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

Archive for May, 2013



Photo of the day: I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO THE QUEENS “INVINCIBLE SUMMER” ART FAIR ! – This photo called “Winter’s Sun” of a polar bear bather taking a dip in the winter’s ocean on Coney Island got me accepted into the art show and fair. The fair is a juried exhibition for which hundreds entered and 50 were selected one of them is ME. The exhibition grants me the right then to also be in the art fair, which is an art sale to be held at Queen of Angels parish hall on June 9th from 1pm to 5pm. A formal invitation will be announced here! Please come and “meet and greet (and catch up with) the artist!’
The on-going exhibit will be held right down the street from me in my hood at the Claret Wine Bar, June 11 – July 9.
Sunday, June 9, 1-5pm: Art Fair – Queen of Angels Parish, 44-04 Skillman Ave, Sunnyside, NY 11104, Phone: (718) 392-0011
Tuesday, June 11, time tba:  Exhibit opening night party. Claret Wine Bar, 4602 Skillman Avenue/corner 46th Street, Sunnyside . Queens . 718-937-7411   http://www.claretwinebar.com/
A N D – – – all good things come in three’s. I will have my own exhibit of 12 – 14 works at The Brogue Bar and Restaurant in mid June!! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brogue/113474548686125
My photography web site: http://hansvonrittern.com/
I truly hope you will join me there! STAY TUNED  ! ! !
WebSAorg2013 a



Photo of the day: ROCK CENTERED – Following the incredible public response to Ugo Rondinone’s Human Nature public art display at Rockefeller Center, the exhibition has been extended by one month and will remain on view through July 7! Transforming Rockefeller Center Plaza between 49th and 50th Streets, Rondinone’s nine colossal stone figures stand like ancient sentries in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Their immovable legs are gates through which visitors pass (and where they often pose for photos!) and their primal 16- to 20-foot-tall forms stand in stark contrast to the modern buildings that surround them. Some say they look like human figures…I say they look like stacked rocks – art is in the eye of the beholder. (And no, you can’t climb to ‘the top of the rock’).
Share your images of the exhibition using the hashtag #UgoNYC or upload your images to PublicArtFund.org, where they will live as part of their exhibition archive!
This exhibition is presented by Nespresso and organized by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer.



Photo of the day: MRS. HIGGINBOTTOM GOES FOR A WALK– Every morning about half past ten, Mrs. Higginbottom will put on her sensible shoes in preparation for her daily constitutional. A raincoat is always necessary since one never knows when it might rain. Her favorite burgundy hat is just right for the light morning drizzle, a folding umbrella is in her shoulder bag should the weather get more inclement. The shoulder bag contains the necessities of her walk: a good book, the morning papers, some tea biscuits and a handkerchief of lace. With a sense of coordination she wore her burgundy blouse to match the hat today, and in a last minute frivolous moment, she decided to add the leopard print scarf given to her by Maurice. Maurice’s memories always give her comfort, in the rain one needs comfort.
10:15am promptly she leaves her flat. Whilst walking one must always be sure to ward off the purse snatchers, so Mrs. Higginbottom always grasps her handbag steadily in front of her. She is ever ready – for the rain, her memories of Maurice and her walk amongst the downtown purse snatchers. Walk on Mrs. Higginbottom, walk on. 



Photo of the day: INVASION OF THE BIKE SNATCHERS – According to the Napoleonic dictatorship of Mayor Bloomberg, New York City can be made in to a country village of happy bicyclists that will not interfere with this bustling city. These bike share racks are an under the table deal arranged between Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner and Citibank. Ms. Kahn is assured a rosey retirement thanks to this delusional deal. Citibank floods the city with it’s peddling meddling logos and and Ms. Kahn will rest even more comfortably.
The docking stations, they claim, were organized with the neighbor leaders, the neighborhoods remember no such meetings. Instead they have replaced much, much needed parking spaces, loading and unloading zones in this city of millions of commercial establishments, tour bus stops, and have even been placed in front of private residences blocking cabs and most urgently – ambulances. The ambulances will be needed since the bikes carry no helmet requirements.
Many of these ‘day trippers’ have no regards for the rules of the road and ride against traffic, on the sidewalks and come barreling through the traffic lights. The bikes have no substantial racks to carry your belongings and I would like to know how this will replace public transportation in the sleet, rain and snow storms to come.
Go up 6th Avenue! I have in private tours all weekend. The trucks are TRIPLE parked because of those damned bike lanes with no one in them! Garbage trucks can’t get close to the curb either. Try navigating your bus or car around triple parked garbage trucks! But the most egregious placement of the bike racks is the deliberate elimination of public art spaces. Emperor Bloomberg is clearly wearing no clothes.

