Monthly Archives: September 2014

Ghouls of New York

We don’t only see images of people and animals in the sidewalks.  Sometimes we see ghouls as well.

Of course, not all ghouls are frightening.  Try as they might to scare us, we can’t help but laugh.  Sorry, guy.

Ghoul teeth


Sometimes, it seems as though you may have seen the image before.  This fellow reminded us of an unfortunate devil that Michelangelo might have painted onto the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or maybe a criminal sketched by Leonardo.

Ghoul after Michaelangelo (1 of 1)

But you have to be quick.  They don’t like to be spotted in the daylight.  They try to fly away as soon as they are spotted.


Ghould 5

This may look like a dog, but we’re pretty sure it’s a wolf — or maybe a dog devil.


Devil Dog

The ghouls sometimes pop up in the walls themselves, the way a nightmare will appear for no apparent reason.



In MIND ME MILADY, there is a ghoul in human form who is preying on the young women of the Upper East Side and who casts his gaze upon a new client of Eve Petersen.  Try a few pages.  See if you can put it down, and if you can read it after dark!




Pareidolia and Street Art — THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM

Pareidolia may be defined as the human tendency to find significance in random or vague stimuli.  Common examples would be seeing a face in the full moon or the image of Jesus in a burned piece of toast or an angel in the clouds. Leonardo Da Vinci was aware of the phenomena and thought that artists could develop the images seen in a wall of rocks or crumbling plaster and use them in their paintings.  Interesting guy, that Leonardo.

I had been taking pictures of this sort of thing for a long while before I learned the name for it.  Human faces, animals, and mythological creatures all abound on the streets and sidewalks of New York.  And if you want to believe that they actually are significant, if only because they bring a smile to your face, well, I don’t mind.

smiling 20 tri

Voila, if you see this as I do, you have turned a cigarette butt into an eye, a crack in cement into a mouth, a bit of white concrete into a set of slightly protruding teeth, and so on.  Are you smiling yet?

Face stone

This little guy was also a part of the sidewalk.  But rather than being a piece of concrete, he is a stone cut in half by some force unknown to me, only to leave this head, complete with fez.

Ghoul Professor

Sometimes the pareidolia are amusing.  I call this ghoul the Professor, because of his baleful stare and what look like spectacles on his nose.


And who can resist these lovers, cast forever in concrete, catching a kiss when they thought no one was looking!  Sorry guys.

Our Tween book THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM, contains people who also are not always as they appear, as well as shifting loyalties, issues of trust, voices that seem significant, all put together in a face-paced urban adventure set in New York City.  Check it out.  Read a few pages here,


Dogs of the New York City Sidewalks

I don’t actually own a dog. But I guess I like them a lot.  I tend to see them wherever I go in New York City, popping up in strange places.

Dog Paper

This self-assured little guy really grabbed my attention.  I told him that pink becomes him.

Dog Bloodhound

Of course, this bloodhound was equally confident, but for a different reason, I suspect.  He will track you down if you try any funny business.  Just give him a treat!

Dog Blue

And, what is more fun than a dog with a ball, jumping and snatching it out of the air without a care in the world.

Dog chewing

Occasionally, a dog just wants to chew on something.  I’m hoping that this was not someone’s leg.

Dog Rust

This is Rusty.  I know, he looks a little sad.  He just realized that his last doggy treat was eaten!

Dog in Window

And what can we say about a dog that has the good fashion sense to have a piece of greenery in his collar?  Has there ever been a dog that makes you want to love him more than this one?  I don’t think so.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting some of the dogs I have known on the streets of New York City.

The Gift of a Beautiful Sunset

We live in an apartment on the 12th floor of a building in New York City and we are lucky enough to have a terrace that gives us a view in all directions.  West is spectacular.  East is almost as good.  North and South ain’t bad either, but are a little crowded.

The other evening we had a sunset that was so wonderful that it felt like we were being given a special gift.  In the course of about 45 minutes, the sky changed several times, and depending on the direction we looked, we were either witnessing the End of Days or a special beginning.

Here is a photograph looking East that seems to be of a gigantic head emerging from the clouds below.  A wizard, perhaps?  The Wizard?

