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

Archive for October, 2013



Photo of the day: HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM BABY DIVINE!If ever there was a fierce drag queen, it was Divine! Born Harris Glen Milstead, star of cult films like “Pink Flamingos”, “Mondo Trasho”, “Female Trouble”, “Lust in the Dust”, “Multiple Maniacs”, “Polyester” and all time classic “Hairspray”. She has been copied ever since and will never be topped or duplicated. . . until now.
DIVINE in 'Pink Flamingos' 1972

DIVINE in ‘Pink Flamingos’ 1972

I saw this Halloween tribute to her in the window of Two Boots Pizza in Greenwich Village. Tonight’s New York Greenwich Village Halloween parade is the largest in the world – our ‘carnival’. Filled with political satire, sex, gore, sex, humor, sex, and over the top creativity! Over 3 million participants and viewers and broadcast internationally. Only in New York !
Two Boots Pizza - 210 West 11th Street, Greenwich Village

Two Boots Pizza – 210 West 11th Street, Greenwich Village



Photo of the day: THE CALM AFTER THE STORM – One year later after hurricane Sandy, the scene yesterday on Coney Island Beach was so serene, one would never know there had been chaos and destruction all along our coastline just a year before. Just a few strollers shell hunting on the windy beach. Most of the strollers were enjoying the sun on the boardwalk, sunning themselves while enjoying a Nathan’s hot dog. In November the rides will shut down awaiting the children’s laughter again in the spring of 2014. Hopefully time will heal the wounds of the heart and finances so that Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, as well as Ellis Island will be able to return to their former glory.

Photo of the day: EXPERIENCING HURRICANE SANDY 10-29-13


Photo fo the day: EXPERIENCING THE ONSET OF THE HURRICANE IN NEW YORK CITY –  1 year ago today, I wanted to document the experience of a hurricane. I was blown down the street for two blocks several times, not having a thing to grab onto. But I made it to the water’s edge  of the East River.
The statistics are: 820 mile wide storm, 13.88 feet high water, 44 deaths and then twice as many more afterwards, 2 million people without power, many neighborhoods today remain wiped off the map and over 500  people still don’t have any place to go. It has changed the city and people’s lives forever. Here is the storm in photos.  (I don’t have the time or understanding how to post a whole albums of photos, so here is my link of the complete photo album on myFacebook page.)              https://www.facebook.com/hans.vonrittern/media_set?set=a.437954789596068.95638.100001446524326&type=1




Mondays on Memory Lane: HURRICANE SANDY LIVE VIDEO – It was 4pm, October 29, 2012, and I was determined to witness hurricane Sandy from the water’s edge on the East River. I was the only one on the streets, soaked to the bone.

This photo was 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:

Photo of the day: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – – – GRACE JONES – 1 year ago today,

Ladies and gentlemen, Grace Jones . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, Grace Jones . . .

Photo of the day: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN – – – GRACE JONES – 1 year ago today, Grace Jones hit New York City with her show called “Hurricane” two days before the most disastrous hurricane ever destroyed parts of New York forever, hurricane Sandy. Eerily now in hindsight, the audience and I screamed and cheered in Grace’s defiance of the oncoming storm. None of us had any idea of what was to come. . . here is my review of that ironic and incredible night at Roseland Ballroom, which it was announced this week – Roseland be torn down, not due to hurricane damage, but torn down by greed:
“Thirty four years after the legendary performance of her 1978 concert at Roseland Ballroom, NYC – Grace Jones returned Saturday night, October 27, 2012 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). Last night’s 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 disappoint. 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 leaving euphoria in her wake.”


