Wednesday October 22, 2014SUBSCRIBE
New Jersey Monthly Magazine
Levin, Eric

Letter Men

When the letter you are lofting is taller than you are...

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Blimpie's First Pilot: 50 Years of Sandwiches and Smiles

Fifty years after launching the sandwich chain in Hoboken, Tony Conza happily manages his lettuce (and we don’t mean the edible kind). more

Autumn is Awesome at Crystal Springs

The sprawling, scenic Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg offers luxury and leisure. more

Hamming It Up

Keeping cool on the job, delivering deli meat from the refrigerated Thumann's truck

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Here's the Beef—and the Capicola

Delivering to a deli in Montclair. Love the gaping white door.

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Rumbling Into the Night

As dusk descends, a tow truck's orange crane glows as it crests a hill...

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Split Sit at Dusk

No longer joined at the hip...

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My Solo Show Will Be Held Here

At the McGraw Art Gallery on the campus of Newark Academy in Livingston. It's called Unscheduled Stops. I'll be showing pictures mostly from 2013 and 2014, and the show will be up almost the entire month of November.

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Battello

Chef Ryan DePersio and his partners grab the spotlight with Battello in Jersey City. more

Name That Thingie

A jaunty fellow, just landed from another galaxy, looking for a Dunkin' Donuts.

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Thrones 3: In Limbo

...until the next big bash.

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Thrones 2: Them Ain't Poker Chips

Or frisbees or manhole covers...

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FEED ME!

Its mighty maw rejects nothing...

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The Green Monster

Keep your fingers away from its razor-edged jaws...

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Spring Loaded

These are the ties that bind...mats to frames.

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Whorls Within Whorls

Or, a spiral galaxy on a shelf, surrounded by dark matter.

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Roll Over, But Not Beethoven

Accident scene at intersection of I-280 and I-80 near Parsippany. There are three people in this picture. Can you find the third?

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My Schnack Attack

In reviving Schnackenberg’s, a vintage Hoboken luncheonette, new owners set out to make doughnuts that wow. They succeeded. more

One Tough Son of a Gun

This weed picked a weird spot, which is why it has the turf (if you can call it that) pretty much to itself.

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In Case of Emergency...

A yellow box on a leafy college campus

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A Metallic New Medium For Graffiti

A very specific and specialized medium—the metal grate on window air conditioners in ground-floor windows.

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Sympathy For the Devil

I'm not talking Mick and Keith, but rather the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's wickedly entertaining revival of George Bernard Shaw's first commercial success, 1897's The Devil's Disciple.

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Studying Something on Academy Street

What it was, I have no idea. But Academy Street, Newark, is a one-way, as you can see, and he was facing the same way the arrow points. So maybe he was seeing the future.

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Not Exactly the Red Carpet

When the industrial carpeting is ripped from the office building hallway, abstract art is revealed. Or maybe the score for a post-serial chamber work.

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Yesterday's Downpour

A furious drenching, yet barely any wind.

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The 25 Best Restaurants of 2014

Our annual list of the best restaurants New Jersey has to offer. You'll find some rising stars, and plenty of old favorites. more

Pipe Dream

A schnozz or maybe a smooch, but a beautiful meeting, or mating, of metal pipe and red brick.

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Watermelon Man

Do you remember the song, written by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock for his 1962 debut album and later made famous by Mongo Santamaría? Doesn't matter. Yesterday's temperatures in the 90s made it a day for watermelons, as in this huge carton outside ShopRite in Bloomfield.

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Remembering Roscoe

Roscoe, my beloved Scottish Fold, lived to be about 17. I miss him a lot.

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Riding Out the Repercussions

Adrift teen Tom Alison anchors this cautionary but invigorating novel about identity, culpability and class. more

Lovely Rita, Meter Maid

That was the Beatles song. This is the facade of an Italian restaurant in Jersey City. In the morning light, it was lovely in its own way. more

Unchain My Heart

What can I tell you? It goes pitter-pat when I see things like this. Kind of modern medieval, like a Gahan Wilson cartoon.

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Invitation to a Rumble

These pipes must be heard to be believed.

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Totemic

It's a...not sure what you call it, but it will help hold up a major residential/commercial development being built in Montclair.

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Picnic, the Restaurant, is Coming Back

During its brief lifetime (2010-2013), chef Christine Nunn's Fair Lawn restaurant, Picnic, won accolades, including a spot on NJM's annual Top 25. This afternoon she will announce that she will open Picnic on the Square, in Ridgewood, in mid-August.

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Going Short 2

Or, what I do when I'm doing nothing, just waiting in line to pay my bill.

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Going Short

I wasn't hedging a stock, I was taking my hedge down to summer length...

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Anywhere He Hangs His Hat...

...is home? Let's hope not.

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Crimson is the New Black

In Cape May, where I was last week, every assertive hue gets its shot at stardom.

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A Gripping Sight

You have to get a handle on things...

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Sunset Over Natirar Park

After the big cloudburst...

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Ain't Gulden's

This gives lawn tractors their pep.

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Belly Laughs From the Bard?

Aye, many. And at the end, tears of joy, too. The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey's new production of The Tempest keeps the signature sorcery subtle, letting one of its finest actors, Sherman Howard, give us a warts-and-all sorceror--Prospero--we can yet warm to.

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Chute First

I haven't gotten to the "ask questions later" part, but have you ever seen such weirdly contiguous buildings?

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Spotlight in Daylight

A cloudy late afternoon in Morristown...

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"Throw Away Bouquet"

You have to read the fine print.

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Going to Lengths

A lasso for linemen...

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Beaconista

Let there be light—and energy to run it.

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The Good Goodbye: On Love, Loss, and Living

A journalist's memoir reflects on the deaths of her husband, sister, mother and mother-in-law in the span of 17 months. more

My First First-Place Finish

On Saturday, this photo--taken in West Orange last September--won the Third Annual Juried Exhibition of the Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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Looking Down on the Police

Strictly in the literal sense...

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Sunbathing

Drinking in the rays by the roadside. A definite power trip.

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Flood Angel

Triumphant in catastrophe...

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Big Wheel Keeps on Turning...

This isn't Proud Mary's rig, but it has its own dilapidated grandeur...

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Swans

Or, how did the candy cane lose its stripes?

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"I'd be Equally as Willing For a Dentist to be Drilling..."

"than to ever let a woman in my life." So sang Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. I love the rhyme, abjure the message. In fact, my dentist is an angel. She even lets me bring my camera into the torture cham...I mean the treatment room. Really, she is the best.

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In the Shadow of the Freedom Tower

That would be the Jersey City dock where the new restaurant Battello is giving people a reason to dine on the Hudsoon River shore.

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Doggin' It

Just another day of linksmanship at the Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt...

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White at the Top of the Stairs

A new form of going postal...

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Out of the Ashes: Ferraro's in Westfield

Four decades of work went up in flames overnight. To rebuild their flagship Westfield restaurant, the Ferraro family had to pull together as never before. more

Everyone is a Star!

And that is not a metaphor or a tangent of Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. It is a simple, literal fact.

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Petal Pusher

A month after the vernal equinox, it's finally beginning to feel a little bit like spring...

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Where There's Smoke...

There's a truck driver going, "uh-oh."

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Dancing Tree

By the side of the road, I-280 West, in Parsippany. The ground was thick with smoke. In tomorrow's Plain Sight, you'll learn why.

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In the Black

At a college production of the Broadway musical Next to Normal.

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Galloping Hill: Things We Never Saw Before

Despite the harsh winter, a lot of progress was made renovating Galloping Hill Golf Course for the 2016 NJ Open. In the next few weeks, the front nine will open to the public. Here's what to expect...

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Right Between the Eyes

A train face with a patriotic mien.

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RR Graveyard

This other world unfolds right behind, and about a hundred feet below, a strip mall in Morristown.

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Which Exit?

That classic Jersey question is hard to answer in this case of a moving target...

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Sam He Am

Had a marvelous brunch Sunday in Jersey City at Sam A.M., where there really is a Sam at the helm.

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Swollen

Crack Composer: Millburn Man Writes a Musical

Millburn native James Harvey channels a bizarre childhood incident into a joyful new musical, "The Crack in the Ceiling." more

Hoop Dreams: Hula-Hoop Dancing

A young woman illustrates her artistry through a child's plaything. more

Tower of Power

Reaching for the sky...

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Beyond Squid Ink: Chef Tattoos

In words, photos and recipes, a new book celebrates chefs’ tattoos and examines why so many have them. more

Scala del Nonna

Opening his fifth restaurant, onetime whiz kid Michael Cetrulo combines veteran know-how with youthful brio. more

The Sirloin Sisters

In a business dominated by men, fifth-generation purveyors Suzanne and Andrea Strassburger take no bull while delivering prime beef with panache. more

Strap In, It's a Long Ride

Kind of an unusual rig, caught my attention. Tennessee license plate.

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Repair: What a Concept 3

NOT an iPad, but a ruler, a pencil, a ledger book with handwritten entries. I found it incredibly quaint and charming. Even the battery-powered calculator seemed a throwback...

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Repair: What a Concept 2

The things you see in a lighting store while you're waiting for your floor lamp to be fixed...

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Repair: What a Concept!

It seems so quaint, bringing in some object to be fixed. Not rebooted, updated, RAM-expanded, but actually repaired with old-fashioned tools like pliers and screwdrivers...

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Remnants of St. Patty's Fest

Red remainders of a green day.

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Beware of Toilet

Why, I don't know, and probably don't want to know.

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Weatherbeaten 3

One teetering, drunk-looking chorus line...

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Weatherbeaten 2

Bruised, bent and brpken...

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Weatherbeaten

Think we're the only ones winter has left reeling?

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But Soft, Doth the Ice Age Endeth?

Why the Elizabethan affectation? Oh, just because it seems this winter has been going on FOREVER. But parking expediencies like this are coming to an end...

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Frozen Mountains

We are up to our necks in them. Relief this weekend.

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Heat Waves

Through these doors pass many shoppers fleeing the chill...

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'Night-'Night

This week's stroll after dark is heading home...

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Night Stalker

Night Deposit

ET phone home...

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Night Alley

Eerie. Icy. Slippery...

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Night Rider

A lone cyclist pedals through the dark...

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Sheep Peeps

Looking for Little Bo Peep, or just looking? Four views. A bit of Samuel Beckett in a pen in Hunterdon County.

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Longhair Music

A coif for a keyboard... more

Upscale Descent

The skiers in Sochi have steeper inclines to negotiate, but at the bottom we had a fine breakfast awaiting us.

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Smile Central

Getting ready for brighter chompers...

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Orange and Olive

There are other top tasting menus, but none offer an experience quite like that of the Orange and Olive Chef’s Table. more

Tress Pass

Snow Stumbling

Unshoveled? Undaunted.Trudging through the stuff this morning, got my exercise for the day.

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Movie Monster

When you're the last one to leave the theater after the last showing of the night, you emerge to find the snack counter vacated and pristine. Quite a sight. In fact, a Plain Sight.

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"You Have Lots of Money!"

She giggled as she said it. She was the cashier who rang up my berries, tomatoes, olive oil and fresh salmon at the discount market. When my eyes bulged at the total—$81—she showed me the receipt. Half was for the salmon, wild and Scottish. Wild is right. I didn't realize the piece was that big or that $22 a pound could get out of hand. Then I thought about what she said.

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"Fences" is Come and Gone

If you missed it, you missed something great. Esau Pritchett's Troy, a titan who threatens Death with a baseball bat, finally falls like a sequoia, making a noise I'd like to think James Earl Jones heard and thought, "Yup, that's Troy as Troy should be, ripping out every heart in reach as he crashes to earth."

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The Look of Listening

When musicians get a faraway look in their faces, are they necessarily searching for Aunt Matilda and Uncle Hector in Row CC? They might just be listening. To the band. For a note, a phrase, an idea lurking around the next chord change. Anticipatory hearing.

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Talk About Stronger Than the Storm

Julianne Fenhagen of the Montclair-based Zydeco band Big Mamou danced up a storm at the Montclair Pre-Super Bowl Blast last weekend.

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Finger-Pickin' Good

Mike Levine of Big Mamou, poised to pluck a soul-stirring note on pedal steel in Montclair Saturday afternoon.

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"Music is the Can Opener of the Soul."

I underlined that sentence in Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn many years ago, and darn if Big Mamou didn't rip the lid off my cranium Saturday in Montclair.

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Breakfast With the Baron

Bert Baron, morning host of Central Jersey's WCTC-AM, had me on talk to about our Best Breakfasts cover, which hit newsstands this week. Click for a link to the podcast...

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Student Driver

The kids she has just dropped off at school could take a lesson from their driver, booking it herself as she refuels at a gas station in Somerset.

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Blade or Burner?

Both essential in the restaurant kitchen...

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The Last Wreath

Maybe time to move on to, um, Valentine's Day?

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Unrest

Utilitymen Underground...

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BUSted

Pick your poison...

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Keeps On Coming

Roll over, Thomas Alva Edison, your old factory is a snow globe...

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Here We Go Again

On the verge of shouting, "Enough already!" I remind myself that it could be worse, like 20 below zero in the Minnesota.

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Artisanal Scrapple?

It’s not an oxymoron. more

Goldie's

The concept: “Amazing food without preaching.” Add a sexy space, nice price and cocktails, and you’ll forget it’s vegan. more

Love That Pastry Chef

But it's the guy in the knit cap who had the idea for the hippest new dining concept in Asbury Park—Goldie's.

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Unmaintained

A maintenance shed in need of…maintenance.

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Snowbrella

Another flurry flashback....

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Everlasting Snow

Actually, it's hard to remember that only a week ago we were shoveling like mad. Now we're expecting Noah's Ark to float by. In West Orange, snow carpeted a backyard, highlighting a tricycle and a boxer's heavy bag, a recreational yin and yang.

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Shelton from the Storm

Long out of the limelight, chef Craig Shelton marshalls his talent and intellect in a think tank focused on the precarious future of food. more

Darkness on the Edge of Town

With stacked cars, sort of...

