Oct 29, 2011

News as it Happens

I heard something that sounded like gun shots...which would be at least slightly unusual mid-afternoon. Turns out a transformer on Hudson Terrace just burst into flames. Here it is from my balcony:

Apologies for the intermittent "finger interference," but I was ultra freaked out and not exactly looking through the lens.

Oh, and please watch the whole thing...it gets very interesting at about the :20 mark.

Moscow on the Hudson

...and I'm glad they got their kite flying in yesterday, because this is what Hudson Terrace looks like today:

I suppose the upside is that now all the Christmas shit that's already on the shelves at Walgreens (despite the fact that it's still pre-Halloween) no longer seems particularly out of place.

Oct 28, 2011

Walk in the Park

 No weird subtext here. Just a nice photo of Koreans flying their kites.

Oct 27, 2011

Really Shot

An ounce of prevention, my ass.

I got a flu shot on Tuesday and developed an "inflammatory response" at the injection site. The Dr. says it shouldn't last more than a week and that this temporary discomfort is ultimately "worth it" because "flu sucks." I snapped this about an hour ago (it's Thursday) as he also told me to take a picture to monitor if it gets any bigger. You know, like if it engulfs my entire body.

It's gonna be a looooooooong season, folks. Bundle up, eat your vegetables, and get your fucking flu shot.

Oct 24, 2011

First In, Last Out

Champion Film Studios was the first permanent movie studio built to accommodate Fort Lee's once bustling motion picture industry. It was established in 1910 and run by pioneer and studio executive, Mark Dintenfass.

Its off-the-beaten-path location (at the dead end of 5th Street in the Coytesville neighborhood) and industrial appearance was indeed by design. Champion was an independent film studio and, as such, was attractive pickens for the prying peepers of the Motion Picture Patents Company (AKA the Edison Trust). By keeping a low profile, Champion hoped to elude Edison’s men who were known to impose unfair licensing fees and to rely on the muscle of organized crime to collect them.

In fact, it wasn’t just the year-round pleasant weather and ample land that lured the film industry to Hollywood. Filmmakers found the cross-country distance helped make “enforcement” by the NJ-based MPPC more difficult.

In 1912, Dintenfass began a stint as an executive at the newly-formed, now famed Universal Film Manufacturing Company. And his studio, along with two other Fort Lee independents, Éclair and Nestor, became part of the Universal family. For several years following, the Champion building was used for the making of film shorts (“Universal East”) as Hollywood's new Universal City facilitated the production of feature films.

Today, the Champion building is currently the oldest standing studio structure in the US. It was fashioned to look like a factory and in this case, function followed form: in more recent years it was used as a printing facility. Now, it’s either abandoned or an OSHA wet dream. See for yourself:

As for the Edison Trust, a federal court terminated the organization in 1918. But by then it was too late for film to return to Fort Lee.

Completely random detail: the old Champion property currently shares a lot with A-1 Taxi, who just happened to have a car parked next to mine this evening in back of the sushi joint where I pick up my dinner on Mondays.


Oct 18, 2011

Cinema Verite

So, my car died on the way home tonight. Although the whole thing kind of sucked, I figured I'd make some weird videos of the towing process. Then I thought to take it a step further by naming the clips and giving them descriptions à la the TV Guide.


The Breakdown Pt. 1: Admitting You Have a Problem (2011)
Description: A 2005 Chrysler Crossfire gets "hooked" on Lemoine Ave in Fort Lee, NJ.
(Director's note - see a tow truck towing a tow truck at the :56 mark.) 

The Breakdown Pt. 2: Getting Help (2011)
Description: After a flatbed intervention, a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire starts down the road to recovery.

Oct 17, 2011

Pretty Bird

Sunday’s harvest weather yielded a trip into the City for a fruitless visit to my 4th favorite Chanel boutique. Ah, SoHo. A neighborhood where you can find numerous $5K+ jackets on the racks but nary a roll of toilet paper in the bathrooms.

The name “SoHo” is said to refer to the district’s location: South of Houston Street. But I maintain it’s a Lenape word for “tinderbox” or “stuck up” – I’m not exactly sure which.

The area has a solid past as an artists’ mecca, but the rise of upscale boutiques (and the Kardashians) has turned the neighborhood into 26 blocks of serious shopping and champagne sipping all jam-packed into some very interesting and historically-protected architecture.  

Opposite the shop fronts, table vendors line the streets. Wares include the typical: t-shirts, knock-off accessories, souvenir prints of City landmarks, and this:

Yes, a finger puppet stand.

Where else but in New York’s stylish SoHo can you find so many fashionable, hand-crafted options to dress up your middle finger?

Oct 13, 2011

Paging Dr. Mengele

I saw this rather odd call for "volunteers" for a clinical study in the local paper today:

The part of the ad you can't see says that by participating in this study you have the potential to help thousands of people live healthier, happier lives. Presumably by being pumped with some serious DNA-altering poison. Or happy pills, as the graphic implies.

I won't even hazard to guess why folks have to meet these requirements to take part in this experiment. Maybe the lab is just trying to preserve a "sterile" environment.

Oct 9, 2011


Please do not read anything into the fact that I've been hanging out on my building's roof deck and on neighborhood overpasses. Not to mention obsessing over the GWB. It's just that they provide highly textured backdrops for reflection...and photos.

As architectural structures, suspension bridges and concrete overpasses serve as impressive industrial matchmakers that facilitate the polygamist marriage of the sky with both water and earth.

And, like all marriages, the results may be soothingly serene...

...or completely chaotic.

Oct 1, 2011

No Dumping, Please!

If that doesn't make you scratch your head, look at the next one. In comparison, what -- in the name of all that is unholy -- could have been scribbled at the top of the bin that was SO bad that someone actually had to spray over it?

I guess all this proves is that it really does take a "big man" to give to charity.