Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Thursday, March 26, 2021

From this story about a newly-discovered 19th-Century photo of New York City (actually a daguerreotype), an interesting little historical tidbit about Manhattan’s early road network, before Gotham absorbed the entire island:

As the Sotheby’s picture predates the laying out of Gotham’s numbered cross streets, the exact location is unknown, but a notation on the back, signed by “L.B.,” identifies it as on “the main road… called a continuation of Broadway.”

[Sotheby's curator of photographs Denise] Bethel says that was a term used by city directories of the day for the Bloomingdale Road, laid out in 1703 as one of two main north-south arteries in early Manhattan — the Boston Road, now Park Avenue, being the other. Bloomingdale was an Anglicized version of the Dutch Bloemendale, as the Upper West Side was once known.

The road cut at times through hilly terrain, now harder to see due to urban expansion of the Upper West Side, noted today for cultural institutions like Lincoln Center and Columbia University as well as gourmet grocery stores, hip restaurants and trendy boutiques.

Both roads, of course, eventually led to Harlem — or Nieuw Haarlem, as the rural community was originally known.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/26/2009 11:24:57 AM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Photography
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Monday, March 23, 2021


As I snapped this cameraphone photo on Great Jones Street in NoHo, I wondered: Where could I buy a box of this Biz Markie-themed cereal?

But then I found out that the cereal box was just the elaborate packaging for a limited-edition giant-sized Diabolical Biz Markie Action Figure. And judging by the fictional ingredient list for the non-existent cereal, it’s actually a good thing that it never was produced:

It reads verbatim:
Cereal Box - Caution this is not food
NUTRITION FACTS
Calories - 1,8000,000 (calories from fat don’t ask)
Vitamin A - 19%
Vitamin C - 80%
Bass - 1,000%
Treble - 80%
Volume - 100%
Iron - 10%
EQ - 400%
Chorus - 40%
Rhymes - 100%

Hardly part of a well-balanced breakfast. Maybe a well-balanced break-beat…

The bigger, more-contextualized photo is Flickr’d. But even better than that is this Japanese television commercial for the very same action figure! Note the “Booger-Pickin’ Finger” action:

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 11:04:54 PM
Category: Comedy, Photography, Pop Culture
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Saturday, March 21, 2021


I’m sure I’d seen this, the funky company car for perfumery boutique Bond No. 9, before. But yesterday was the first time I was able to cameraphone it while it was parked in front of the Bond Street HQ (Flickr’d up version here).

Not sure why that colorful “Brooklyn” graffiti is festooned all over the white paint job, since No. 9 doesn’t seem to have a Brooklyn outlet.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/21/2009 10:51:56 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Wednesday, March 18, 2021


Why did this cryptic window-placement at the corner of 10th Street and 4th Avenue — cameraphoned and embiggerized on Flickr — catch my eye?

Because I actually recognized “Pokipse” as being a phonetic re-rendering of Poughkeepsie, New York, an upstate town that just happens to be a stone’s throw away from from my hometown of Newburgh. The “Train To” part was a big tip-off too, as that’s generally the easiest way to make it up to Dutchess County.

As for this novel by Rami Shamir, I see no online evidence that “Train To Pokipse” has actually been published, self- or otherwise. Judging from this decidedly pompous description from the author, I can’t say I’m surprised that no publisher is willing to spill any ink for this year-old manuscript:

TRAIN TO POKIPSE, my debut novel, was started when I was twenty-five years old. Written to the glow of a lamp once belonging to William S. Burroughs, in an Uptown apartment which Mr. Burroughs, Truman Capote, and Andy Warhol frequented regularly, I finished it one year later.

TRAIN TO POKIPSE is the story of my American generation. Born in the eighties to come of age in the 00’s, this generation, not a fabrication of it, is one neglected by literature and culture in general.

TRAIN TO POKIPSE exposes the deepest and most intense ramifications of having been raised in an environment where American values shifted dramatically into the corporate realm. Flatlined, coked up, famished in a land of plenty, the generation is hindered by many walls but we are poised, when our time comes, to be a great and beneficial influence on the world.

Everyone has named us, Generation Next, Millenium Generation, etc., but no one has risen from our ranks to tell at least part of our true story- until now.

The greatest warning POKIPSE gives is- America, beware; what happens to us, will happen to you, because we are your future- every way you’ll go, winter, summer, fall, and spring.

