On the Street: Hermes on Madison Avenue

hermes window

I passed the Hermès flagship boutique on Madison Avenue one day last week and paused to take this photograph. I wasn’t impressed by the overall window display—I don’t really understand the connection between the stacks of books, the geological print on the seated mannequin’s dress, and the arrow—but I recognized the small sculpture perched on one of the teetering book piles.

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On the Street: The Plaza Hotel in Self-Camouflage

plaza hotel

A few days ago, I passed the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue. I did a double-take and then I took this picture. Look closely: on its front facade, the Plaza is wearing a cleverly fitted covering, designed and detailed to look like the building itself. Apparently the hotel is under construction; the side facing Central Park, visible at the right in this photo, has its own mesh-like cover to protect passersby from falling debris.

I don’t know what the view from inside the Plaza must be these days, with all this work going on, but the trompe l’oeil tarp is a nifty way to deal with the exterior.

On the Street: Midtown West

poets security

I was on my way to dinner with friends in Midtown when I saw this sign posted in the doorway of an office building. I laughed as I took the picture. What on earth is a “Poets’ Security Force”? Is this force composed of moonlighting poets? Or is it a team of security officers working to keep poets safe? Does the entrance exam require all applicants to compose or recite verse? Is there a uniform, perhaps something incorporating black turtlenecks?

So many questions.

Image: photo by Tinsel Creation, somewhere in the West Forties.

On the Street: Herald Square Subway Station

today

I don’t know why this graffiti in the Herald Square subway station made me laugh. Maybe the chalk-on-black-wall medium reminded me of Keith Haring’s early subway drawings. I’m not even sure whether this gadget is meant to be a cash register or a cell phone or something else. Is it a warning against commercialism? Is it a statement about our 24-7 plugged-in mentality? Is it a private message left by one individual for another? Is it just some contemporary form of “carpe diem“? One thing is for certain: I can’t depend on it being there when I return tomorrow.

Image: photo by Tinsel Creation.

On the Street: I. Miller, “The Show Folks Shoe Shop” of Times Square

shoe shop

When I’m walking through the streets around Times Square, I tend to keep moving as quickly as I can, while focusing on my destination rather than my actual surroundings. If you’ve been anywhere near Times Square over the past decade or two, you’ll understand.

One afternoon, however, I was forced to wait for a traffic light to change, and as I stood on the corner of Broadway and 46th Street, I did something that New Yorkers often forget to do: I looked up.

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