Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Unlike Ferris wheels, leap years come around only once every quadrennium.  Because 2012 is evenly divisible by 4, it's a leap year.  The exception?  The year 2000.  If you're tired of all this math, try folk culture.  During any leap year, women are permitted to propose to men, and what better place to pop the question than Australia's giant sky wheel.  [2011]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trieste, Italy

In any other country, space in front of store windows would be devoted to window-shopping pedestrians, but not in Italy. In Trieste, the allocation of space reflects the number one priority of Italians: their scooters. Number two priority? Fashion! [2008]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mumbai, India

Colaba Market began as a fishing village on the southernmost of the original seven islands that attracted first the Portuguese and then the British. Now, Colaba seems to be the market heart of Mumbai. [2011]

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New York, New York, USA

Neighborhood bakeries, like the Silver Moon on New York's Upper West Side, make some of the gustatory jewels that turn Manhattan into a treasure chest of taste. Stop on your way to work for coffee and croissant. Then, sit outside and make believe it isn't February. [2012]

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New YorK, New York, USA

What's a big acorn doing in the Big Apple? You will have to ask sculptor Peter Woytuk who brought some whimsy to Broadway late last year. 'The Acorn Bench' is just one of dozens of his works that stretch from Columbus Circle to 166th Street. Do you sense a reluctance to sit too close to that bossy crow? [2012]

Friday, February 24, 2012

New York, New York, USA

It's easier to find fresh fruits and vegetables in New York City than in most small towns and rural areas. From as far away as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, organic growers assemble their produce right outside the 66th Street Subway station. One of Broadway's bow-tie intersections offers the perfect space for a people place. And, the Lorax approves. [2012]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ocampo, Michoacán, Mexico

The monarchs are now over-wintering in the mountains west of Mexico City. On a muddy patch in a clearing, rest these rulers of Michoacán's pine and fir forest. Their compatriots, by the billions (it seems), are clinging to every trunk and branch they can find. Soon they will depart, but their offspring will somehow know where to return next year. [2008]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Auckland, New Zealand

In Auckland, there's always a sailboat in sight, even in the middle of a typically mild winter on North Island. In Devonport, Auckland's chic North Shore suburb, it seems like every house is oriented to the water, every walkway designed to maximize the view shed, and every tree planted to frame the harbour. [2006]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lucerne, Switzerland

The Swiss Guard used to protect the French royals. Around 800 were massacred during the French Revolution. To honor "the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss" (in Latin), their home country hewed out a sandstone cliff in Lucerne, and created the nineteenth century's most moving memorial to fallen heroes. See the spear? [1984]

Monday, February 20, 2012

Zagreb, Croatia

What to do with illegally parked cars: It's a problem all over the world. Car ownership has been on the rise in Croatia since the 1990s, and urban spaces have been challenged to cope with ever larger numbers. The problem seems to be taken seriously (too seriously?) judging from the modernity of Zagrebparking's new lift. [2008]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roseville, Pennsylvania, USA

On National Life Chain Sunday, pastors send congregants into the streets to proclaim an anti-abortion message. Here in northern Pennsylvania, there are seven sign toters. Slogans are prescribed by the national organization. "Jesus forgives and heals" is spot on religiously, but it also carries a divisive political message. [2007]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Portsmouth, England, UK

A side street, located just over the rainbow from Albert Road, positions its residents for an easy walk or bike ride to Southsea's famous high street, a strip of independent shops and restaurants that just exudes a sense of place. [2011]

Friday, February 17, 2012

Istanbul, Turkey

He may be in Istanbul (really, Üsküdar on the Asian side), but the face and build betray his Black Sea origins. I wonder if he is a construction worker; I wonder if he is given to song; I wonder if he speaks his native tongue. All but the last would be typical of the Laz, a people with roots in the Caucasus. [2007]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Georgina, Ontario, Canada

The landscape here emerged from a lake bottom during the last ice age. The result was flat terrain and a layer of glacial sediment on top of limestone. Climate added the humidity that feeds organic growth and the cool temperatures that retard organic decay. The result? Productive soils just north of Toronto. [2010]