Photo of the day: REASSURING THE SHORE – I am taking my German tourist guests on my 5 hour long tour of Brooklyn today, via Harlem Spirituals Tours. From the Fulton Ferry landing at the Brooklyn Bridge allllllll the way to Coney Island for a Nathan’s hot dog lunch – wunderbar! Our last and final stop will be the 5 Pointz Graffiti museum as a surprise ending 🙂
At Coney Island for the past few weeks we have been met by this long pipe snaking along the beach. Early in September the $7.2 million Army Corps of Engineer’s project to pump 600,000 cubic yards of sand along Coney Island’s shore began. Although the beach closed for the summer after Labor Day and red flags indicated no lifeguards were on duty, there were a few sunbathers and swimmers adjacent to the area where the work is getting underway.
While restoration work is going on, there were rolling closures of roughly 1,000 foot wide sections of the beach where construction work is active, according to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). The beach nourishment project extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, and is expected to be completed in the fall.
Coney Island was hit hard by Super-storm Sandy and soon, its beaches will be well on their way to being protected against future flooding. There’s a ship out on the horizon pumping the sand from the ocean’s floor (and surprising a few startled crabs I bet) and pumping it methodically onto the beach where it is sifted and raked. You can hear the rumbling of the stones and shells as they go whizzing by inside the large rusty pipes lining the beach. Soon we will be enjoying pristine sand to stick our toes into! Join us?!



Photo of the day: LET’S GET TO THE (5)POINTZ ! – Need something to do on a  weekend that is totally different and cool? Take the 5Pointz Graffiti Museum tour with Meres One. This is a must-see tour!
Meres One, curator and guide

Meres One, curator and guide


Meres One is New York and the curator of the living endangered treasure. His passion, quirkyness, straight forward manner, humor and insight to the art is priceless. I am a long time NYC tour guide and I know a good tour when I take one – this is it! Do you know which is the oldest piece? The order to the art? Who came from what country? The messages and inside stories to the murals? Did u know one of Meres’ murals is 3-dimensional? Can you see all the different styles? Have you ever been inside? Aren’t you dying to go on the roof? To top it off, Meres shows off his skill by transforming a canvas into a piece of art in a master class with him at the end of the tour. How can you pass that up?! God forbid 5Pointz gets torn down – you will regret forever that you passed up this opportunity – GO – book a tour now and join the world wide guests enjoying this tour! Come early/stay late, photograph all the art, buy some souvenirs like the painted light bulbs by Meres and other art available by other artists. Get to the Pointz, 5 Pointz!

The coolest part of the 5 Pointz tour!

The coolest part of the 5 Pointz tour!

Book a tour through SideTour.com. Tours are currently sold out till November 5, this is a rare opportunity, put yourself on the mailing list and grab this chance before it is too late!
Doorway to cool!

Doorway to cool!

A masterclass with Meres One

A masterclass with Meres One






Photo of the day: STRIP TEASE DOLLS & BURLESQUE BEAUTIES – In the land of long ago, when “the daily bump and grind” meant something different, the Times Theater in Times Square featured ‘strip tease dolls and burlesk beauties’. I like to image names like Peaches LaTour, Bubbles Beverly, Feathery Fiona, Sally Rand, Miss Electra, Dressy Tessie Tura and Miss Mazeppa. And remember, you gotta get a gimmick if you want to get ahead!
You can pull all the stops out
Till they call the cops out;
Grind your behind till you’re banned.
But you gotta get a gimmick
If you wanna get a hand.
You can sacrifice your saccro
Working in the back row.
Bump in a dump till you’re dead.
Kid, you gotta have a gimmick
If you wanna get ahead.
You can uh…You can uh… You can uh…uh…uh…
That’s how Burlesque was born.
So I uh…and I uh… And I uh…uh…uh…
But I do it with a horn…
Once I was a Schleppa, Now I’m Miss Mazzeppa,
With my revolution in dance.
You gotta have a gimmick If you wanna have a chance!
She can uh… She can uh… She can uh…uh…uh…
That’ll never make her rich.
Me, I uh… and I uh… And I uh…uh…uh…
But I do it with a switch.
I’m electrifyin’, And I ain’t even tryin’;
I never have to sweat to get paid;
‘Cause if you got a gimmick, Gypsy girl, you got it made.
All them uh and then uh… And that uh…uh…uh…
Ain’t gonna spell success;
Me, I uh… and I uh… And I uh…uh…uh…
But I do it with finesse.
Dressy Tessie Tura is so much more demur-er
Than all them other ladies because–
You gotta get a gimmick If you wanna get applause.
ALL: Do something special Anything special
And you’ll get better because…
You’re more than just a mimic
When you gotta gimmick
Take a look how different we are!
ELECTRA: If you wanna make it, Twinkle while you shake it.
TESSIE TURA: If you wanna grind it, Wait till you’ve refined it.
MAZEPPA: If you wanna stump it, Bump it with a trumpet!
ALL: So get yourself a gimmick and you, too, Can be a star!
The best version ever done from the 1962 Rosalind Russell film “Gypsy”,  Natalie Wood as Louise ‘Gypsy Rose Lee’ Hovick, Betty Bruce as Tessie Tura, Faith Dane as Mazeppa, Roxanne Arlen as Electra – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFRSawe33sA

