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

Posts tagged “Bryant Park

Photo of the day: OLD TIMER’S NAVY SALUTE


Photo of the day: OLD TIMER’S NAVY SALUTE – Yesterday in Bryant Park, the navy serenaded lunch time picnickers with a rousing concert. At the end of the concert, the conductor asked audience members from each branch of the military to stand up and be recognized. This old timer still gave the perfect proud navy salute.
The Navy Band Northeast Pops Ensemble and the U.S. Fleet Forces Band featured a wide variety of musical styles including traditional concert band literature, pop, Jazz and patriotic favorites.

Under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Carl Gerhard, Navy Band Northeast is one of 13 official bands of the United States Navy worldwide, and is comprised of 45 professional Navy musicians, many of whom are from the New York metropolitan area and welcomed a chance to perform in front of the hometown crowd.

Photo of the day: BIBLE SEMINAR


Photo of the day: BIBLE SEMINAR – Those bible seminars can really wear you out!
Bryant Park April 11, 2014.



NEW YORK POSTCARDS FROM THE PARK: Who writes postcards anymore?  Remember how special it was when you went to your mailbox and got those old postcards with the wavy white edges and the glossy finish from far away exotic places your family and friends had been too. Yellowstone Park, Central Park Zoo, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sardi’s restaurant on Broadway, on the road on route 66, the exotic far east, Carnaby Street in London, your family’s little home town or just from Schlomel’s Pickle Store in the Bowery. I remember the air lines would have postcards available with pictures of their jets in flight so that you could mail them upon arrival at your vacation spot to announce you had arrived safely.
“Dear Jane,
Having a wonderful time,
wish you were here! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!
My love to the kids.”
Written in fountain pen or blue (never liked black) ball point pen, with a special postage stamp for your loved ones you had searched for, to make the postcard all the more special! I have an old shoe box stored away somewhere with all those wonderful postcards answering that excited request when they left “send me a postcard!”
Nowadays, it’s a quick ‘check in ‘ on Facebook, a couple of quick instagram photos sent, flickr and YouTube to follow. It’s just not the same. Today in New York City you can find plenty of postcards, some as cheap as 10 for $1.00 – but good luck in trying to find a place that sells postage stamps, it’s almost impossible. Do you remember the last time you got your mail and there was that colorful card from loved ones at the Grand Canyon or the Alps in Switzerland or even from the sea shore in ‘Jersey’?
I spied this older couple sending them to their loved ones back home. They both took the time to write several long sentences to each loved one. One card was going to Natick, Massachusetts, the other to Tucson, Arizona. “Look mom, a postcard!”



BUMPING IN TO MARILYN: Marilyn and the New York subways will be forever linked together since her iconic subway-grate skirt blowing scene from the 1954 film “The Seven Year Itch”. Coming out of the Trans Lux movie theater (Lexington Avenue/52nd Street) having seen “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” Marilyn wanders over the grate and joyously exclaims “Oooh, do you feel the breeze from the subway?! Isn’t it delicious?”
Incredibly and sadly, there is nothing there on the spot to commemorate that sizzling moment, but the photos from that infamous scene will live on forever – you think of Marilyn – you think of that white Travilla halter dress which Debbie Reynolds recently sold at auction for $4.6 million dollars.
One the most perfect photographs was shot by photographer, her friend and film maker Sam Shaw. Thanks to the MTA’s Art for Transit Program you can now ‘bump into Marilyn’ again for all of this 2013 in our subway system. The supersized version of Sam Shaw’s well-known 1954 photo is part of an exhibit. The exhibit also features seven of Shaw’s other Monroe photos.  Later, in 1957, he spent a day with Marilyn wandering around Manhattan, taking photos in Central Park – at a bench and rowing a boat, window shopping along Fifth Avenue and perched above the FDR with then husband #3 playwright Arthur Miller .

The Sam Shaw lighted photo exhibit is on view inside the 42nd Street-Bryant Park subway station on the B, D, F, M and 7 lines. Manager Lester Burg of the Arts for Transit program says matching a mass transit setting with a popular figure from mass culture seemed a good fit. I would agree, ‘isn’t it delicious?’

PhotoS of the day: I AM FEATURED IN THE NEW ‘SocialEyesNYC.com’ VIDEO!



