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

Archive for October, 2012

O, why don’t u call Chris Christie a few more x’s tonight to piss off Romney lol!

O, why don’t u call Chris Christie a few more x’s tonight to piss off Romney lol!

View Hurricane Sandy Facebook photo album


Photo of the day: NEW YORK HALLOWEEN 2012

NEW YORK HALLOWEEN 2012: In a Photoshop world, we might have created the eerie surreal spooky landscape of New York City for great effect. It need not be done, this is real. Some say life must go on, others say in a place of devastation – to celebrate Halloween is sacrilegious. The world’s largest (3 million people) Halloween parade in Manhattan has been canceled for the first time in it’s 39 years. There are many neighborhoods where there are no houses, if there are houses – no sidewalks. If there are homes – no stores open to buy candy. If you are safe – the streets are currently not at night. With New York at it’s longest standstill in it’s entire history – you decide. Happy Halloween ~ in spirit.


Devastation in my New York neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens

Many of our street are impassible. Giant 85 year old trees barricade the lovely streets. Worries of fire engine and ambulance access grows as Tuesday comes to an end.


Taken from Long Island City, Queens. I braced myself against a cement bench to prevent myself from blowing away. United Nations, Trump Tower, Empire & Chrysler building in skyline.
See my YouTube video below:


WOMAN NARROWLY ESCAPES DEATH: She had meant to cut down that old dead tree in the front yard. But the expense was so great. It was on her ‘to-do’ list. Last night the old tree saved her life. A huge mighty 85 year old elm tree crashed toward her house and is merely resting on the entranceway, barricading her door shut,  because the old dead tree acted as a shield and saved her from being crushed in her home.
47th Street in Sunnyside, Queens.


“HURRICANE” GRACE HITS NEW YORK: Two days prior to mega storm Sandy hitting New York, the eye of hurricane Grace made a direct hit in Manhattan making landfall with her ironically called “Hurricane Tour”.  Fans surged to the legendary Roseland Ballroom to witness the tropical disturbance that is hurricane Grace Jones,  an energetic, tireless force to be reckoned with. Wave and after song wave flooded towards us as the pressure was rising in the vortex of the ballroom to shear squall levels. The tide of enthusiasm swelled to maximum strength leaving a path of fierce hits in Grace’s wake and ending with her song hit “Hurricane”. Forget Sandy – we’ve been hit by Grace !

Photo of the day: “Ladies and gentlemen – GRACE JONES!”

“Ladies and gentlemen . . . GRACE JONES!” : Thirty four years after the legendary performance of her 1978 concert at Roseland Ballroom, NYC – Grace Jones returned last night and gave what perhaps will go down as one of her most legendary concerts of her career. She has not changed a bit. At 64 years old she is an astoundingly fit statuesque Amazonian creature as she was then. When she asked “Who was here in 1978?” the roar in response was deafening. (I was there that night in 1978). The sold out concert crowd recreated the height of the atmosphere of the divine Studio 54 disco days. Extreme outfits were the norm. Glam, glitz, drag, shock and over the top seemed to be the order of the night.
Grace outdid herself for her die hard fans, even the Hammerstein Ballroom concert performance of July, 2009. She was more animated, loose, filled with naughty adlibs (Grace is obviously an oral sex fan). Roseland’s lighting crew was off their game for which Grace retorted with a flurry of quips, zingers and re-starts of her legendary disco and new wave songs. No dubbing, live for almost 2 hours! “Keepin’ it tight!” It was Grace unleashed.
Every move was a camera pose. Every gesture calculated to cause frenzy and cameras to go wild. She is still a fierce, angry, cocky sexual diva. Her legendary toned body is remarkable, her legs are longer than a Barbie doll’s, her ass firmer that a 30 year old. One of her songs was performed while consistently swirling a hula hoop around her waist and then while continually twirling and moving about the stage she introduced the band – constantly twirling! Lady Gaga, Britney, Madonna, Rhianna, Taylor Swift or any of the young acts today do not have the stamina of this remarkable icon. With a  hard pounding rock/reggae beat flavored with disco and new wave,  her mega hits did not dissapoint. Ironically called “The Hurricane Tour”, Grace ended in defiance singing “Hurricane” while huge fans blew her about on stage and whipped the crowd into an ecstatic frenzy! The aftermath of this hurricane = euphoria.

Photo of the day: TREE CLIMBING TURTLES !

