New York & D.C. Travelogue April 2002
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Wednesday, April 10th, 2002

On Wednesday I met Terry and a few of his friends downtown & had lunch on a great little place with a balcony. The weather was perfect for it too. They talked shop and brought me up to speed on their office politics.
Next I got the Associated Press grand tour, including the entire hardware history of newswire communication. It was pretty neat. They have so much time-sensitive information coming in and out of that building, keeping it organized and accessible must be like sorting recyclables in Toyko.
Eventually Terry had to get some real work done, so I left & wandered uptown (north). I was on my way back to the Met when I realized my legs weren't ready for a museum, so I stopped on some bleachers outside the French Embassy and conducted a survey of yellow cabs.

Not counting cars for hire (aka mini-cabs), Yellow cabs account for 55% of the cars on the street in midday, midtown Manhattan. In Istanbul and Madrid, there are a hell of a lot of taxicabs, but I never counted the car-to-taxi ratio, so I can't really compare those towns with New York. If you find yourself in either of those cities, do me a favor: count a sample and email me your results.

Next, it was time to meet up with my Genuine Professional Artist friend Wendy. I was late, but she was even later, so it was ok. We met at her secret cheap and cool place Ino.

We talked about her job prospects, the cost of living in New York, her World Trade Center experience, and my current obsession with the "work from home" signs.
We moved from Ino to a converted Speakeasy called Chumleys, reportedly where the term "86ed" was coined. It was a nice place filled with happy people and almost-masked smells.
We met up with a couple of her friends until it got late and I headed home.

Keke was up late sewing when I got home. She is an amazing tailor. She knows everything. When Crystal and her go shopping for clothes, they know so much about fashion, fabrics and quality that it must be a completely different experience for them. I am pretty clueless in that area, so I usually just settle for the AOL-version of the fashion world.

Metro Card & mini-map, essential for NYC tourists

Park Avenue, I think

The wall of AP reporters who have died in the field

55% of cars in NYC are yellow cabs

tall catwalks in Manhattan

Posing at INO on Bedford Street

West side waterfront sunset

Wendy on the phone at Chumleys

Busking in the 14th St. subway underpass

Thursday April 11th, 2002

On Thursday I got up early and went directly to the Whitney Museum. They were in the middle of their biennial exhibition, which is apparently a real honor to be exhibited at.
Photography was not only forbidden, but enforced very effectively. It was frustrating. I am not used to obeying that particular rule when it comes to museums.

Anyway, I liked most of the stuff on exhibit, including Julie Moos and her "Friends and Enemies" series of photos, Jim Campbell's 768 LED lights works, Robert Lazzarinis "Payphone", Tim Hawkson's "Emoter" machine and Luis Gispert's "Untitled" (and you KNOW which untitled I am talking about).

Lazzarini's Phonebooth is a stunningly realistic sculpture of a full-size open-front Bell Atlantic Phone Booth. It is a three dimensional masterpiece that looks as though someone took one of the top corner handles in Photoshop and Ctrl-dragged it up three feet. It is skewed. It is perfect. I stared and stared at it. It is like looking at something impossible.
I found a photo on

The holes in the perferated steel aren't circles, they are elipses. One side has a skewed ad for diamonds, the other has a skewed gummy rectangle where a sticker used to be. The coin slot was a parallelogram. The keypad is made of bent little array of numbered keys, embossed with skewed little numbers. It is amazing.

Tim Hawkson's Emoter is a mechanically-controlled moving photograph of a face. Motion detectors and motors control tiny chains and rods which shift around overlapping photos to change the eyebrows, nose, ears, brow and mouth of a man's face. It is constantly in motion, frowning, then winking, clicking and grimacing. Really great. I desperately wanted a photo, but the guard had her eye on me, so I settled for a sketch.

I looked at everything in the Whitney, then went south to Kmart to get a glue gun and some supplies.

The Kmart was on the brink of anarchy, as the old Onion gag goes. I asked 4 people where the glue guns were and searched for about 45 minutes for them. When I finally found them, they were in a locked case, so I had to hunt down the guy with the key, who was being detained by another customer desperate for spray paint in a separate, malfunctioning locked case.

I got back to Brooklyn and gathered my clothes to do laundry. Keke lives close to a giant 24-hour laundry supermat, so I was almost looking forward to going. Unfortunately, I locked myself out of the house, so I did my laundry and carried it around town with me, looking for something to do. Luckily an internet cafe was nearby. I quickly discovered that my site was down, which I assumed was the sign of some significant site linking to the "work at home" story. I was right. I checked a the causs site and noticed that someone there had noticed my story on slashdot!
"Yes!" I turned to the other people at the little cafe. I don't think they wanted to hear about it. Heh heh.

This was great news, even though my site was down. They bill themselves as "News for Nerds, Stuff that matters". Slashdot opened a discussion board about the subject and a full-scale sign-slamming festival ensued, with some 570 comments posted. People had also posted the text from my article in the comments section to give access to it, and at least one guy had reposted it on his website. This was great!

I read comments until it got dark outside, then I went home to try and regain entry into Keke's place. Luckily she got there just a little bit after me and I was able to get in and tell her the good news.

That night Jane joined us for dinner and pyrotechnics at Bonita.

33rd Street Mosaic in the subway

Sketch of Robert Lazzarini's Payphone 2002

Sketch of Tim Hawkson's Emoter

Whitney Museum of New York

Some people say I use too much laundry detergent

The Pool Room Bar in Brooklyn

Rust pile

Warehouse Identification in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Flames at Bonita

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Read my other travelogues: Turkey & Bulgaria 2001 |Minneapolis 2001 | Burning Man 2001 | Europe 1999 | Costa Rica 2000

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