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Cirque-tacular at the Oval

19 Jun

TODAY, while we were watching the free Cirque-tacular spectacle at the Oval, I almost wished I were a kid again. What more could a child ask for? A lawn, lots of playgrounds nearby, building friends, and free stuff in the summer catered to my age group! Like the group of talented contortionists, bull-whip masters, jugglers, clowns, dancers and aerialists who performed at Peter Cooper Village and Stuy Town’s central grassy lawn, the Oval, this evening. I clapped my hands as excitedly as the toddlers crowding the railing.

The contortionist in Act Two

The contortionist in Act Two

The juggler

The juggler

The funny cowboy with the bull whip and the lasso

The funny cowboy with the bull whip and the lasso

This rope was 40 feet long

This rope was 40 feet long

The colorful clown duo

The colorful clown duo

The amazingly talented dancer

The amazingly talented dancer

The graceful and gravity-defying aerialist

The graceful and gravity-defying aerialist

Sleeping with the Fishes

14 Jun

OK, I admit it, that title was a bit of a tease. This post has nothing to do with either The Godfather or death, but it does have to do with marine life. These are videos of sea critters that I took while snorkeling in Cozumel, off the Yucatan coast of Mexico, this past weekend. Excuse the shakiness; the waves made it difficult to hold the camera steady.

In this first video, a grouper (in the background) and an unknown blue fish swim past. Taken while snorkeling off the western coast of Cozumel, just opposite the restaurant Paprika.

In this second video, there are too many fish in this video to describe them all, but the school of purple looking fish floating around are actually yellow grunt fish; the absorption of light in the water does funny things to color. The tiny black and yellow striped fish are sergeant majors, and the spiny black creature hiding out in the coral is a black sea urchin.

Several Blue Tang.

I don’t know what fish these are but they surrounded me as I was about to leave the water and I had to take a quick video of them. I tried to reach out and touch them but they always managed to change direction at the last second and evade me.

Under the Sea

13 Jun This sargeant major was fearless; it came right up to me, and I took this picture just before it took an exploratory nibble of my calf!

JATIN and I just got back from a fabulous, too-short trip to Cozumel, an island off the Yucatan coast of Mexico (more about that later). For now, I wanted to share a few photos I took while snorkeling right by Money Bar, not far from where we were staying. The marine life is so plentiful that you can literally step off the beach and stick your head into the water and be surrounded by the most colorful fish. (The last one was taken at Playa Chen Rio, on the eastern side of the island.)

I took the photographs with my old digital camera, my trusty Canon G9, in an underwater housing—just a plastic casing, really—I bought at B&H.

A magnetic Blue Tang

A magnetic Blue Tang

An unknown blue fish and an Angel fish

An unknown blue fish and an Angel fish

Angel fish burrows into the coral

Angel fish burrows into the coral

A school of vibrant Grunt Fish

A school of vibrant Grunt Fish

A fluttering fishie

A fluttering fishie

The Grouper just melded into the sandy bottom

The Grouper just melded into the sandy bottom

Grunt fish close up

Grunt fish close up

This sargeant major was fearless; it came right up to me, and I took this picture just before it took an exploratory nibble of my calf!

This sargeant major was fearless; it came right up to me, and I took this picture just before it took an exploratory nibble of my calf!

Dancing in the Streets

22 May

SOME of you may have noticed the stomping, sliding and swirling that accompanied the fifth annual Dance Parade through the streets of Manhattan yesterday. It began just south of Madison Square Park and wended its way down to Union Square and Astor Place, ending up in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Heard the honking and curses by cabbies? That’s because they were stuck behind the floats and bands. One frustrated, tattooed denizen muttered, “It’s just a parade. It’s New York. Get over it!”

The "It's War Time" t-shirt wearing marching band

The "It's War Time" t-shirt wearing marching band

This smiling man posed for me

This smiling man posed for me

The hula hoop woman

The hula hoop woman

Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute performers

Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute performers

This little girl was cheering on the Korean performers

This little girl was cheering on the Korean performers

The intense and talented hip-hop troupe from Bed Stuy's Brooklyn Drama Club

The intense and talented hip-hop troupe from Bed Stuy's Brooklyn Drama Club

To read about the New York cabaret laws, see this 2002 Village Voice article; the law in part helped spur the creation of the first New York Dance Parade.

Psychedelic Tulips

20 May

LAST weekend I went for this great food festival tucked away on a traffic island near Madison Square Park and saw a bank of gorgeous tulips. Thanks to some weird combination of camera settings (that I had nothing to do with) I got this lovely photograph:

Sun-drenched tulips

Sun-drenched tulips

Perhaps it will cheer you up after my last depressing post. Now go sample the goodies at the food fest for yourself—it’s on till June 3.