Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Archive for September, 2012


WINGS OF MIGHT, WINGS OF FLIGHT, FLIGHTS OF FANCY: This unusual view of Grand Central Terminal offers three sets of wings. The wings of might belong to Mercury who is atop Grand Central Terminal (and on your Amex card). The wings of flight belong to this original cast iron eagle that used to adorn the original 1871 Grand Central Terminal and now stands guard over the Lexington Avenue entrance. The flights of fancy belong to the eagle gargoyles that encircle the top of the art deco masterpiece the Chrysler Building. Each Chrysler eagle is an exact replica of the eagle hood ornament of the 1929 Chrysler automobile. So wether it be wings of might or flight – to have wings can take you far. Legendary designer Coco Channel once said “If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”

From the gallery: MINE!

MINE!: In the local news this week has been a story of an idiot that jumped into the tiger enclosure at the Bronx Zoo and was subsequently mauled. Coincidentally I happen to come across this white pit bull who was mauling his own wild animal, his beloved polar teddy bear.

Photo of the day: FOUNTAIN OF JOY

FOUNTAIN OF JOY: Remember how little it took to elicit those shouts of joy? A shooting fountain, a splash here and there, a sprinkle of water blown by the wind. Children’s joy is like the sparkle of sun in a bursting fountain, giggles like the splashing of the water.

From the gallery: FRAGMENTS OF NEW YORK

PIECES OF NEW YORK: An old shipping container becomes a pop-up Chinese food restaurant in Times Square. Segmented tiles become Liberty art. Neatly placed paint buckets and a work ladder, it becomes a still life of New York.

Photo of the day: THE QUESTION IS . . .

THE QUESTION IS . . . : Where does he keep the money?! This gentleman poses in Times Square at all times of the year in various outfits and is a regular in this part of the neighborhood. At first he would just ride through the area on a vintage girl’s bicycle wearing a big sun hat with various dresses and odd outfits to attract attention. Then he graduated to just standing perfectly still in Times Square to be photographed and not asking for money (as all the other “attractions” do). So he finally got smart and decided to ask for money to have his picture taken. Question now is . . . where does he keep the money? I guess that’s the next step he’ll have to figure out.

From the gallery: NUNS IN TIMES SQUARE

Photo of the day: I FEEL PRETTY!

I FEEL PRETTY!: This is Ms. Columbia, she is wearing her seasonal fall colors. Some would wear a cat on their hat, but she chooses to accessorize her hat with a gray parrot and a dyed-to-match poodle in her arms! Ms. Columbia has become a staple around New York and you never know where she and her true twosome will show up – any of our parades, Times Square, Greenwich Village or the ultra conservative Fifth Avenue just for shock value. With a heavy Columbian accent she will tell you she is the Spanish Lady Gaga and calls anyone who photographs her “my paparazzi.” She never asks for money as so many of our other ‘characters’ do, she does it for the sheer pleasure of it. For the Columbian Day parade she wears a dress made entirely from Columbian flags and of course dyes the poodle to match!
My favorite memory of her: I was across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue, waiting to cross the street and up to the curb at Saks pulls an Access-A-Ride Van, (vans that are provided for the elderly or disabled to get around the five boroughs). First emerged the wheels of the poodle’s baby carriage, then the poodle atop the carriage and then she in all her colorful splendor with the parrot atop her head, turning it’s head to see where mama Columbia had brought them for their afternoon stroll. I ♥ NY

Photo of the day: THE CAT ‘N THE HAT


Photo of the day: PEPSI COLA HITS THE SPOT

PEPSI COLA HITS THE SPOT: After the rebirth of Pepsi by the Pepsi-Cola Corp. in 1934, Charles G. Guth (the new owner of the Pepsi trademark) built the then largest Pepsi bottling plant in the industrial neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens on the East River. The facility manufactured their own syrup from cane sugar and produced its own bottle caps.

In 1938, Pepsi commissioned the Artkraft Strauss Sign Corp. to build a sign to adorn the top of the Long Island City plant. The sign is 120 feet wide with it’s tallest letters over 44 feet tall. A 50 foot tall capped bottle of Pepsi sits to the right of the brand name.

The sign was refurbished in 1994 by the same company that constructed it in the 1930’s. The plant was in operation until 1998. The land was sold to the Rockrose Development Corp. and an agreement was made that the sign be preserved. Since then, the sign has found a permanent home on the Queens waterfront not far from the foundation of the old plant.

The sign can be seen clearly from Manhattan on the east side of the city and one of the attractions from atop The Empire State Building.

From the gallery: THE NAKED COWGIRL

THE NAKED COWGIRL: Yes there is the ‘Naked Cowboy’ of Times Square, but there is also this . . .
This is former stripper, turned Times Square performer Sandy Kane. She gives you the finger (in a friendly manner) if you ask her pose for you, your donations are stuffed under her sagging boobs. Considering their weight and older length – the money does stay in place. Sandy, 52, was recently sued by Robert Burck,41, the muscular male cowboy version for $5,000, he claiming the idea is his trademark . . . they settled out of court. With her defense “I’ve been naked for years!’, she won. God bless America!