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Hands-Down Winner

That would be Brickwall Tavern in Asbury Park and its joined-at-the-hip (in every sense) neighbor, Goldie's.

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Beneath the Eye in the Sky

Given the subject matter, could I give you any less than the full picture?

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Eye in the Sky

Gaseteria 2: Up, Up and Away

A kind of funkier Stairway to (Not Quite) Heaven...

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Gaseteria

A kind of urban ziggurat, one thing on top of another...

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Xmas at the Movies

The movie was amazing, and you might say it was at New Jersey's expense...

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"Ho-Ho-Ho!" From Plain Sight

Inflatable Santas never get cold feet or need a bathroom break.

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Double Barreled

An empty threat vanishes as the steel curtain descends...

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Tire Tracks in the Snow

Where angels fear to tread...unless they're looking for a good breakfast.

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Bar Scene

Somebody's been chillin'...

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Tool of the Times

Battered but unbowed, and ready for more...

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The Richard Lewis Interview, Part 4

In this final installment, Lewis talks about falling asleep to a favorite Dylan album and his breakdown last January and the ensuing five-month layoff.

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Up With Snake Oil: Holiday Hangover Cures

“Cocktail Whisperer” Warren Bobrow offers holiday hangover relief. more

The Richard Lewis Interview, Part 3

At the end of Part 2, Richard was talking about the older comics who took him under their wing when he was starting out. In Part 3, he talks about his relationships with those comics today, and also his attitude toward many of today's younger comics.

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The Richard Lewis Interview, Part 2

Our conversation continues. Meanwhile, if you missed Lewis at the Newton Theatre yesterday, you can still catch him tonight, Saturday, December 7, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center...

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From Tomboy to Woman of the Year

Sneh Mehtani came from New Delhi speaking no English and pioneered upscale Indian dining here. Now she basks in professional honor as her son, Shaun, prepares to take over the family business. more

The Richard Lewis Interview, Part 1

Comedian Richard Lewis, proud graduate of Englewood's Dwight Morrow High School, plays the Newton Theater in Newton, Friday, December 6, and the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Saturday, December 7. It's hard to believe, but he and I have known each other for 40 years. We hadn't talked in awhile, so I used the occasion to get on the phone with him and see how he's doing.

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Buddies

...Playing while their master—known as the Chili Goddess—grows the hottest peppers in the world.

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Steeple Chase

It's there, if you look...

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Hey, Four Eyes!

Meter, Meter, On the Wall...

Where life is a gas...

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The Corner of the Corner Market

For me, worth a pause before entering the store...

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The Pizza Rules

Pete & Elda's in Neptune makes sure its customers are in the NO. But the thin crust pizza is so good the only thing that gets bent out of shape are the slices.

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Man On a Break

But you know me, I'm a sucker for out-of-service traffic cones...

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Squarespace

Any Day Now...

In the service department of a car dealer in North Jersey, waiting for the man with the logo on his shirt to come over with your bill and your keys in his hand...

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Under a Brooding Sky

A remnant of a small town in what was the country that became a bustling suburb.

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Autumnal Unsplendor

But the mood is equally what autumn is about...

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Babe Ruth Ate Here

That is just one of the legends attached to Pals Cabin, which stood on the hilltop corner of Eagle Rock Avenue and Prospect Street in West Orange in one form or another from 1932 until its demolition this week. Now the former rooftop sign is all that remains.

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Not Pink, Not Peach, Not Salmon

And all the more arresting for it...

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Big Catch by CRUZ!

Number 80 hauls in another one for the resurgent Giants. Or a guy wearing a Victor Cruz Jersey, anyway...

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Autumn Cone

Outside a collision repair shop...

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Oysters Rebound: The Revivial of a Jersey Crop

A young entrepreneur brings his “blue thumb” to the revival of the Jersey oyster, a sustainable crop that cleans the water and, yes, tastes great. more

Stripes on Site

And on four wheels, no less...

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High Style, Low Price

Susan Levin tries on a gown for our niece's wedding...

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Color Corner

Love the way these come together...

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Surveillance Ghost

Think he's a Halloween ornament? He's probably NSA...

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Stroller Park

Do the more expensive brands get parked up front?

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At the Shoe Repair Shop

Your local source for miscellany...

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Hose Arose

The business end of a leaf vaccum on the back of a landscaper's truck stopped me in my tracks.

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This Small Forward Never Dogs It

The ball hawk lives on a nursery in Hunterdon County that grows the Guinness-record-holding hottest chile pepper. While you wait, you kick the ball as hard as you can, he tears after it and brings it back, actually more like a soccer forward than a basketball player. Guarantee: You will tire of the game before he does.

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Another Night Behind the Wheel

It gets dark early out there...

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Behind the Diner

A slow night, to judge by the parking lot, but plenty atmospheric...

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Painter's Perch

Somehow striking, that blue, that light, that background...

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Do You Speak Shriek?

It's that time of year again...

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Fridge That's Almost a Garage

And not just one, but a whole line of them...

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I, Robot

Imperious ruler of the steel platform...

I remember when Verizon was formed in 2000 by a merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. I looked at the new name—I saw it in print before I ever heard it pronounced on a newscast or a commercial—and I thought, "Veh-rih-ZAHN, what kind of weird name is that? It'll never stick."

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Not a Religious Symbol

But why it exists, what purpose it serves, I can't figure out...

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Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

It wouldn't get Proud Mary up the river, but it's pretty cool nonetheless...

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Behind the Green Door

Well, nothing to compare with the '70s movie version, but still. Not the only dark space in this picture.

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High and Dry 11: Loopy

And with this, High and Dry sails into the night...

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High and Dry 9: The Hold-Up

A space creature with stubby arms and a blockhead plays Atlas...

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High and Dry 6: Essential Tripod

They're everywhere. Love the big rudder, too...

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High and Dry 5: Unbowed

I think of a Plainswoman, facing into the wind, her shawl drawn over her head...

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High and Dry 3: Props Up

Creating a kind of air force, but that's all...

 

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High and Dry 2: Stairway to Heaven

..Or it was, once upon a time.

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High and Dry: The Boat Graveyard

On Barnegat Bay in Mantoloking, a place where crafts no longer shipshape feel only the wind and the weeds under their keels. First in a series.

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What We've Got Here Is Failure to Illuminate

Less painful than what Paul Newman endured in Cool Hand Luke, but still...

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No Yawning at Awnings

Looking up at something that rolls down...

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The Electric Lasso

Taking On the Big Boys: 'Local Smoke' Owners Prep for BBQ Competition

Steve Raab and Eric Keating, owners of Local Smoke in Neptune City, will compete in the Atlantic City Smokin' Hot BBQ Championship on October 5 and 6. more

Guest Blogger!

I'm stepping aside today, ceding PS to a guest shooter who gets the PS aesthetic (or anti-aesthetic)—none other than NJM editor Ken Schlager. Take it away, Ken...

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Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

W.C. Fields was great at twisting stock sayings to comic ends. In "It's a Gift" (1934), he's a small-town grocer. When a woman comes into the store and asks him, "What do you have in the way of meats?", he answers in his famous whiny drawl, "Why nothing, you can get right to them." I love that exchange.

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Glamour Reflects

Suddenly she's on the roof...

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Chicken on a Leash

Sunday night of Labor Day weekend, a long line of people waiting to buy ice cream at Halo Pub in Princeton were charmed by two girls hanging out with their chicken.

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Dance of the Stagehands

Even before the lights went down, stuff was happening on stage...

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Sunset Corner

A lovely, lonely spot...

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King of the Hill

Settle into Adirondack chairs as the sun sinks, sip a drink, gaze at the expanse of lawn dipping beyond your wiggling toes, and peace is at hand.

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Signifyin' Alley

Signs and symbols behind a restaurant looking for workers...

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Mom, Dad & Doggie

On the porch, hanging out on a lovely summer day...

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Chillin', Gluten Free

It feels like the '60s up here—except for the gluten-free part...

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Lock Me Up

Where CVS employees store their stuff, or don't, leaving doors lolling open.

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Stirring the Pot

Behind the curtain, a very bad wizard but a very good ballwasher...

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Clean Balls...

...are what every golfer wants.

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Hard Hat Area

Danger! Swingers! more

Waiting at the Holland Tunnel

If not for traffic jams, we'd miss a lot of things worth looking at...

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The Jimmy Durante of Electric Meters

Wait. Does anybody remember Jimmy Durante? Anybody under, like, 60?

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Can't Make This Up

What its function is, I can only imagine—ventilation? But I've seen art installations in major museums less intriguing than this piece of practical pipework.

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The Big Harbor: Guy Thing

A Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge. Casting lines, telling stories...

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The Big Harbor: Bait and Wait

As fisherman casts his line near the imperial span of the shimmering Verrazano Bridge...

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Tilt-a-Whirl: Memories of the Shore's First Famous Sandy

"And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag/I got on it last night and my shirt got caught."

It's hard to remember that before Sandy was a plague that smote the Shore with Biblical fury, she was the heroine of one of the most poetic set of lyrics (and most beautiful melodies) Springsteen ever wrote...

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Can I Just Stay in the Car?: The Rain on the Pane

It kept coming down. Finally I had to get up, tromp through the puddles and do the interview. Which was a blast, as I knew it would be.

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How Obnoxious Was I? (On a Scale of 1 to 10)

Took my car in for 20,000-mile service yesterday. Last night the dealership emailed me a questionnaire to gauge my satisfaction with the experience. I guess you could say I nitpicked, but not in the way you might expect.

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Can I Just Stay in the Car?

Noah's Ark floated by just as I pulled into the parking lot of WCTC-AM in New Brunswick to do Bert Baron's NJ Today on our new August Best Restaurants issue. The rain pelting the roof of my car sounded like Drums of Thunder.

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She, He and the Harbor

Alone under the canopy of a single tree, the skyline of Lower Manhattan far across the water...

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The Stunning View From Staten Island

...Or at least from this gracious and historic home on the water's edge, just above the Verrazano Bridge.

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Edenic Childhood 3: Lord of the Flies 2

If someone were casting a remake of the movie, he looks just right, though I'm sure he is a very fine young fellow.

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Edenic Childhood 2: Lost in a Book

Summer, a sloping lawn, comfy as a couch. A little girl and a big book, an unbreakable bond...

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Edenic Childhood

The setting? A lovely, lively lawn party at the edge of New York Bay, celebrating an art opening in a Victorian home now a museum, just north of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

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Hi Drangeas! Walk This Way 2

A bit of an obstacle course. Police have inquired about using this walkway to train officers in scoring breathalyzer tests.

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Different Strokes: As the Sun Sets...

...We bid a fond farewell to Anchor Golf Land, its weird fairytale characters, weedy practice green and funky, dilapidated hitting stalls that nonetheless automatically tee up each ball for you.

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Different Strokes: Still Life With Spike Brushes

The golf-obsessed will recognize this contraption as an instrument of etiquette. Others may overlook it for the gaping orange orifice holding it down.

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Different Strokes: Swing Thoughts

And the pig bids the ball bon voyage as the man squints, gauging its flight, determinedly holding his follow-through...

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Different Strokes: The Windmill Survives

Down the Shore, miniature golf has gone high-concept and high-tech. Up north, not so much...

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Clean Machines: The Men's Room Temptress

And she hasn't changed a bit in half a century...

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New Jersey's Top 25 Restaurants of 2013

Our critics pick from New Jersey's diverse dining scene to bring you 2013's best places to eat in the Garden State. more

Clean Machines: Dog Days

Sure, bring the whole family, make it an outing, an activity. Beats sitting in Shore traffic on the Parkway. And when we're done, the all-you-can-eat Asian buffet is right across the street...

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Clean Machines: Watching Others Work

...is half the fun of having your car washed, unless you're the nervous type...

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Clean Machines: Vac Attack

This fellow has a case of The Bends (which, BTW and apropos of nothing, is still one of my two favorite Radiohead albums, the other being OK Computer)

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Clean Machines: Tilt-a-Whirl

Do car wash chamois guys wake up in the morning with backaches?

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Clean Machines: Two Lights Shining

The dragon emerges from the cave...

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Abstracting AT&T

In Plain Sight of Mario Batali's orange clogs

 

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BBQ People: The Man With the Map

That's the next gen, Michael Louis Levin, 26 (answers to Mike)...

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BBQ People: Reaching Out

Nothing on the table but a cell phone and a bottle of water. Is that any way to picnic at a barbecue festival?

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BBQ People: I'll Drink to That

Who needs champagne flutes when you can clink Shiner Bocks and Lone Stars?

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BBQ People: Taking Five

Workers need to bend the elbow too...

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BBQ People: Existential Eaters

Pondering whether the Earthlike planets recently discovered orbiting stars in distant galaxies brush on sauce or serve it on the side...

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BBQ People: Bent Elbows

A gesture of indecision, perhaps, and one that is not the classic Italian curse, but looks like it...

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BBQ People: Stand Clear

Comin' through..

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BBQ People: Dog Face

Just sitting, not eating, at the big outdoor fest...

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BBQ People: Girls

Passing the plate...

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When a House Wears a Lobster Bib

So it doesn't inhale old paint chips...

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Marc Maron: The Stand-Up Notables Sit Down With

Marc Maron's must-hear podcast leads to a book and TV series. more

Lovely Ruins

The lingering pastel, the ivy climbing, as the semis rumble by...

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Doin' Dishes

You don't think about how many plates and bowls and cups and saucers a food festival runs through until you step behind the scenes...

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Garden of Eating

From this lush and idyllic little plot behind the restaurant, the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster harvests herbs...

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On the Way to the BBQ Fest

Walking down the street, always looking around. The green glow caught my eye...

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Galloping Hill's New Giddyap

Losing money on golf, Union County bet $17.6 million on a bold plan to turn its decaying 1928 flagship into a state-of-the-art facility. And pulled it off. more

Relief at the Women's Club

The first night of the Montclair Food & Wine Festival--held in the auditorium of the Upper Montclair Women's Club--was sweltering. People were dripping sweat onto their plates, wondering why the food was so salty. Then festival organizer Melody Kettle leaped into action.

