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

Archive for November, 2013


DeBLASSIO WIN celebration

Photo of the day: CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAWN = MAYOR BILL (74%) DeBLASIO  – Last night in Chelsea’s Mustang Sally’s bar, dedicated animal rights activists, anti-Quinn and staunch pro DeBlasio supporters were uncharacteristically quiet as we listened to the uplifting speech given by our new mayor. Tears on the faces of the supporters glistened from the light of the 5 giant TV screens surrounding us, Bill’s voice filling the room. The 12 year reign of oppression, dictatorial rule and genocide of the middle class and our buildings and old establishments has finally ended. It may have been 10:30pm at night, but it was as if there was bright sunshine in the room, we were all beaming so much. We had done it!! We have all worked so passionately and hard, no one more hard than Donny Moss and Allie Feldman who started the ball rolling by getting rid of Christine Quinn with the help of animal rights groups. Our little rag tag group conquered with spirit and heart the billionaire dollars spent by the Koch brothers (sound Romney-like familiar??), the power of Bloomberg and the republican cash heavy war chests. Instead these grass roots groups and many more fought Goliath and won: NYCLASS, ABQ, Outer Boroughs Against Christine Quinn, Queers Against Quinn, Kittens Against Joe Lhota, Stopping NYC Horse Abuse, GoosewatchNYC, Bill DeBlasio for Mayor, and of course Donny Moss’s Defeat Christine Quinn. A landslide 74% victory, HA !
The dark, racist,  oppressive cloud over our lives and this city is being lifted. A ‘mensch’, a caring human being is taking over, with a heart and not ice in his monied veins.
I am so DAMN proud of each and every one of them, and my mom who even at age 87 went out and campaigned and handed out Anti Quinn, then pro DeBlasio flyers every day she left the house to go grocery shopping or walk the dog. She was known as the “you have to vote for Bill DeBlasio!” lady here in Queens. Well mom, Donny, Allie, Daniela Knoppik, Natasha, Brian and Jeanne Gari, Andy Sydor and ALL you wonderful friends and supporters = WE DID IT!
Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.

Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.

Hans and mom are proud and thrilled to have voted! Goodbye Bloomberg! Hello Bill de Blasio ! !

Ursula and Hans Von Rittern VOTED !

Ursula and Hans Von Rittern VOTED !



Photo of the future: VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE DeBLASIO! – GO out there and vote! I want a real human being in City Hall. A man whose family looks like the rest of us. A man with feelings and a heart. Not ice in his veins. I don’t care if all his promises can’t be reached, or if he will screw up and falter – I want a mensch, a human being I can approach and relate to. I want my city back! I got rid of Christine Quinn, one of the most cold calculating, selfish, power mad, destructive politicians of modern times, lets make sure MTA-thief Joe Lohta losses by a huge margin!
YOU can make history and get rid of the elite detached nanny-rule of this Bloomberg tyranny. In my born and raised 57 years as a New Yorker I have never seen a mayor do as much to destroy and harm my beloved city as bastard Bloomberg. We have NEVER lost as many long time established stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, historical neighborhoods and places and business places as with his greedy rule of allowing quadruple rent increases to squeeze (in some cases) 100 year old businesses out of business so he could build yet another mirror glass ivory tower for his billionaire friends. He has done more damage than 9/11 and hurricane Sandy combined, both of which we are rebuilding from. You cannot rebuild from the onslaught over priced glass ivory towers, the destruction of historic neighborhoods, the squeezing out of the middle class, the invasion of chain stores in even the most historical of neighborhoods, the racial and socioeconomic division of this city, the genocide of the middle class as what has occurred in the last 12 years of Bloombergistan.
Bloomberg is a thief. Oddly enough he went from being the 18th richest man in the country to 10th richest man as the zoning laws, historic district laws and street patterns changed and Citi-bikes have invaded and devoured our city. All those deals went into his back pocket. The zoning commission is working around the clock to cram through all of Bloomberg’s excessive destructive plans such as encircling Grand Central Terminal and the iconic Chrysler building with glass super towers!
I am tired of the little dwarf who is about as much a part of the rest of us as a cold rock from outer space. His Napoleonic syndrome of dominant power over every little aspect of New York went too far.
DON’T “ASS-U-ME” DeBlassio will win or win big: May I remind you , that is how bastard Bloomberg got this third term because of the anger and apathy that let everyone assume he would win his bought third term. Apathy and laziness looses you your city. VOTE! – Take 15 extra minutes before or after work, take the dog on a voting walk, turn off the TV, grab a warm coat, take your children with you and let them know they are a part of something great, take someone you love and share this exhilarating chance, but most of all, know that this vote is one of the most crucial votes you will cast in the last 100 years of this city’s glorious history and certainly determine our next 100 years.