I guess the ability to make a promotional blurb come off as supremely whiny constitutes talent. I think I’d pass on this tour de force even if it was in print, William S. Burroughs illumination-by-association notwithstanding.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/18/2009 11:48:48 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Monday, March 16, 2021


When I first walked up to this Soho construction-site graffiti near the corner of Houston and (I think) Suffolk Streets, I was initially amused by the notion that street artists were inspired by Barry Manilow’s timeless ’70s rendition of “Can’t Smile Without You”.

Then, looking at this picture after I cameraphoned it (and uploaded it to Flickr), I noticed the misspelling. Amusement multiplied.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/16/2009 09:50:05 PM
Category: Comedy, New Yorkin', Photography, Pop Culture
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Saturday, March 07, 2021


I really wish I could find a better image of the above ad for Neil LaBute’s newest body-image stageplay, “reasons to be pretty”.

Hard to believe I can’t, because the ad is plastered all over town. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person in New York who considers media eyecandy like this to be worthy of online commentary. If so, the rest of you are welcome. Even if it is just a blurry cameraphoned creation (embiggened on Flickr).

My main motive in snapping this pic: I just wanted to commemorate the decidedly unique URL connected to the campaign, DoesThisPlayMakeMeLookFat.com.

As for the play itself, I’m tempted to take it in. Or I’ll just wait for the movie adaptation to come out eventually.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/07/2021 06:41:32 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Friday, February 20, 2021


Here’s an unexpected discovery of painted-on color at the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones streets. Cameraphoned, of course, and promptly Flickr’d.

Not sure if this establishment, ZP Auto Inc., is contemplating a name-change to “Homecandy”. I can’t imagine such a rebrand, from gearhead black-and-white to rainbow-colored giddiness, would be good for the auto-repair business. Not even in NoHo.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/20/2009 10:38:36 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Sunday, February 15, 2021


FRAGMENTIA:
A relatively new cognitive disorder where one feels cut off from a sense of wholeness because of constant exposure to only incomplete parts of things and ideas which do not

Do ya get it? Good.

I ran across this simply humorous poster somewhere in the bowels of Brooklyn’s Treehouse, during the Jelly open house that was held there on Friday. It’s about as funny as a decapitated run-on sentence can get.

I got the full top-three-floors tour of the building, plus the rooftop, to see how they were recycling big chunks of the building itself for repurposed workspace. I took more pictures, but because my weak cameraphone failed me again, this one is the only one that was worth saving. If you want to see actual photos of home office-like spaces, you can always check the Treehouse blog.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/15/2009 11:38:56 AM
Category: Comedy, Creative, Photography, Wordsmithing
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Tuesday, February 10, 2021


I sure as hell don’t agree with the “Why We Love Winter” sentiment that accompanied the above photo (never have been a fan of the bone-chilling cold). But I like the picture itself, taken by news photog Vyacheslav Oseledko, very much.

The photographic subject is a young goaltender in Kyrgyzstan, sporting a homemade mask as he competed in the country’s amateur hockey championships last month. The mask is not only reminiscent of the oldschool “birdcage” style protective mesh — it looks as though it really might have been crafted from an actual metal cage. Speaks of the standard of living in this largely rural Central Asian country.

And remember, this is Kyrgyzstan, not its larger and better-known neighbor Kazakhstan. Even the NYT Web editor couldn’t keep it straight, as the original image file was incorrectly tagged as “kazakhmask533.jpg”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/10/2021 01:14:36 PM
Category: Hockey, Photography
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Saturday, February 07, 2021


I suppose the degree at which a pricetag discount gets truly “stupid” is subjective. I just thought this sign, proclaiming a “Stupid Sofa Sale” in some linens shop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was funny enough to warrant a cameraphone shot. (More fully-fledged on Flickr.)

Like I said, the humor is subject to interpretation. When I pointed it out to my shop-browsing companion, she brushed it off and said that the price wasn’t low enough for her to consider it to be “stupid”. No sale, obviously.

Maybe instead of getting stupid, this store should recruit the well-known Sofa King to move some couches off the showroom floor.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/07/2021 04:49:50 PM
Category: Comedy, New Yorkin', Photography
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I don’t think I’ve ever sampled one of Victory Brewing Company’s bottled wares. And I don’t particularly plan to, either.

But I liked how their “Taste Victory!” logo looked, on the side of one of their beer distributors trucks. The red-white-blue graphics kind of stood out during an overcast Friday afternoon, on a side street in midtown Manhattan. So I took 10 seconds to actually stop, point and hold my cameraphone steady, and snap the pic.

Not the greatest photo I’ve ever taken, but not the worst, either. Somewhat better, and bigger, version has been Flickr’d.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/07/2021 04:34:33 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin', Photography
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Tuesday, February 03, 2021


Headset Hotties is a bare-bones, and blatant, attempt to cash in (via AdSense clickthrus) on the low-level fascination over the homogenous stock-photo models featured on random customer-support websites.

