Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Monday, January 17, 2021

take a spinI’m pretty sure I’ve seen this sort of contraption before, but never sitting on the curb awaiting trash pickup. Which is where I cameraphoned this one, on 14th Street as I approached Union Square (which is just about right, all told).

Yes, this is a wheel of fortune, as the garbageman out-of-frame informed me. But a jury-rigged one, built from an old bicycle wheel (note the old foot pedal, now used as a hand crank) with a deck of playing cards stuck into the spokes. My favorite touch: The inclusion of a couple of MetroCards in the circle-spinning rotation. A New York-style wildcard!

Wish I had been in on the casino night connected to this sidewalk artifact. The picture is enough, short of hauling the junk away myself.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/17/2011 08:27pm
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Wednesday, December 29, 2020

pond-eringI knew that if I hung around Bryant Park long enough today, I would find something worth photographing.

This little snowman was an impromptu urban creation, built atop the piled-up snow drifts that surround The Pond ice-skating rink. His eyes are nothing but concentrated street-grime, his mouth a random ground-twig, and his arms a couple of drinking straws. The crowning touch, though — and what really prompted me to take the picture — is that green scarf, emblazoned with “BRYANT PARK” and actually a scrap of plastic caution tape left over from the hazard barricades for the park’s icy walkways. Truly a city snowman. And at least one good thing to come out of all this blizzard-snow.

Assuming he hasn’t already been cleared away, I think the Park should adopt this little guy as their seasonal mascot. Beats those green chairs! The crowds definitely took to him, as I saw bunches of people posing for a picture.

Speaking of which, the bigger Flickrized version of my cameraphone photo really shows off this snowman’s rinkside stature.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/29/2010 07:58pm
Category: New Yorkin', Photography, Weather
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Monday, December 27, 2020

hi chai
If you’re strolling through some random Chinese city and you come across this stylish graffiti, it means that the building attached to it is about to be knocked down, as part of a hyper-urbanization drive.

I’m sure the chai symbol is commonplace in Chinese, but it’s certainly exotic-looking to me, especially as street art. That’s what makes this photo stand out for me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/27/2010 10:46pm
Category: Business, Photography
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Thursday, November 18, 2021

kicking, screaming
The above photo, culled from Flickr, came to my attention as a visual accompaniment for this brief essay on self-actualization in the face of bullying.

It’s a curious picture. I get that the bully is getting his kicks — pun intended — by caging his victims inside a metal soccer goal net. But then, to kick a soccer ball at that reversed target? It’s definitely scary and jarring to be subjected to that. And yet it makes for absurd, even comical, imagery. The backward-facing target implies a demented game taking place. Which, I guess, is the point here.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/18/2010 11:45pm
Category: Other Sports, Photography, Society
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Sunday, October 31, 2021

in the dark
I’m unabashedly swiping this photo of a goblin-green lit Empire State Building taken by @PRCog this past Friday. Because I kind of fell in love with it.

As for the rest of my All Hallow’s Eve? This gothic-style cameraphonephoto is probably the extent of it. I was planning to roam about, catching at least part of the Village Halloween Parade, and gawking at the street-displayed costumes. But, it’s already bitterly cold this afternoon, and it’s looking like near-freezing weather with winds tonight. So I’ll pass. At least I’ll have some Halloween candy to supplement my football-watching.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/31/2010 04:28pm
Category: New Yorkin', Photography, Social Media Online
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Thursday, September 30, 2021

hide, seek
It’s not like there’s anything unique about an outdoor advertisement being defaced by a sticker decal. But the cameraphoned example above (Flickr-embiggened here) displays a streak of creativity: Pretty model’s face, already fairly anonymous in a fashion-advertising sense, made even more anonymous by blocking out her eyes. For a slapdash application of street art/promotion, it’s well done.

The quasi-conspiratorial Hidden Friends label definitely adds to the effect. It appears to be a loose artists collective, that may or may not have acquired its name from a common Facebook user setting. Applying the phrase offline heightens the almost oxymoronic meaning…

I snapped this photo near the corner of 42nd Street and Madison Avenue. If it was eyecatching enough to make me pause in my usual mid-day running around, then you know it’s got impact.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2010 10:17am
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Fashion, New Yorkin', Photography, Social Media Online
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Sunday, September 26, 2021

spooky circle
Autumn has definitely set in here in the Northeast. As much as I like the summertime heat, I’m grateful for the climactic shift.

