Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

#216: Anchored

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

#218: The Handmade's Tale

Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

There is no tale, just an insatiable desire to make a Margaret Atwood reference.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#221: Swoosh

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

#222: Red Rum

Upper East Side, NYC

Monday, May 23, 2011

#223: Montpelier Storage Space

Montpelier, Vermont

Sure, my band got turned away at the Canadian border. But if we hadn't, I never would've gotten to snap this sign in Montpelier, Vermont. In your face, Canucks!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

#224: U.N.

United Nations Building, NYC

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

#226: Between the Gates

Garment District, NYC

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#229: The Scarlet Numbers

Garment District, NYC

Hester Prynne failed math and they made her walk around Puritan Massachusetts wearing this giant ignominious 229.

Monday, May 16, 2011

#230: Grangegorman Masterplan

North Circular Road, Dublin

A planning permission sign, for archi-nerds such as myself, is like a road accident. I know I should keep going, but I can't help but look to see what destruction is in store. Behind this stone wall lurks #230, a former doctor's residence on the site of the old Richmond District Lunatic Asylum in Grangegorman, Dublin. #230, along with its adjacent neighbors, have been slotted for destruction to make way for something the Grangegorman Development Agency refers to repeatedly (and ominously) on their site as their "Masterplan." (Somehow the lack of a space between the two words, not to mention the capitalization, adds to the sinister quality of it.)

However true the phrase may to be the higher-ups, I find it unnerving when development agencies apply the mean-spirited tag "of little architectural value." But at least I appreciate that documenting, photographing, and capturing the buildings -- prior to knocking them down like bowling pins, that is -- is often part of the, ahem, Masterplan. Consider this my small contribution to the documentation. After all, it says nothing of preserving the numbers.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

#233: Dublin City Logo: Three Castles, Eight Ways

Phibsborough, Dublin

The iconic logo of Dublin city -- three turrets on fire -- deserves its own makeover column. The logo is everywhere you go in Dublin: in particular, most lampposts carry the logo at the base, some painted in full color, others glazed over with silver. The three flaming turrets underwent a major makeover in 2002, when the Dublin Corporation (or "Corpo") changed its name to Dublin City Council. The three fiery turrets, often interpreted as Dublin's resilience under siege, were tamed, domesticated, and voila, three simplified, space-age, floaty-looking castles took over. Call it Celtic Tiger optimism, call it a minimalist aesthetic, or just call it identity crisis: this, they said, would be the new look. But brand loyalty, hundreds of years of history, and makeovers are hard to reconcile, so meanwhile, the three castles pop up all over the city in all sorts of guises. Here's a sampling:

Dublin City Council offices, Wood Quay


City Hall, Dame Street

Beal Tuile (fire hydrant), Dublin 4

Dustbin, Upper Grand Canal Road

Lamppost with graffiti, Merrion Square

Dublin Steam Packet Company logo

Merrion Square, Dublin

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#235: Cracked

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

#237: D.I.Y.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Quirky, homegrown D.I.Y. numbers just like grandma used to make.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

#239: Framed

Turtle Bay, NYC

Thursday, May 5, 2011

#241: A Tall Order

East Village, NYC

Stealth and discretion are key when hunting numbers in the wild. I enjoy operating like a secret agent, taking pictures out of my flower-lapel-camera (note: this does not actually exist) while James Bond music plays in my head. But try as I might to maintain unflappability at all times, sometimes I just can't help it. I will see a piece of typography like this #241 and actually do the simultaneous "YESSS!" and fist pump right there in the street. A good dose of smelling-salts is usually enough to make me come to my senses. But seriously, though. Look at these numbers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#243: Stained Glass

North Circular Road, Dublin

Monday, May 2, 2011

#244: Saltlands Sessions

Saltlands Studio, DUMBO, Brooklyn

Down in the mines where the sun doesn't shine . . . It's eleven hours into a recording session with Balthrop, Alabama deep down in a DUMBO basement bunker and while we haven't seen the sun all day, here in Saltlands it's warm and cozy. Pizza boxes, wine glasses, Hammond organs, and shouts and hollers. The energy here is high and the music so good it makes me long for superlatives not even invented yet. I asked Michael Arthur, our resident artist, to sketch today's number. His creations are fluid and magical and generally I'm too busy stomping on stage squeezing my squeezebox to be able to see the drawings projected on stage behind us, so I consider this a gift.

You can check out more of Michael's drawings at his blog, Just Drawn That Way, a trove of drawings and reflections both in New York and on the road. His work is improvisational and a direct response to the live music and performances he witnesses. In a couple months, I'll have the soundtrack to this number, but for now -- enjoy. Time to break out the bourbon. See you on the other side.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

#245: Sunny Day Real Estate

South Street Seaport, NYC

The anthropomorphizing of celestial objects creeps me out. Suns and moons should not have faces, full stop.