open streets

by sam on 05/26/2024

Open streets in my neighborhood started up again a few weeks ago, and today was the first time it was both nice out and I was in town, so I took a little walk with one of my real cameras (a slightly used Olympus PEN E-P7 that I bought recently). the PEN doesn’t have a separate viewfinder, and the glare made it almost impossible to see the screen, so these were largely guesswork. I think they came out pretty well, all things considered.

Happy New Year!

by sam on 01/1/2024

Today did my (semi?) traditional walk down broadway that I’ve done at least a few times before on or around new years. it was a pretty grey day today, but I still snapped some pics with my new camera, and then ran them all through the “gritty NYC” filter (not really called that). Anyway. here’s from the upper west side down to the flatiron, where I ultimately ended my walk because Eataly was right there.

Summer 2023 travels | National Parks

by sam on 09/24/2023

After sitting on my wishlist for several years, I finally booked a trip to visit a whole bunch of US National Parks in…2020. Needless to say, certain events overtook my planning, and the trip got postponed for a few more years, but this summer, I finally got to go. The trip itself had a few wrinkles thanks to the bizarre weather out west this summer (a Hurricane? seriously?), but we mostly got to go everywhere. WAY too many photos to do individual descriptions, but I’ve broken them up by location. As usual, click through to see the big photos (and I’ve increased the default size so these are probably not phone-screen friendly). There are A LOT of rocks. and trees, and some wildlife (no bears!). Overall super glad I went even if my almost 50-year old joints are still a bit mad at me.

Zion National Park

First stop after flying into Las Vegas was Zion National Park. It was still pretty rainy while we were there, so many of the most popular hikes like the Narrows were shut down due to flash flooding. The main hike we did was to the Emerald Pools, which were actual pools thanks to all of the rain.

Bryce Canyon

The weather at our next stop was much more cooperative, and the scenery at Bryce Canyon was simply spectacular. Some of our group hiked down to the bottom, but my knees weren’t going to tolerate that, so I stuck to the rim (and ended up hiking half the rim accidentally when we thought “oh, let’s just walk to the next bus stop, it’ll be easy!”). Later on we drove back for sunset with some contraband bottles of champagne, and got to see our one prairie dog of the trip along the way (bad photo from the van included here).

Horseshoe Bend and Navajo National Park

After Bryce Canyon, we were supposed to go on a jeep tour of Antelope Canyon, but they shut down the entire park that day as a result of flash flooding. So instead we took a detour to Navajo National Park, after stopping at Horseshoe Bend (the “beginning” of the Grand Canyon) for photos and a picnic.

Monument Valley

We did get to go on our other Jeep tour, the one requiring us to wake up at 4am in order to be at Monument Valley for sunrise. I was a little cranky this day, due to the 4am wakeup, lack of coffee, and that being the moment that my camera deciding to break, but at least it broke in a way that it still worked – it just…wouldn’t turn off. So a lot of time spent removing and replacing batteries, but still some amazing pictures, including centuries old petroglyphs. This is genuinely one of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve ever seen – and the number of movies filmed here backs me up.

Grand Canyon

And finally, at the end of week one, the big kahuna. This was my first time at the Grand Canyon and it was really everything it was cracked up to be. No picture can truly capture how immense this place is, but I certainly tried. We drove in in time for a first view and sunset (and watched a rainstorm on the other side of the Canyon), and then spent the next day hiking the rim (again, some group members hiked the 4,000 feet to the bottom and then…back up, but I was not one of those people). Then we went on a helicopter tour in the afternoon and saw even more of the place, including the north rim, which is pretty inaccessible from the ground.


After the Grand Canyon, we returned to Vegas via Route 66 to drop of some folks who were only traveling for week 1, and pick up another passenger and new guide for week 2. Then we got waylaid by the weather again and had to cancel our visit to Death Valley because the park was closed for “the foreseeable future” thanks to the flooding damage from all of the rain. Instead, we went to an incredibly tacky little ghost silver mining town/theme park before finally hitting the vast golden fields of southern California

Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Then we spent the next two days at Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and visited the trees. SO MANY trees. Giant trees. including General Sherman, not just a big tree, but the largest living organism on earth. Hiked the Congress trail, were we also saw the President and the Senate (and where I finally got the joke). On day two we did some hiking and picnicking in Kings Canyon, where I very humorously tore my pants climbing over a fallen tree, so that’s a memory I will have forever.


And penultimately, Yosemite. site of all of those majestic Ansel Adams photographs (and a little gallery of his art, where you can buy an original print for the bargain basement price of $18,000). Half Dome and El Capitan are here, together with some lovely waterfalls and rivers, as well as a whole bunch of trash-scavenging birds.