Head West

A little later, another fellow made an appearance, although he was a little more relaxed, floating over the eastern sky, maybe on his way to a Long Island beach.  He was laughing about something.


Looking to the south, it seemed that something horrible was brewing in a witches cauldron that threatened to spill onto all those buildings.  You can just see what is called by locals the Tin Man Building.  Citicorp is there also.

South Cauldron

To the northeast was this fantastical creature, flying over Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.  I think he was hoping to see Derek Jeter making one of his last appearances at the stadium.

Flying creature

Later on, something flew into the picture in the West — in fact maybe several different things, depending on how you look.  A Flying Carpet, maybe?

Flying Carpet

Back toward the East, a giant was emerging from the clouds, his head tilted slightly as though gasping for air.

Gian East

Peace returned as the clouds passed.

West transition

Goodnight and sweet dreams.

West Peaceful


When You’re Smiling …

I see faces.  I see them everywhere, including in trees and on the sidewalks.  Here are a few of them, dedicated to the proposition that a smile can make a person’s day, and with apologies to all of the artists who have sung this song so beautifully.

When you’re smiling …

Smile Cat

When you’re smiling …

Smiling 7

The whole world smiles with you!

Smiling 14

When you’re laughing …

Smiling 17

Oh when you’re laughing …

Tooty grin

The sun comes shining through!

smile profile

But when you’re crying …

Sad face (2 of 2)

You bring on the rain …

Pig angry

So stop your sighing, be happy again!

Smiling 16

Keep on smiling …Smiling 8

Cause when you’re smiling …


The whole world smiles with you!!!

Smiling 1

Take it away, somebody …

Bethpage Village, August 28, 2014

We went to one of our favorite museums the other day — Old Bethpage Restoration Village, which is in Nassau County, very close to exits on both the Long Island Expressway and the Northern Parkway.  In the early 1970s, the County of Nassau bought a farm that belonged to the Powell family, which had been living and farming in Nassau for many many years.  The county then started accepting donations of old buildings from Nassau and Suffolk county, including a General Store, an Inn, a blacksmith shop, a school house, a church, a hatter’s shop, and many more.  The original 200 acres that made up the Powell farm are now the home for a “town” from the approximate time of the Civil War, although there is some flexibility in the dating of certain of the exhibits.  They also maintain a restoration farm, including farm animals.  Very cool.

Here is the Powell barn.Powell BarnThey have special programs throughout the year.  Music was the theme on the day we were there.  A man played the hammer dulcimer and a woman played the violin, producing old time standards.  Dancers dressed in period costumes demonstrated various steps and encouraged spectators to join in. Dancers

There was also a brass band, dressed up in Uniform.  Among other pieces, they played the Dixie Gallop, Listen to the Mockingbird, and the Handel March from Judas Maccabeus.

Brass Band

All in all, it is an exceptionally peaceful and relaxing afternoon.


If Anne and I ever write a book based in this time period, this will provide a lot of the interiors and exteriors.  Let’s see, a kid is visiting the Village with his parents, he wanders off to a place where he shouldn’t be, hear’s something calling to him in the loft of the barn, climbs up and Bingo, he’s transported to the 1800s and someone is there in need of help.  But who?  A girl?  Of course!

Gotta go back!



The Collect Pond

This is another lithograph from “olden times” in New York City, courtesy of the 1860 Valentine’s Manual. The famous Collect Pond was where Mr. Livingston and Mr. Fulton were said to have first tried out their crazy idea for a steam powered boat. It is now the site of a parking lot for the Court.   The Civil Court would be approximately where the water narrows; the Criminal Court would be on the right, and the Family Court, on the left. This view would be blocked entirely by the New York City Department of Health building.  They are all noble institutions, but I prefer the pond.

Collect Pond 1

The view may be somewhat fanciful.  However, there are newspaper reports from the early 1800s of spectators sitting on the hills to the west of the pond (left in the picture) and watching ice skaters performing all sorts of acrobatics.  That is a scene we would love to see!

As the 19th century progressed, the pond became horribly polluted and the Common Council finally voted to fill it in.  Perhaps some of those nice rolling hills are now sitting at the bottom of the Collect Pond.