White Sands

February 26, 2007

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White Sands National Monument, west of Alamagordo, NM, is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen. Here are the world’s largest fields of gypsum sand (many dunes rising over 60 feet), which cover an area of nearly 230 square miles. These photos simply cannot do it justice. I’m told that the numerous pools of standing water are very unusual, which added a wonderful dimension to the desert landscape. Hopefully I’ll have better photos once I get a roll of film developed (yes, I’m still using a film camera, a Nikon N80 to be precise), but in the meantime, click these to enlarge.

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I’ll be flying back to NYC tomorrow.


The New Economy 2.0

February 14, 2007

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Every now and then you just have to stop and contemplate the radical transformation of the world we live in. I’m hardly pointing out anything new, yet it’s still mind-boggling. This is Cafe Marco on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Every single person here is working on their laptops (I counted 12, almost half of them Macs), taking calls on cell phones and presumably earning a living while sipping soy lattes. These are not kids, they’re professionals. What everyone does, I have no idea, but they’re probably free agents doing an LA version of what I’m doing here (i.e. something related to “the industry”), which is working on three projects at once: a book, a real estate article, and posting blog items about New York even though I’m not even there (see below). I can work from a cafe in LA rather than at the home office in New York for a number of reasons, the obvious one is technology, but also cheap airfare and a widely dispersed network of friends who, even though they don’t live in the same city as me, account for a significant portion of my social life because we get around so much and communicate effortlessly. It’s a truly astonishing change that has become almost like the air; it’s all around us yet goes virtually unnoticed.


For-Profit Parks

February 11, 2007

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The Los Angeles Times has a good piece about the privatization of public parks, focusing on Bryant Park in Manhattan. But buried in this excellent article is this shocker of an item:

On Wednesday, [New York] city officials are expected to vote on a plan to give 20 of Manhattan’s wealthiest private schools exclusive after-school access to dozens of public ball fields, rather than allow them to be used by nearby public schools in East Harlem and South Bronx. The private schools would pay more than $2 million a year to use the 63 fields for 20 years.

I don’t know if this has been covered in the New York media (since I’ve been on the opposite coast, see below), but if not, someone needs to get on it.

Across the U.S., Public Parks Are Landing Private Operators [LA Times, reg. req.]

For a slideshow of Bryant Park Ice Pond I took last year, click here (including the above photo).


Breathtaking Inanity: iPod Illegal on City Streets?

February 7, 2007

I’ve only been gone a day and it seems a bout of inanity has erupted in New York. According to Computer World, it could soon be illegal to listen to an iPod while walking in New York. Because of a couple recent deaths of people hit by cars, State Senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) is going to introduce a bill that would ban people from listening to “music players or using electronic devices that would hamper their awareness of their surroundings while crossing the street.” If passed into law, violators could be fined $100.

Check back soon for some posts about LA … where Gov. Schwarzenegger will soon make it illegal to fiddle with the radio while driving.


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