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A Long Row to Mow

When push comes to push some more, back and forth, eating up an acre...

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The Trap Door

...leading to the dungeon, with graffiti...and ammo. Or Ammo, who is a musician named Joshua Coleman, a Harvard grad who has written and produced songs for Britney Spears and others, since you asked.

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Wrestling With a Xootr 2

This went on for several minutes, she talking, he trying to figure out the scooter...

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Wrestling With a Xootr

While the lovely young lady raps on her Razr

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Message for the Messenger

Miles to go before he sleeps, even on a Sunday...

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Concrete Cocktail Mixer

The output can last a century...

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Roll Up the Rug

The snake wriggles out of the graffiti box like a thing tattooed...

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Stashing Victoria's Secret

While sitting at the bar, they turned their backs on the bag...

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Have a Lovely Weekend

When the weather cooperates (anybody listening up there?) it's so nice to be outside this time of year...

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"See, it's like this..."

Two dudes, sprawled on stone steps as traffic whizzes by, dissecting their corner of the universe...

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The Lone Cupcake

A young woman, a book, a cup of coffee and a temptation under glass..

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"Oops! Forgot It's Mother's Day!"

Flashback: Mother's Day, already mid-afternoon, Manhattan's East Village. Young people in line to buy flowers—at that age where you're not quite ready to accept that Mother's Day is one of those things you just have to get with and not resent.

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Pink's Peak: Decline and Fall Edition

After a dozen installments, Pink's Peak, like the petals it pursued, reaches the end of the road...

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Pink's Peak: Walk Don't Walk Edition

Twins flanking twins...

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Pink's Peak: Less Classy Canopy Edition

I feel a country song coming on...

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Pink's Peak: Classy Canopy Edition

My fantasy of the people who live here is...

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What the Young Curators Learned

Seven high school students enrolled in the Montclair Art Museum's Young Curators Program did something they had never done before: conceive themes for an art show, invite artists to submit work, view and discuss the (many) submissions, choose which to accept, organize and hang the pictures, host the reception and answer questions at a closing day gallery talk. So how'd they do?

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Pink's Peak: Boundaries Edition

Things are funkier inside the fence than outside...

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Pink's Peak: Dog Walk Edition

Adding an orange accent to the dogwoods...

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Pink's Peak: Militia Edition

Guarding our freedom, the flag, flowering trees and the 5:24 from Penn Station...

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Pink's Peak: Tower of Power Edition

I like flowers as much as the next guy, but photographs just showing how pretty they are leave me cold. Contrast undercuts the familiar associations, as here nature gamely carries on, oblivious to the surroundings.

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Pink's Peak: Laid Back Edition

Nothing says warm weather and a rest well earned quite like a backyard hammock...

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Pink's Peak: Surgeon General's Edition

I didn't tell the guy smoking a cigarette to stand next to the Dead End sign. The symbolism didn't even hit me until later.

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Pink's Peak: Toolbelt Edition

As I said yesterday, I've been obsessively photographing trees in bloom everywhere I go this spring.

Would you like to know why?

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Pink's Peak

I've been obsessed with dogwoods and other flowering trees this spring...

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Trying On a Bargain

Relax, dear, it looks lovely on you...

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When You Have The Blues

And it's a sunny morning...

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I Thought They Only Made Refrigerators

When I was a kid, my grandmother, who grew up without electricity in that Polish/Russian shadowland, had a refrigerator in her and my grandfather's Jersey City apartment. She called it a Frigidaire. Whether it actually was a Frigidaire I don't remember. Whatever brand it was, she would have called it a Frigidaire. That was her word for refrigerator. Now I see they make air conditioners. It doesn't feel right.

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A Very Odd Awning

Missing something awnings usually have...

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Trailer Park

I can't look at the Acme supermarket logo without thinking of things blowing up in Wile E. Coyote's face...

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Back to Mini Golf

If there is a hierarchy among layouts, where would you say this one ranks?

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Cape May Alleyway

Where I came across a radiant pink bike and a cast of unlikely characters...

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SI's Great Cover: And the Stunning Coincidence Inside

At the heart of Sports Illustrated's gripping and quietly eloquent cover on the Boston Marathon bombings is a remarkable photograph that ranks in its own way with the famous photo of the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Then there is the photo inside, that nearly knocked me off my chair.

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6 Pix, 4 Shows, 1 Photog, All Now

It occurred to me the other day, after running around dropping off pictures, preparing to drive to the Berkshires tomorrow, that I have photographs in four current shows. That has never happened before. What does it mean? Not much, probably, but five of the six pictures represent some of my best recent work, and the sixth is one of my golden oldies, from 2005. Here are four of the six...

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Shore Mini Golf: Awakening

Still chilly and windy, but you feel spring coming...

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A Foggy Day in Cape May

Friday morning, two views of Beach Avenue at Jackson Street, looking south and looking north...

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Tennis, Anyone?

Racketeers can come out of their winter bubble now...

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Say it Loud! I'm Black and a Shroud! 2

Yesterday the vertical, today the horizontal. What a difference a day makes.

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Say It Loud! I'm Black and a Shroud!

Fine, but how does the car feel?

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On Becoming Bogiesque

Or, how this restless food writer learned to relax and say, “I’ll have the usual.” more

Where It Always Rains Sun

Here in Jersey we can put away umbrellas and bask (at least until Friday). But down there, umbrellas are not just for rainy days.

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Orange Lives!

I thought orange had run its course (and it had, at the Final Four). Then I come to a red light, and lo and behold...

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Last of the Orange

I'm not talking Syracuse's chances in the Final Four but my circuit of a place in the slanting afternoon sun...

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How Old Are Ladders?

Finding the answer in a dream...

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Go Orange!

Rooting for Syracuse's Final Four team, about to take on Marquette in a swan song for the Big East, which Rutgers rejected? Sorry, this isn't for you.

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Who Are America's Best Chefs? These Folks Asked Chefs. Now the Results are Out.

If you read restaurant reviews, you know what critics think. If you follow Zagat or sites like Yelp, you know what frequent diners think. And you certainly know what you and your friends think. What's missing? To two food-loving friends chatting over cocktails in Charleston, SC, about a year ago, the answer was obvious: Who do chefs think are the best chefs?

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Another Orange World

This one close to home...

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Arrival in an Orange World

And behold, the sun!

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The Next Lady GaGa?

Getting an early start getting it on...

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The (Above) Ground Round

After almost a century underground, a 1,500-gallon behemoth revealed...

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He Said No to Elton John and Kazakhstan!

After eight years as a tour manager for Elton John, a New Jerseyan turns to naturally infused extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. more

Wired, Hosed and Illuminated

Parallel lines, crossbars, curves, twists, struts, knots, we got 'em...

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Fake Grass: The Stunning Conclusion!

The beauty is, it doesn't try to look real. It's content to be genuine fake.

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By Popular Demand: More Fake Grass!

Yesterday's Plain Sight, "Big Wheel, Wet Pavement, Fake Grass," seems to have struck a chord with fake grass fans. So forget the big wheel. Here's more fake grass! And no, I'm not forgetting my small but vocal wet pavement contingent. Got you covered!

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Big Wheel, Wet Pavement, Fake Grass

All the elements needed for a classic Plain Sight mise en scène--or measly unseen, as the case may be...

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Sippin' and Stealin'

Identity Thief is doing very well at the box office. I saw the trailer, and that was enough for me.

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Brokeback Molehill

Back spasms have had me horizontal the last few days, except for massages and a visit to the doc...

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You Reap, So What?

And who's that weird woman looking over your shoulder?

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Going For Baroque

In this little corner of the world, more is always more...

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The Eagle Has Landed...

At an innovative Mexican establishment nominated earlier this month for the James Beard Foundation's Best New Restaurant award. That's best in the nation...

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Oscar Kernels

These popped. Some of Seth McFarlane's on Sunday night were duds, while others blew up in his face.

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Where Even the Signs Take a Beating...

What hope is there for the vehicles?

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One Side of "Side Effects"

A side that has not been written about in reviews...

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Crayola Squared

Not just squared but taken to the tenth power, colors as intense as single malt scotches, palette porn...

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Sondheim's Musical Perfume

Stephen Sondheim would be considered a genius of musical theater if he had written just the music for his shows, but not the lyrics, or written the lyrics, but not the music. That he did both puts him off the charts. Who does he consider a genius? Sondheim himself suggested an answer at an event I attended last week.

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Talisman of the Table

A ritual object, a moon rocket ready for launch, or lunch...

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How You Bin?

It spoke to me, its tongue hanging out...

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Don't Let "Two Trains" Leave Without You

The exceptional revival of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" at the Two River Theater in Red Bank closes March 3. Set in 1969 in a black Pittsburgh neighborhood slated for "urban renewal," the play unspools entirely in a rundown cafe that is the characters' only port in the storms of the day. The actors and their director--all steeped in Wilson's variously exuberant, sassing and blunt vernacular--show why he is the Shakespeare of black American life in the 20th century.

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An HCP Fault Line

A fissure flanked by stripes abstracts a familiar symbol...

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Splendid Morning

Montana lays claim to "Big Sky Country," but let's not short sell this cirrus on cerulean scene with wet blacktop and blank beige wall of Walgreens in winter...

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Waiting For Pizza

The bread and butter sat there as the minutes ticked by...

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Snowgate 2

Unlocking the digital code...

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Snowgate

Nemosized

Sunday the sun came out...

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The Calm Before the Calamity

The merest dusting, and then we found Nemo, or it found us...

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Purple Privacy: The Socket

An extra piece to the puzzle, an extra ball to juggle...

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Ms. Purple Privacy and Me

Is she the reason this is my favorite corner of Cups Frozen Yogurt? Am I kidding myself that it's about the light streaming through the front window?

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Purple Privacy

Early afternoon, before the kids get out of school, I sometimes duck into Cups Frozen Yogurt in Morristown for a bit of refreshment and quiet time in my favorite corner, by the front window, where the light is good.

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A Shrine...But Not to Oranges

It includes candles, a bearded, robed figurine and offering plates. In a church? No. The oranges are a clue...

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White Hats at the Multiplex

Guy can go super sauve or funky fanboy, but perhaps in deference to whoever sits behind him, he leaves his lids in the car...

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Under the Steeple

Two routes to greater transparency...

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Lip Service

My quest for order within chaos at a construction site requires a strong lip...

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Tanks a Lot

An interesting eyesore on a Montclair hilltop with a view of the Manhattan skyline...

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Speed the Plow (But Carefully)

Speed the plow is an interesting phrase (and, of course, the title of a famous 1988 David Mamet play). Structurally, it's not the same as Felix the Cat, unless there was a plow we don't know about whose name was Speed. Traditionally, it was often expressed as God speed the plow, which makes the meaning clearer. To plow on in this vein, tilling the rocky surface of your day, please click...

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Vanishing Point: Two Ends of an Alley

Time stands still here, as in an hourglass lying on its side...

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Pulaski Skyway: Bumper Cars Over Kearny

If you drive on the Pulaski (and this is your last year to do so for awhile), don't look for a shoulder to cry on...

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Big Buckets

Bigger than some kitchens in the apartment building in the background...

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Agony and Ecstasy Of The Outmoded: Valeri Larko's Art

An artist who moved to the Garden State when she was three paints pictures of hulking storage tanks, defaced factories, and other evidence of structural desuetude. more

Pulaski Skyway: The Long Goodbye

Enjoy* it while you can. Late this year, the inbound lanes will be closed for a refurbishment expected to take two years, clogging traffic to and from the Holland Tunnel into Lower Manhattan..

*Did we say ENJOY? Yes. Click and we'll explain why.

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Still Life With Scope

Waiting for the oral surgeon, the man with the tongs...

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Stamp Collection

You don't see these much anymore, but lots of rubber stamps are still in use at the Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt...

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Where the Barkeep Knows Your Name

Cold outside, cozy inside, old wood, new friendships...

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Belt Tightening

Industrial strength, now harnessed to the arts...

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Electric Ghost

You have to look closely, but it's there...

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Red Planet

A once-a-year phenomenon...

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My Tribute to the Tree Poet 2

Yvette Lucas, as I wrote yesterday, coaxes voices from the trees she photographs. In her tree portraits, this Montclair artist lays before us metaphors for the human condition.

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My Tribute to the Tree Poet

Yvette Lucas coaxes voices from the trees she photographs. She prints in the austere language of b&w, so (unlike me) she denies herself the intensities and subtleties of color. But in her tree portraits, this Montclair artist lays before us metaphors for the human condition.

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Matisse in the Cafeteria

Some of the works in the big Matisse show now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, we saw at the State Museum of Art in Copenhagen last May. But the most Matissean moment for me, was opening a book of Matisse paintings on the green table in the museum cafeteria...

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The Holiday Table Shimmers

Christmas colors, a twinkle, a moment of bliss at the end of a memorable meal...

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My MIKE MULLIGAN Moment...And Werner Herzog's

I hope parents still read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to their kids, as mine read it to me when I was little. I still love that book.

This morning I discovered that Mike Mulligan has another, perhaps surprising fan in Werner Herzog—the German director and writer of compelling, disturbing, wholly original movies like Fitzcarraldo, Stroszek and Aguirre, the Wrath of God and brooding, incredibly penetrating documentaries like Grizzly Man. In fact, if you click, you can actually listen to Herzog read Mike Mulligan out loud.

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REVELatory 2

A school of tiny tropical fish, glittering across a kaleidoscopic chasm...

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REVELatory

Things you see from the bottom of the multi-story atrium at Revel in Atlantic City...

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In Her Son's Footsteps: Cooking Becomes A Family Tradition

With Mom’s “undying support,” Max got a CIA degree and landed at Thomas Keller’s exalted Per Se. Then Mom went to school, became a cooking teacher—and won Chopped. more

The Beer Window

Industrial Collage

Many authors, years in the making. Hidden in plain sight, waiting for Plain Sight...

