Traveling the streets and avenues of New York’s five boroughs, the search continues for commonplace stores selling objects that might become the focus of an interesting photograph. Some objects are unusual, some are ordinary and some are visually interesting in themselves, but something is found in each one of them to complement this project.
The stores and objects featured here represent the diversity and local flavor of New York’s neighborhoods.
This is an on-going essay, and there are a lot of neighborhoods to visit, so check back for updates.
The traditional Zongzi is made of sticky rice with various fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied with string. Either steamed or boiled, they make a full meal in themselves. Zongzi are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, commemorating the death of the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan.
The Saguaro Cactus grows to only two inches tall in its first ten years of life, but can grow as high as 50 feet, weigh seven tons and live more than 150 years.
According to legend, Chinese characters were invented by Cangjie (c. 2650 BC), a bureaucrat under the legendary emperor, Huangdi. The legend tells that Cangjie was hunting on Mount Yangxu when he saw a tortoise whose veins caught his curiosity. Inspired by the possibility of a logical relation of those veins, he studied the animals of the world, the landscape of the earth, and the stars in the sky, and invented a symbolic system called zì—Chinese characters. It was said that on the day the characters were born, Chinese heard the devil mourning, and saw crops falling like rain, as it marked the beginning of the world.
Thought to have arrived in Japan from China in the 1770s, the Ryukin fish is a beautiful variety of goldfish. They can be found in many colors: red, white, blue, calico, green, chocolate and a red and white combination as seen in this photograph.
In the 1800’s, bicycles with large front wheels called penny farthings were quite common. These bicycles had no gears or chains as bicycles do today. Instead, the pedals were attached directly to the front wheel. When the pedals were pushed through one full turn the wheel would also rotate one full turn. This meant that the bigger the wheel the farther the penny farthing could go on one turn of the pedals. The penny farthing used an extremely large wheel and traveled faster than other gearless bicycles.
A backwater of poor artists and small factories in the 1970s, SoHo has become a popular destination for people looking for fashionable clothing, chic restaurants and exquisite architecture.
The Bowery is the oldest thoroughfare on Manhattan Island, having been an Indian footpath which spanned roughly the entire length of the island. When the Dutch settled Manhattan island, they named the path Bouwerij road — bouwerij being an old Dutch word for farm — because it connected farmlands and estates on the outskirts to the heart of the city in today’s Wall Street/Battery Park area. In 1654, the Bowery’s first residents settled; ten freed slaves and their wives set up cabins and a cattle farm.
Director Spike Lee has prominently featured the streets and brownstone blocks of Bedford-Stuyvesant in his films, including Do the Right Thing , Crooklyn , Clockers, and Summer of Sam. Chris Rock’s television sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, portrays Rock’s life growing up as a teenager in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Bedford-Stuyvesant is featured in the 1971 film The French Connection, in which NYPD narcotics detective Popeye Doyle is assigned to a Brooklyn police station located here.
Brighton Beach was developed as a beach resort in 1868. Today Brighton Beach is dubbed “Little Odessa”, due to many of its residents having come from Odessa, Ukraine.
When the Statue of Liberty was shipped from France in 1886, it arrived in 350 pieces and took four months to assemble. She has a 4′ 6″ long nose, her index finger is 8′ 0″ and she weighs 225 tons.
On February 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a trade embargo on Cuba to sanction Fidel Castro’s communist government. The president ordered his press secretary on the evening of February 6 to obtain 1,200 H. Upmann brand petit corona Cuban cigars; upon the arrival of the cigars the following morning, Kennedy signed the executive order which put the embargo into effect.
Cheese puffs were invented in the United States in the 1930s. Edward Wilson of the Flakall Corporation of Wisconsin deep-fried and salted puffed corn and later added cheese. He applied for a patent in 1939 and the product, named Korn Kurls, was commercialized in 1946.
The earliest archeological evidence of cheesemaking has been found in Egyptian tomb murals, dating to about 2000 BC.
“Then you enjoyed our dialogue? You’re not disturbed? Let the ng-ka-py run back on your tongue. It tastes like rotten apples. Like good rotten apples.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden
DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
Spider-Man first appeared in the comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). The series was cancelled with that issue, but response to the character was so positive that a solo title, The Amazing Spider-Man, was launched with a March 1963 cover-date.
Boerum Hill is named for the colonial farm of the Boerum family that occupied most of the area. In the 1950s and ’60s, the north end of Smith Street was the center of New York City’s Mohawk community.
“He’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot!” – Monty Python
Durian fruit can best be described as having a succulent, creamy filling but smelling like stinky socks.
“In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” – Carl Sagan
Lladró figurines are made out of an original blend of hard-paste porcelain, which gives the products their unique porcelain characteristics. The glaze ingredients also add to the look of the figures and is an industry secret. In an episode of The Sopranos, Carmela breaks a Lladró by throwing it at Tony.
The Fashionista Blooms bouquet; $62.95
• 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
• 1 c. cold water
• 3 T. sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 c. peanut butter
• 1 c. Marshmallow Fluff
• 2 c. heavy or whipping cream
• 1 Chocolate Crumb Crust
In medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup cold water and gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Cook stirring constantly, until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla and remaining water. Beat in peanut butter and Fluff. Chill until mixture mounds when dropped from spoon. Fold in whipped cream. Turn into crust; chill until set. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
The fedora hat took its name from the title of an 1882 play, Fédora, written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in the U.S. in 1889. The fedora became a female fashion which lasted into the early part of the twentieth century.
In 1987 half of all Harley riders were under age 35. Now, only 15% of Harley buyers are under 35.
Al Capone was born in Williamsburg and lived there until 1919, when he fled to Chicago to escape two murder charges.
“The tradition is that a merchant ship laden with nitrum being moored at this place, the merchants were preparing their meal on the beach, and not having stones to prop up their pots, they used lumps of nitrum from the ship, which fused and mixed with the sands of the shore, and there flowed streams of a new translucent liquid, and thus was the origin of glass.” – Georgius Agricola