Friday, October 14, 2016

DUMBO Water Tower

Water tower in DUMBO. I like water towers, and kept wanting to draw them, but you're always viewing them from far below. I kept seeing this one, close to and on level with the Manhattan Bridge, from the subway. So I walked up the north path of the bridge, which is a narrow bike lane where I wasn't supposed to be. But it put me right in front of the structure.

Water towers are one of the signature traits of the New York skyline. They're everywhere, and though they look like relics, they're actually in use. In the 1880s, New York City mandated that buildings taller than six stories be equipped with a water tank. The tanks use gravity to supply water pressure to the floors below, and they are often constructed of wood rather than steel due to cost, superior insulation, and less maintenance.

There are two remaining companies that construct all of NYC's water towers, Rosenwach Tank Company and Isseks Brothers, both founded in the 18902 and still family owned. This one was built by Rosenwach; you can tell by the rosette on top that is shaped like a double-R.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

1st and 1st

For years and years now, the intersection around First Ave. and First St./Houston St. has been torn up with construction. It's pretty bad, because it's the intersection of two major streets, a busy subway stop dumping pedestrians onto the street, and a bike lane. So I was pleasantly surprised at the beginning of the summer to see that construction was finally complete! The roads freshly paved, the bulldozers gone, the sidewalks open, the bike lane free and clear.

So of course, a week later, they were digging it all up again. The exact same spot!

This one was actually done over two or three days. Everytime I went to draw it, they would come and move it.

Fire hydrants to be installed. I'd never thought about how far underground a fire hydrant extends.

A steam roller. Why are they still called steam rollers? They don't run on steam anymore, do they?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Inktober Week 1

Inktober is this drawing challenge created by a guy named Jake Parker. The exercise is to do one ink drawing per day for the month of October. I've heard of it before, but always forgot about it until the month was well under way, but this year I'm doing it. This is the first week's worth.

I don't have a strategy for them, except to not count any of the urban sketchbook stuff that I might do over the month, because that's the sort of thing I do all the time. Instead, I'll try to do something different than usual; drawing directly in pen without a preliminary pencil sketch, drawing quickly, using a brush, etc.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

TV Van

TV van in DUMBO. I have no idea who or what they were broadcasting.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Westbeth Artists Community.These buildings were originally the Bell Telephone Laboratories, the largest industrial research complex in the U.S., where technology including television, talking movies, radar, was developed. It was also part of the Manhattan Project. It closed as a research facility in 1966, and was transformed into subsidized low-to-middle income housing for artists. I think such a project would be inconceivable in today's New York City.

Below, a lamp mounted to one of the Westbeth buildings on Bank St.