A little lighthouse under a big big bridge

Hudson River, New York Skyline, Manhattan, New JerseyLittle red lighthouse, NYC, Hudson RiverLittle red lighthouse, NYC, Hudson River, George Washington Bridge
On Saturday – which dawned sunny and beautiful, but quickly turned grey and windy – my friend and I headed to the top part of Manhattan to see the Little Red Lighthouse. There was a festival on on the day, mostly aimed at families with small kids; but our main interest was in going inside. Sadly, because of all the people they had decided to allocate time tickets and by the time we go there they were all already gone.

This is New York’s last remaining lighthouse (boy am I a sucker for things like this), built in 1880 and in 1921 moved to its present position. There is a very sweet little story about the lighthouse – when it was decommissioned in 1947 – and due to be demolished – thousands of kids who had grown to love the lighthouse after reading a children’s book about it, started a national campaign to save it.

And so it is here to this day, looking like a little lighthouse baby with the giant bridge towering above it.

Summer Sunday in the city

New York City Manhattan Street SceneNew York City Manhattan Seagull Governor's Island FerryGovernor's Island New York Unicycle festival 2012Governor's Island New York Unicycle festival 2012New York City Manhattan Street signGovernor's Island Graphic Design Exhibit Smithsonian
New York is a funny place – you can do really cool stuff totally for free, but a teeny- weeny sandwich and a bottle of water will set you back 7 USD.

A couple of days ago I saw the 2012 NYC Unicycle (yes – unicycle) festival being advertised and the thought that there are enough unicycle enthusiasts here to warrant a whole 3 day festival was just too much for me, and I decided I had to go have a look. The festival was happening on Governor’s Island – which is and short and free ferry hop from Manhattan (or Brooklyn). When I arrived it was too early for the festival but I saw a sign for a Graphic Design exhibition linked to the Smithsonian and decided to kill some time there (also free).

To my surprise the exhibit was the highlight of the whole trip. It was very well designed, with a great breakdown of content, looking at typography, publishing , infographics, social media etc. It has been a really long time since an exhibit managed to keep my attention for so long and made me want to read everything. One of the coolest pieces is by a designer named Christopher Doyle – who did his own personal identity guideline/brandbook – which both clever and very amusing.

The Unicycle Festival was only really starting when I was leaving but I still managed to see this guy playing basketball while on a unicycle. He even managed to pick up the ball off the ground without getting off the unicycle.

The other really amazing thing about the city is the sheer amount of public art – the whole city is a giant art gallery. I also get a kick out of looking out for the informal bursts of creativity which can be found on walls, sidewalks and steet poles.

One tip if you are on a tight budget while you are here – forget about drinking anything other than water. The average ice coffee will set you back around 3 USD and a fresh juice around 4 or 5 USD – that starts to add up at the end of the day.