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

La Condamine, Monaco

Before you enter Parc Antoinette in Monaco take one last look at the clock. Soon you will be engulfed in a world of enchantment and time will stand still, at least if you are a kid. Floral clocks are relatively rare, but they should be part of green cities everywhere. [2008]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Do you fall in love with places? They apparently fall in love with you. Need proof? Just read the inner heart: 'The Peak Loves You.' What explains this? Cupid's Concentric Heart Theory, of course. On Hong Kong Island's Victoria Peak, high elevation equals high emotion. [2011]

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Hot tubs: inside or out, they shout: chill out! Norman Rockwell might have seen this bovine bathing in a bucket as a lickin' good bath without the lick. Hot baths are so relaxing, and so is this park in the most Mexican of all Mexican cities, Guadalajara. [2007]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Here, the hammock stands in for a chair,
a seat where you can sit and stare. 
But, over there, you wish you were,
on board a boat in basin fair. 
But here you float, just like them,
they on water, you on air. 
Glad you heard the hammock shout:
'Come here, chill out'?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Patong, Phuket Island, Thailand

There's more than one way to relax on a hammock. Moitié moitié the French might say: half on, half off. Whatever way you use your sling, the lure to nap is so tempting. [2011]

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bangkok, Thailand

From its hearth in Mexico, the hammock has found niches to fill all over the world. In the United States, these supine swings are parts of porches and backyards. In Bangkok, they are suspended over canals. Only a few threads stand between this man and a splash. [2011]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rome, Italy

Jerusalem fell to the Roman legions in 70 A.D. during the reign of Titus. The treasures of the Temple, including the golden menorah, were hauled off to Rome, and the Jews scattered to the four corners of the earth. That event was commemorated shortly thereafter by the erection of the Arch of Titus on Rome's Via Sacra. Jerusalem must have been a very important place. [2006]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Delhi, India

That's Hanuman, the monkey-god and a devotee of Lord Rama in the Hindu faith. Quite the orbicularis orbis, wouldn't you say? Here, Hanuman towers over one of his temples in Delhi. In fact, the temple is in his giant body. He protects the local neighborhood and watches over the Metro line. You might say he is the 'spirit of place.' [2011]

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Madrid, Spain

The 'bear and the strawberry tree' has been the emblem of Madrid for 800 years, so it's quite natural that El Oso should have liberated himself from the city's seal to become part of the city's landscape here at Puerta del Sol. Do strawberries in Spain really grow on trees? [2009]

Monday, February 6, 2012

Koper, Slovenia

You may not be tuned in to the smell of a thistle, but the smell wasn't made to attract you. It was made to attract pollinators like this moth. Attraction is one of the great forces of nature, but so is repulsion. Both are part of this tableau vivant. See those nasty prickles under the pretty flower? They repulse everything. Eeyore excepted. [2008]

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ponce, Puerto Rico

For sale by the fire station in the middle of Ponce, they are: pulpy refreshments known as Spanish limes. They are not limes at all, though; rather, they remind you of lychees. They also remind you to appreciate the 'palate of place.' No matter where you go, take your taste buds with you. [2009]

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Manchester, Tennessee, USA

On the Cumberland Plateau, a once-proud home stands abandoned by all but the golden heralds of springtime. How much they must miss the voices of yesteryear: "Mom, mom, the daffodils are open." Where are those voices now? [2010]

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fort Ross, California, USA

British? French? Spanish? No. It's Russian, and it's now a state park along California's northern coast. Remember, the Russians acquired Alaska in the eighteenth century, and Fort Ross became their southernmost outpost. Ross = Russ! Note the Orthodox crosses on top of the church. [2005]

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA

On February 2, people can't seem to get their Phil of Punxsutawney.  It's Groundhog Day, and there he is: Punxsutawney Phil welcoming us to his home town. Do you stop for welcome signs?  Then, start following my new photoblog:  Geographically Yours Welcome:  [1994]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jerusalem, Israel

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity: They are the three Abrahamic religions, but sometimes you wouldn't know they have a common ancestor. In the world of art, however, they are able to coexist harmoniously for at least a short time, as part of an art exhibit along Jerusalem's old city wall right outside Jaffa Gate. [2000]