Mondays on Memory Lane: Richard Skipper weaves a magical evening with Tommy Tune

TOMMY TUNE 5-23-13

Mondays on Memory Lane: Richard Skipper weaves a magical evening with Tommy Tune – On Thursday night, May 23rd, 2013, Richard Skipper hosted an extraordinary evening of intimate conversation with nine time Tony winner Tommy Tune at Queensborough Community College. The evening was a rare privilege for all. First and foremost for Richard, since it was Tommy himself who had requested him for the interview. Secondly for all of us lucky enough to be in the audience. To see this talented icon of Broadway theater open up to Richard’s questions and reminisce freely was an exciting treat. We’ve all seen Tommy Tune dance and perform, but a shared moment like this is irreplaceable. Richard knows his theater history, combined with both their friendships with legend Carol Channing – their bond made for an insightful conversation. Tommy shared lessons learned from luminaries such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Carol, Michael Bennett, Lucie Arnaz, Honey Coles and his perfect pairing with Twiggy in the film “The Boyfriend” and the hit Broadway show “My One and Only”.
Tommy Tune reflects

Tommy Tune reflects

Tommy Tune doing the letter "H" from the song "You Gotta Have Heart"

Tommy Tune doing the letter “H” from the song “You Gotta Have Heart”

At age 74, Tommy has a youthful energy that comes from the love of his craft. He simply radiates joy. The audience was riveted by the insight and advice Tommy gave, many times reinforcing that our own uniqueness should drive our determination to forge forward and take chances and leaps of faith. Richard steered the ‘conversation’ masterfully. In ending the evening Richard with his usual warm charm, asked the audience to participate in asking questions of Tommy which added to the bond that had been created with both Tommy’s and Richard’s fans.  It was an evening not to be forgotten, thank you Richard!
"What Becomes A Legend Most?" 1994 ad poster

“What Becomes A Legend Most?” 1994 ad


Tommy Tune and Richard Skipper saying good night

Tommy Tune and Richard Skipper saying good night



Photo of the day: 4,000+ SOLDIERS LOST IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN  – On Memorial Day weekend, I always take my guests to Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street, which since 2006 has honored the fallen soldiers of these wars. Every Sunday yellow ribbons are added to the ever growing sea of yellows ribbons on their cast iron fence surrounding the church. Look at the white name tags and see all their names, but more movingly – see all their ages: 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26. . . a tragic loss of young lives.  
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale served as senior minister from 1932-1984 here, preaching ‘the power of positive thinking’. Under his ministry Marble’s influence reached national levels and became known as “America’s Hometown Church.” On November 19, 1961, Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church. On March 16, 2002 Liza Minnelli married gay David Gest in a freak $4 million dollar wedding ceremony. In the wedding party were Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross.
This church has seen a lot of history since being built in 1852, but today the most stark historical reminder is offered by this church with these yellow ribbons. Let’s think positively that this church won’t have to add many more names in the future, enough is enough.


Photo of the day: SPIDERMAN UNMASKED – There’s a story here, but it’s gone down the drain. I was walking down Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village when I seemed to be the only one who noticed something was awry in the gutters of New York. Has one of our superheroes been unmasked? Or, has one of the many ‘Spidermen’ in Times Square lost his mask on the way home? Is the mask part of someone’s Halloween discards? Somewhere there is a Spiderman unmasked. I wondered who it could be as I walked on, leaving the mask for the street sweeper to whisk away.

Photo of the day: CONNECTIVITY


Photo of the day: CONNECTIVITY



Photo of the day: GAY HATE CRIMES IN GREENWICH VILLAGE UP 70% IN 2013: What used to be a ‘village’ of all people of all colors and all persuasions is being lost by the rapid gentrification due to real estate greed. Still, if you are gay, the Village is your traditional home, where you are supposed to walk hand in hand with your lover and feel proud and safe about it. The rainbow flags are everywhere in preparation for Gay Pride day.
But – it is also a place to go ‘fag hunting’. Recently 29 fatal or near fatal hate crimes have been reported in the area. That is a 70% spike from last year. Some attribute it to a fluke, others to the gaining rights and the mainstreaming of gays that makes a small scared ignorant minority seek out their homophobic rage.
Those two factions met Sunday might as Mark Carson (32) was walking with his friend and was approached by Elliot Morales (33) taunting him, asking if he was a “gay wrestler.” Mark at first avoided the confrontation and kept walking, but the killer raced ahead and hunted Mark down. Confronted a second time, Mark was shot in the face and died almost instantly. As Elliot Morales was being restrained on a sidewalk, he laughed and boasted: ‘I shot him in the face.’
A memorial march was held, and a memorial continues to grow on the spot of the incident. The location happens to be the main intersection of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street, site of the former Barnes & Noble. This happens to be a main stop (to wait for traffic) as the miles long gay pride day parade waits to jubilantly enter the narrow winding and historic Christopher Street and pass by the Stonewall Inn, the site of the start of the gay rights movement. All of this is in frighteningly too close a proximity. Rather than hooting and hollering this year, I hope there will be silence on the part of the marchers as the parade passes by Mark Carson’s site.
As of Wednesday, May 22, today, five more gay hate crimes have been reported.



Photo of the day: ROOF COLLAPSE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE – Residents said it sounded like a car crash, next came the sound of fire engine sirens from everywhere. A row of four 125 year old buildings on a stretch of Bleecker Street between Grove and Barrow Street had the wooden and tin cornice suddenly come crashing down this afternoon around 2:30 pm. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. Firemen had to tear down the loose pieces and secure the rest of the cornice. As firemen inspected the roof it was now visibly obvious how rotted with age the wooden and tin cornice is. The firemen of ladder company 9/nine told me the roof is safe and secure, it is the cornice that will have the eliminated. Residents inside the buildings and stores were evacuated till the buildings can be declared as safe. The popular A.O.C. Restaurant at 314 Bleecker has also been affected by this. One of the residents of 312 Bleecker was a stunned expectant mother and her son who had to find a place to stay till they can safely return. Ironically one of the tenants was in the process of moving out, talk about omens! And speaking of omens….a gypsy fortune teller around the corner named ‘Clair Voyant’ oddly didn’t see it coming . . .