Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stanley Greenberg: the romance of infrastructure.

My earliest memories of New York City - I was five years old, staying with my mother at the old Henry Hudson Hotel on West 57th Street waiting to board a ship to cross the Atlantic and join my father, an Air Force officer who had been sent to England for a tour of duty - prominently include being awestruck by the magnificence of its public works. Yes, the skyscrapers, the bustling crowds, and the "Manhattan" the waitress served me at Longchamps (ginger ale with a dash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry, in a cocktail glass) were impressive, but so were the mighty pillars holding up the elevated West Side highway, and the piers jutting into the Hudson sheltering a phalanx of passenger and cargo liners. On later visits - I was through New York as a port of embarkation or debarkation three more times in my childhood - my experience grew to include the great East River bridges, with their soaring towers, tree trunk thick cables and stupendously massive anchorages, and the interior of the old Penn Station, an early twentieth century high-tech cathedral.

So it was that I came to love the photography of Stanley Greenberg, whose camera ventures into places where ordinary citizens do not or cannot venture, such as the interior of the Lower Gatehouse of the New Croton Dam, shown above. His books Invisible New York and Waterworks elegantly document this hidden or often overlooked infrastructure of the City and its environs.

My wife and I attended the opening reception for Stanley's current exhibition at the Gitterman Gallery. Among the photographs displayed were some of City infrastructure, others of buildings under construction, and others comprising a series showing sand castles on the beach at Coney Island. They thereby encompassed the enduring, the transitory and the evanescent. You can see images of the photographs included in the exhibition here.

The exhibition will remain open through May 10. Gitterman Gallery is located at 170 East 75th Street in Manhattan, telephone 212.734.0868 or see

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ed Lenci gets shorn.

No, he wasn't heavily invested in subprime mortgage backed securities, or a major holder of Bear Stearns stock. As explained in this earlier post, Ed volunteered to have his head shaved to help raise money for children's cancer research through St. Baldrick's Foundation. So, on this St. Patrick's Day afternoon, Ed repaired to Jim Brady's, on Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan, to submit to the shears. Here he is, gamely awaiting his date with destiny:

He takes the fateful chair:

Going, ...

... going, ...

... gone.

Congratulations to Ed on his shiny new look, and thanks to all who made it worthwhile by contributing to St. Baldrick's.