Antique Store Oxymoron

I think this is the first antique shop that I’ve ever seen that was an actual antique itself.   Well, maybe that’s not completely true because I’ve been in some old antique shops, but somehow when they’re open for business and still full of … antiques, they don’t seem quite as old as this antique.  I have a reverence for days gone by and a complete fascination with things that were, especially nowadays with so much construction going on.  It seems that what was yesterday could be something completely different tomorrow.  I guess that’s why whenever I see a quaint old antique building I just have to shoot it.  Still, there are three signs on this building that indicate that they’re still in business.  As one of the signs puts it, “by chance or by appointment.”  I love that.  It’s such a laid back southern way of saying, “call me, and if I’m not out on the lake or busy barbecuing, maybe we can do business.”

Church Street Antiques 1Church Street Antiques 2


Lines and Curves

There’s a brand new roller coaster at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC.  I’m not a roller coaster kind of girl, but as a writer and avid reader, I can enjoy the ups and downs and twists and turns of a good plot.  As a photographer, I have an appreciation of antiques and originals as a reminder of our past – capturing a moment in time that may be gone tomorrow – preserving a memory.  This is the older roller coaster at Carowinds.  I am not sure if it will still be active now that the new one is in place, but you can see these tracks from the street and the lines and curves just caught my eye.

Click any of the photos below to enlarge them.

roller coaster

Roller Coast at Carowinds

Carowinds 3Carowinds 2

The Nature of our Lives

gateway, lines

Archway at DSBG

There’s some peace I find in covered pathways – the soothing lines, the cover from sun while still being in nature.  It’s hard to explain the exact emotion I feel when I walk through places like this, like I’m visiting part of my past – it’s soothing, comfortable and I’m always reluctant to leave.

path of peace

… and once you’ve passed through each gateway of life, once you’ve again found yourself in unknown territory, you start to notice things you’ve never see before – and you’re thankful for this gift, thankful that you’ve been able to come this far and to reach this unknown treasure.  When we step beyond our boundaries and reach just outside that comfortable place, we are met with the unexpected beauty of yet another gift of life.


Living Arches

Arches made of bromeliads inside the orchid house at the DSBG (big surprise there LOL).

Checkout the cool bromeliad ball hanging from the center of the arch in the photo below.  I love these plants.  I took one home once from Selby Gardens in Sarasota when I lived in New York.  It got lots of Sun while attached to a tree/plant I had, but once the cold weather set in, it was just too sensitive to last.  That was one tiny plant – these arches have millions of plants attached and then the decorative ball – you can tell these were constructed with love.

As beautiful as the orchid house was, it was no place for a girl who doesn’t love humidity and who just carefully blow dried her hair.  Ah – it was worth it.

Oh yeah, one more … then I think I need some sleep – I hope my editors aren’t looking at this blog, they’ll be asking me why I’m not writing instead – but like I said before, I think I have time for both …

Drive-In Movies – A Rare Find

Drive-in Movies – a thing of the past?  Not everywhere.  Fewer and fewer of these charming, family/friend-oriented places exist.  It’s refreshing to see that traditions still live on in some places.  Greene County, New York – a drive-in where you can pack the car with kids in pajamas or as many friends as you can fit in the car.  Concession stands with tons of junk to eat like hot dogs and hot buttered popcorn and sodas you can barely hold with both hands.  Swingsets for the kids to play on during intermission.  A way to enjoy an indoor past-time outdoors.  I warms my heart to think of all the movies I’ve seen at drive-ins – good memories.  Trying to sneak extra friends in the trunk.  It’s sad to think that not many of these treasures exists anymore.  For kids today, this is a novelty – for us adults, a great memory of Friday nights watching a bigger-than-life screen filled with action and sound pumping into your car like it was happening all around you – watching stars on the screen while viewing the stars in the sky – nothing like it.  Some things never change, and for that I’m glad.

Mobile Photography – Long Island to New Jersey

I think I’ve mentioned once before that one of my weird habits is taking photos while driving. Don’t worry, my eyes never leave the road -which also means I’m not looking where the camera is pointing.  I can read my camera like braille but, as you’ll soon see, some of my pics are askew (love that word) because I can’t pay attention to whether I’m getting the shot straight or not.  Mobile photography is tricky, and fun – taking the photos is fun and it’s even more fun to see what I really caught on camera later. When you drive from Long Island to Queens to Brooklyn to Staten Island and then to New Jersey, sometimes you’re driving at a heart-palpitating speed and sometimes you’re at a dead stop. Either way, there’s always a lot to see – just don’t take your eyes off the road.

When Google Maps tells you that your 97-mile trip will only take you an hour and a half, you can bet that if it’s 97 miles through New York, it’s going to be more like a “3-hour tour” – except New York is no Gilligan’s Island.