TREE CLIMBING TURTLES!: I could not believe my eyes. I was photographing the lake at Heron’s Point in Central Park when I noticed this lovely shady cove. At first glance I saw the beautiful water and trees and was lulled by the tranquility of the scene. Then –  as my eye zoomed onto the main branch of the tree, there were two turtles marching up the tree! Who knew there are tree climbing turtles ! I love New York !


ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? Bloomberg does NOT pay full fare on mass transit! That son-of-a-b. is the 10th richest man in this country, worth (at least what has been revealed) $25 billion. Yet he has chosen to have a reduced fare metro card!
WTF!??!?!!??!!!!! That speaks volumes. . .



CRAZY OLD AUNTS DESERVE TO DIE!: A rather startling ad part of a series in New York City subways. “If they have lung cancer. Many people believe that if you have lung cancer you did something to deserve it. It sounds absurd, but it’s true. Lung cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither should you. Help put an end to the stigma and the disease at NoOneDeservesToDie.org”

Photo of the day: PRICELESS LUNCH RUSH

PRICELESS LUNCH RUSH: A quiet corner booth at restaurant ’21 Club’ – $37.
A table on the main aisle at ‘Cipriani’ – $50.
A coveted lunch table in the center of the room at ‘The Four Seasons’ – $125.
Securing one of the few tables available at New York’s most expensive restaurant ‘Masa’ – $300.
Enjoying a McDonald’s sandwich with a street corner view = priceless.



Republican Senator Richard Murdock of Indiana: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”


FRIED EGG OR A PURPLE WIG – IT’S ALL THE SAME: (From Bette Midler’s 1977 “Live At Last” album)
“I was walking down 42nd street one day, I wasn’t workin’42nd street I was walkin 42nd street. And this amazing thing happened to me. It was July it was about 98 degrees. It was hot, hot for New York You know and I was walking east and this humungous person was coming west. And she had this big blue house dress on peppered all over with little white daisies. She was almost bald but sitting on top of her head, forehead you know on her forehead was this fried egg. Which I thought was really unusual. Because in New York City the ladies with the fried eggs on their heads don’t generally come out until September or October you know. Here was this lady this demented lady with a little fried egg on her head in the middle of July. God what a sight and ever, ever since I saw that lady not one day goes by that I don’t think of her and I say to myself “Oh God, don’t let me wake up tomorrow and want to put a fried egg on my head. Oh God. “Then I say real fast I say ” Oh God, If by chance I should wind up with a fried egg on my head”;cause sometimes you can’t help those things you know, you can’t. I say to myself “don’t let anybody notice.”And then I say real fast after that “if they do notice that I’m carrying something that, that’s not quite right and they want to talk about it, let ’em talk about it but don’t let ’em talk so I can hear I don’t want to hear it.” Cause the truth about fried eggs, you can call it a fried egg, you can call it anything you like, but everybody gets one, some people wear ’em on the outside, some people they wear ’em on the inside.”




Photo of the day: BANAN-APEAL

BANAN-APEAL: The economy is taking a bad turn when our local fruits are begging in the streets! This down and out banana was found a-peeling for funds on east 40th street Friday afternoon. ‘Brother, can you spare an ice cream scoop?” “I’ll ripen for $1.00.” “Do I a-peel to you?” “I’ll peel for $2.00!”
Truth be told, I was in a hurry to an appointment down the street when I passed this scene and found it quite amusing and odd. Half an hour later I passed by and still no one was there, so I went into one of the local stores to shop. Fifteen minutes later, still no one, just the banana. When I asked how the banana was doing, it said “I just miss the rest of the bunch.”

Photo of the day: IDENTITY CRISIS

IDENTITY CRISIS: the Milford Plaza Hotel in Times Square seems to be suffering from a bad case of identity crisis. Due to an electrical shortage the full service hotel’s sign seems to be confused between ‘Motel’ and ‘Hotel’. (Slightly reminiscent of the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho”).


‘Phil’ is an albino peacock who lives in the gardens of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Harlem NYC with his brothers Jim and Harry who are the standard green/purple colors of a peacock.  St. John the Divine is the largest gothic style cathedral in the world, two football fields long. Built in 1892, it is still in the process of being built. When attending an organ concert at the cathedral you will hear Phil chime in, he screeches along to the music.

