Instawalk: Bethlehem Steel

for work i’ve been having to drive between north suburban philadelphia and north jersey several times a week. i used to go mostly through new jersey (I-95), paying up to $10 in tolls each way, until my coworkers told me there was a much cheaper way (only $1 in tolls, coming back) that wasn’t much longer if you go north to just about allentown, and then east (via I-78).

one thing i noticed was how gorgeous the lehigh (pronounced like “knee-high”) valley is. the area east of allentown that I-78 winds through is an expanse of verdant rolling hills, reminding me of parts of the neckar valley in germany. i even stopped at a rest stop to take a photosynth which doesn’t do the area justice.

every time i passed by bethlehem, i spotted signs that said “Historic Bethlehem ” and wondered what was there. i racked my brain trying to remember what sort of events might have happened in the area, perhaps something from the revolutionary war, but it didn’t ring a bell. it wasn’t until today, when i finally pulled off the highway and looked the city up on wikipedia that i facepalmed — duh, bethlehem steel! maybe there’s more to the historic part of town than that, but that was enough for me! [EDIT: turns out there really is a historic part of town, as this lehigh valley tourism video shows]

some of you may know that i love taking pictures of abandoned things (buildings included), so i was like a kid in a candy store. the best part is that the area around the abandoned mill is being revitalized — as a sands casino on one side and an art and culture center on the other (great map via artsquest with an overhead view).

well, no, the even bester part is that you can get right up next to the rusting buildings. there’s just a chain link fence around them! *squee*

In this photo you can see part of the shell over the small outdoor concert stage, right under the old blast furnaces!

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Instawalk: Berlin Fast Food

with all this recent news about instagram being acquired by facebook, i decided to check out my instagram history. historically i haven’t been too big of a user, just 240 pictures in about 18 months, but my first real pictures were from my 2010 trip to berlin to see the final Virginia Jetzt! concert. i noticed i took a lot of pictures at schnellimbisse (fast food places), so decided to make an instawalk out of them.

presented with original captions, in the order they were taken:

Döner and apfelschorle. Doesn't get any better than this!

This was my breakfast every school day for two years, except with a regular coke

Currywurst mit pommes, Ketchup und Mayo. A bit too cold for mezzo mix but oh well.

Good call @georgrehm on the döner place in the hackescher hof edeka. Nom!

So not hungry, but forcing down some currywurst lol. Hmm konnopke(?) is better IMHO.

as you can tell from these pictures from just a long weekend, i love me some german fast food!

Instawalk: Whitney Biennial 2012

one of my not-quite-bucket-list items was to make it to a Whitney Biennial ever since hearing about it a couple years ago and being just a couple weeks too early last time. i really enjoy modern art, so getting a chance to see the the avant-garde in a world-famous exhibition — well, i couldn’t pass it up.

"Travailler Je ne travaille pas" by Georgia Sagri

"Pipe Organ" by Lutz Bacher

Dawn Kasper (in the back) moved her entire studio into a gallery and invited people to hang out with her, including this kid who wanted to play the drums.

"This Could Be Something If I Let It" by Dawn Kasper

this piece had ferrofluid poured on top of metallic shapes, forming tiny spikes that were blown gently by fans.

"Fluid Employment" by Sam Lewitt

not an Instagram, but I had to show the beautiful kinetic properties of this ferrofluid:

Blowing in the wind

When Life Imitates Art -- with works by Nicole Eisenman

the following is one in a series of photographs the artist took of her hometown, braddock, pennsylvania, highlighting the deteriorating economic conditions that are plaguing it. she has a biting response to one of my absolute favorite ad campaigns, Go Forth by Levi’s (this is my favorite); one of the commercials was filmed in braddock. the text below the picture reads, “How can we go forth when our borough’s buses and ambulances have been cut?”

"Go Forth Where? We Don't Have Horses in Braddock!" by Latoya Ruby Frazier

"From the Canyons to the Stars" by Joanna Malinowska and untitled works by Kai Althoff

"For Hire" by Oscar Tuazon

i also saw the Sarah Michelson dance performance, and while i’m no connoisseur of modern dance (can someone please explain why one of the dancers was wearing a horse head?), the sheer stamina and strength required to put on a show like that (particularly the lady in blue, whose proud parents i was standing next to in line) is astounding. without being too reductive (it’s really quite amazing), can you imagine basically a) speedwalking b) backwards c) in circles d) on tiptoe e) with your arms outstretched f) for 90 minutes?

if you’re planning to go, get there early, especially if you are hoping to catch one of the ticket-only fourth floor performances since all presales are sold out. i was sixth in line when i got there at 10:30 (they opened at 11) and by 10:45 the line was around the block. also, remember that they participate in the bank of america museums on us program, meaning on the first full weekend of every month (like today!) b of a cardholders (like me!) get free admission (yay!). j

Instawalk: Northern Liberties

while waiting for my mom (who was also in town on business) to arrive at the restaurant i picked out for dinner*, i took a little stroll through the area around 2nd Street and Spring Garden in the Northern Liberties. three of my coworkers told me it’s where all the hipsters live (and that it used to be quite the undesirable neighborhood that is undoubtedly undergoing rapid gentrification), so i was a bit wary. i guess, though, that i’d describe the four-block area i was in as yuppie, but in a cozy neighborhood-y way.

* p.s. the tasting menu at koo zee doo is definitely worth the $50 per person. great portuguese comfort food!

In Memory of Our Boys (aka "The Doughboy")

Fairmount and Second

606-08

Pedal Thru -- a mural by Paul Santoleri

Neighborhood Grocery

Rita's

Gelati

yes, virginia! there is indeed a year-round Rita’s there! i had heard that they existed but who knew i’d stumble upon one? (and yes, i had this right before dinner but i didn’t care. it was soooo good!)

Instawalk: Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry is probably best known as the site of a battle during the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that would eventually become “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the national anthem of the United States (in 1931).

for good measure, one of the best renditions, ever: