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

Archive for June, 2013

Photo of the day: ‘G’ IS FOR GARAGE


Photo of the day: ‘G’ IS FOR GARAGE –  Finding an available parking space on the streets of New York City can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Even if you luck into a space, confusing signs and malfunctioning meters can lead to expensive parking tickets, if the lousy new muni-meters aren’t working they can negate a whole block.
It’s no wonder that so many New York drivers rely on parking garages. Parking in a garage will cost you more than parking on the street, but will also save you time and headaches when you’re in a hurry. According to
Park It! NYC 2009, a directory of Manhattan parking garages, there are 103,000 licensed, off-street parking spaces in Manhattan. New York parking garages range from the tiny (the one at 324 W. 11th St. has just 7 spaces) to the enormous (the garage at Pier 40 has 3,500 spaces).
But how much are you wiling to pay for this privileged space? In Manhattan it can cost as much as an additional room to your apartment. The most expensive parking space in Manhattan is located as part of a private townhouse at 66 East 11th Street for the annual rate of $1 million dollars a year! There are cheaper spaces – at the 2nd most expensive garage in NYC at the GM Building, 767 Fifth Avenue/59th Street where the rate is only $66. a day = $1,320 per month!

But, the average price for monthly parking in Manhattan is $431. Some garages will offer discounts if you commit to a six-to-twelve-month contract, so go ahead and try to negotiate. Hourly rates tend to vary widely by neighborhood — from about $6 to $25 and over. ‘G’ is for ‘golly!’, ‘gosh!’, ‘gee wiz!’ and ‘God damn!’



The tropical breezes blow
The palm trees sway to and fro
As the piña coladas  flow
The city seems to glow.
For a luxurious tropical night in Manhattan visit 230 Fifth Avenue’s rooftop cocktail lounge. All sorts of palms trees and lush fauna in giant white wooden planters let you forget you are in The Big Apple, but take a look at the skyline view – and you see the best view of one of the world’s most iconic buildings, The Empire State Building and it’s surrounding skyscrapers. Sip your Mai tai as you watch the magic of Manhattan’s sunsets turn the skyline from blue to orange to red to irridescent blue as the light come on the skyline starts to glow! 230 FIFTH is the largest outdoor rooftop garden in New York City.
230 FIFTH has two floors, an outdoor rooftop as well as a fully enclosed (Penthouse Lounge) and private event rooms underneath, both with breathtaking views of the NYC skyline.  Their Rooftop Garden also has very large, oversize umbrellas for rainy days, or for very hot sunny days, they partially heat the rooftop in cooler months. 230 Fifth is a lounge that also offers a full food menu. Open every day, 365 days of the year to the general public from 4:00PM – 4:00AM. Saturday and Sunday Brunch from 10am-4pm.
Location: 230 FIFTH AVE corner 27th street on 5th Ave. 212-725-4300



Photo of the day: WEDNESDAY ADDAMS LIVES! –  Do ~not~ cross her for she is ruler of her garden! Don’t let her lace dress fool you, or the innocent face – she wields her mighty sharp sword and is deadly serious. Keep out unless asked! Photos by permission only, her’s is the only permission that rules . . . and she means it.
“Wednesday” is really seven year old Brady Allen Egan.  Brady Allen born on Labor Day 2005 is an older earnest spirit inside a young girl’s body. Last year she asked everybody to bring kids shoes for her birthday party instead of presents and she donated them to  President Clinton’s Rotararian project. For this years 8th birthday, Brady will ask for donations to be made to President Clinton’s AIDS foundation. She also donated her hair about amonth ago and that’s why she has such a chic short bob. Brady loves, loves animals, she has a cat and a dog, both rescues, and Brady is always outside playing with them to make them happy. She walks to school every day, her parents do not have a car and in her home of Pleasantville, Long Island they don’t have school busses. So, every morning with a determined gate, she heads off to become the future ruler of the world. What does this selfless ballet and soccer player want to be when she finally reaches 21 – a veterinarian. Until then, careful if you see her – she means business!



