Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bush Terminal Piers Park

Go to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. Walk past the auto body shops and the Halal live poultry shops and dash across the traffic underneath the Gowanus Expressway. Go past the old industrial factories and warehouses that have been renovated into studios for artists and craftsmen. Keep going past the old industrial factories and warehouses on First Ave. that have not been gentrified. Businesses like United Store Fixtures and Aviv Judaica Imports. You'll see a sign on a gate for Bush Terminal Piers Park. Go through the gate and down the road past yet more old industrial buildings, and there you'll find a park. It's not the world's greatest park, but it's nice because no one's there and there are great views of Lower Manhattan, including the new World Trade Center Building and the Statue of Liberty. On the other side of the fence, you'll see the ruins of old piers, like this one.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


My wife and I took a quick vacation to New Orleans recently. I didn't have a lot of time to sketch, but here's some . . .

Tujague's Restaurant, near Jackson Square.

We went to a music club called The Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street and heard a bunch of jazz. This guy's name was Andy Forest, I think.

Washboard Chaz. This guy and his band were great.

Warren Battiste, a jazz legend who played with Fats Domino, just stopping by to watch.

The U.S.S. Wasp, docked on the Mississippi River.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy Birthday FDNY

I saw on the news this morning that today marks the 150th Anniversary of the New York Fire Department (abbreviated FDNY instead of NYFD, for some reason). I've been doing a series of drawings of firehouses for almost two years, so it seemed like a good day to post them. I've been meaning to put color on them, so in my eyes they're unfinished. But if I've been procrastinating for two years in coloring them, it's not going to happen today.

Engine Company 33, Great Jones St.

There were, of course, firefighters in New York prior to 1865, but they were various types of volunteer companies. One of the perks of being a volunteer fireman in 1737 was that you were exempt from jury duty. We'd probably have an even bigger fire department today if that was still the case!

Engine Company 240, Windsor Terrace

The two sketches above are of the local firehouse where I live now, in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

Engine 55, SoHo

This one in particular would look a lot better in color.

When I was a child, I loved firetrucks. I would get so excited when I saw them racing down the street, too young to realize that they might be heading to some scene of terrible disaster and tragedy. My mother says when I would see the trucks, I'd yell "Fire Truck! Fire Truck!" Except I couldn't pronounce the "tr", so it would come out "Fire Fuck! Fire Fuck!"

Engine 258 and Ladder Company 115, Hunter's Point, Queens

This is the firehouse they used in that show "Third Watch." That thing in front is a stuffed dog of some sort.

I hope to finish these and do some more. I have one of the Ghostbusters firehouse that's in a state too unfinished to post. Maybe this summer ...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Vadim and Kason

I've been out of the figure drawing habit for a long while. I went to Spring Street Studio a few weeks ago and last weekend. Both sessions featured a pair of models, which is a lot harder than a single model, so it was a heckuva way to return to figure drawing. The first session didn't yield any good drawings; these are all from Saturday. The models were Vadim and Kason (I think).

Some of the poses brought to mind old Steve Reeves Hercules movies. I kept hearing the Star Trek fight theme while drawing these . . .

This one was tough. I couldn't get the forced perspective of Kason's right leg right, and his left leg is wonky, too. The little quick sketch in the corner is more correct, but I didn't have time to start completely over.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Death Becomes Her

Sketches from the recent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Knox Building

The Knox Building on the corner of 5th Ave. and 40th street, drawn from the fifth floor of the Mid-Manhattan Library. In the background are the Met Life building and the Conde Nast building.

The building was built in 1901-02 by Edward Knox, a Civil War hero who had taken over his father's business, the Knox Hat Company, which had fallen into financial trouble. Edward Knox rescued the company and turned it into one of the most prominent hat manufacturers of the time. He hired the architect John H. Duncan to design this ten-story building to be his flagship store and business headquarters. Duncan had also designed Grant's Tomb and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, as well as a number of residences in the Upper West Side. Today, the Knox brand of hats is only familiar to vintage clothing aficionados, and Duncan's name only known by historians and architecture buffs, despite having designed some of New York's most iconic structures. I guess Heidi Klum is right: One day you're in, the next day you're out!

Knox Building ca. 1914
Knox Building today

The Knox Building was a significant addition to the NYC architecture scene. It was one of the most dramatic examples of the Beaux-Arts style. As you can see, when built, it dominated the surrounding skyline, and could be seen from miles down the avenues. In 1964, the building was purchased by the Republic National Bank (and later HSBC), and in the 1980s they built a 29-story ugly glass tower wrapped around the Knox. Anyway, I think it's ugly, or at least just a generic glass behemoth.. The site Newyorkitecture says: "The artfully done tower comes off as drape backdrop for the Beaux Arts Knox Building." The Knox Building itself was landmarked in 1980.