And I really wish I had thought of it first.

Too bad that it is such a simply-structured site: Basic WordPress install and template, no apparent categorization or tagging, no commenting, etc. No way to sort through the inevitable repeat performances across different ads of particular models, like the once-infamous Everywhere Girl.

Note that the term “hotties” is gender-neutral. So, while the majority of the featured support staff consists of nice-looking females, there is room for perhaps the most notorious TV infomercial dude currently sporting a plastic headset.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/03/2021 07:01:38 PM
Category: Comedy, Internet, Photography, Women
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Saturday, January 10, 2021


When I took this picture yesterday, while waiting for the stoplight to change at the corner of Essex and Houston, I thought it came out great — as great as a cameraphone photo ever comes out.

But looking at it now… I dunno. Seems like the sense of scale is off. This big ol’ metal (bronze?) frog is eye-catching, but from my shot, it almost looks like it could be a little toy in the foreground. Even the bigger Flickr version doesn’t do much to convey the true nature.

Whattaya gonna do. I never claimed to be a skilled photog.

As for the setting: Whenever someone gives me crap about referring to this neighborhood as Alphabet City instead of East Village, I cite this little half-acre patch of funland concrete dubbed ABC Playground. Maybe I should take the next step and campaign to make Froggie here the unofficial neighborhood mascot. On second thought: The unintentional consequence will probably be the birth of a new district nickname, “Frogtown”…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/10/2021 04:26:05 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Wednesday, December 31, 2020

ho ho no
This may or may not be my final blog posting of 2008. (All signs point to “yes”.)

If so, I’ll leave it with the above cameraphone photo, just snapped yesterday here in Alphabet City. Something about this stuffed-toy Santa hanging around here, well after Christmas, makes me wistful — but in a good way. Plus I like the tiny teddy bear he’s holding, his marionette-like rosy cheeks, his plaid pants, and that he’s hanging from a winter-denuded sidewalk tree.

Flickr’d as well, of course.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/31/2008 09:54:08 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Saturday, December 20, 2021

So I’ve now got my answer to what became of that Craigslist announcement for a recreation of the Edouard Manet/Bow Wow Wow scenery in Central Park: It was for a feature shot on CrackBerry.com, a BlackBerry fan site.

Click through on the above link to see John Broughton’s “The Picnic in Central Park”, as photographed by Cynthia Vesser. Nice homage, complete with foreground male model filling the seemingly empty hand from the original with a BlackBerry Storm.

The staging of the scene did hit a few snags, though:

Despite only getting one shot in before we were removed by the park police, the photographer, Cynthia Vesser, delivered an amazing photo. The area of the Park that we were in was not covered by permits, and because of the partial nudity we had to pack up the shoot and go before we were able to finalize the scene. We did manage to convince the park police for one shot before leaving and the attachment is what was produced in that shot!

Personally, I think the photo was well worth the excitement! We tried to pay attention to detail -if you squint, you can even see blackberries in the front (but also my cowboy boots still on the girl in the back - she didn’t have time to take them off and stand in the freezing stream). We had wanted to better position the quilt to show the Blackberry name or CB logo, but we had no time. Every time I see the picture, I can still visualize the two park police, standing just out of the frame of the photo on the left - and especially their surprise when the girls started disrobing for the shot :-)

Just as well that I didn’t trek out there to see this action — sounds like it was all too short. In any case, here are the two images that inspired this whole adventure:
luncheon
Edouard Manet, “Luncheon on the Grass”, 1863


Bow Wow Wow, “Go Wild in the Country”, 1982

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/20/2008 01:16:41 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography, Pop Culture, Tech
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Tuesday, December 16, 2021


Never let it be said that even the direst of economic conditions can’t be leveraged into a sales opportunity. I’m sure plenty of other stores are promoting “economic crisis sales”, but this one on West 57th Street caught my eye.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/16/2008 07:06:02 PM
Category: Business, New Yorkin', Photography
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Wednesday, December 10, 2021

lunching
How many Annabella Lwin look-a-likes are there in the greater New York area? I have a feeling someone’s going to find out on Sunday in Central Park, thanks to this Craigslist call-out for models to pose in a photographic recreation of Edouard Manet’s classic impressionist painting, “Luncheon on the Grass”.