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"Happy Trees?" Recently, Not So Much

After Sandy, my next-door neighbor hired a company to remove a big tree in his yard that had fallen, crushing the trampoline his kids loved to bounce on. They ground up the tree along with piles of other broken branches. The company's name, ironically, was Happy Trees.

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Still Kicking: Major League Soccer's Rise

From Pele's famous game at Giants Stadium to the Red Bulls' brand new stadium, soccer has established itself on the New Jersey sports landscape. more

The Iceman Goeth: Technological Advancement

The state's power demands are now met with the help of some of the most innovative and efficient technologies. more

Getting in the Game: The Garden State Sports Scene

The Garden State's love of sports remains undiminished. more

Just Us Toques: How Professional Chefs Tailgate

This team of Giants-loving chefs and food pros turn every Big Blue home game into a culinary Super Bowl. more

The Manicure: Yoga For The Fingers

This pose must be held at least 10 minutes...

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Keep the Caffeine Flowing

Helping customers and staff get a grip all day long...

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What Have They Done to My ATM?

I'd like some cash, but where do I put my card? more

If It Ain't fixed...

Fix it yourself.

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Arrowhead

Road renewal with a spray gun...

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Faces of Chinatown: Always Papa

Faces of Chinatown concludes today with its 27th image. All were recorded between 1:55 and 2:55 pm during a walk mainly on Mott Street and Canal Street on Sept. 16th, 2012, a Sunday during the San Gennaro Festival.

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Faces of Chinatown: On the Shoulders of Giants 2

An expression of extraordinary depth and openness on the face of Shoulder Boy, as I think of him. The second of three moments as he rides with arms around his dad. FoC will wrap with tomorrow's third moment.

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Faces of Chinatown: On the Shoulders of Giants

Faces of Chinatown begins winding down today with the first of three moments on the expressive face of one little boy riding high...

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Faces of Chinatown: Hanging in the Balance

A weighty matter...

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Faces of Chinatown: Happy Thanksgiving!

In Chinatown, they don't hang turkeys in the window, though it would be quite a sight. But tea-smoked ducks and chickens?

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Faces of Chinatown: Aqua Shopper

Young and on the move, carrying neon red and pink, a black slash across her body...

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Fists of Chinatown: Do You Accept Checks?

A big blue barrier at a street crossing...

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Faces of Chinatown: Bubble Tea Thought Bubble 2

I can identify one of the three people in this photograph...

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Faces of Chinatown: Triathlon Dad

Do real men push strollers? Yes, and with both hands, I might add...

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Faces of Chinatown: Power Loitering

Forget his bum knee and ankle. This guy OWNS this payphone station...

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Whatever Happened to...Jersey City's Transformative Chef?

The blossoming of downtown Jersey City as a dining destination can be traced to the opening of Marco & Pepe shortly after the trauma of 9/11 (and partly in response to it). The chef, the previously unknown Ian Topper-Kapitan, began turning out a new kind of freewheeling, casual food the likes of which, at that time, you had to go to Lower Manhattan to experience. For the next decade, Topper-Kapitan would continue to be a culinary force in that swath of downtown JC between the Hudson River and City Hall. Then he disappeared. Tonight I got a call from him.

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Faces of Chinatown: What the...?

While two moms bridge a communications gap, a toddler's attention wanders (as it should and will)...

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Sandy Slideshow: A Slumbering Army

In the vast parking lot of the Whole Foods and K-Mart mall in West Orange, a convoy of out-of-state utility trucks rest while their crews presumably do the same...

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Craving Sucess: A New Chocolate Company Connects With Customers

Dipping Twinkies, Oreos, pretzels and Chips Ahoy in chocolate has Brittany Starr, 25, and her fledgling company, Crave, dipping toes in the big time. more

The Ryland Inn

Experienced new owners, and a gifted chef whose time has come, have returned the Ryland Inn to the summit of New Jersey fine dining. more

Faces of Chinatown: Mangia!

It was quite a lip-smacking Sunday, the pork buns and tea-smoked duck of Chinatown cheek-by-jowl (literally and figuratively) with the fried zeppole and meatball sandwiches of the San Gennaro Festival...

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Faces of Chinatown: Now That's What I Call Baby Bok Choy!

Man knows his Asian vegetables...

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Faces of Chinatown: Most Happy Fella

A true city dog, content with the sidewalk crush,...

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Faces of Chinatown: The Iceman Selleth

Can't sell seafood to the sidewalk trade without it...

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Faces of Chinatown: You Lookin' at Me?

Yes, and I'd like a quarter pound of fresh kumquats, please, well trimmed of leaves and grit, if you wouldn't mind.

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Faces of Chinatown: Hang Man

Almost every stall and shop on the street was busy, cash changing hands. This guy could only watch and wait...

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Faces of Chinatown: On the Edge of Ease

What he's sitting on couldn't look more uncomfortable, but when you work as hard and long as he and his co-worker do, just to be off your feet is a blessing...

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Sandy, Bloody Sandy: A Slideshow

A quick spin around Montclair Tuesday afternoon, surveying the damage.

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Faces of Chinatown: Smoke Signals

People lighting up left and right...

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Faces of Chinatown: Above It All

One is transfixed, two have more inward concerns, and a third bends to examine the contents of a refrigerated case...

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Faces of Chinatown: Weary Woman

Standpipes are for sitting...

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Faces of Chinatown: Beards and Brims

Wherever they go, indoors or out, they are always undercover, reverently so...

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Not

At this time of year, that would be amusement park fans, especially those who like to slam down the sledgehammer to impress their dates...

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Dogging It

No missing links here...

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Sit Happens

And a lovely place for it, too...

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Not Monet's Garden

But I like it...

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Aerial Act

Last rites for an arboreal senior citizen...

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Stringing Up the Enemy

Soldiers and security forces of the old Communist regime in Hungary were never Dr. Erno Hollo's cup of plum brandy. But at his 5-acre spread in Bernardsville, the veterinarian enjoys the last laugh...

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NJ Native Wins Golf National Championship (Again!)

Earlier this month, at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, Paul Simson, 61, defeated a man six years his junior to win the USGA's Senior Amateur National Championship for the second time in three years. Yet last spring, Simson--who grew up in Chatham, graduated from Pingry (was inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame in 2011) and met his wife just off the 9th green of Fairmount Country Club in Chatham--wondered whether he would be able to walk this season without pain, let alone swing a golf club.

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Buffer Zone

It's all in the details...

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A Right Turn to Remember

My kind of pipe dream...

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Schnozz in Chains

Laying down on the job...

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Cornered!

A vegetative Laurel & Hardy held hostage...

 

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I Get a Kick Out of You

That would be the Mrs., reaching into the car for something...

+ BREAKING NEWS ABOUT RESTAURANT MAE IN JERSEY CITY

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It's Not the Camera, It's the Building

Like they say on TV, do not adjust your set. This building just looks a little cockeyed...

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Woes of a Hose 3: All Hung Up

With a stern message to dog owners...

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The Pause That Refreshes...

And a jukebox and slot machines and who knows what else...

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Honor on Main Street

In a shop window, for those who gave all...

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1001 Ways to Waste Your Time Without Laying Waste to Your Wallet

This being the 1001st Plain Sight photo since the blog's inception in 2008, I thought I'd encourage those with receptive visual receptors (and nothing better to do) to browse through the complete Plain Sight archive. Or anyway look at today's picture.

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The 1000th Edition of Plain Sight is Here!

For this monumental milestone, I thought I'd pick a picture of a photographer in a situation I can readily identify with--he's totally, um, focused on taking pictures while the taximeter of his girlfriend's impatience ticks ever higher.

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JC in PA, the 999th Edition of Plain Sight

And the Yanks lead the Jays 4 to 1 in the top of the fifth...

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Tick-Tock, the 998th Edition of Plain Sight

Construction chromaticism at the Tick-Tock Diner in Clifton...

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Games People Used to Play

...when electrified mechanical things were the marvels of the world.

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The Woman in the Window

A window onto nature most splendid...

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Who Are The Real Jets?

Are they fierce and effective? Or full of hot air like this guy?

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TMI Mash-Up

Overload at an intersection...

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The Electric Jellyfish

Going nowhere, but in measured steps...

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More Woes of a Hose

Yes, by popular demand WoaH is back with a new entanglement for your viewing pleasure. And, by the way, this is the 990th edition of Plain Sight. Global celebration planned for when we hit 1,000 two weeks from today. Tell your friends!

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Awnings and Old Glory

In Cape May, stars and stripes...and more stripes...

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Little Ferry's Big Wheel: NJ's Latest Cookbook Author

Top Chef All-Stars catapults colorful Mike Isabella from chef to owner of soon-to-be four restaurants—and now to cookbook author. more

Clowntime is Over

Yes, that's a salute to early Elvis Costello, but it's also a miniature-golf fact...

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Fish Out of Water

Propeller upturned, it prays for salvation not salvage...

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Here It Is

The real thing, the pause that refreshes...and literally here.

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Woes of a Hose

Engulfed

Eden-by-the-Sea

The view from the front porch...

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The World of Leaf and Bowl

Alone on a barren plain...

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Robo-Stilts

Can't Slip on This Peel

That is, the cook can't, but the pie can...

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Where the Rubber Meets the S&M

Straps, steel and rubber, a kinky delight...

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Behind the Orange Door

What mystery lurks within?

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Upstairs

Did Montclair need another destination eatery (albeit one with a bar)? A hometown team shows the answer is yes. more

I Dream of Suburban Perfection

Does it get any better than this?

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Staying Sane with Boat and Crane

Waiting for the restaurant to open, pacing around the dock...

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I Saw a HOLE-IN-ONE! (or Golf's Holy Grail: Shoot Your Age)

Let the pros pursue Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. All golfers can aspire to something almost as lofty: shooting an 18-hole score equal to your age. You have to live into your 60s, 70s or 80s to even have a chance, and by then your skills have eroded. But there are people who can do it or come pretty darn close. And you can watch them compete in a national championship starting this coming Saturday at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell.

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Waiting For No. 1

Noma, the No. 1 rated restaurant in the world, three years running (according to the international poll conducted by the English magazine Restaurant and sponsored by San Pellegrino) is located in an old salt warehouse on a dock in Copenhagen. It opens for lunch at noon, and not a moment earlier.

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Harlequinade

A musical motif above Copenhagen's mega-mode of transportation...

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Field Trip

As the teacher lectures on classical painting, one student looks like she is about to become a living version of Munch's "The Scream."

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The Littlest Art Lover

Absorbed in whatever she's eating, she doesn't see behind her the spear-carrying creature that has her in his sights...

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"Hmmm, Where Did I Leave My Car Keys?"

Off to the side, with a lot on his mind...

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Fiddling Around

What the guy is looking at is not the real action...

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Bench Warmers

Among his ten gazillion lines of wonderful lyrics, Stephen Sondheim once wrote, "Love, they say, makes you pine away / But you pine away, with an idiotic grin..." Now, as to the couple you see here...

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Hard Hat Art Installation

A street pose and a weighty subject

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Report From the Other Side

Susan, my wife, walked ahead to see if we were closing in on what we were looking for. You won't believe what she reported back...

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The Eyes Have It...

...not on the mannequin, obviously, but the woman behind her.

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Bundles o' Blooms

And buckets o' buds...

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The City at Her Feet

Looking out from the entrance to the National Gallery of Art...

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Behind the Green Wall...

...Copenhagen is building a new subway station

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Industrial Strength Bike Rack

Where the staff of Noma, the restaurant rated No.1 in the world, park their bicycles, Copenhagen's beloved mode of daily transportation...

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A Fortress of Salt

Mining salt is heavy toil, relaxing amidst these salt bricks is something else entirely...

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House of Happiness

The Nasto family has been making ice cream in Newark since the 1920s, but their store on Jefferson Street has its own history of pleasing people. more

New Restaurants: Busting Out All Over

The last 12 months have seen an unusual number of ambitious openings. Indeed, four newcomers made our elite Top 25. Here are 10 others of note: more

The Top 25 Restaurants

Long gone are the days when New Jersey, sandwiched between two imposing cities, could only look outward for its best food. Now the top restaurants in the state stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the region. more

Vertigo-go

On your way to the action, it's hard to resist looking down...

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Ms. Cake Boss

Palermo Bakery delivers custom-made cakes to A-list celebrities and couples tying the knot. more

Mysterious Comings and Goings at Revel

What lies at the end of the aquamarine corridor?

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Heavens Above, Slots Below

Where, no matter the time, life seems eternally nocturnal...

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Oceans of Money

Down the corridor to the left, it comes and goes  24/7, but here it goes only one way...

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A Klieg of His Own

On the set, mastering the art of looking cool while doing nothing much...

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Spokes and Laces

This picture disappeared as soon as someone got back in the saddle...

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Torn Curtain

Dockside, about 100 feet from the Number 1 destination in the world (if you're a foodie)...

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Clean Living

Anything less would disappoint the pixies...

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WALL-E

E for electric...

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The Elephant and the Shark

One chasing, one fleeing...

 

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The Alien in the Tub

It's a pressure situation...

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Cat's Out of the Bag

Or this cat simply can't be let out of the bag, whichever way you want to look at it...

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Paradise in the Closet

Where everybody's shoulder to shoulder...

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Operating System Leopard

Tends to overheat in summer...

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Written on the Body

A schematic for surgery...

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Bare Ruined Bastion

At the intersection of two dishevelments...

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Brick & Mortar Message

And is that yellow-green paint or fungus?

more

Web of Intrigue

With a tonsorial twist...

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Kayaks Unchained

Well, by now they are...

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See if Anyone Salutes

A somewhat unusual flagpole...

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Burning the Midday Oil

Alone in a very public study hall...

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Putting Their Heads Together

And keeping cool at the same time...

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Bloomsday

A bunch of wallflowers...

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Cherubs R Us

No wasted space here...

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Darkroom Days...