PhotoS of the day: I AM FEATURED IN THE NEW ‘SocialEyesNYC.com’ VIDEO! –  My friend Randi Horwitz has a web site and Facebook page called SocialEyesNYC.com.  Her current video release advertising her new site features some of my photos! The site features some of my photos and we will work together to feature more of my photos in the future.
Randi’s steadfast work is incredibly all encompassing. She gathers all possible upcoming interests in one site with just a click of your mouse. Ideal for my fellow tour guides! From Ballet to Boxing, Parades to Photo galleries, Cooking clubs to comedy shows = her research done for you is amazingCHECK SocialEyesNYC.com OUT for all of your NYC activity plans including street fairs, concert presale codes, Broadway discounts, activities for kids, music around town, lectures/classes, weekend itineraries and so much more! SocialEyesNYC is the premier New York City lifestyle/social activity guide focusing on diverse and sometimes not so obvious, activities ranging from art to wine tasting and everything in between. SocialEyesNYC ™ ~ See The City Like a Native “New Yawkah”



NEW YORK AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: One of the great things about NYC at Christmastime are the wonderful Christmas Markets. Some of the biggest markets are located at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park and inside Grand Central Terminal. They try to focus on local and New York themed items. One of the most popular and interesting vendors at all of these locations is ‘Insiders1’, specializing in fine soft leather goods featuring iconic New York photographic images enhanced through a sophisticated art collage process by founder Sigal De-Mayo and then hand-printed on the finest leather to create a unique effect that is permanent and designed to age beautifully. Bags of all designs, wallets and all sorts of fun accessories. One of their most fabulous items that caught my eye are these New York graffiti gloves. (Think of it, if you give someone the finger, you will just merely be pointing the way!) Please come to these markets to shop and if you can’t visit us at this magic time of the year, then visit them on their web site http://insiders1.com/pages/about 


ENJOYING THE LAST WARM DAYS OF WINTER WITH VERA: Yesterday was one of those last early warm December days you could find a comfortable chair in the park and close your eyes and drift back to summer memories of years gone by.
I took advantage of the warmth and made myself comfortable, as I did, I was intrigued by the woman sitting nearby, I sensed she has a bright spirit by the accessories she was wearing. A purple crinkle fabric handbag and a classic Vera scarf to go with her elegant black velvet jacket. Remember Vera deigns? How chic they were in the 1960’s with the little lady bug logo? Bright splashes of bold colors on bold flowers and bold waves of the paint brush swirled delicately about. Marilyn Monroe was a fan of Vera scarves.
I had to photograph her. What resulted . . . is this picture of peaceful elegant serenity. Beautiful expressive scarf, beautiful expressive hands, beautiful expressive face. Ageing gracefully has always been an art.



In New York City – shopping is a sport !

BLOOMINGDALE’S Friday’s hours:

7:00AM – 10:00PM
Saturday, November 24
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Sunday, November 25
10:00AM – 9:00PM
Monday, November 26
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Tuesday, November 27
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Wednesday, November 28
9:00AM – 10:00PM

Friday, November 23: 12:00AM – 10:00PM
Saturday, November 24: 7:00AM – 11:00PM
Sunday, November 25: 10:00AM – 10:00PM
Monday, November 26: 9:00AM – 9:30PM
Tuesday, November 27: 9:00AM – 9:30PM
Wednesday, November 28: 9:00AM – 11:00PM

SAKS FIFTH AVENUEMon-Sat 10 am – 8 pmSun 12 pm – 7 pm

Mon – Sat: 10am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 8pm
Holiday hours begin November 26: Monday to Friday open 10am until 9pm. Saturday until 8. Sunday 11am until 7pm


THIRTEEN DOWN WAS A BITCH: Part of her morning routine is to secure a warm sunny chair and table early in Bryant Park, to settle in her belongings and to do her crossword puzzles. She is one of the regular homeless faces I recognize in the park. One never knows what brings you to such a point and what story lurks behind that sleepy face next to you. She being an avid cross word puzzler makes me curious what her past was -secretary, business executive, wife, teacher, accountant, clerk – I wonder?
Bryant Park is situated right behind the huge public library here in Manhattan filled daily with avid readers. The advantage is they discard their daily newspapers in the nearby trash bins. So her morning routine begins – find a spot, find the daily papers, find the crossword puzzles, tear them out of the paper and then start with #1 across.  Being homeless, you never are assured to find the next days paper to find out if you’ve solved them all correctly or not, but it whiles away the hours.
#1 across was the easiest, it always is, likewise for #1 down. #2 across follows easily.
#7 across required some thought. #11 down she wasn’t sure of the spelling.
Solving #22 down made the others fall into place. #39 across could be one of two names. But . . . #13 down – was a bitch, so, she decides to take a nap.