Mondays on Memory Lane: YORKVILLE’S SCHALLER & WEBER’S DELICATESSEN –  At the turn of the century from 1890 – 1910 one third on New York City spoke German, today hardly anyone does and instead you hear Spanish, Russian and Chinese.  I was born in 1955 and as a child we would go to the German section of the city named Yorkville. Yorkville’s center street was East 86th Street and it’s surrounding streets. In this area you could still here strains of “wunderbar” and ooom-pah-pah ♫♪ all around you. You could buy everything from back home: Mecki books, Salamander shoes, Zarah Leander and Heino records, teewurst, Loden coats, Tyrolian hats, beer steins, wooden nut crackers, Lübeck Marzipan, German magazines and newspapers and all the wiener schnitzel and beer you wanted.
That was then, today there are only 2 establishments left that I know of. The Heidelberg Restaurant (1648 Second Avenue) where today the little dark haired Guatemalan waiters wearing (much too big) lederhosen  tell you the day’s specials in a heavy Spanish accent. But…there is one staple that has remained – Schaller and Weber, opened in 1937 at 1654 Second Avenue/86th Street, a German delicatessen where the white haired old German butchers with German accents still politely slice the fresh deli meats daily.
When I was a little boy, this place was heaven to me and still is. You can just lock me up behind the deli counter and leave me in there for a week. Ahhh! The smoked hams, the dozens of salamis, the stuffed peppers, stuffed veal, weiß wurst, Westphalian ham and my obsession – roladen! Roladen are very thin slices of beef, rolled up with spices, bacon and onion inside, pan fried with a rich dark gravy, add boiled potatoes and you’re set. Then there are also the wonderful chocolates, sauces, white asparagus, smoked fish, hearty breads, Bahlsen cookies, Maggi and Knorr spices and a fine assortment of cheeses.
In 2013, for a person born in to an all German family, Schaller and Weber is that one place I can still retreat to and relive my childhood, inhale deeply and feel at home. The store, (thank god) has hardly changed. They are struggling to hang on throughout the great disruption of the second avenue subway being built. There were rumors of them not being able to afford to stay open, but when I reach the corner of 2nd Avenue and 86th Street – they are still there – a sight for sore eyes. I go inside and it is Christmas/Weihnachten 1962 and I’m standing in line with my numbered ticket to be called as I am fixating on all the goodies I hope my mother will buy for the Christmas holidays, always topped off with the treat of a Lübecker marzipan bar. Some kids dreamed of being locked up in toys stores and candy shops – I dreamed of being locked up in Schaller and Weber!
Here is a partial list of their goodies and a link to their web site:

Spaetzle (German Noodle)

Imported Brands Maggi, Panni, Bechtle, Riehle (Manager’s Favorite)

Pickles & Sauerkraut Gundelsheim, Hengstenberg, Pickled Herring

Mustard & Ketcup Lowensene, Handlmaier & Thomy, Feisner & Hela (Ketchup)

Honey (Honig) Bihophar & Langnese (Assorted Flavors)

Soup & Gravy Mixes Knorr, Maggi Potato Dumplings & Pancake Mixes

Jams /Jellies Darbo (Austrian), Vavel (Polish), Landsberg (Germany)

Breads Landsberg, Mestemacher

German Cheeses Limberger, Harzer Kase, Tilsit

Coffees Jacobs, Tchibo, Dallmayer

Syrups Darbo (Austrian), Marco Polo (Hungarian), Adro, (Many more & assorted flavors)

Assorted Cosmetics 4711, The oldest brand in Germany, Fa, Nivia, Kamille

Sweets & Treats Haribo: Gummy Bears (Large Variety), Swedish Fish: Abba (Assorted Flavors), Bahlsen Cookies: Kipderl, Waffelette, Butter Leibniz, Kopper’s Chocolates, Marzipan: Maker, Mozart Kugeln: Reber

Photo of the day: “…love doesn’t come at the time and place you expect it to…”


