This draped enclosure, an experiment by Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), had no takers during my few minutes of observation. Indeed, few passersby even gave it a glance. Like any self-respecting phone booth, however, it had already won the attention of an advertiser — a local restaurant that affixed promotional flyers inside and out.
Pop-up mobile phone booth Broadway near the southwest corner with West 114th St., Manhattan
Cupcakes and ice cream are two of the countless subjects portrayed on the outside walls of this former warehouse, a graffiti mecca that's home to a reported 200 artist studios. It also incorporates at least one crowded ground-floor garage; at a glance, the food carts parked inside looked to be an uninspiring lot.
5Pointz Aerosol Art Center 45-46 Davis St. (near Jackson Ave.), Long Island City, Queens www.5Ptz.com
Often you'll lay eyes a mulberry-littered New York sidewalk before you'll notice the tree itself. (The same is true of Miami date palms.) Birds shun the fallen fruit; if you nibble, your berries should come fresh from the tree, too.
Mulberries West 133rd St. (Eleventh-Twelfth Aves.), Manhattan
The beehive was once commonly employed by banks as a symbol of cooperation, productivity, and thrift. (You'll still find them indoors, too.) Sheaves of wheat suggest similar virtues; these bas reliefs may once have adorned a farmers trust or similar financial institution. The first building functions as a bank even today; the prime tenant of the second is a chain drug store.
Sheaves of wheat First photo: 244 East 86th St. (Second-Third Aves.), Manhattan Second and third photos: 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. (at Archer Ave.), Jamaica, Queens
Chamber, hydrant, by-pass, gate. These four access-hole covers (not shown to the same scale) commemorate a century-old project that brings water down a winding course south from the Catskill Mountains to New York City. Eight or ten such are scattered around a single Williamsburg corner, but the most jocular-sounding cover in this series — the one that sounds most like the title of a riverside banjo duel — was nowhere to be seen.
"Catskill water" Access-hole covers near the southeast corner of Metropolitan Ave. and Leonard St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
On Long Beach Island, sand is being pumped ashore to help replenish and strengthen beaches eroded by Hurricane Sandy. In the first photo, the sand is being delivered via pipeline by the ship at far left, which dredged it still farther offshore. (Click the photos for a closer look).
A cage covers the business end of the pipeline to corral larger items inadvertently introduced into the operation; reportedly these have included WWII ordinance that were transported by the Army Corps of Engineers to a remote site, and detonated. More commonly the cage holds nothing more than the remains of unlucky bottom-dwelling sea creatures sucked up with the sand. In the second photo, seagulls are enjoying an invigorating foot bath while biding their time till the buffet opens.
Skates, and ultimately skate wings, come from egg cases like the one shown here. Most such "mermaid's purses" wash ashore only after the hatchling has emerged in deep water. Though this case seemed intact, the egg was almost certainly no longer viable after being tossed in the surf and left high and dry.
Though it's a close relative of the sea urchin, the sand dollar offers slim pickings for hungry predators, two-legged or otherwise. Only a few bottom-dwellers pay any heed to mature sand dollars, which can grow to a diameter of several inches, let alone to nickel-size specimens like this one, which washed ashore with the last high tide. Look elsewhere for your uni.
"Spoor" refers to any trace of an animal, especially a wild animal, by which it can be tracked. Sometimes the word is employed as a euphemism for droppings, pellets, or other scat, but it also applies to the likes of footprints, a bit of fur caught on a broken twig, the twig itself, even a lingering scent. Diligent tracking — or in this case backtracking — can often lead to a promising feeding ground.
Discarded skewers Shanghai (From a September 2006 visit)
Elotes, dried chilies, tamales, even blue-corn tortillas — many items offered for sale in this sprawling 16th-century Tenochtitlan marketplace are familiar from modern Mexican cuisine. Iguanas, like the specimens strung up on the pyramidal rack, are rare; so are the dark green items beside the kneeling woman.
They're flattish blocks made of algae, "scooped from the surface of nearby Lake Texcoco" and dried, according to the exhibit notes, providing a compact source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Possibly the Aztecs prepared it much as Laotians in Luang Prabang process river moss today.
Aztec algae Detail of a diorama in the exhibit "Our Global Kitchen" (November 17, 2012-August 11, 2013) American Museum of Natural History Central Park West at 79th St., Manhattan www.AMNH.org
An indigenous people of northeastern Siberia, the Koryak adapt to the brutal cold in the present day much as our ancestors did during the most recent Ice Age. One group of Korkak live inland and herd reindeer; a second group live along the seacoast, where they survive by hunting and fishing. Lately the prospect of such a colder climate has been very appealing, except for the beluga diet.
Koryak hunters Detail of a diorama in the Gardner D. Stout Hall of Asian Peoples American Museum of Natural History Central Park West at 79th St., Manhattan www.AMNH.org