Mondays on Memory Lane: 1987 JOAN COLLINS SELLS HER PANTIES AT MAXIM’S – Torrid headline, but true. Joan has added her name to many products over the years and in 1987 she launched a line of lingerie, promoted by SanMark Stardust and it was sold in stores such as Jordan Marsh, Emporium and Bon Marche, as well as K-Mart, Target and Shop-co. A diverse range of items were produced including ranges of sleepwear, lounge-wear and day-wear, in colors ranging from Red to Black and of course Pink. The line sold for between $8 to $35 and Joan appeared in print and TV ads to promote the line. The big launch party was at posh Maxim’s. Sadly after it’s fall launch and good sales it was gone by the following summer. (Maxim’s was only open in New York from 1985 to 2000).
Joan Collins lingerie promo

Joan Collins lingerie promo

Joan was still at the height of the Dynasty craze which ran from 1981 to 1989, I was a rabid, addicted die-hard fan, forget Dallas! Dy-Nasty had bitchy, dressy, classy Joan Collins! I have (somewhere buried) every episode on VHS tape, with the commercials!).
Joan and family

Joan and family

So – when it was announced Joan was launching her lingerie line at legendary Parisian bistro Maxim’s on Park Avenue in  New York, I had to go! By great luck, a co-worker of mine at the time had a press pass he let me borrow, and I wound up having front row access to  Joan. I have about 3 dozen photos of the event.
Tomorrow night 26 years later, Joan Collins is making a very rare one night appearance with her one woman life story show at BB King’s Jazz Club on 42nd Street in New York. Despite the fact that it will be election night, my good friend Susan Godwin (who worships Joan) and I are running to see her. Hopefully she will sign some of my memorabilia!



Photo of the day: ALL CONEY ISLANDERS HAVE SAND IN THEIR SHOES – Yesterday was my last 5 hour German tour of Brooklyn for the season. From the Fulton Ferry Landing at the Brooklyn Bridge, to bagels in Park Slope to Nathan’s hot dogs on the Coney Island boardwalk. The amusement rides had been shut down and it was now a quieter tranquil place where the sound of the wind took over rather then the music blaring from the boardwalk concession stands. Nathan’s of course was still open and drawing a crowd – they always do.
The beach in the summer is joy, the smell of sun tan lotion, the sounds of little kids laughing, teens splashing in the water and girls who just want to tan. But, in the winter months the beaches of New York offer another treasure = contemplative tranquility as the sound of the wind whisks about the thoughts in your head. On Sundays you may contemplate in church, I prefer to contemplate in one of god’s most wonderful churches – the beach.

Photo of the day: IS ELVIS DEAD?


Photo of the day: IS ELVIS DEAD? – This being the weekend of Dia de los Muertos, I found it rather eerie to find this ageing ‘Elvis’ on the subway who got off at (of all places) Madison Square Garden. Does the king want to make one comeback tour like Cher? Does he want to recreate his 1972 Garden concert? Why does he look so perturbed – did he find out how much music acts are earning today? Does he even know who Madonna and Miley are? Before I got a chance to ask, Elvis had left the subway . . .

Photo of the day: DEAD MARILYN ~ DAY OF THE DEAD


Photo of the day: DEAD MARILYN ~ DAY OF THE DEAD – Day of the Dead / Dia de Meurtos is a fascinating holiday celebrated in Mexico October 31 and November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day (Halloween), Mexicans have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. I think this is wonderful. Elaborate altars are prepared with food and drink, skulls made of sugar, marigolds and lots of flowers, cigarettes for the departed and incredible folk art replicating and honoring their dear departed.
So on my annual trip to Tijuana, Mexico this August it was close enough for the approaching holiday that the Day of the Dead folk art abounded. Eagerly I shopped the markets – I saw dead Frida Kahlo of course, dead Elvis and my two treasures – dead Marilyn. Upon seeing them, my first reaction was with excitement. Second reaction with revulsion. Third reaction “I have to have them!” (Fourth reaction ‘Which do I choose?’) So here are my two hand made folk art Dead Marilyns (I’ve gotten used to them in my living room). Feliz Dia de los Muertos! .
This explains it colorfully and best:  http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/support/dodhistory.html
PS – There was a short lived punk rock group called ‘Dead Marilyn’, I have the picture sleeve 45 tucked away somewhere.