I've spent many happy hours in the darkroom, but those days seem so distant now...

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Bossy Pants

Plus "I may look busy, but I'm only confused," Dumbo and much more...

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The Window That Isn't

It's a pretty nice job, you have to look closely...

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Can You Hear Me Now?

In cell phoning, as in real estate, location is everything...

more

The Spillway

Lambertville's little Niagara...

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Shadowbridge

Straddling the falls in Lambertville on a sunny Sunday...

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Panel Discussion

Do we turn this knob, or this knob? And how much?

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The Rake's Progress

The morning sun puts the teeth in relief...

more

Bloom Riot

The Thing

A transformer, a transducer, an old-fashioned steam cabinet or what?

more

Curtain Call

If you've been following PS the last three days (big if), the characters now take the stage for a bow, with another added...

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Old Ironsides

His boom times have ended, but his boom stands tall...

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Four Guys Waiting For a Bus

Rather stout fellows, too...

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Where Have You Gone, Mike Mulligan the Steamshovel?

I'm dating myself, but when I was little one of my favorite picture books was Mike Mulligan the Steamshovel. I no longer remember the plot, but I remember his steaming smokestack and his smile, formed out of the flapping bottom of his bucket. What does this have to do with today's Plain Sight? Click...

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The Color of Root Beer 2

They don't sell just root beer...

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The Color of Root Beer

A Stewart's Drive-In isn't literally the color of root beer, but when you see it your mind says root beer...

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Wall of Fins and Claws

A lot to look at, all in all...

more

Embracing the Ocean

In dining and much else, the monumental new Revel resort and casino is a revelation, but can it lift Atlantic City to a new level? more

See You Monday, May 14

Plain Sight is across the ocean, in Copenhagen. Will return with a Plain Sight take on the Danish city. Meanwhile, ponder this unusual still life with stock pots...

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Trump to be Surrounded By Women!

The United States Golf Association announced today that the 2017 U.S. Women's Open—one of the premier events of women's professional golf—will be held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster...

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Wetgate

Tub Corral

Their world turned upside-down...

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The Shed

And the ivied fence...

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Princesses With Lipstick Run Amok

Pinned to the wall, they are...

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Flowers and Bows...and Fondant

These cakes shed no tiers...

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Two Heads in a Cigar Store

This picture involves reflections. Speaking of which, today is the 900th Plain Sight post.

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Slices of Life

For when you're on the go...

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Plain Sight Was Here

Just in case you were wondering...

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The Hunger Games

A juxtaposition of too much and not enough...

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Scents and Sensibility

On encountering something new, in this case a person, a dog thinks with its nose...

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See-Through

A porch with stately columns in Long Branch...

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Shell Game

Scallop fishermen, working like dogs, haul in Jersey’s most valuable seafood crop. A day on the job with the crew of the scallop boat Lucky Thirteen. more

125 Years of Tally-Ho! and Fore!

The Essex County Country Club, the oldest in the state, has enjoyed a storied 125-year history. more

Green Day

Putting it on the line at the car wash...

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Anatomy Lesson

Contemplating the stuff we're made of...

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Black and Teal Fantasy

...on wheels

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In An Octopus's Garden

Not beneath the sea, but the color and the raindrops bring the song to mind...

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On Beer Bottle Hill

Down trends the neck, up trends the ground...

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Still Life With Caulk Guns

And a rainy day...

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Black Flag

At half-mast in the bed of a pickup truck...

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Bed Scene

Booth Theater

Waiting for the coffee and omelet...

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Bottoms Up!

Big Wheel Keep on Turning

Get a grip, huh?

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Rectilinear

Figuring the angles...

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The Trophy Maker

In a windowed workroom below street level, a craftsman focuses on the job at hand...

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If I Had a Hammer...

I'd drill, baby, drill...

more

Step This Way For Catechesis

This is where catechesis, or instruction by word of mouth, is given to, among others (and this is not a misspelling), catechumens, who are people learning basic Christian doctrine before becoming communicant members of a church.

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Ragged

The strange shine of a dark, wet day...

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Baked Out

Equipment discarded outside a pizzeria in Morristown...

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Pinch Alley

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide...

more

How a Chef Learned to Slow Down

A Princeton chef finds inspiration in the Slow Food movement, and spearheads a Central Jersey chapter. more

Scrambling Up the Hill

On hands and knees...

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The Alien

A sighting in Florham Park.

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A Sandwich While Digging

Recently the utilities company came and opened a gaping square hole in the sidewalk immediately outside NJM's front door. Like, two feet from our front door. For a couple weeks we had to very carefully and gingerly exit the building, in sidesteps, so we didn't fall into the hole. Made coming and going interesting.

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Master and Slave

One bends to the other's will...

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Except For Want of a Rim

But someday, when the kids now playing in the fort grow up, dad may replace the missing hoop.

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The Elephant's Foot

A tree settles just like a pachyderm's paw, if pachyderms had paws, that is.

 

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Bimmer Molders

Leaf Springs

What holds a dump truck up...

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The Last Picture From Italy--I Promise

Here, in a mausoleum in a 400-year-old churchyard lie the remains of Aggeo Zecchi, 1900-1977, a gentleman who lived in the Appenine Mountains of Northern Italy, about 20 miles south of Bologna and Modena.

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Federico

He is remembered by "I Tuoi Cari"--"Your Loved Ones."

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James Beard Awards, NJ's 2012 Nominees

This year's James Beard Foundation Awards, the most prestigious in the world of food and wine, will be given out May 4 and May 7. The process starts with a first round of nominees. On the list from NJ, several familiar names and, in the category of Best New Restaurant, Zeppoli in Collingswood...

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Angelo Lucchini, 1894-1983

Think of the upheavals this Northern Italian lived through, including two world wars...

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Dante Zappoli, 1906-1986

Another of the memorable faces in the mausoleum at the 400-year-old churchyard in the Appenine Mountains of Italy, south of Modena and Bologna.

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The Coniugis

Entombed together, in a mausoleum in the yard of a 400-year-old church in the Appenine Mountains of Italy, south of Modena and Bologna.

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Signora Lelli

Flowers attend her chamber in the mausoleum...

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Mirella Alberti: 1942-1985

Born while World War II raged around her, died young, at 43...

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Signore Mezzini

Another of the interesting faces on the memorials at the mausoleum...

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British Cuisine—Not an Oxymoron

For good food, writes Brian Yarvin, Brits can look proudly to their traditions. more

Sandro Rava (1962-2008)

In this mausoleum in a churchyard in the Appenine Mountains of northern Italy, an unusual feature I've seen only one other place...

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In the Mausoleum

You begin to notice something unusual about these memorials...photographs of the deceased...

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Approaching the Mausoleum

In a 400-year-old churchyard in the Appenine Mountains in northern Italy. Only a dozen spaces remaining...

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Graziella's Sewing Machine

Vintage, lovingly used. Note the wear on the hand wheel at right...

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Giorgio's Cart

No longer fully operative, but a piece of the farmhouse history...

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Our Mountain Guides

If you've been following this Plain Sight series on northern Italy, you know how much my son and I owe to our wonderful hosts in the Appenine Mountains...

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Shocker! Meat Comes From Animals

This picture is not for the faint of heart...

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Pork Impresario

This enthusiastic gentleman, a manager of the plant, gave us a tour and tasting of the salumificio, a place where the pig is transformed into delicious foodstuffs from nose to tail...

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Ultimate Cracklings

They're called ciccoli (if I'm spelling it right) and they're crunchy and porky and utterly fabulous...

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Salami Stuffer

Ever wonder how those casings get filled?

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Home Sweet Mountain Ravine

I've described the Parmigano-Reggiano factory we visited as being in the Appenine Mountains of northern Italy. But what do the Appenines look like? Here is a dramatic example...

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Ever heard of Black Parmigiano?

Neither had I. It may not be available over here. It may not be widely available even in Italy. But it exists. I saw it...

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Old Grandad

Most Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged two to three years, but the factory keeps some around much longer, just to see how it ages...

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The Cheese Inspectors

During their maturation, wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano are inspected by sticklers who use a light steel mallet (as demonstrated by a manager of the Santa Lucia Caseificio) to probe the interior of the wheel for faults...

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Shh! The Cheeses are Sleeping

Here, in the storage rooms, is where Parmigiano-Reggiano really becomes what the Italians call "the king of cheeses." They stay here for years...

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Cheese Underwater

Life began in the ocean then slithered onto dry land. Parmigiano-Reggiano kind of recapitulates that journey...

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That Secret Recipe? Still a Secret

Chef: Luigi Basile, La Locanda, Voorhees; Nonna: Maria Vincenza Basile, Montella, Campania, Italy more

Just One Way To Skin a Rabbit

Chef: Franco Lombardo, Sapori Trattoria, Collingswood; Nonna: Anna Prestigiacomo, Carini, Sicily more

Making an Impression

If you've ever seen an entire wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano you know its distinctive stamps, which include not only the words Parmigiano-Reggiano all around the circumference, but the month and year of making, and numbers that signifiy at which caseificio it was made. Here's how that is done...

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Cruisin' for a Smoothin'

No, that's not a perfect rhyme, but what do you expect for free? Now as to the subject of today's picture, you'll just have to click if you want to unstick the mystery...

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Meeting Mamma...In Italy

Our senior editor travels to the mountains of northern Italy to photograph the mother of one of our Italian chefs. more

Mangia!

Exploring and celebrating Jersey's love for Italian food. more

Italian Alley-Oop

Transferring the curds--a roughly 80-pound ball--from the vats to the round storage forms in which they will become wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano...

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The Big Bruiser

For some reason, one of the curd spheres came up huge and had to be sliced in two--that's all in a day's work at the Parmigiano-Reggiano factory, but big excitement for spectator me...

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Knot's Landing

After the curd is gathered, it is tied to a crossbar before being removed from the sea of whey. It is on its way, or whey, to becoming Parmigiano-Reggiano...

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It's a Whey of Life 3

The first step of making Parmigiano-Reggiano is all about teamwork...

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It's a Whey of Life 2

Like a kind of sunrise, the globe of nascent cheese emerges from the blonde sea of whey...

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It's a Whey of Life

In the village of Santa Lucia, in the mountains above Modena, Italy, they make Parmigiano-Reggiano, every day, and the process starts with vats the size of Jacuzzis...

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A Bike is a Bike. Not.

Some bikes are just quietly, strangely beautiful...

 

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Chow Before Ciao

Lunch at Enoteca Italiana in Bologna, a wine and liquor store and deli rolled into one...

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Classy Counterman

At Enoteca Italiana, where the stylish Bolognesi get their lunchtime sandwiches, wine and espresso...

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Produceapalooza 3

Step this way for a fond final look at the bountiful fruit, flower and produce market of Modena, Italy...

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Produceapalooza 2

This shopper never gets to the front of the line, but only in Italy do vegetables and fruit rub shoulders with statuary...

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Produceapalooza

You hear a lot about how beautiful the produce markets are in italy. And then you see one, and you understand...

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Work in Progress

A construction project impinges on a public square in Modena, Italy...

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Vacuum Cleaners Suck

But this one, inside the Verdi Suite of the Hotel Grand Majestic gia Baglioni in Bologna, intrigued me...

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Hello, Halo

Atop the cathedral of San Pietro in Bologna...

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Nice Backyard

We spent a few days in the Apennine Mountains, about 30 miles south of Bologna...

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Night Stroll

In Bologna on weekend evenings during the holidays, the streets at the center of town become pedestrian malls and the shops stay open late...

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The Real Baloney

It comes from Bologna, hence our (derogatory) name for it, but the stuff that the Bolognesi are rightly so proud of is one of the jewels in their culinary heritage of working miracles with every inch of the pig...

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Saucy Lady

After a stint with the Yankees, Rochelle Randazzo started her own team—of pasta sauces. more

Breast Spritz

Only the Italians could come up with a public fountain as unabashed as this...

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Christmas in Bologna

Imagine Times Square as a pedestrian mall with traffic allowed only on the periphery, and not at all on weekends, and you have the heart of Bologna, Piazza Maggiore...

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Plain Sight is in Bologna

And that's no baloney...

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Sinatra's Apple View

From Ol' Blue Eyes Drive in Hoboken

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Making Waves

Seasick at the front lawn...

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Rebar Reverb

Near the Holland Tunnel into NYC...

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Gustatory Ghost

Only the sign remains of one of Hoboken's great eateries, where etiquette demanded that you throw your clamshells on the tile floor...

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Everybody Loves Raymond's

Well, just about everybody in Montclair and environs. We're not talking about the TV series but about the wildly popular eatery on Church Street, known for its hearty, well-made comfort food and its hip interior, part Brassai-era Paris, part 1930's diner.

The news is the owners, Raymond Badach and Joanne Ricci, are opening a second Raymond's...in Ridgewood this summer.

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The Ties That Bind

Stacked by the right-of-way...

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Making Tracks

The raw materials stand at the ready...

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Red Alert

Anatomy of a Crane

The ground-level control panel of the crane that got jammed against the steeple of the Methodist Church in Morristown earlier this month...

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Jewel Encrusted

Onboard the Miss Ellis Island 4

Where no one dare tread, the bow of the ship...

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Onboard the Miss Ellis Island 3

At the dock at Ellis Island, after a party at the renovated terminal...

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Raining Needles

Asphalt Pastoral

The Barricades

Ten days after the storm, downed branches are still piled on curbs like fortress walls...

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Needle Park

Every night I park my car under a pine tree...

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Barrel Train

Now, after the Great Steeple Rescue, Plain Sight returns to more traditional subject matter...

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Here is the Church, Here is the Steeple, Open the Door, See All the Staring People

Who says Plain Sight doesn't do breaking news? When the news breaks right next door to our building, even PS becomes Jimmy Olsen.

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Just Before Fall Fell

A Sunday afternoon at Lake Arrowhead, gifted with a souvenir of Tropical Storm Irene...

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My Shed or Yours?

Definitely not mine, but maybe you have a place at Arrowhead Lake?

