August 28, 2011

SIGNS: windows, and a few of my favorites

SO, 9th Street Espresso, East Village, 2010

Window Service, The Penny Farthing, Third Ave, 2011

Koreatown, Queens, 2010

Café Henri, West Village, 2010

La Esquina, Soho, 2008

Tartine, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, 2008

We Serve Coffee, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, 2008

La Boulange, Hayes Valley, San Francisco, 2008

Maybe a little 'Hallmark,' nevertheless, one of those moments of instant perfection.

August 25, 2011


MoMA, Café 2 blackboard, 2010

SPEAKING OF CAPTURING 'THE MOMENT' (see: Cafés: coffee cups... August 1st entry) Bonnard to me is 'the' master at picturing a mood in the simplest of settings. He and Vuillard are often termed Intimists—in Bonnard's words, the term refers to artists who share "a taste for everyday spectacles, the faculty for drawing emotion from the most modest acts of life."

Pierre Bonnard, Le Café, 1915

Edouard Vuillard, Seated Woman: cup of coffee, 1893

Matisse may not fit the Intimist description, but his ability to concentrate sensuality, pleasure and emotion
in the familiar—in objects, and place—is surely as poignant.

Henri Matisse, Lorette`a la tasse de café, 1916-1917

 “I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see. ...Matter exists, of course, but has no intrinsic meaning of its own, such as the meaning we attach to it.  Only we can know that a cup is a cup, that a tree is a tree. ...I have never intended to give the objects in my still life arrangements any particular meanings.” —Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morta, 1960

                                  One of mine
Cup, graphite on newsprint, n/d

August 15, 2011

SIGNS: JOE and others

A cup of Joe' refers to the GIs' [as in GI Joe] favorite drink. During World War II the US armed forces were supplied with as much coffee as they wanted. The term was in popular use in the States in the 1930s and 40s. 

Joe, West Village, 2010

Jittery Joe's, Midtown East, 2011

My Friend Joe, Sebastapol, CA, 2008

 Jittery Joe's (OHM), street sign, 2011

Bluedog Café, Chelsea, 2008

Landmark Coffee Shop, Soho, 2010

Landmark has a new awning—this one had certainly seen better days. Granted, it's an odd thing to notice, but I'd walked by the place for years—Landmark is one of those New York fixtures—and just a week or so ago I walked by again, and there it was, a bright new awning. That small change underscored for me, again, the transient nature of our neighborhoods, with their attendant shops, and signs, and the changing social strata that make those neighborhoods home. 

August 7, 2011

TO GO: hot or iced

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”
     – Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), You’ve Got Mail, 1998 
Iced, Gimme! Coffee, Nolita, 2010

Union Square Market, 2010

"America Runs on Dunkin'," 23rd Street, 2011

Starbucks, Grand Central Station, 2011

Subway, NYC, 2011

Trash, NYC, 2010

August 1, 2011

CAFES: coffee cups, computers and cell phones

"There are ten or so cafés behind the little tables, most of them pleasant both inside and out... but the ones preferred by Anne and Mary and by Boss Dog, who was something of an instinctive snob... were his own Glacier at one end of the Cours, owned by the dog and his stylishly dressed mistress, and the Deux Garcons at the other end. ..." "The girls and their mother soon got into the agreeable Aixois habit of stopping at either the one or the other for lemonade hot chocolate vanilla ice cream dry vermouth brandy even coffee even plain soda water."  —MFK Fisher, The Boss Dog: a story of Provence, 1991
Olivia, café around the corner, 47th St off 1st Ave., 2004.

I've been taking pictures at cafés since my earliest trips to Europe—Paris in particular—before there were any of the sort in New York City. I can remember being awed by the culture of those cafés, by the 'civility,' the charming coffee and tea service, and by the ambience—where you could linger over a cup of coffee, for hours if you liked, caught up in the buzz, or steeped in an aura of invisibility—alone with your book, postcards home or simply your own thoughts. My aim was, and is still, to record 'the moment,' with my camera.

Café Lipp, Paris, the early 80s.

L'Avazza, Le Gamin Soho, 90s.

9th Street Café, East Village, 2010.


NO PETS, East Village, 2010.

CityGirl Café, Soho, 2010.

V Bar, Washington Sq., 2010.
Bluebird Café, East Village, 2011.