Torii Gate at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Outdoor photographers are confronted with the greatest challenges in winter. The difficult shooting conditions aside, there is so little color to capture, both on the streets and in nature. It’s always tempting to throw in the towel and put winter photos in black and white–an urge that’s sometimes spot-on. But vibrant color is that much more striking in the dead of winter. In this photo series, I experiment with no color, highlighted single colors and the closet things to color explosions I’ve been able to find this season.
Many of these photos were first published on my Instagram account: raysnyc
A little snow is no excuse to stop recycling
The Lake in Prospect Park
A dog-walking fashion statement
The First Snow! – Eastern Parkway
Dusk in Prospect Park
Brooklyn’s majestic Grand Army Plaza in a blizzard
Gotta get the kids home!
Get your drones on! – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
One of the best parts of my job is how much I get to explore. Last year I centered my wanderings mostly on Manhattan since that is where the lion’s share of this city’s tours take place. This season, however, I have been making a concerted effort to specialize in Brooklyn–my home and the part of New York I love most.
I created my original Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO Walking Tour, now my most popular tour, and listed myself on Brooklyn’s TripAdvisor site. Soon I plan to roll out a number of new Brooklyn tours focusing on neighborhoods like Fort Greene and Williamsburg. Someday I hope even give a tour of the neighborhood that is nearest and dearest to me: my home, Flatbush/Ditmas Park.
As I explore, I take photos with my cell phone, point-and-shoot or digital SLR camera, depending on what I felt like lugging around on any given day. Here are 10 of my favorite “Forgotten Brooklyn” photos of back alleys, hidden vistas and urban curiosities. Click to enlarge…and enjoy!
Dog walkers on hidden College Place – Brooklyn Heights
This must be the Joad’s old truck! – Vinegar Hill
Thrift Store – Ditmas Park
That’s my train! – Ditmas Park
Quarters A: the one-time home of the Commandant of the navy – Vinegar Hill
Just a couple days of rain in the fall will bring these guys out – Ditmas Park
The last trolley I know of in Brooklyn – Red Hook
The commanding Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument, from below! – Fort Greene
Mikey and the street art of DUMBO
Last month, I stopped by to check out two heritage parades: the West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and the African-American Day Parade in Harlem. All parades are fun but sharp contrasts set these two apart.
Emerging from the subway on Eastern Parkway for the West Indian Day Parade, a visitor is confronted with a wild scene on the street. 18-wheelers with speaker systems blast Caribbean music as thousands of people dance in time. The sidewalks and smaller streets that flank the parkway are choked with spectators, food vendors and police vehicles.
Eastern Parkway on Labor Day
The first thing the eye catches is the flags. Thousands of flags of every West Indian nation twirl in the air along with the music—flag bandanas, shredded flag t-shirts, flag capes and the traditional flags poking up from the crowd. DJs from local radio stations perched atop the trucks yell through the amplifiers, competing with similar sound systems on tractor trailers immediately in front and behind.
And then you notice the costumes. Women in 10-foot high peacock feathers and leopard skin; men dressed with black-painted skulls and rags like the undead sailors in Pirates of the Caribbean.
She let us take a photo with her….I think I’m in love.
And of course, the food was not to be missed. We chowed on some jerk chicken with deep-fried plantains, ox tails and collard greens. All and all, the West Indian Day Parade was extremely memorable—a dramatic taste of the Caribbean moving through the heart of Brooklyn.
The 43rd African American Day Parade on September 16th was unquestionably tamer. Floats moved lazily up Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard punctuated by marching bands and African drum circles. From my perch at 125th St, neither the number of spectators and participants nor their intensity seemed to rival the free-for-all of the West Indian parade. But this relative calmness can certainly be appealing, especially as far as family friendliness is concerned.
The NYPD marching band in the African American Day Parade.