduit to the neighborly delights of Sausalito and Marin County, the sight of its 4,200 foot expanse at sunset is not one you’re likely to forget. But bring your camera just in case.

From north of the Bridge-Marin headlands road

“Drive across the bridge and get on the elevated road that goes along the Marin headlands shoreline,” says Gibson. “As you drive west along that road, looking back you can find a spot on the road where you align the north pair of towers of the Golden Gate Bridge with downtown San Francisco-it’s a great shot with the bridge in the foreground and the skyline behind it. You can get a detail of the Bridge tower with the Bank of America and the Transamerica Pyramid behind it. It’s a very popular shot for people who want both elements.”

When conversing with Mark Gibson about shooting San Francisco, his excited reverence is irrepressible. “Visually, this is an incredibly rich place. There is such variety, with the hills and the water, the bridges and the architecture. And the lighting is phenomenal-fog, clouds and clear blue skies in rapid succession. There’s always another perspective. How could anyone get tired of it?” Here are a few tips for shooting in San Francisco:

Don’t let San Francisco’s trademark fog make you camera-shy. It can add a dramatic mood to your shots, but use a fast film for clarity. When photographing a moving cable car-or from a moving cable car-be sure you’re holding the camera steady and press the shutter release gently.

Here on the Marina Yacht Harbor jetty at the foot of Baker Street, our feathered friend offers a slightly different angle of a familiar landmark: the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.

Related Link: View more travel tips and ideas >>

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Babel’s Secret in New York

Babel's Secret in New York

The story of America’s national unity and the Homogenized Baby is not without interest at this point. If memory serves, it was on a prewar February day that the office boy was told to run down to the big newspaper stand on the corner and bring back the current issue of half a dozen foreign-language dailies.

Some one had made a speech the night before on New York as an un-American city. The speaker offered in evidence the babel of tongues you hear on the subway and in front of the Broadway movie palaces. He was even more deeply impressed by the numerous publications he saw displayed on the Broadway newsstands in outlandish tongues and alphabets. Our foreign-language papers are a long-standing grievance. As far back as one can remember they have been deplored as an obstacle to the assimilation of the newer Americans. It is, on the face of things, a charge not to be lightly dismissed.

That particular February morning, however, it occurred to some one to raise a question. Just how foreign are the city’s foreign-language newspapers? How much do they differ from their local contemporaries written in the language of the country, and to what extent are they alike? It seemed a good idea to send out the office boy for half a dozen specimens and then mobilize all the available linguistic talent in the office for an intensive study of the material. It would be a good test not merely of the foreign language press, but perhaps of the foreignness of New York in general.

Babel's Secret in New York

Even before the boy came back with his assortment of papers it was decided that for the purposes of our inquiry the front page was of comparatively little importance. It was a critical day in the war news and a person was prepared to find the first page in all the papers pretty much the same. Minor differences within the general context of the day’s war news there would be, no doubt. The relative emphasis would be determined by the particular reading public — German, Hungarian, Italian, Yiddish, Greek, Russian. According to the special public there would be special dispatches. But on the whole the front page need not long detain us. The research must concentrate on the inside pages, and in particular on the advertising columns.

People’s opinions about a world war or anything else are apt to be expressed in general formulas which they borrow from others. People reveal their own selves in what they eat, drink and wear, in their cultural practices and their recreations. It is commonly said that the heart of a newspaper, or at least the heart of the newspaper owner, is in the advertising pages.

When the boy came back with his half-dozen papers, then, the front page received just a glance. For that matter, if we had only this minute not forsworn all argument from the news pages we might take some time to point out the exceedingly American look of the front page makeup. A person standing far enough away to make it impossible to identify the particular language would find it hard to say if these were foreign-language newspapers at all.

Five out of the six papers that morning had a bold ribbon headline running all the way across the page, and four of the six papers had a double ribbon. Below the main headlines, five out of six papers had the familiar bold-faced interior headlines, two or three columns wide, scattered all over the page. It is a make-up which gives to a newspaper page the appearance of being divided into squat chunks of type instead of the traditional columns.

If a person stood far enough away to get only the general effect without recognizing language or alphabet it would be extremely difficult to say that morning which was Staats-Zeitung und Herold, which was Il Progresso ItaloAmericano, which was Magyar Nepszava or Voice of Hungary, which was Russky Golos or Voice of Russia, which was Atlantis, or the daily voice of the Greek-Americans, and which were The Jewish Daily Forward and the Jewish Day; and whether they were not any or all of them Mr. Hearst Journal-American.