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Take a Long Walk Off a Short Pier

Into a lake lush with lily pads...

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Dry Dock

High and dry and upside down...

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Lakefront Loveseat

A lazy Sunday afternoon at Lake Arrowhead...

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Stacked

Big Brother is watching from his perch on high...

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Ruins

An urban archeologist could read some sense into this...

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Shattered

An empty storefront takes it on the chin...

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Pumped Up

This Jet is full of nothing but hot air, like (at the moment) his flesh-and-blood teammates and their coach...

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Busted Beck's

Never made it out of the delivery truck...

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Deflationary Cycle

Perhaps if there were greater demand, matters could be reversed, but not without incurring certain inflation.

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Feast for the Eye

Menu Design in America: A Visual and Culinary History of Graphic Styles and Design, 1850-1985, serves up a colorful banquet of interesting menu art in America through the years. more

Strings Attached

The Shanghai Quartet take a hands-on approach to being artists-in-residence at Montclair State University. more

Well Spoken

Snazzy wheels await the return of their adolescent jockeys...

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Overturned

I see this as an operating theater where all the equipment and the attendants and the patient, on its back, are ready for the surgeon to come in, gloved hands held aloft...

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The Rake's Progress

In which the rake has abandoned his loyal owner and has fallen madly in love with a chain-link fence. The evil front steps, which have engineered the whole thing, snicker in the background. Oh foolish rake!

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Drain Aim

When the rains come (when don't they come?), it's a little misaligned...

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Mortal Portal

Before it was sheathed in plywood and insulation board, people passed through this doorway to do their banking...

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Blue Barrier

With dual cones on duty...

 

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Hazy Empire

You'd know it anywhere, haze be damned...

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Battered Boundary

It's magnificent, in a way, one of a kind...

 

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Sidewalk Splendor

Trash cans and riotous vegetation cozy up in harmonious colors...

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The Black Box

You have plenty of time to stare at this button while waiting for a response from inside...

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Another Bent Thing

On a gray day, a permanently windswept anetenna...

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Screw Job

Emerging from the side of a trash can, this bolt got busted...

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In the Pink

When you are directed to rinse, you reach for the pink cup. The dentist also has a pink cup on her instrument tray...

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The Sun Dome

Maybe someday nuclear fusion will take place in devices no bigger than this...

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The Gold Standard

The cyclops of the dentist's office shows its true colors...

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Artificial Sunlight

Pure and intense, but more directional...

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Scallops: The Hard-Working Deckhands

The two young men who toil on deck relax on the way back to port at Viking Village.

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Scallops: Spheres of Influence

Unused on this trip was this big bad buoy, but it has an important role...

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NJ Restaurant Week is Coming

From Sept. 18 to 25--Sunday through Sunday--the New Jersey Restaurant Association is giving everyone a great excuse to say, "You know what? Let's eat out."

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Scallops: Mission Control 2

You can never have too much rope on a boat. Meanwhile, in the wheelhouse, radar and sonar screens and other equipment scan the ocean bottom, watch the weather, keep track of other boats, avoid undersea wrecks and allow Capt. Chris LaRocca to tuck sagacious pinches of Skoal behind his lip...

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Scallops: Mission Control

In the wheelhouse, Capt. Chris LaRocca has all the essentials in close array...

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Scallops: Heading Home

With 459 pounds of cleaned scallops on board, the Lucky Thirteen heads back to Viking Village at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island. This would prove to be the last day of nice weather before Irene made the scene.

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The Scallop Haul

The first tow across the ocean bottom yielded 70 bushels of unshelled scallops. Now came the small-bore part of the job, the cleaning...

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Sifting for Scallops

The dredge contents are dumped on the deck of the boat, and the deckhands begin flipping through the pile, sifting out scallops...

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The Scallop Scoop

This contraption, that looks like a giant bedspring/art project, is dragged across the ocean floor, arresting scallops from their peaceful, filter-feeding, bottom-snoozing existence...

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Daybreak at the Scallop Beds

Fifty miles off the coast of Long Beach Island, the scallop boat Lucky Thirteen prepares for a day of fishing...

 

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Pumping Out

Night Laundry

Alone with a cell phone while the clothes go 'round...

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Carotenoids

Bugs Bunny, eat your heart out...

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Pastel Parking

Hydrant Helpers

Not the middle of nowhere; maybe the edge of nowhere...

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Blu Chef/Owner to Revive Daryl

Zod Arifai, chef/owner of Blu in Montclair--one of NJM's Top 25 restaurants and winner of the Readers' Poll Best of the Best category for the North region--said today that he will be reopening Daryl in New Brunswick with a new menu and a new look.

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Stumped

Up (Above) a Creek

She doesn't suffer for beauty, but the narrow creek (nature's storm drain) way below her is not exactly beautiful or bountiful...

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Bloomin' Booze

These flowers don't want to be watered, they want to be firewatered...

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Ramp Me Up

It looks like an amusement park for cars...

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These Boots Are Made For...

...watching others work. The crew boss at a car wash (the guy who handles the cash register) watches the crew swarm over the wet car with thick towels...

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Circular Reasoning

The hose knows where it goes...

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The Door Stops Here

And there's nothing you can do about it...

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Hero Buddy

This little fella snoozes, a laidback sentinel, above his pals the Marvel Heroes and the Glow Crosses...

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Kingdom of Suds

All in a lather, my car inches through the wash cycle, barely recognizable...

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Curbstone Caucus

Four high school girls take a straw poll outside a 7-Eleven.

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Buffer Zone

At a car wash in Montclair....

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Missing Only the Royal Guards

Through this portal pass ordinary suburbanites, though perhaps with titled aspirations...

 

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Well Grounded

Flowers bloom above an in-ground garbage receptacle. Not as gross as it sounds. Kind of beautiful, actually...

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Dumpster in a Bag

Yes, it's a lot smaller than a dumpster, but it's one heck of a lot bigger than any garbage bag you've ever seen...

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Crane Out of Context

This brushy marshland spreads for miles in all directions on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, interrupted by occasional, minimally disruptive patches of development...

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Bar Scene

Also known as Two Characters in Search of a Drink...

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Liquidity

An outdoor whirlpool gets pelted under a gathering sky...

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Master T

An unidentified box on a custodial door at an office building in Teaneck...

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The Ceiling Needs Ironing

Bringing a load of whites to the laundry takes on new meaning when the sheets are this big. I wouldn't want to be the guy who has to fold the pleats.

more

See Through

A rainy morning in a banquet tent on Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina...

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Odd Intersection

Where a parking lot and a driveway meet...

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Bumped Bumpers

These have taken it on the chin...

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Window Schlepping

There are window displays, carefully constructed, and then there is this...

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Corner Capers - The Reveal

On a hot sunny day on Halsey Street in Newark, two people share a slice of shade...

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Cannoli to Canoodle Over

A restaurant owner brings an interesting twist to a traditional Italian dessert. more

Top 25 Restaurants 2011

Long gone are the days when New Jersey, sandwiched between two imposing cities, could only look outward for its best food. Now the top restaurants in the state stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the region. more

Corner Capers 2

Part Pac-Man, part rearing horse, part pentangle...

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Corner Capers

All things considered, a busy intersection...

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My Morse Code

It responds not only to dots and dashes but curves and diagonals...

more

Stunning Golf, Worth the Trip

Yes, it's about an hour's drive north and east of the NY/NJ border, and it isn't cheap, but Pound Ridge Golf Club is a layout the golf enthusiast will not soon forget.

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Love For Fuel

Where tank trucks refill, headed for home furnaces. Probably fairly quiet there this time of year.

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Fog at Eagle Rock 3

Is there anything quieter than an epty, fogged-out softball field?

 

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Fog at Eagle Rock 2

Picnic benches in the mist...

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Fog at Eagle Rock

Where picnickers frolic and feast, a setting suited for a beast...

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Double Parking Dispensers

Similarly attired aliens face each other in their domed bubble, prior to being fed by humans and dispensing removable white tongues that the humans require.

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Tank Art 2

Outside what appeared to be a pre-school on Halsey Street in Newark

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A Bucket's Bucket List

What would be on this particular bucket's list? Well, for sure, stop at all railroad crossings...

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Under the Overpass 2

At the intersection of I-80 and I-280 in Parsippany...

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Rope Skeins

There's no question of lassoing steers, but maybe telephone poles...

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Under the Overpass

Where I-280 flows into I-80, amid riotous greenery, a reflector attaches to a guard rail like a Post-it note on a page...

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Offshore Ice Cream

Cowabunga hand-delivers cones to boats bobbing in Barnegat Bay. more

Mister Coffee

Oren Bloostein gave up an unpromising career at Saks Fifth Avenue to set himself apart in the coffee business by selling only the very, very best. Now his sales approach $10 million a year. more

These Shoes are Made for Mucking

A Verizon truck's rear deck contains a smattering of useful things, including a pair of mud boots and a whopper of a magnet...

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Where's Baby?

An empty stroller in an unlikely location begs a question...

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Tank Art

Outside what appears to be a pre-school on Halsey Street in Newark...

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Bulk Carrier

A Hoover for cleaning out old oil tanks and stuff like that.

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Cousins Cut a Rug

My wife, Susan, and her first cousin, Ira Share, rock and roll like it's 1959 at the recent wedding of Ira's niece, Jessi Share to Dr. David Spinner, a joyous night when it rained so hard hour after hour that you half expected Noah's Ark to float by.

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Mystery Star

I passed this gated entry on one of my walks in Berlin. Couldn't see anything beyond the gate but a grassy courtyard....

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Memorial Day Aftermath

In a park where a Memorial Day ceremony had been held, this mashup was discovered on Tuesday...

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The City Bike

Simple bicycles like these are ubiquitous in Berlin (though not quite as ubiquitous as in Amsterdam). What stopped me in front of this one was the combination of muted, pastel colors in the bike and in the wall it's leaning against.

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Six Legs and Two Spires

And an audience of big wheels...

 

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Waiting for the Freight Elevator

In a fortress of an old commercial building in Jersey City...

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Tailgate Tail

Like the bull who saw red and charged, I saw red and stopped in my tracks...

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The Pushers

What were these two women pushing? Counterfeit goods? Sisyphus's rock?

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Remember this?

Spring has had so little spring in its step we seem not that far from scenes like these, just two months ago...

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Storm Damage

Tree topples, limbs must be amputated, tilted stump remains...

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Lady Madonna

Through a glass darkly...

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Recuperate in a Castle

Almost 40 years ago, this sprawling mansion was a convalescent home for women. My own mother-in-law recuperated from cancer surgery there. Then the castle was bought by the King of Morocco. Now it is in the early stages of being converted to a luxury resort.

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The Teal Deal

Is it oxidation or something else that turns the marble this color?

 

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The Honor System

Rush hour, Berlin, on board the U-2 subway line. An interesting thing about the Berlin subway (U-Bahn) is that there are no turnstiles. There are ticket machines on the platform. Guess what keeps people from simply riding for free.

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Champion Chai

After a trip to India, herbalist and yoga teacher Ricardo Dacosta created a chai tea blend that has now won a national championship. more

The Shrink-Wrapped and the Nude

At Liberty Landing Marina at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, she faces the elements unprotected while on both sides her marina-mates are weather-proofed.

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Shipyard Hulk

It was just a few weeks ago, before the trees began to bloom, when I came across this marina in Jersey City...

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Land Shark

How appropriate that this shark should be within view of the sharks of Goldman, Sachs, their Jersey City tower rising in the background.

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Beyond Pizza and Frozen Custard

If you've had enough of the typical Shore fare, and are looking for high-quality cuisine, we've got some tips that will point you to the right exit. more

Haus Party

Technology execs John Merklin and Brian Ciriaco created the East Coast Beer Company in order to bring New Jersey its signature beer. more

The Beast High and Dry

Instead of making waves, the Beast in early spring is shading dandelions under its belly...

 

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Pull Handle

Where are we? In the subway (U-Bahn) in Berlin, waiting for a train...

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Car Infirmary

Where huddled masses of metal yearn to breathe free...

 

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Along the Avenue

A bush outgrows its pot, by a lot.

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I'll Be Washing You

Where cars come out clean...

 

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Tulip Petals in Dishabille

The tulip tree sheds its long, soft, sensuous petals and welcomes spring undressed, making a bed of the ground below it...

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After the Rain

A broken fence, where rain courses through, begins to dry out...

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Holocaust Memorial, Berlin 3

Yesterday, I criticized the memorial as too abstract, but its abstractness does suggest a metaphor that is intriguing and disturbing...

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Holocaust Memorial, Berlin 2

You know what's wrong with the Berlin memorial? It's fun. I'll explain...

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Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Built on former no-man's land separating East and West Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe stands roughly between the Brandenburg Gate and the site of Hitler's bunker. It was designed by American architect Peter Eisenmann and consists of 2,711 stone steles, or slabs, of varying height.

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Jaws of Berlin

Street repair is a common sight in Berlin, and so are pedestrians calmly making their way around it...

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At the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

This photo proves that I don't just wander around obscure parts of town but also take in some of the famous sights...

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Fashion Berlin

The broad avenue known as Unter den Linden in central Berlin is the equivalent of Manhattan's Park Avenue, only much broader, with broader sidewalks, too. Berlin is spacious, and it doesn't have the skyscrapers that make canyons of midtown Manhattan streets.

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Playground Berlin

A literal "kindergarten"--children's garden--grows in the Prenzlauer Berg section of Berlin among the blocky apartment buildings. It's about 5:30-6 pm, and I like how this one father, still in his business suit, kneels down to play with his kleine kinder.

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Elevated Berlin

As the U-Bahn, or subway, leaves central Berlin (Mitte) for Prenzlauer Berg and other former East Berlin neighborhoods, it rises from underground to elevated tracks along the avenue known as Schönhauser Allee...

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Self-Portrait Berlin

We're used to seeing these photo booths on the Jersey Shore, where people are already frolicking. But in Berlin you see them in seemingly random spots around town. Most curious...