Photo of the day: SEX IS BACK


Photo of the day: SEX IS BACK – (…I didn’t know it was gone!) But according to the Pleasure Chest Sex Shop at 156 Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village, New York, apparently they have found it and brought it back to us, I am sure Justin Timberlake will be glad
“I’m bringing sexy back
Them other boys don’t know how to act
I think it’s special what’s behind your back
So turn around and I’ll pick up the slack.
Take em’ to the bridge
Dirty babe You see these shackles
Baby I’m your slave
I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave
It’s just that no one makes me feel this way
Take em’ to the chorus
Come here girl Go ahead, be gone with it
Come to the back Go ahead, be gone with it VIP
Go ahead, be gone with it
Drinks on me Go ahead, be gone with it
Let me see what you’re working with
Go ahead, be gone with it
Look at those hips Go ahead, be gone with it
You make me smile Go ahead, be gone with it
Go ahead child Go ahead, be gone with it
And get your sexy on Go ahead, be gone with it”



Photo of the day: THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE, FAMED ROSELAND TO CLOSE – Another knife in the heart of New York’s theater district is the recently announced April 2014 closing of the iconic once dance hall, now concert and party venue Roseland. It is with head spinning disbelief that yet another historic piece of New York will be replaced with a tall mirror glass building according to insiders who currently work at Roseland and are being handed their pink slips. 2013 saw more (almost daily) closings and tear downs of long time establishments than in recent memory – all part of the mayor Bloomberg’s greedy search and destroy tactic of anything that is (not so) old, is just out of the reaches of being declared a landmark and therefore won’t face the trials of court injunctions against it’s demolition. Zoning law variances have become the norm and for a price history, building restrictions and the heart of the city mean absolutely nothing. The average price of buying a New York City council member (like mine, Jimmy Van Brammer) is $10,200 – buy a few council members and you can build what you wish, they will magically ‘vote’ your way.

Roseland started on 51st Street as a 1919 dance hall for ‘refined dancing’, slowly that evolved to ‘dance hostesses’ who offered dances for 11¢ a dance (think “Sweet Charity”). From white ‘refined’ music it evolved into a swinging big band and jazz club featuring the likes of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie with his “Roseland Suffle”, Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra to Madonna, Beonce and Donna Summer and all the other major music acts of our time. The original club closed and reopened in 1956 one block over on 52nd Street in a former ice rink. Slow dancing turned into disco nights and rock concerts. Infamous underground parties, fan shows, conventions, new and old music groups appeared here or made their reappearance here, for example disco diva Grace Jones in 1978 broke through a brick wall on her motorcycle and then did her act surrounded by tigers. She made her grande reappearance in 2012 and hadn’t changed a bit (see my old post).

And now along with the Lenox Lounge in Harlem, Colony Records in Times Square, South Street Seaport’s Pier 17, and endless other victims of this genocide of history – you can add The Roseland Ballroom. Is this what it is like to grow old? You loose everything around you? Or is it the voracious greed of our destructive mayor, who in his twelve years of being mayor has gone from being the 18th richest man in America worth $18 billion, to becoming the 10th richest man in America now worth $31 billion . . . coincidence, it think not.

The Roseland Ballroom


Roseland the 1977 film