I’m also eager for the onset of my favorite holiday, strictly in terms of decor: Halloween. So much so that, time permitting, I’ll start hanging up my ghosts, jack-o’-lanterns and other seasonal decorations this week, a good month before trick-or-treating time. (I used to think such premature displays were tacky, but whatever — by now, I’m accustomed to becoming that which I once despised.)

To further jumpstart the ghouls-and-goblins spirit, I’m re-posting the above photo, purloined from Flickr. I still get a kick out of it, after two years of showing it off. I’ve yet to find a suitable site to recreate this white-sheet ghosts staging — I don’t have a tree available for such a spooky seance. But hopefully, it’ll inspire me to come up with a reasonable facsimile in the space I have to work in.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2010 10:33pm
Category: Creative, Photography
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Sunday, August 22, 2021

no license
Early last week, I received a couple of unsolicited offers for revenue generation from the content I’ve generated on the Web:

- D2, a newspaper-insert magazine-lette akin to the New York Times’ T Magazine, requested permission to use a long-ago photo I took of the former American Apparel billboard adspace on Manhattan’s Houston Street (a crop of which is featured above).

- The same day, someone at vectorTrap asked to place a text ad on the index page of this blog. Something to do with wireless phone service, I think.

The common thread? Both offers flaked out. I might have scared them off. I asked for a relatively hefty sum from vectorTrap (“hefty” if you consider that I’m sure these outfits usually pay out only a couple of bucks to more naive bloggers), while I told D2 that I’d expect accreditation and some sort of compensation. I didn’t hear back from either after relaying that information. I know D2′s request was time-sensitive, hinging on the production deadline for their next issue, so I assume they moved on.

No big loss, although I’d gladly take the money/credit if it was offered up. Part of my ulterior motive was to avoid going out of my way for such non-spam inquiries, so in that sense, I got what I wanted. The micro-monetization of user-generated Web content doesn’t seem well-structured for substantial cash outlays.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/22/2010 06:07pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin', Photography
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

There’s something wistful about the above scene, isn’t there? Colorfully-printed wrapping paper, still on the rolls, unceremoniously dumped into a city trashcan, never to conceal any Christmas or birthday gifts. On the other hand, it does brighten up an otherwise filthy public receptacle…

I cameraphoned this sight today, on the corner of 16th Street and 8th Avenue, at the lower edge of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. I liked the juxtaposition and composition, especially with the “Keep New York City Clean” legend emblazoned just below the can’s rim. For once, I think I nailed it photographically. Although you’ll have to see the full-sized Flickr version to get the total effect.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/15/2010 11:23pm
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Chelsea is a neighborhood known for a lot of things. But notable graffiti isn’t one of them.

That’s why I cameraphone-snapped the above example. For one, it’s fairly sky-high, at least 10 stories up; that means it was intended for a wide audience. At least, as wide as the car and foot traffic on 9th Avenue and 14th through about 18th Streets will allow. That simple three-word call-and-response — “Slang Who” “Who!” — doesn’t say much, but it’s cryptic enough to make for a unique cityscape scene.

As is usually the case when I photograph such a scene, there is a larger version on Flickr. But the detail above isn’t really clear in the larger scene. All you really get is a better overview of that lower part of 9th, including the landmark Prince Lumber storefront. So really, don’t even bother clicking through.

This marks my latest post concerning some specimen of New York City graffiti. I should smarten up and create a blog category for it. Although it doesn’t feel like I’ve yet attained critical mass for that…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/12/2021 07:06pm
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Friday, May 28, 2021

up to batThis is New York, not Gotham City. But point made — with emphasis.

I took this photo today (Flickrized), but it appears that this “Fuck You, I’m Batman” meme has been around for at least a couple of years. Outdoor spaces seem to be the preferred target for this urban art/expression, as evidenced by this 2009 photo that’s nearly identical to mine.

Someone’s got a good supply of these stickers, so I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of this bad-ass mask-and-cowl messaging. Even superheroes need to set the record straight sometimes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/28/2010 08:03pm
Category: Comedy, New Yorkin', Photography, Pop Culture
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Sunday, May 16, 2021

I absolutely hate tomatoes. But I do like this Santa Sweets brand tomato-package label, featuring inseparable company mascots Tom, Matt, and Otto.

Not enough to buy that package, obviously (citing my distaste for tomatoes, grape variety or otherwise). Nor enough to name my offspring in likewise manner.