Photo of the day: MINDY CASSEL & RAY ROSATO WED 6-16-2012My two dear friends Ray & Mindy are married one year today! Ray gave me the great  honor of asking me to be the best man at their wedding, which meant I had to deliver the toast. I worked and worked on my speech and decided to base it on the love story of an adopted Greek aunt of mine Aunt Grekorakis, ‘Aunt G’ for short. Here is my wedding toast:
RAY ROSATO, I suspect,  was a grumpy old man before he was 30. He is the cantankerous old Jewish man on the corner, the Italian punk with attitude, a true cussing New Yorker, a great tour guide and comedian, and a dear friend.
I love Ray because of all these qualities, some say in spite of them 🙂 We met 5 years ago at Gray Line and it was instant “love”. The same was my affection for Mindy. She has this jubilant light inside, this child-like enthusiasm for everything she does. Bursting to do her best with this beaming smile. I fell in love with both of them.  Soon, I discovered Mindy is my neighbor, just 2 blocks away and that Ray would often come to stay with her. Poor Ray on the 7 train…….once Mindy and I started gabbing about something that upset her, or the theater, or work, the best Ray could do was to be able to interject with 3 phrases: uh-huh, I‘m listening, and (to either one of us) “yes dear“.
I mean all of this in the most loving way. If ever 2 people were meant to be together, it’s Ray and Mindy – just look in their eyes when they look at each other. It’s George Burns and Gracie Allen, Lunt & Fontaine, Bacardi & rum, ying and yang, Mork & Mindy, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Lucy and Ricky, peanut butter and jelly, Bogie and Bacall, Barney and Betty Rubble, cookies and milk.
But – There’s one couple they remind me of the most. . . Growing up, I had this adopted Greek aunt ‘Grekorakis’, aunt “G” for short. Imagine Lucille Ball with blonde poodle cut hair. She was a chain smoker, consistently blew smoke rings, which fascinated me! Wore 4 charm bracelets on each wrist, drank ouzo and simply was…divine! In 1964, at age 82, she met and fell in love with professor Ralph Harlow from Harvard. They were married the very next year. Their picture is right here! She wore a lace, almost see through wedding dress, danced on the tables in a Greenwich Village grotto at the reception and then they traveled around the world as she lovingly dotted on him.
So, at a very early age, I saw that love doesn’t come at the time and place you expect it to. But it does fatefully come when the time is right and your heart is hopefully open enough to know “it’s right”. Well, the time is right for Ray and Mindy. They fit. Their lives fit. They’re Aunt “G” and Ralph. They found each other when the time is right. How divine! So – A toast: To our bride and groom – Ray and Mindy Rosato! (I can’t believe I just said that!). To a safe, secure and happy future together! Lacheim, Salute and Cheers! I love you both!
Their wedding day 1965

Their wedding day 1965

Photo of the day: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LOVE ♥ !


Photo of the day: THANK YOU to my diverse group of friends who showed up for the opening night reception party of my one man show at The Brogue! 4910 Skillman Avenue, between 49/50th Streets, Sunnyside, NY. The photos will be on display and for sale for three months!

Photo of the day: 97th ANNUAL AMERICAN FLAG DAY

Flag at Willets Point, Queens

Flag at Willets Point, Queens

“…Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave…”
Photo of the day: FLAG DAY – Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
In 1916, president Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an act of congress.
The scenic way to come Friday is by “7” train. At the time you will be traveling there are local and express “7” trains. Express have red circle lights and locals have green light circles. You want the green. When the train exits the tunnel into Queens, stay… on the left side of the car for a fantastic phenomenal view of the Manhattan skyline, the 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum and the Queensboro Bridge! Get off at 46th street. Cross Queens Blvd. to the “T Mobile side” and walk down 46th street, my home block, 2 avenues to Skillman Avenue. (When you are on the block btwn 43rd Ave/Skillman, the first apt. building on the left with the white Roman columns, 41-30 46th Street = is my home!) On Skillman Avenue turn right and walk uphill to 49th Street, The Brogue is located between 49/50th Streets, #4910 Skillman Avenue – see you all there !
The non scenic way is to take N or Q train to Queensboro Plaza, stay towards back for the view from the platform of NYC, switch to 7 GREEN LOCAL to 52nd street, walk north to Skillman, turn left 2 block to 50th street.



