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

Posts tagged “Michael Jackson

Photo of the day: EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD


Photo of the day: EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD ~ At first glance, you don’t realize what is happening here. Looks cute doesn’t it? Not to the ‘tin man’. He stands motionless on his crate waiting for someone to put money in his tin can so he will move robotically. (No “oil can” requests, just money.) He’s in a prime location by the main subway entrance to Macy’s at Christmas time. He’s doing ok money wise – – – then all of a sudden comes an entire hoard of school children out of the subway gathering around him, oohing and aahhing and just killing his business. At first he tried to motion with his hands, as he is here, to ‘move along/ease on down the road’ – they didn’t get that and were even more fascinated with him. More oohing and aahhing. He tried again to wave his hand to ‘move along’. Nothing. He finally got off his crate and hid in a corner burying his face in his arms refusing to turn around. The kids finally eased on down the road . . . I ♥ NY.
Come on and ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on and ease on down, ease on down the road
Don’t you carry nothing that might be a load
Come on, ease on down, ease on down the road

Pick your left foot up
When your right foot’s down
Come on legs keep movin’
Don’t you lose no ground
You just keep on keepin’
On the road that you choose
Don’t you give up walkin’
‘Cause you gave up shoes, no
Ease on down, ease on down the road
Come on, ease on down, ease on down the road!
(“The Wiz” 1978)

Mondays on Memory Lane: MICHAEL JACKSON 8-29-1958 TO 6-25-2009


Mondays on Memory Lane: MICHAEL JACKSON 8-29-1958 TO 6-25-2009 – On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson was murdered by his so-called doctor, Conrad Murray, by acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication and suffered a heart attack in his home on North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.
In August of 1967 Michael (age 7) and The Jackson 5 auditioned at the famed Apollo Theater’s talent contest and easily won first prize. Diana Ross introduced the Jackson 5 to the American television viewing audience on her TV special in 1969, the rest is history. Forty years later the story horrifically came to an end on a day in June of 2009. The news was shocking. On the west coast fans had several places to mourn, the hospital, his home and Hollywood Blvd’s Walk of Fame. On the east coast fans surged to New York’s  Apollo Theater on Harlem’s 125th Street where Michael was discovered.
It was one of those summer heat waves where you felt like you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, but people came by the thousands. You had to stand in line for two blocks to get to the front of the theater to leave flowers or leave mementos behind. Street vendors lined the street with everything ‘Michael’ for sale, his music blared from every stand. Worldwide TV crews were everywhere.
Directly to the left of the Apollo was an empty lot surrounded by a blue wooden wall. Fans instinctively took out their felt tip pens and started writing messages of love to Michael. Within a few days the wall started to turn black from all the signatures. But the Apollo theater brought out plastic sheeting to cover the wall so that fans could continue to sign, day after day, the sheets filled up rapidly.
On July 1st, I came to pay my respects and watch the phenomena. After I had left a few messages on the wall, I stood back and watched the people. Hour after hour in the heat and then it struck me. As I watched people signing the wall, I noticed – there was an old black woman next to a young white woman, an old white woman next to a young black woman. There were people of all colors, all ages, all genders, all persuasions. So many different languages could be heard: Finnish, German, French, Russian, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, all dialects.
Hans Von Rittern and the signature wall

Hans Von Rittern and the signature wall

Music had brought them all together. Through Michael’s music they were all one, united, if only for that brief period in time. The love of music unites. Michael united all. Rest in peace Michael.
. . . Doctor Murray received the maximum sentence of four years. . .



Photo of the day: 4,000+ SOLDIERS LOST IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN  – On Memorial Day weekend, I always take my guests to Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street, which since 2006 has honored the fallen soldiers of these wars. Every Sunday yellow ribbons are added to the ever growing sea of yellows ribbons on their cast iron fence surrounding the church. Look at the white name tags and see all their names, but more movingly – see all their ages: 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26. . . a tragic loss of young lives.  
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale served as senior minister from 1932-1984 here, preaching ‘the power of positive thinking’. Under his ministry Marble’s influence reached national levels and became known as “America’s Hometown Church.” On November 19, 1961, Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church. On March 16, 2002 Liza Minnelli married gay David Gest in a freak $4 million dollar wedding ceremony. In the wedding party were Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross.
This church has seen a lot of history since being built in 1852, but today the most stark historical reminder is offered by this church with these yellow ribbons. Let’s think positively that this church won’t have to add many more names in the future, enough is enough.