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Wall Art Berlin 2

I didn't see many black faces while I was in Berlin. I did see one gathering of young black people at the Brandenburg Gate, and it was a strange one. They were demonstrating in support of the electorally defeated Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, chanting and holding up signs that read, in German, "Gbagbo is the only correct/legitimate president of Ivory Coast." This was while Gbagbo was still holed up in his home, before his arrest.

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Wall Art Berlin

In Berlin's former Soviet sector, some otherwise drab apartment buildings invite artists to create street-level murals...

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Graffiti Berlin 2

As in Amsterdam, a lot of people get around Berlin on bicycles...

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Now You're Cooking

Couples looking to cook up some romance or spice up their relationship should check out the Viking Cooking School at Natirar Park, where hands-on classes guarantee results. more

Graffiti Berlin

Leave it to New Jersey. The only place where there is still a West Berlin and an East Berlin is right here, in Camden County. I am just back from a few days vacation in the original Berlin, the one that was mostly rubble in 1945 and is now famously unified and revivified.

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Plain Sight is on Vacation

See you Monday, April 11th. Meanwhile, here's a parting shot...

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Clams on the Whole Shell

A seafood delivery truck behind a restaurant...

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Some Spring

By the side of Route 280 West, in Parsippany...

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Fuel for Crocuses

What we need is more sunshine this spring, less white precip...

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Cat Pause

It was a Sunday...

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Clean Plate Club

My 91-year-old mother made fast work of a beautiful fruit tart.

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Infernal Equinox

Yesterday, someone left this pair of gloves on their dashboard. Today, the first day of spring, those gloves are probably wrapped around one of those ice-and-snow brushes, clearing the windshield.

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Gray Jersey

With a blood-red door...

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Fenced

Through this portal pass, well, nobody...

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Faith Base

The base of a flagpole, from which Old Glory flies...

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Two Chicks Feather Nest

How a car crash led a mother and daughter to create 2 Chicks With Chocolate. more

Freeholder M&Ms

A parked van offers a window into totes...

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Expecting

What these two golden boys are expecting is the emergence of their master from the Greenberry's Coffee shop on the Green in Morristown...

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Okay to Enter

The entrance to the roasting and packaging plant of Oren's Daily Roast, the premium coffee company, in Jersey City...

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In a Hospital 2

Along a corridor, in the 4700 wing of St. Barnabus in Livingston...

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Smooch Drops

At a wedding shower in New Brunswick...

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Cellar Doors

Weathered, with a bright and shiny padlock and a memorable context...

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Abstract Expressionist Door 2

Another view of the dumpster door, this time as a monumental installation...

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We'll Be On It Someday

This embankment has been in the works for years. Some day, perhaps soon, it will funnel traffic to the Holland Tunnel...

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The Greenest Bathroom 2

A case of lime disease?

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Stuffed

A/C Out of Season

The superfluity of an air conditioner in February...

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Abstract Expressionist Door

Garbage in, art out...

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The Greenest Bathroom

Not in the environmental sense...

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Lord of the Lard

Treasured for its flavorful meat and buttery lard, the big, wooly Mangalitsa pig mud bathes in a Jersey backyard—and will now be bred here, too. more

The Hippest Diner 5

The front door of Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

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The Hippest Diner 4

Chic dilapidation may be a prerequisite...

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The Hippest Diner 3

Happy young couples, in lumberjack plaid, at Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

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The Hippest Diner 2

A look inside Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn...

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The Hippest Diner

I have to admit, it's not in New Jersey. It's in Brooklyn...

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LBI Homestead

The Heubels hang their hats in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island...

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You Can't Make This Up

More amazing found art...

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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Sometimes, for no apparent reason, autofocus doesn't work quite right...

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Sole Works

Not too many things left that are as mechanical as a shoe repair shop...

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Parking Lot Pastoral 2

A golden sheaf on dirty snow...

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Lockbox

At Precision Motors in Caldwell...

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Bladder Control

At the dentist's office...

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Totally Tubular

At the dentist's office...

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Blue-Eared. 10-Eyed Pod People

At the dentist's office...

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Salt Encrusted

Even when the snow melts, the mess remains...

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The Great Burger Showdown

Ten of the best (and biggest) burgers in New Jersey square off for bragging rights in our first cook-off. more

Corner Shot

An alley near the docks, Nassau, Bahamas...

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Look Who's JRZ PROUD!

This snout-hearted citizen hams it up for NJ. Oink if you love the Garden State.

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Colorful Corral

Near the docks in Nassau, the Bahamas...

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The Male Room

Relief available near the piers of Nassau, Bahamas...

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The Dock Scene 2

Where the cruise ships queue, in Nassau, the Bahamas...

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The Dock Scene

Checking out the boats and the people, quayside at Nassau, the Bahamas.,,

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The Conch Seller

Selling shells dockside, Nassau, Bahamas...

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Where It's Warm

Not here, but in the Bahamas, dockside in Nassau...

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Sewn Smiles

The naked lady relaxes with her stuffed cronies as the new year approaches...

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White and Doubled Over

No, I'm not talking about myself, I'm talking about the tree next to the walkway behind our house.

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Mauve On Over

Leaves rain down on steps after a storm, and so does a potato chips bag...

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Burning Bush

It's even more striking in retrospect, now that winter is upon us, than it was at the time, and it stood out then...

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Acorn Central

Pigs love acorns, and in Bernardsville, Dr. Erno Hollo's three 300-pounders feasted for months on this cache, here almost depleted...

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Tightly Wound

Have a little found art with your parking lot...

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Late Bloomer

Before the frost bit, but after many of the leaves fell, these flowers popped at a parking lot in Morristown...

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Men at Work

Construction underway in a parking deck at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick...

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Dining Trends 2011

Read the predictions here, from top food and restaurant professionals and websites...

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Soles on Stripes

Walking on them tickles the toes...

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Under Construction

In a parking garage in New Brunswick...

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The Stare of the Unblemished 2

Don't shoot (the camera) till you see the whites of their eyes...

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Pretty Grubby

In the window of a beauty supply store...

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The Stare of the Unblemished

In a drugstore window in New Brunswick...

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Accordian Bus

Can't get around the spread-out campus of Rutgers New Brunswick without one of these...

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Bahamas Contrasts

In the port of Nassau, big cruise ships and a lone construction worker...

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Bahamas Togetherness

Holding hands in Nassau, where it's anything but ice cold...

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Found Art at the Guggenheim

A crane contraption on the sidewalk, and no charge for admission...

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In the Roscoe Vaults

Another tribute to my long-time buddy, Roscoe (1993-2010), found while searching through the Plain Sight archives...

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More Than Shoe Repair

A cobbler carries on while all around him undergoes a makeover...

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Roll Your Own

A pulldown security door heads for the scrap heap...

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In the Shoe Canyon

A young saleswoman waits for something to do...

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Sweet Startup

Three college grads’ bright idea: design your own chocolate bar. more

Know This Bush?

Any botanists out there?

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Hat City Kitchen

While anchoring an arts district, this Orange eatery rejuvenates a fine chef and makes joyous music for mind and mouth. more

ROSCOE 1993-2010

I had to say goodbye to my buddy Roscoe this morning. He was 17 and a half years old--80 something in human years--and his health had been failing for awhile. We shan't see his like again. Why does an affected line like that occur to me? Probably a way to mask emotion...

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Can't Park Here. Really.

It just isn't possible...

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Before the Leaves Turned

When you could sit outside in a white metal lawn chair, and bask in the last balmy strands of summer...

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Market Structures

They keep the system functioning...

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Craig Shelton: Bye-Bye NJ!

Craig Shelton, long-time lord of the late, lamented Ryland Inn (and more recently consulting chef at the Skylark Diner in Edison) is picking up stakes and moving to TEXAS--namely, the upscale Inn at Dos Brisas, where he will be executive chef and managing partner...

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So You Want to be a Hose

To figure this one out, you'l just have to look at the picture...

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Broom With a View

At Sickles Market in Little Silver, the outdoors gets a sweep...

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More Found Art

An environmental installation starring a flattened traffic cone...

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The Art of Pruning

The back of a landscaper's truck becomes an inadvertent art installation...

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Skin Game

The body's largest organ is examined here...

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Three Characters Under a Bridge

Waiting for a construction worker...

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Crunch, Munch...

Have you ever stared into the maw of a recycling truck?

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Dosa Hut

Nowadays this place is called Dakshin Express, but it's still my go-to for delicious, crispy-tacky, folded, papery, hanging-over-the-plate Indian dosas...

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Big Muddy Wheels

And a fifth wheel too, as the truckers call it...

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Kindest Cuts (One Salon Against Breast Cancer)

The staff of Vanity Salon in Montclair recently showed what can happen when people put their heads together--lots of them--for a good cause. In one Sunday, they raised more than $3,000 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure. Here's who, and how...

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Oven on Wheels

At a carnival, pizza on the go from an old-fashioned dome-shaped oven...

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Big Berries

This kind of strawberry is even more seasonal than the edible kind...

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Marine Gasoline

It's 93 octane, but is it any different from automobile gasoline? In any event, it's fun to say marine gasoline.

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Where Tires Retire...

...yet remain useful.

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Thems The Breaks (Natural Edition)

Today, the panorama, the panoptic panoply across the pock-marked pavement...

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Unchain My Heart

And forgive us our trespasses...

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Ferris Metal

A welded mechanical marvel of the old school. But Do Not Rock Seat!

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Carnival Driver's Seat

The mechanical age survives at a carnival...

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Thems The Breaks (Skull and Crossbones Edition)

The sudden arrival of a Ford F-250 with a custom paint job changes the picture...

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Thems The Breaks

Or should it be them's the breaks? While you're thinking that over, have a look at the picture...

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For Whom The Teal Tolls

Last look at the twinned tints, this time with an orange intruder...

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Lakeside R.I.P.

Once upon a time a place to stay was here, by the shores of Lake Hopatcong...

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Teal, Tile and Tree

Yet another take on the tale of two turquoises...

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Teal, Tile and Tire

A chromatic confluence at the Shop-Rite in West Orange...

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What Does NJ Look Like?

Telephone poles, traffic cones, construction, intersections, and the punctuation of mall landscaping, let's celebrate it...

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Rock n Roll Shocker!

Hey, I was listening to a bunch of old records by this group called, um, the Beatles? And you know what? They sound JUST LIKE the Fab Faux. It's amazing, like note for note.

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Ahh, Summer (Memories For a Rainy Day) 3

Those were the days, which seem so distant now, when you needed a badge to walk on the beach...

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Ahh, Summer (Memories For a Rainy Day) 2

The impromptu sports of summer don't get any better--for participants or spectators--than beach volleyball...

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The Teal Deal

A pickup truck and a wall have something in common, as like attracts like...

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Ahh, Summer (Memories For a Rainy Day)

Chairs set up for a beach wedding in Long Branch...

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LBI, Off-Season

Kiddie pools covered, boats on dry land, the times they are a changin'...

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LBI's Leading Landmarks

Water towers dominate the skyline, telling you where you are on the island...

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Carports of LBI

The contrast of sun and shade, evergreen foliage and sky, and a burgundy sedan in the middle...

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Foliage Portals of LBI

Entering the clean, minimalist enclave of a Long Beach Island home...

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Alleys of LBI

A private world of ornamental foliage, trash cans, and fences...

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Lawns of LBI - 2

They go great with ceramic swans...

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Lawns of LBI

They require no mowing, mulching, seeding or watering...

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Getting His Due

The New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame boasts an impressive list of accomplished scientists, physicists, and innovators whose ideas flourished right here at home. more

High and Dry

A boat out of water on tripod legs,,,

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Ready for NJ Restaurant Week?

It's coming, Sept 19-25. For a complete list of discounts and participating restaurants (about 170 so far) visit Dineoutnj.com. Several restaurants on NJM's list of Top 25 in the state are participating, namely...

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Behind the Backstop

A no man's land...

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Recognize This Bridge?

It crosses a great river that New Jersey borders...

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Gifted Young Drummer on the Boardwalk - 2

Perhaps not many kids his age (18 going on 19) have heard of Art Blakey and Buddy Rich, but Dean Martin Pyzik admires the drumming of both, along with that of Tré Cool of Green Day...

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A Gifted Young Drummer on the Boardwalk

Set up on the Asbury Park boardwalk opposite the Stony Pony, this young drummer was playing some fascinating rhythm, not just the usual thudding. Turns out he is a 2010 graduate of Neptune High School, a member of the National Honor Society, and a drum instructor at Big Beat studio in Neptune City...

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Three Views of a Water Fountain - 3

Don't miss today's wide-angle, big-picture, contextually complete conclusion of this exciting series...

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Three Views of a Water Fountain - 2

In a playground along the Hudson River...

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Three Views of a Water Fountain - 1

In the middle of a playground by the Hudson River...

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Mirth and Menace

Just a few days left to catch the superb production of Harold Pinter's NO MAN'S LAND at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. Pinter is considered hard to understand, but this terrific cast, with insightful direction by Bonnie J. Monte, brings out all of Pinter's sly humor, air of unease and neediness, hauteur, and not least, a fey, thuggish menace, all very decorous but unmistakeable. Don't miss it.

 

 
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A Woman Descends the Stairs

And looks like this...

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The Great Wall of Atlantic City

Standing on the Boardwalk, the back of the A.C. Convention Center is quite a sight. With all the black marks or holes in the wall, it looks like a giant abacus, or perhaps a secular version of the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem. Many of those stumbling out of the casinos after hours at the gambling tables are ready for some wailing...

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Above it All?

Well. Trump Plaza has emerged from bankruptcy, is now seeking a name-brand partner to upgrade the casino and hotel. Meanwhile, the Convention Center hulks on...

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Boardwalk Vacancy

This picture, taken from the Atlantic City Boardwalk near the Caesar's Pier Shops, shows that redevelopment still has a way to go...

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Suit Yourself

Abbreviated mannequins model their wares in a window of opportunity...