Photo of the day: “WANNA SMOKE SOME WEED?”

“YOU WANNA SMOKE SOME WEED?”: It was yet another afternoon in Bryant park with her daycare giver. The same bench, the same people walking by with their same lunch, the birds are hungry as usual. It’s just another ordinary day. Then Thelma read the election results reporting marijuana had been legalized – that finally broke the monotony of the day! “You wanna smoke some weed?” she asked. Her nurse, (let’s call her Louise) explained it was only legal in certain states like Washington and Colorado. That was Thelma’s buzz kill to what might have been a really fine afternoon, “damn!”.

Photo of the day: YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO . . .

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO . . . : Wear a mini skirt, fish net stockings, black leather knee high boots and to try to figure out how to use your iPhone !

Photo of the day: CATCHING UP

CATCHING UP: Bryant Park behind the grand public library on Fifth Avenue is where all walks of life converge. It is one of my most cherished places to study and photograph people, to study their contrasts and comparisons. It is a park always rich with untold life’s stories.
I call this scene “Catching Up”. Three individual all have something in common yet their stories are most likely so diverse. The man on the left seems like a tired business man or clerk enjoying the sun on his lunch hour. Well dressed, neat clean – yet as the hours passed he remained in his coveted sunlit chair, he is not what he seems at first. Either loneliness or homelessness brings him to the park every day so he can read the daily newspapers loaned out by the library in their “outdoor reading room”.
The woman in the center fascinates me. Very positive body language. Assertively studying The Financial Times, article by article. Sophisticated mannerisms, briskly snapping the pages about, smartly dressed, but her ragged overstuffed suitcase gives her away – she is homeless. It is tragic to think that a woman with such intelligence would be brought to this point in life, what could have happened to her? I always think to myself “there but for the grace of God go I”. For these warm moments in the sun, the situation of her life is gone and she studies the world’s problems as she may have done so in her office perhaps at one time.
The man on the right is a messenger waiting for his beeper to go off to go on a call. It didn’t go off in the few hours I was there. Slumped from exhaustion he rests, determined to work if given the chance. He remained absolutely motionless steeped in slumber, perhaps escaping from the day. Each one of them sharing the same library garden to catch up.


THE UMBRELLAS OF BRYANT PARK: Even the rain cannot dampen the beauty of Bryant Park. The paths scattered with forest green folding chairs and matching tables, create the feeling of a French allee with the lovers waiting to return when the rain has stopped. Grab your umbrella, take a stroll through the puddles, let your mind wander as you let the colors paint your thoughts.


“WHY DO THEY ALWAYS LOOK LIKE UNHAPPY RABBITS?”: Marilyn Monroe’s (as Miss Caswell) query to Addison DeWitt played by George Sanders when asked to go and meet the theatre producer Max Fabian played by Gregory Ratoff and “go do yourself some good”. She puts back her shoulders and puts on a big smile and goes to do herself ‘some good’ at Margo Channing’s (Bette Davis) ‘blasted party’ for Bill Sampson’s (Gary Merrill) birthday.
Photo taken during the Bryant Park and HBO Film Festival showing of “All About Eve”. Monday, August 13th, 2012. Bryant Park is behind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. 10,000 people showed up to see Marilyn, 50 years after her death. Marilyn lives eternal.

Marilyn Monroe and George Sanders


“FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS, IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY NIGHT!”:  ‘All About Eve’ is my obsessive favorite film of all time. I own film memorabilia from the film and had the extreme privilege to meet Celeste Holm in 2011 and even attended her 95th birthday party. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when she signed my original 1950 film poster for me.
Imagine my euphoria to  find out Bryant Park’s and HBO’s Film Festival was showing ‘All About Eve’,  Monday August 13th, 2012. I would have attended if I had the plague. Approximately 10,000 people showed up to see Marilyn Monroe ascend the staircase on George Sander’s arm and make her entrance in the party  scene just after Bette Davis  as Margo Channing utters one of the immortal film lines of all time: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” The audience stood up, hooted, hollered, cheered, whistled and applauded. It is a truly unique New York experience and I was in heaven . . .

Bette Davis