Not that Bow Wow Wow’s 1982 album-cover homage to Manet’s original necessarily has anything to do with this coming weekend. But whoever put up that Craigslist ad included a link to the much-trafficked (and old) post on this blog that compares the before-and-after versions. So, even if just for general reference, I think this new endeavor will look to BWW’s “Go Wild in the Country” for inspiration.

Just for completeness’ sake, here’s the pop-punk imagery, in full-color:

I’d venture out to the Park on Sunday, except I don’t want to crash the party under pervert-like circumstances. Besides, the weather forecast is looking chilly, including possible snowfall in the days prior, making me wonder if it’ll come off at all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/10/2021 09:19:27 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography, Pop Culture
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Monday, December 08, 2021


Looking for a jar or two of Vegemite? I know where you can lay your hands on some…

This photo was not taken in Australia, but right here in New York. Specifically at Tuck Shop (”The Great Aussie Bite”), the main spot for any and all Down Under expatriates who are within easy distance of the East Village. The Shop is just off the corner of 1st Avenue and 1st Street — so perhaps it’s not too surprising to find such an outlandish window display so near the Kramer-declared “nexus of the universe” (for you “Seinfeld” fans).

I did take this picture myself, with my cameraphone (see Flickr for better versions). I’m kinda pissed that I had to. I first came across this sight over the weekend, when I was taking a rare walk up 1st Ave.; I didn’t have time to stop to take a shot, but mentally noted it and figured I’d find someone else’s photo of this scene online. Alas, I did not — one more instance of the Internet letting me down. Seriously, this is New York — I can’t be the only one in this town who deemed this to be photo-worthy, can I?

So I had to drag myself back there today and snap my pictures, while freezing my butt off. Worth it, I guess — the cameraphone’s poor resolution and my own photographic ineptness notwithstanding.

Despite my instant fondness for this yellow-and-red lineup (I estimate about 85 jars visible in the window), I don’t have resultant hankering for, say, a Vegemite sandwich. I hear it’s pretty nasty.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/08/2021 08:49:53 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin', Photography, Pop Culture, TV
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Tuesday, December 02, 2021


I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to take a nice, near-panoramic photo of Columbus Circle, and utterly failed at it. High-end camera, crappy cellphone camera, sidewalk level, penthouse level — didn’t matter. I just don’t have the photographic touch for these things.

Thankfully, Hiroko Masuike of The New York Times does. So I’ve freely lifted the shot above (cropped slightly) that accompanied today’s article about landmark issues at 2 Columbus Circle and elsewhere in the City. From the vantage point, I’m guessing it was taken from somewhere inside Trump Tower recently, just as night was falling and the lights were coming up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/02/2021 05:03:55 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Saturday, November 29, 2021

pinned
This backpack, with a woman attached to it, was in front of me recently on the No. 6 subway train. So I snapped a cameraphone photo of it. Bigger (not necessarily much better) version up on Flickr.

I guess the purpose of festooning yourself (or in this case, your accessories) with little metal buttons is to express your beliefs. Not much doubt as to which way this lady leans, with the Obama campaign and Locavore movement proudly displayed in pin-on form.

My favorite of this grouping, though, is the gender-disparity one, with the boy-girl lookyloos enclosed by the legend stating, “Oh, So That Explains The Difference In Our Pay”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/29/2008 04:32:30 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography, Political, Women
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Saturday, November 22, 2021

say cheese
Here’s something I stumbled upon yesterday, right after updating to the latest 2.2 firmware on my iPod Touch:

To take a screenshot all you need to do is hold down the Menu button (the black circle) and press the power button at the top of the device - you will see a white flash on your screen which means the screenshot was taken. In order to access the screenshots just go to your [Photos] on your iPod Touch. It will appear within your saved images.

Sure enough, I tried the dual-pressing of the buttons (the only two physical buttons on the thing, unlike the iPhone or the new 2nd-generation iTouch, both of which have volume-control sidetabs). It took the freeze-frame and saved the results in the Photos section. I must have taken a half-dozen shots of the home screen, album cover art, in-action gameplay, etc.

What good is this? After all, it’s not a real camera — it’s nothing more than a Windows-like Print Screen function. But you can use this to take pristine images of iPod App results in games (high-scores), maps directions, emails, and so on. Even more creatively, you can take a shot of the album art from one of your favorite songs, and automatically set that as the iTouch’s wallpaper (after appropriate cropping), all without going through the trouble of syncing up via iTunes first.

Looks like this works only with the 2.x version of the iPhone/iTouch firmware. I assume it also works on the iPhone. I wonder why Apple kept this on the down-low as a hidden feature; I thought they were through with such Easter eggs…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/22/2008 04:07:33 PM
Category: Photography, iPod
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