San Francisco

And finally, San Francisco. Not technically a national park itself, but containing several (the Presidio, Golden Gate Park). Like every good tourist, we had lunch in Haight-Ashbury, hiked the trail to the Golden Gate Bridge (including going under the weird troll tunnel to get there), saw all of the sea lions at the pier, and took a sunset cruise around the bridge and Alcatraz. I spent an extra day there mostly visiting the SFMoMA, contemplated riding a streetcar (too crowded) and walking down the embarcadero for dinner. All in all a fantastic (and exhausting) trip.

2022 travels – Spain/Portugal/Morocco

by sam on 09/4/2022

When I was trying to figure out where to go this summer, I was debating between Portugal and Morocco, and then I found this trip that went to both places (plus a bit of Spain), and thought PERFECT! It was a great time, if it a bit hot and maybe a bit too rushed in each place (I would have loved an extra day in Lisbon in particular), but it was still quite the adventure. In total, we went to Madrid, Salamanca, Porto, Lisbon, Evora, Olhao, Seville, Tangier, Chefchaouen (the blue city), Volubilis (the most complete roman ruins in Morocco), Fes, Casablanca and Marrakech over about 13 days (the trip was technically 15 days, but that includes the day I arrived in Madrid, and the day I flew out of Marrakech at 6 in the morning). As always, there are too many pictures, but only really a few for each location. And, as always, click on the thumbnails to get the actual pictures and (some) description.

Jasper Johns at the Whitney

by sam on 12/28/2021

One of the few things I decided to do during this, the end of our second pandemic year, was actually go see the Jasper Johns exhibit at the Whitney. I got a membership to the museum in February 2020, the last time I went, and then, well, everything ended. So this is a tiny bit of full circle – deciding that my vaccinated and boosted self could brave Omicron for one day at a place that required vaccines, masks and social distancing to visit.

Fun Fact: Johns, who is still kicking it at 91, lives in the next town over from my parents, and my dad insists on saying “he lives right down the road”.

Also, this is some serious Americana.

Greece 2021

by sam on 09/27/2021

Last month, after 18 months of pandemic, I finally took a trip. I ended up going to Greece in a bit of a roundabout fashion, due to my original trip to the US west getting cancelled (twice! once in 2020 and then again in 2021). All in all, Greece was a pretty nice backup plan. We traveled to a bunch of places, ate a ridiculous amount of food, watched a bunch of sunsets, and drank absurd amounts of wine.

scenes from a pause

by sam on 06/9/2020

yesterday, NYC officially ended our lockdown pause and entered phase 1 of reopening. Over the almost 90 days that I’ve been home since mid-march, I’ve collected photos that I never posted on instagram or elsewhere, and thought I would just round them up here, now that we’re very slowly emerging from our shells.

sunday in the park with…no one.

by sam on 04/5/2020

I’ve been trying to take walks early in the morning, before too many people are up and about, mostly on days where I have some other reason to leave my apartment (and it could be anything – if I had packages delivered the day before, a morning walk means my doorman puts them all together for me and I pick them up on my way back in the building after they’ve sat overnight. Today it was just that it was sunday and I needed some fresh air. So I grabbed my sneakers and my gloves (even though I planned on touching nothing) and my improvised face covering, and walked over to the park, where the flowers and trees don’t know there’s a pandemic and insist on blooming like it’s spring or something.

These are all just iPhone shots. Pictures were a bit of an afterthought until I saw the tulips.

quarantine art, week three…warhol edition

by sam on 04/4/2020

(I realize I’m going to run out of these soon and I’m going to have to start just posting my backlog of random other stuff I’ve never gotten around to posting, but in the meantime, MORE ART!)

This week, I’m going a little further back in time. In the winter of 2018, the Whitney mounted a massive Warhol show that perfectly coincided with my time off from work for the holidays, so I spend a nice friday afternoon wandering among the crowds and the art (remember when we used to just wander among crowds?).

transitions (judd at moma)

by sam on 03/28/2020

this week’s ‘art in the time before COVID-19’ is from a trip to the Museum of Modern Art immediately before we all started shutting down. The beginning of March, which was the beginning of public nervousness and social distancing, also coincided with some major art shows around the city and the opening of this fairly major show at the MoMA. My stepmom and I decided to venture out to this (rather than, say, theater, where I couldn’t at least run across the room from a coughing person), and we were some of the very few people to do so – A show like this would normally attract sold-out crowds and lines, but instead it was like a private viewing.

This was the last time I left my apartment for anything other than work (which became work-from-home a few days later) or essentials.

From the MoMA’s description of Judd’s work:

By the mid-1960s, Judd commenced his lifelong practice of using industrial materials, such as aluminum, steel, and Plexiglas, and delegating production of his work to local metal shops. With the help of these specialized fabricators, he developed a signature vocabulary of hollow, rectilinear volumes, often arranged in series. In the following years, “boxes,” “stacks,” and “progressions” continued as Judd’s principal framework to introduce different combinations of color and surface. Judd surveys the complete evolution of the artist’s career, culminating in the last decade of his life, when Judd intensified his work with color and continued to lay new ground for what ensuing generations would come to define as sculpture.