Photo of the day: FLOATING

FLOATING: This hyper-realistic sculpture sits in Petrosino Square, the triangular pocket park at the intersection of Soho, Little Italy, and Chinatown. It is by artist Carole Feuerman as part of NYC’s public arts program. It is unbelievably detailed down to the translucent drops of water on her skin – it is called ‘The Survival of Serena’. Here is a link to Carole’s web site, it is astounding: http://www.carolefeuerman.com/


A GRANDE DAME – ANNY CORNELIUS, MY AUNT:  10-18-1898 to 6-8-1987. Opera singer. Sister to my mother’s mother. My grandmother was Amahlie Jeahne who was a concert pianist and also a soprano opera singer who sang Queen of the Night under the direction of iconic German conductor Herbert Von Karajan. Anny was the feisty one. She gave up her whole life for her opera career with the Berlin State Opera. She lived and breathed music. To Karajan’s astonishment she had perfect pitch. She could hit the note just like that! Karajan would always say: “Get the little dark one to hit the note, she can do it!” That…somewhat annoyed yet impressed opera diva Maria Callas. Callas would not associate with the rest of any cast much, but she always remembered my great aunt. Despite being German, Anny had somewhat of a olive complexion and thick, beautiful dark brown long hair and big brown saucer eyes. This intrigued both Karajan and Callas. So hence – Callas and Karajan dubbed her “the little dark one”. Both called her that for the rest of their lives. When in Venice, Callas would write Anny letters saying ‘my little dark one, the party won’t be the same without you, please come.’ Anny sang some of the top roles such as The Rosenkavalier and Carmen, her career was about to break so she would receive top billing continuously, but World War II ended what many believe, would have been an astounding career. As with 9/11, inhaling all that debris when running from the bombings and the gases, never brought her voice to quite what it was. The fate for so many singers at the time. So…she taught. Her classes in her 5 floor walk up apartment were much sought after.
Royalty had proposed marriage to Anny. She could have any suitor she wanted. Her sister Amahlie married, Anny…was married to the passion of her music – her career. She had music in her soul! She sang for the soldiers during the bombing attacks in Berlin. He presence lit up a room. Her laugh was a rolling waterfall of notes. The life of every party, which is why Callas would always invite her.
The letters from Callas are all gone. Anny was one of the first people to recognizably die of Alzheimer’s disease. Although at first it was assumed it was old age senility. She retired in a home for opera singers paid for by the German state. My mother, her sister and I lived in New York. We couldn’t be by her side all the time in her last months. Mom supported the family, ‘oma/grandma’ took care of me. Her neighbors knew of the Callas treasures and talked her out of them. When we arrived in her last days, most everything was gone. All we have are a few distant remnants of her glorious past. She is hard to find on the internet although some opera buffs have found recordings of her we have yet to find ourselves. We only own one record and her publicity photos. Here she is at the height of her career. Anny was my Auntie Mame to the fullest. Grande dame, dramatic, ultra chic and worldly – she taught me how to “live”. Anny Cornelius   – today is her birthday.
Roles sung: The Count – The Rosenkavalier
One of the Rhine Maidens – The Ring at Bayreuth under Karajan
Carmen – Bizet’s Carmen
Role unknown – Verdi’s Troubador
Erda – Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Photo of the day: HOPE

HOPE: Dad – has hope for a better future, hope for tomorrow, hope for a better world, for a good presidential outcome, hope for good health, hope his son will go to college and hope that he will be able to afford it.

Son – has hope for ice cream, hope for a squishy teething ring, hope for a puppy, hope for hugs from mommy, hope for one more ride down the slide and at least 20 more minutes on the swings.




Photo of the day: YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO . . .

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO . . . : Wear a mini skirt, fish net stockings, black leather knee high boots and to try to figure out how to use your iPhone !

Photo of the day: GETTING SOME TAIL

GETTING SOME TAIL: The Nestle’s Quick bunny made an appearance at a local Greenwich Village fair recently. He was very adorable and bounced around and danced so much with the little kids that his tail came loose. His cameraman quickly alerted “Quick” and they tried to find a secluded corner over by the vegetables and flowers still being set up. That excited these two little girls who wanted to know if even chocolate bunnies really do love their carrots so much. The entire time they were so enchanted by Mr. Bunny that they were clueless that he was having his tail fixed.
“Ah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love carrots.”
“Ok, move it along kid.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna eat the carrots, in a minute, now give Mr, Bunny some privacy, move it along kid….”