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Aerial View of Central Park in New York City

Aerial View of Central Park in New York City

For whatever good reason he visits the park a person sometimes finds himself hoping that a corner here and there in this beautiful garden spot will elude the attention of the renovators. They are enormously useful public servants, the garnishers and clean-sweepers of the world who are all the time clearing away old rubbish and substituting fine clean concrete for cracked asphalt and aging brick and stone.

People ask themselves with wonder and contrition how could they have possibly been so blind to the approaching storm. On every hand the signs were staring them in the face.

The signs stared in the face of one elderly gentleman who used to stroll across Central Park on his way to work late in the morning, such being the special nature of his occupation. At that hour the perambulator and kindergarten population was already out in full force. Mothers and nurses gossiped on the benches while the little ones slept in their carriages or played games on the grass or rode their tricycles on the cement walks. The particular sign that stared this elderly gentleman in the face and which he completely failed to read was the number of small boys, averaging perhaps five years, who discharged toy pistols at him in the character of G-men.

Those were the days, it will be recalled, when all our minds, elderly gentlemen and little boys and little girls in Central Park, were being conditioned against war as a beastly and hateful thing. Tin soldiers for little boys were heavily frowned upon, and so were toy pistols and battleships which wound up like a clock and made a brave splash in the bathtub. Yet in the face of this far-flung crusade against the military life here were little boys on the park walks in the vicinity of Ninety-sixth Street pointing their guns at harmless elderly wayfarers, or actually leaping out of ambush with pistol flourishes and loud outcries of “Bang!”

To be sure, it should be said in justice to our elderly hero that he did occasionally wonder why there should be so much gun play among the five-year-olds in Central Park in the face of so much anti-war preaching and conditioning and outlawing. He arrived at the cynical conclusion that it was a case of the old Adam whom we kick out of the door as a soldier with a gun and he climbs in at the window as a G-man defending society with a gat. Further than this our hero’s imagination did not go. He was part and parcel of his times and of the illusions of the times.

Landlords with apartments to let along Central Park regularly — and quite legitimately — play up the fact that their fortunate tenants have outside their doors and windows a magnificent garden of 840 acres. They mean the park. The word garden is justified for more than one reason. Today Central Park is more of a garden and less. of a park than it was in William Jennings Bryan’s time, fifty years ago in round numbers.

It is more of a garden and less of a park than it was, in round numbers, thirty years ago when William Dean Howells sat there on a bench and watched the children play and saw men and women stroll by and reflected on life at eighty, as Howells then was. He set down his thoughts in his beautiful limpid prose for his monthly magazine article. Central Park around 1920 was less of a garden than it is today because it had much less of the formal granite and cement and miscellaneous garnishment of today. But even more important is the fact that Central Park as late as 1920 did not have the garden wall which today encloses it on three sides to the height, in places, of several hundred feet.

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All About Central Park in New York City

All About Central Park in New York City

Central Park is an urban park in middle-upper Manhattan, within New York City, New York. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States as well as one of the most filmed locations in the world.

It was established in 1857 on 778 acres (315 ha) of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, two soon-to-be famed national landscapers and architects, won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they titled the “Greensward Plan”. Construction began the same year and the park’s first area was opened to the public in the winter of 1858. Construction continued during the American Civil War further south, and was expanded to its current size of 843 acres (341 ha) in 1873.

It was designated a National Historic Landmark (listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the National Park Service) in 1962. The Park was managed for decades by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the municipal government in a public-private partnership. The Conservancy is a non-profit organization that contributes 75 percent of Central Park’s $65 million annual budget and is responsible for all basic care of the 843-acre park.

Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962, was designed by landscape architect and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Central Park is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in New York. It is bordered on the north by Central Park North, on the south by Central Park South, on the west by Central Park West, and on the east by Fifth Avenue.

Only Fifth Avenue along the park’s eastern border retains its name; the other streets bordering the park (110th Street, 59th Street, and Eighth Avenue, respectively) change names while they are adjacent to the park. The park, with a perimeter of 6.1 miles (9.8 km), was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km2) of city-owned land and was expanded to 843 acres (3.41 km2; 1.317 sq mi). It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West.