Photo of the day: MARY IN THE GARDEN – this photo garnered the most buzz and this past weekend’s art fair. My good friend Tom Orzo and I  had finished giving a private German tour in our Sterling Tours’ Mercedes coach and dropped off our guests in Red Hook, Brooklyn at pier 12 for their departure on The Queen Mary II. We decided to drive around and explore the relatively untouched industrial area. We came across The Intercourse Arts Center founded by contemporary artist Dustin Yellin in 2012. The center includes a large scale exhibition space, a garden and sculpture park, an artist-in-residency program, a class and lecture series.
The Intercourse is housed in a fantastic open Civil War era brick building. The space was originally a part of the complex of Pioneer Iron Works and is a remnant of Red Hook’s booming industrial past. At the time the Iron Works occupied nearly the entire block between Imlay and Conover streets. Dustin Yellin purchased the 24,000 square foot building from Time Moving and Storage in June 2011 and began renovations soon after.
Today it is an amazing art space with a sculpture garden that has all sorts of treasures and collectibles in it such as this early 1960’s Airstream stainless steel trailer. As I was walking about the garden I found the most fantastic contrast of transportation modes located not too far away from each other. The 2004 Queen Mary II bound for Southampton, England and the 1962 Airstream trailer resting comfortably in the garden. It was a momentary sight to behold these two transportation marvels.
A large 11×14 print of this photo is available for sale at http://hansvonrittern.com/
Come celebrate my one man show!! June 14, Friday, 7:30-10:00pm.
15 photos beautifully displayed at The Brogue Bar in my hood of Sunyside/LIC Queens. Located at 4910 Skillman Avenue (between 49/50th Streets). Easy to get to: take N/R/Q train to Queensboro Plaza, transfer to “7” LOCAL/GREEN train, get off either 46th or 52nd Street and walk 2 avenues north. Let’s make this a 4th of July/Christmas/Memorial Day/Labor Day celebration! Wine and cheese will be served, cash bar. Please come – I will be so happy to see you all!

Photos of the week: Come celebrate my one man show Friday, June 14th , 7:30-10:00pm !!

The photos were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Hans' friends soon would be there!

The photos were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Hans’ friends soon would be there!

Come celebrate my one man show!!
15 photos beautifully displayed at The Brogue Bar in my hood of Sunnyside/LIC Queens.
Located at 4910 Skillman Avenue (between 49/50th Streets). 
Easy to get to: take N/R/Q train to Queensboro Plaza, transfer to “7” GREEN/LOCAL train, get off either 46th or 52nd Street and walk 2 avenues north.
Let’s make this a birthday/Christmas/4th of July/ Labor Day celebration!
Wine and cheese will be served, cash bar.
Please come – I will be so happy to see you all!


ART FAIR 2013 collage

Photos of the day: STOP BY AND SEE AND BUY SOME OF MY PHOTOS: You have two chances in the next two weeks. This Sunday, June 9th, is the “Invincible Summer” Art Fair at Queen of Angels Parish Hall, 44-04 Skillman Ave, corner 44th Street, 2 blocks from subway, phone 718-392-0011. I’ll be selling some of my photos from 1pm – 5pm.
Photos starting as low as $20 and $25 !
MORE GREAT NEWS! I will have my own exhibit of 12-14 of my works at The Brogue Restaurant and Bar on 4910 Skillman Avenue (between 49/50th Streets) here in my hood Sunnyside. The reception party is tentatively scheduled for Friday June 14th. Please come all! This is the first time I am having an exhibit of my own!
So come to both occasions but definitely come to the reception tentatively scheduled June 14th.!
Hopefully see you this Sunday too 🙂