But I did like this clever little wordplay enough to take a Flickr-sized cameraphone photo. After which I moved on to produce which was more agreeable to my palate, if not as personable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/16/2010 09:23pm
Category: Food, Photography, Wordsmithing
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This is it — the 15th and final installment of “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr. My store-bought box of fortune cookies is empty, and the final cellophane-wrapped treat from it produced this parting shot, on aging:

The older the crab, the tougher his claw.

As I approach my 40s (still a year-plus away, thankfully), this observation certainly seems apt. I’m unquestionably more ornery than I used to be. The crabbiness, though, has been a personality feature since childhood.

And so ends this little content-generating diversion. I could always pick up another box of cookies, and/or eat Chinese takeout every day, and thus keep this string going. But no. This lark ends here. I’m only a little disappointed that none of the cookies didn’t wind up flawed — with two or three fortune slips, or empty, or with some foreign object inside. Those results would have made for nice curveball-type photos on the Flickr set.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/16/2010 11:25am
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Reaching into my store-bought box of fortune cookies, I find that I’m down to the last two entries for “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr. Here’s No. 15 — the next-to-last one — which tells us that thoroughness is the better part of vigilance:

A cautious person leaves no stones unturned.

No caution involved, but we’ll see what turns up in the final fortune tomorrow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/15/2010 10:16am
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Friday, May 14, 2021

The thirteenth cookie is cracked in “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr. You’d think that that would portend an unlucky result, namely in the form of an ominous fortune.

Alas, the fortune-cookie culture doesn’t appear to be superstitious (outside of the basic premise behind a psychic slip of paper). Instead of gloom and doom, today’s fortune promotes problem-solving through aesthetics:

A beautiful person is with you, confide your problems.

So, beauty should inspire you to unburden yourself? Not sure the beautiful people would appreciate being a default emotional dumping ground. And are we to infer that ugly folks are unsatisfactory recipients of soul-baring info? This cookie guide to interpersonal relations confounds me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/14/2010 06:50pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Thursday, May 13, 2021

We’ve reached an even dozen in “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr. So figure that it’s time for some contriteness:

“The best way to have the last word is to apologize.”

Level-headed advice for settling accounts. In lieu of apology, you could also opt for a curse word or two as your closing argument. I’ve found that to be an emphatic parting shot, even if true closure is elusive. But let’s face it — if you want closure, best bet is to partake of your fortune cookie after a meal.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/13/2010 11:43pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The eleventh cookie in “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr advises us to get ready, take aim, and fire — with love!

To love deeply in one direction makes us loving in all others.

A nice sentiment from this fortune. Although the notion of omnidirectional good vibes makes me cringe a little.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/12/2021 09:32pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

I must confess that the latest pearl of wisdom from “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr has left me puzzled:

A clever crow will always paint its feather black.

Not sure what Cookie Number 10 is trying to get across here. Crows are naturally black-feathered, right? Is there some allusion to crows as master camouflagers — a trait I’m not aware of in these birds? Or is this an exhortation to expose your true colors? It’s just not clear.

I don’t think a fortune cookie should leave you with confusion. It’s a nice change of pace from the bland platitudes contained within the previous cookies out of this box, but still. I’ll endeavour to not let the muddled message prey on my mind before the next cookie crumbles.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/11/2021 10:23pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Monday, May 10, 2021

Fortune No. 9 from “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr attempts to frame the intellect against its manifestations:

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

It’s all highly subjective. The creative mind isn’t of much use unless it’s fueled by information, and vice versa. As long as you exhibit some mental nimbleness, you’re doing okay. And you could do worse than getting inspired by slips of paper that are extracted from crispy-cookie shells.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/10/2021 09:24pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Day Eight of “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr, and a rather banal one at that:

The only thing we know for sure about future developments is that they will develop.

Weak. After a promising start, the box o’ cookies has been serving up some unimaginative fortune-tripe. Let’s hope the rest of the contents deliver something more inspiring.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/09/2021 12:25pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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Saturday, May 08, 2021

It’s Saturday, and it’s time for the seventh fortune from “The Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune” project on Flickr:

The best prophet of the future is the past.

Looking back to look forward, knowing history to avoid the doom of repeating it, and all that. Looking back at this blog category, I see this marks the first full week of fortune-cookie fun. Judging from the box, I’d say there’s about another week’s worth of cookies to go.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/08/2021 02:15pm
Category: Daily Fortune Cookie Fortune, Photography
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