All posts by Sean

Deep Thoughts

Deep Thoughts
Deep Thoughts

The remnants of his popsicle still evident in his hand, Evan contemplates his strategy for obtaining a second one. He knows it won’t be easy, but he will not rest until he gets a red one. Modern Ice pops are much better than the ones I grew up with. How do they squeeze all of that artificial flavor and color into them?

Hiding behind the camera

Evan and his camera
Evan and his camera

I don’t usually like to have my own picture taken. Something seems to go wrong in every shot, and I look older and more out of shape than my own self-image leads me to believe. The one exception is when my son picks up his camera. He shoots with a Fisher Price instamatic. It’s an older model with a flash cube and a fixed focal length lens. The images appear in the viewfinder for instant review just like modern digitals… the difference being that it only has a four image memory, and the images can’t be deleted. With the price of budget digital cameras being as low as they are, I really need to get him a real one. He likes to hide behind the camera, and avoid having his picture taken just like his daddy. Unlike his daddy, when someone gets a shot of him, he usually looks as cute as a button.

I took this shot with a Nikon D100 at ISO 800, 1/8 sec – f/4 . The image is pretty sharp considering the shutter speed, although you can see some motion blur in his hair. The lens used is a Nikon 24mm f2.8 prime. I really like the lens alot. On a D100 it gives an angle of view similar to that of a 35mm lens on a film camera. It’s also a fairly small lens, which is the main reason it stays on my camera alot.

McSorley’s – Be good or be gone

Mcsorley's Dark ale and mustard
Mcsorley’s Dark ale and mustard

McSorley’s Old Ale House is one of my favorite places to go for a night out when the weather gets cold. While many chain restaurants try to create a history by hanging someone else’s stuff on the walls, McSorley’s has got the real deal. The bar has been around since 1854, operating even during prohibition. The floors are covered in sawdust, and the rest of the place is covered in regular dust (most of which is probably older than you or I). The atmosphere is friendly and casual. The bar staff are gruff but friendly, and they will be happy to answer any questions you ask. When the bar gets crowded, you may have to share your table with strangers. I’ve met some great people there… so don’t be afraid! The menu is pretty limited, but a perfect compliment to the place. The burgers are good, and if you want a light snack, the cheese platter consisting of sliced cheddar, saltines (still in the wrapper) and onions is a good bet. You could spend a few days looking over the photos of famous people (and some infamous ones like Boss Tweed) who have patronized the bar in the past. The items I love to look at are the personal knick-knacks that people have left over the years… fire helmets, police badges, pipes etc etc. Each one has a story that is lost to time. Also, anyone paying a visit to McSorely’s must check out the urinals in the men’s room. Ladies, don’t be shy. Tell any gentlemen in there that you want to see the urinals, and they will be quite understanding. Another piece of history that is not to be missed is the legendary gas chandelier…

McSorley’s Chandelier

The chandelier is covered in dust dating back to WWI. If you look at the photo above, you will see a number of wishbones straddling the lamp. WWI Doughboys shipping out to war left the wisbones hanging for luck. Those who returned, retrieved their wishbones, but many remain still waiting for some unfortunate soldier to claim them. A word of warning… Don’t touch the lamp. It is a memorial, and the people at McSorley’s expect it to be treated as such.

Be Good or Be Gone

In the photo at the top of this post, you will see a number of glasses of dark beer. You only have two choices, light beer (amber colored, not lo-cal) or dark. They come 2 glasses at a time ($4 per round). At one time the brewed their own beer, but I think someone makes it for them these days.

Pot Belly Stove

My favorite seat in the place is next to the old pot belly stove. In the winter time it is lit and stoaked with coal, and on a cold night it warms the soul nicely.

McSorley’s Cat

You may also get paid a visit by one of the cats that live in the bar. They like the stove as much as I do.

If you live in NYC or are just passing through, make sure to pay a visit to a place that is truly a gem of NYC history. Cheers!