You will see parts of my car in some photos, but that’s kind of the point – that’s one of the aspects of “mobile photography” that I love – it’s as if you’re in the car with me, seeing what I might see if I were the passenger.  The other part of it I like is when I catch the rear view in my side-view mirrors. This particular Sunday afternoon it was a beautiful day full of sunshine and there were also millions of puffy white clouds in the sky – it was actually quite Disney-like.

Leaving Long Island

I don’t know why I took the Long Island Expressway, but something told me to and I always listen to that little voice inside my head.  Traffic is typically bad, but luckily I’ve driven this route so many times that I know what lane to drive in, when to switch lanes and when to just give in and take a photo becauase I know I’m not going anywhere any time soon.

Into Queens

This is a really bad shot of a blimp – the DirectTV blimp obviously advertising over the U.S. Open in Queens.   I caught this photo just after it made a huge swing-around 180-degree turn.  Yes, I was there long enough to see the whole flight pattern.

Fast forward to the other end of Queens – where the LIE (Long Island Expressway) splits off left to the Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan (or “the City” as we New Yorkers call it) and where 48th Street is the last exit before crossing the Kosciuszko Bridge into Brooklyn.  48th Street is the first street I lived on in Queens.  (That’s the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) above), and I’m about to get on it.

I like to call these photos (above) – Field of Dreams, Traffic Reality.  These three photos were taken over a period of ten minutes – in one spot.

On the BQE

On the BQE, now in Brooklyn, approaching the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, neither of which I will take.  I could have really taken some great photos here, but not as the driver.  The road is speedy, trafficy and windy and people change lanes like they change their minds.

Through Brooklyn, driving next to Manhattan, on my way to Hamilton Avenue, my brief diversion from traffic.

Thru Bklyn

Downtown Manhattan from Brooklyn

Hamilton Ave. Brooklyn, NY

Hamilton Ave.

The traffic I’m avoiding is overhead – the trade-off is the traffic lights, but it’s a nice time to stop and take a breather after driving fifty or so miles.  After this (above) Hamilton Ave. splits into three lanes – 4th Avenue (Brooklyn) on the left – to the Verranzano Bridge in the middle – and 3rd Avenue on the right – and you better know what lane you need to be in.  It’s moments like this, that define a seasoned New York driver – even if your plates say New Jersey.  Trouble is, if you haven’t lived in New York or driven through it for a very long time, chances are that all the road rules you knew before are now obsolete.  I love driving through New York – any part of it – with my Jersey plates on.  People think you don’t know where you’re going and then you get to one-up them on the lane changes – kind of like George Costanza crossing the road with his Frogger game.

And now back on to the road above (which I never really knew if it was the BQE still or the Gowanus or whatever, but it still says “495” which I know is also the LIE) – and it’s two exits, 6th Avenue and Guido-famous 86th Street, and onto the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (called “The Verranzano” – no, that’s not a typo – we just add the extra N in Verrazano … ‘cuz we do.  In other words, I don’t know why LOL) into Staten Island.

LLVNB – Lower Level Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Yes, I took the lower level, I’m chicken – if I can avoid heights, even in degrees, I avoid them.  Still, you can see the water, the boats, the blue sky with puffy clouds and even a view of the road behind me.  Of course three seconds after this shot, the truck that I was following came to a screaching halt and decided to put his flasher lights on – he was helping a car in distress.  I found that out when I quickly looked to my left as I had to change lanes in a heartbeat.  Never take your eyes off the road – which incidentally, I did a pretty good job with keeping this shot straight while not looking, even if I do say so myself.  I’m sure when the people driving behind me see me stretch my arm out to the right with a camera in it, they must think I work for Google Maps or something.  I should.  But I’m also sure they’re thanking their lucky stars my head isn’t turned off the road either.

440-Staten Island

This photo makes 440 in Staten Island look like Wyoming.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the pavement on 440.  With that gorgeous sky and open road, I just had to take this picture – I’ll probably never see anything like it again.  Just one more bridge to cross – the Outerbridge Crossing and into New Jersey (below)

Approaching the OBC

Outerbridge Crossing

The other side of the bridge – New Jersey and onto the Turnpike.  Alas, the New Jersey Turnpike is rather boring, so this is where my photo taking ended.  Taking photos is a way to appreciate beauty, make moments last, and even make a “3-hour tour” a bit of fun.

More New Brunswick

This is taken from the rear entrance of Albany Street Plaza in New Brunswick.  You can see the building directly across the street – quite old and ornate – and to the right, the back of One Spring Street, a newer, more modern building that hosts apartments, offices and a rooftop garden and dog walk – it’s the birth of a new city – with all the traffic to prove it.