Central Park also constitutes its own United States census tract, number 143. According to Census 2000, the park’s population is eighteen people, twelve male and six female, with a median age of 38.5 years, and a household size of 2.33, over 3 households.[49] However Central Park officials have rejected the claim of anyone permanently living there. The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by property appraisal firm Miller Samuel to be about $528.8 billion in December 2005.

Central Park’s size and cultural position, similar to London’s Hyde Park and Munich’s Englischer Garten, has served as a model for many urban parks, including San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Tokyo’s Ueno Park, and Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The park, which receives approximately 35 million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States. It is also one of the most filmed locations in the world.

The park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization that manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation,[56] in which the president of the Conservancy is ex officio Administrator of Central Park. Today, the conservancy employs 80% of maintenance and operations staff in the park. It effectively oversees the work of both the private and public employees under the authority of the Central Park administrator (publicly appointed), who reports to the parks commissioner, conservancy’s president.

As of 2007, the conservancy had invested approximately $450 million in the restoration and management of the park; the organization presently contributes approximately 85% of Central Park’s annual operating budget of over $37 million. The system was functioning so well that in 2006 the conservancy created the Historic Harlem Parks initiative, providing horticultural and maintenance support and mentoring in Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Marcus Garvey Park.

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New York Career Guidance

New York Career Guidance

Career guidance can be a critical intervention for residents of large cities like New York where the network of educational, training, and employing institutions is too complex and differentiated to be readily understood. Without informed help during the decision-making process, many city dwellers find it difficult to plan courses of action that will enable them to make the most of their career options.

As New Yorkers attempt to negotiate the interlocking educational, training, and employment structures, the mediation of guidance counselors may ease their progress into and through the labor market and help them to surmount institutional barriers that restrict their range of choice. Since career decisions are made by both youths and adults, an effective guidance system must aim to serve people of all ages.

A person’s career options are affected not only by his personal attributes, but also, to a significant degree, by the availability of family and community resources which can be devoted to the development of his potential and to the pursuit of his goals. “Guidance specialists share with most Americans, the belief that a man is largely in control of his own fate. However, guidance has paid relatively little attention to the ways in which the economic and social status of some families restricts the opportunities for education and work available to their children.”

In New York, for example, at one extreme we find people with sufficient resources to select and realize any of a large number of career possibilities. At the other extreme are those whose circumstances drastically restrict their opportunities. In the first instance, while guidance may provide a measure of reinforcement to the decision-making process, the determinants for successful outcomes preexist. In the latter instance, socioeconomic barriers to the realization of choice severely limit the potential contribution of guidance to effective decision making.

Most New York residents fall between these two extremes. Few are so well situated that they never require or seek formal help in decision making. On the other hand, few are so unalterably disadvantaged that they cannot derive some benefit from guidance, especially if it is combined with supporting services. Guidance cannot produce major social transformations, but skillful intervention can contribute to decisions that may improve an individual’s prospects.Certain aspects of the New York labor market which bear upon the provision of guidance services in the city are set forth below. Many of these are discussed in other chapters in this volume.

Related Link: New York New York Website

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Jack Vettriano and Anniversary Waltz

Jack Vettriano and Anniversary Waltz

Born in Fife, Scotland in 1951, Jack Vettriano left school at sixteen to become a mining engineer. For his twenty-first birthday, a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints and, from then on, he spent much of his spare time teaching himself to paint.

In 1989, he submitted two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition; both were accepted and sold on the first day. The following year, an equally enthusiastic reaction greeted the three paintings, which he entered for the prestigious Summer Exhibition at London’s Royal Academy and his new life as an artist began from that point on.

Over the last twenty years, interest in Vettriano’s work has grown consistently. There have been sell-out solo exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and New York.

2004 was an exceptional year in Vettriano’s career; his best known painting, The Singing Butler was sold at Sotheby’s for close to £750,000; he was awarded an OBE for Services to the Visual Arts and was the subject of a South Bank Show documentary, entitled ‘Jack Vettriano: The People’s Painter’.

From 1994-2007, Vettriano was represented by Portland Gallery in London but the relationship ended in June 2007. Since then, Vettriano has been focusing on a variety of private projects, including the launch of a new book, and painting of a portrait of Zara Phillips as part of a charity fund-raising project for Sport Relief, the experience of which was captured in a documentary broadcast on BBC1 in March 2008. Vettriano divides his time between his homes in Fife, London and Nice.

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