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: TOWERING TULIPS


Photo of the day: TOWERING TULIPS
While strolling through Forest Hills Gardens one day,
In the merry, merry month of May,
I was taken by surprise
By a towering tulip high rise,
I  wished I could stay underneath all day.

Photo of the day: INHALING


Photo of the day: INHALINGBeth’s gloves are socks with the toes cut off. Her shawl is the cut off bottom of a dress. The 1970’s denim jacket was found in the trash and made a great vest once the sleeves were cut off. “New York has cool crap you can find, but you gotta look at night,” Beth explained as she took a break from putting her New York wardrobe together.



Photo of the day: THE GRAVES AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER – With the advent of the final spire being lifted and set in place at The New World Trade Center, Thursday May 2nd, here is a more uncommon view of the Trade Center taken from the graveyard of St. Paul’s Church. It dates back to 1766 and is one of the oldest graveyards in New York. St. Paul’s has always been known as the church George Washington attended, his pew is still inside. But today it is also known as ‘The Little Church That Stood.’ Despite it’s age and being right across the street of the former Twin Towers, the church did not have one chip in the stone, nor one crack in the glass while all the other buildings in the immediate area suffered damage. It is ironic that this old graveyard would come to be an unusual vantage point of what is now yet another grave site across the street.



Photo of the day: CIRCLING COLUMBUS – Columbus Circle, named for Christopher Columbus, is a major landmark and point of attraction in  New York City, located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South and Central Park West.

Completed in 1905 and renovated a century later, the circle was designed by William P. Enos – a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control – as part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for Central Park, which included a “Grand Circle” at the Merchants’ Gate, its most important 8th Avenue entrance.

The monument at the center of Columbus Circle, created by Italian sculptor Gaetona Russo was erected as part of New York’s 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas. Constructed with funds raised by Il Progresso a New York City-based Italian-language newspaper, raising the money  from Italian immigrants with their pennies, nickles and dimes,  the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot (21 m) granite column decorated with bronze reliefs representing Columbus’ ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

If you are fan of the classic TV show “The Odd Couple”, the fountain was featured in the opening and closing credits in the later runs of the show. At the time the monument was sitting within a fountain, the design of which now has been renovated.  The credits’ scene is where Felix meets Oscar by a big fountain in New York City’s Columbus Circle: Oscar throws a cigar butt in the fountain, Felix barks at him to pick it up, and Oscar scoops it up with his shoe then places the wet and soiled cigar butt in Felix’s pocket.

Renovations to the circle completed in 2005 included new water fountains by WET, of Fountains of Bellagio fame; wooden benches; and plantings encircling the monument. The inner circle measures approximately 36,000 square feet (3,300 m2), and the outer circle is approximately 148,000 square feet (13,700 m2). Day or night, it is still of the most majestic places in Manhattan.



ROCKETTE collage

Photo of the day: WHICH ONE OF THESE GIRLS WILL BECOME A RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL ROCKETTE? Only the grueling 45 minute audition will tell. Yesterday morning hundreds of anxious women between 5’6″ and 5’10 1/2″ tall, proficient in ballet, tap, and jazz lined up on 50th Street outside the iconic landmark Radio City Music Hall to hopefully fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a NYC Rockette, if even only for the run of the popular Christmas show. They were told to all come with a ‘Rockette Look’. All the women had the same Christmas red accented lips. No short haired ladies, they all had long hair pulled back in a chignon. Most eyes bore heavy black false eye lashes. It was a strange yet beautiful sort of 2013 version of the 1988 Robert Palmer music video “Simply Irresistible”. Rows and rows of them, simply ‘irresistible.’
It also looked like the opening scene of ‘A Chorus Line’. The looks on their waiting faces ranged from anxiety to sheer excitement. Later in the day, about 1pm, I passed by again and the last girl was being admitted inside. But now on 50th street, there was also this stream of women leaving Radio City Music Hall that, to the passers by…oddly all seemed to look alike! Some serene, some happy, some in tears. Callbacks will be on Wednesday for the lucky ones to get through to audition further, ultimately proving the Big Apple is where everything is possible and dreams can come true.
New York City is called the Big Apple because the red apple, like temptation from Eve to Adam, represents ‘the tempting opportunity’ the people have flocked to this city for centuries to take a bite of. The apple of these ladies’ eye is a contract which states: “Travel and Housing are provided for all performers in shows performing outside New York City. No travel or housing is provided for the performers of the show in New York.  If cast in the show, performers will be offered an American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) contract with competitive salaries and benefits.”
Here’s hoping one of them will be kicking her heels high at Christmas time !
Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…Again!
Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…Again!
Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…Again!
Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…Right!
That connects with… Turn, turn, out, in, jump, step,
Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch. Got it?… Going on.
And… Turn, turn, touch, down, back, step,
Pivot, step, walk, walk, walk.
Right! Let’s do the whole combination, Facing away from the mirror.
From the top. A-Five, six, seven, eight!
[ALL] God, I hope I get it. I hope I get it. How many people does he need?
[BOYS] How many people does he need?
[GIRLS] God, I hope I get it.
[ALL] I hope I get it. How many boys, how many girls?
[GIRLS] How many boys, how many…?
[ALL] Look at all the people! At all the people. How many people does he need? How many boys, how many girls? How many people does he…?
[TRICIA] I really need this job. Please God, I need this job. I’ve got to get this job.
[ALL] God, I really blew it! I really blew it! How could I do a thing like that?
[BOYS] How could I do a thing like…
[ALL] Now I’ll never make it! I’ll never make it! He doesn’t like the way I look. He doesn’t like the way I dance. He doesn’t like the way I…
[ALL] GOD, I think I’ve got it. I think I’ve got it. I knew he liked me all the time. Still it isn’t over.
[MAGGIE] What’s coming next?
[ALL] It isn’t over.
[MIKE] What happens now?
[ALL] I can’t imagine what he wants.
[GIRLS] I can’t imagine what he…
[ALL] God, I hope I get it! I hope I get it. I’ve come this far, but even so It could be yes, it could be no, How many people does he…?
I really need this job.
[A FEW VOICES] My unemployment is gone.
[ALL] Please, God, I need this job.
[A FEW VOICES] I knew I had it from the start.
[ALL] I’ve got to get this show.
[PAUL] Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don’t know.
What does he want from me? What should I try to be? So many faces all around, and here we go. I need this job, oh God, I need this show.