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NJ and the 9/11 Flight 93 Memorial

With the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, Essex County Country Club in West Orange has organized the Flight 93 National Memorial Golf Fundraiser to take place Aug 23 and 24th. It's not too late to participate.

Why a golf fundraiser in New Jersey for a national park and memorial being built in Shanksville, Pennsylvania? It actually makes a lot of sense. Read on...

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Door, No Doorway

Enter into the mystery...

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Jungle in Ray-Ban Land

Luxuriant foliage while waiting to pick up a pair of eyeglasses...

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Why Go Anywhere?

Interesting to find that question asked next to a gas station...

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The Dress Rainbow

Never underestimate the power of an anticlimax...

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At the Checkout Counter

Much to look at while waiting to make one's purchases at the big gown sale in the Meadowlands...

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The Why of It...

A friend asked me, what were you doing at a gown and accessory mega-sale in the Meadowlands? I explained the answer in Plain Sight last week. But now here is the visual evidence...

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In the Shoe Canyon

A young saleswoman waited for something to do...

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Star-Spangled Bangles

If you can't find a tiara here, you just don't have any princess in you...

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Straphangers

So many choices, so little time...

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Train Station

At the two-day gown sale in Secaucus, a lot of dresses came with elegant cabooses. Here is one...

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Got Gowns! -2

A conference room at a Hampton Inn in Secaucus is converted to a clearance sale for formal gowns. Up to 75% off, and (in this part of the room) any color you want, as long as its white...

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Got Gowns!

Rack after rack, all sizes, all colors, deep discounts...

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The Jeter of 2030

Who knows? He may be wearing this mini-uniform right now...

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Body By Bristol-Donald

Personally, I've always loved the sound of the name, Bristol-Donald, and have seen it on mud flaps of trucks for years. Turns out it's a Newark-based company that makes truck bodies...

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If You Love Django...

...Reinhardt, that is, the great Gypsy guitarist, still one of the most amazing guitar virtuosos of all time, then don't miss guitarist Stephane Wrembel at Arturo's restaurant in Maplewood this Wednesday, July 28, 6-9 pm...

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Mop & Barrel

Can only mean one thing--we're at the car wash...

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For Hands Down Winner, Bottoms Up!

Congratulations to Mattias Hägglund, mixologist of Elements restaurant in Princeton, who beat out 14 other NJ bartenders in a challenge contest by Double Cross vodka to create a cocktail using its product.

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Panel Discussion

Winter enclosure panels, removed for summer, congregate outside a restaurant...

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Telephone Booth With Bangs

Under droopy branches, a low-to-the-ground public telephone awaits discovery next to a Chinese restaurant...

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Ram Board

A children's art project in the park leads to an enigmatic photograph. Wait. Aren't all Plain Sight photographs enigmatic?

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Pane and Suffering

If sheets of glass could feel, these would be crying...

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Ye Old Schmatta Station

Behind a strip mall, an odd structure seemingly dedicated to cleanliness falls into disrepair...

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Got Plumbing?

What does it do? Haven't a clue. But the music goes round and round and it comes out here...

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Tank Crew

His job involves a lot of rocking and rolling of mute beings with tiny, featureless heads and narrow shoulders...

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Recreational Collision

The hoop takes a charging foul from a player going to the basket...

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The Edge of Ice Cream Season

Now that the weather is hot all the time, it's hard to remember that transitional time when spring was struggling to emerge from winter, but here is a glimpse of it...

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From Hell's Kitchen to His Own Kitchen

Tony Del Gatto’s life is as flavorful as the tomato sauce he still makes at age 72. more

Ahoy, Driveway!

A yacht awaits its annual immersion...

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A Cooler Beach Day...

Hundred-degree days seemed a long way off in May, when these teens took a walk on the beach while elders snoozed...

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Mirror, Mirror...

Here's looking at you, kid...

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The Rising

In these wooden palettes, Al Santillo proofs the dough that rises to become the basis for his terrific pizza...

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Giving Good Weight

Some will recognize the title of today's post, borrowed from the title of a great early collection of John McPhee's shorter pieces, including one in which he harvests onions and digs one out of the ground, wipes off the dirt and bites into it like an apple. And it tastes good. Anyway, no onions or apples in today's Plain Sight, just a beautiful, old-fashioned set of scales, dusted with a great pizzamaker's flour.

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Mr.Pizza's Distinguished Guest

While I was at Santillo's pizza in Elizabeth, who should walk in but my pal Alan Richman, the most decorated food writer in the world...

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Mr. Pizza

Stopped in at Santillo's Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth recently for the killer pie Al Santillo calls the Grandpa, which is a big crunchy square pie loaded with the works...

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Nine Holes of Puttable Art

Just off Hamilton Square Park in Jersey City, people are playing miniature golf for a good cause--to save the Jersey City Museum. Each of the nine holes was designed by a local artist. CLICK NEXT LINE FOR SLIDESHOW!

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Porsche/Kiddie Car

Two extremes of four-wheeled transportation on either side of a fence...

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Basket Case

Behind a grocery store, I found a peach basket, shopping carts, railroad tracks...grids gone wild...

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Remember Spring?

There was a week when the tulip trees shed their lush blossoms, strewing sidewalks with an increasingly slippery pink carpet...

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Waiting For Godoctor

It's interesting how the quality of your waiting changes after you've been sprung from the waiting room and are now in the examining room, though still waiting...

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Pillars of 1926

On the Philadelphia side of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River...

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The Crumble

The flag proudly waves as underpinnings erode...

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Mastoris, the Mega Diner 2

As Homer Simpson might say, "Mmmmm, baaaaked goooods!"

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Mastoris, the Mega Diner

Mastoris, the famous diner in Bordentown, is known for its massive menu, but the place itself is massive...

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Screenings on the Strand

Screenings of the film Greetings From the Shore, written and directed by native New Jerseyans and shot in Lavallette, will be held down the Shore this summer. more

Spool's Out!

People ask me if I ever set up pictures. The answer is that the world sets them up for me...

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Waiting Room Anomie

Time ticks slowly, like an IV drip, in the doctor's waiting room...

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Moonrise Over Ben Franklin

Before dawn, from a hotel window on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River, the view of New Jersey and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge...

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The Next Generation

At a worker's station in a doctor's office, a glimpse of the future...

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Strange Brew

Out of the viaduct, on the down ramp toward the Holland Tunnel, the tops of buildings float by...

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Up There, The City

The viaduct (or, as the Marx Brothers said, "Why a duck?") emerges into the open, and there, looming in brick and mortar, is a sign of civilization...

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A Little Bit of Stonehenge

Further into the Holland Tunnel viaduct in Jersey City, daylight breaks in on either side of a dark, massive beam...

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The Holland Tunnel Museum of Art 5

Into the viaduct, under the weathered steel beams, the next gallery of the site specific installation...

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The Holland Tunnel Museum of Art 4

A four-wheeled spectator enters the gallery of abstract art and slab sculpture...

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Behind Bars

Finally, traffic at the Holland Tunnel begins to move and the wall tapers down and traffic coming in the opposite direction heaves into view...

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The Holland Tunnel Museum of Art 3

Primtiive modern or modern primitive? A wall dividing eastbound from westbound traffic near the approach to the Holland Tunnel...

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The Holland Tunnel Museum of Art 2

More found art from the viaduct leading to the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City, courtesy of a standstill of rush hour traffic...

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The Holland Tunnel Museum of Art

One thing to be said for getting stuck in rush hour traffic at the Holland Tunnel, heading into New York City. You have plenty of time to study your surroundings, and some of what you see, especially in the viaduct, is striking...

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In Case of Thirst

A delivery truck pulls up in front of a 24-hour convenience store, and the driver starts unloading...

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Hanging Out To Dry

These short loins of beef are dry-aging at DeBragga & Spitler for the primo New York restaurant Picholine. A Texan turned Jerseyan, George Faison, is chief operating officer of DeBragga. Read on for a primer on dry-aging...

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Age Before Beauty

In the refrigerated storerooms of DeBragga & Spitler, 30-pound short loins of prime beef sleep amid big electric fans, slowly becoming dry-aged steaks.

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Here's The Beef

The loading dock at DeBragga & Spitler, one of the leading purveyors of high-quality beef in NYC and northern New Jersey. One of the two managing partners, George Faison, lives in New Jersey...

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Yonder Jersey

From the High Line--the former elevated railroad in Manhattan now converted into a public park--one can see the West 20's and, across the Hudson River, Union City and Weehawken...

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Guard Girder

It's there to protect the brick if a truck backs into it...

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Yipes Stripes

A derelict commercial building facing the Hudson River becomes a visual riot...

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Master of the Underworld

On Wall Street, surrounded by Masters of the Universe, a Verizon worker pauses before scuttling down a manhole into the underworld...

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Tabula Rasa

Once, this sign (though not the one you see in this thumbnail) had something to say, perhaps about a special or a sale...

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Three Characters in a Wall

A kind of urban Rushmore...

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Stroller Jam

A kind of parking lot at a daycare center...

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The Washington Inn

Cape May’s Washington Inn—32 years in its present incarnation, in a manor house dating to 1840—knows how to please generations of regulars while letting no culinary cobwebs form. more

The Gaping Maw

Through these portals pass...

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Cape Crusader

Curtis Bashaw didn’t become the southern Shore’s most dynamic developer just for the money. In fact, his commitment to Cape May and the Shore is almost an article of faith. more

To The Ade of the Thirsty

The downbeating sun does things to you that can be remedied here...

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Caution: Wheelbarrow at Work

Where several small restaurants failed in succession, the owner of the building finally decided to rip out the storefront facade and start over...

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The Smell of the Surf

This boy doesn't fetch, but he does a pretty good imitation of Nipper, the RCA dog (I'm dating myself) while lifting his nose to the ocean just across the street from this rooming house in Cape May...

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Ice Cream That Never Melts

But at the sweet shop across the street from the Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May you can only buy the edible kind...

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A Vintage Phone Booth

Well, yes, the phone has push-buttons, but the booth itself is of the type Superman might once have changed in...

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Mardi Gras in Morristown 2

Same window as yesterday, but a different focal length. Result? A different picture...

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Mardi Gras in Morristown

Well, not literally, but this dress shop window puts me in mind of the spirit of NOLA's Fat Tuesday...

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Under Heavy Skies

As the first buds of spring burst forth, cars filled up before the clouds unloaded...

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Umbrellas Off Duty

In front of CulinAriane restaurant in Montclair (one of NJM's Top 25 in the state), two inanimate members of the staff seem poised for a minuet...

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Still Life With Mixed Mesh

And throw in railroad tracks for good measure...

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Perusing Pennsylvania

The road to Frenchtown took me over a hilltop and a country road through a farm that afforded a view beyond the unseen Delaware River...

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A Brook, a Bridge, Just Before Spring

I was driving down a lovely country road in Hunterdon County a few weeks back, and came across this bucolic scene...

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Between Stately Columns

Watching the river flow by, or at least the grass grow next to the river...

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What Ghosts In These Machines?

On the banks of the Delaware River, at Frenchtown, instruments performing tasks inscrutable to the layman. Anybody know what this equipment does?

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Sign Language

Before you cross this bridge over the Delaware, you've got some reading to do...

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Chalk Talk

The inviting beverage menu at the Bridge Cafe in Frenchtown, on the Delaware River...

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Ninety Acres

Years in the planning, the Natirar resort puts a fine first foot forward—a farm-to-table restaurant where the pleasures are simple yet sophisticated. more

Men's Room Attendant

He's always pleasant, and you never have to tip him...

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What's Wrong With This Picture?

Hint: It's only a matter of time before you figure it out. Location: A luncheonette in Frenchtown.

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Waiting For Pancakes

The scene at The Pancake House in West Caldwell, where tables, especially on Sunday morning, are at a premium...

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A Suburban Side Street

A conversation between three parked cars and a weird tree trunk, with an audience of houses and a garage, lighting by the sun...

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Art and Industry

Outside the McHugh contracting company in Montclair, where sculptures are produced and sold as well as utilitarian projects taken on...

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Tonsorial Parlor

A vanishing breed, the neighborhood barber shop, and a welcome sight...

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Sun Screen with Dogs

This bundled silvery cloth, gorgeous in itself, is used to reflect excess sunlight from the roofs of greenhouses at the farm of the Chili Goddess, Janie Lamson, in Rosemont, Hunterdon County. The dogs go with the property...

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Greenhouse Alley

These greenhouses, used by the "Chili Goddess" to shepherd pepper and other seedlings through the winter, shimmer...

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Ball Hound

I had the pleasure of meeting a dog recently who could play cornerback in the NFL, even though his ball of choice is a basketball. This dog, Jack, who lives on a chile pepper farm in Hunterdon County, likes to chase after a kicked basketball--the harder it is kicked, the better--and bring it back, all in the blink of an eye...

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Retaining Walls to Remember

Think of how much dirt this one holds back...

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Sittin' in the Rain

The only things moving fast were the raindrops, pelting the cars at a standstill. Meanwhile, on the side of the road...

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Dysfunction at the Junction

Intersect three interstates plus US Route 46, add bad weather and rush hour traffic, and you have more than a suggestion of congestion...

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Package Deal

Neatly wrapped, carefully placed. What could it be?

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Unidentified Lying Object

A rusted hunk of metal with bolts in it, spotted while stuck in traffic, going nowhere...

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Traffic Through The Trees

Look, through the thickets, are those cars--on Route 80--actually, um, moving?

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Traffic, Traffic Everywhere

Still slogging along the intersection of 80, 280 and 287, I came to (gasp!)... more

Marooned in Traffic

Going nowhere at the intersection of 80, 280 and 287. Plenty of time to roll down the window and look around...

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Stuck in Traffic 3

But now I was abreast of the King of Trucks, a Peterbilt (though those are fighting words to them that believe Kenworth is the King of Trucks. Me? I like 'em both.)

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Stuck In Traffic

Full title: "Stupid, Pointless, Pathetic Pictures Taken While Bored Silly, Stuck in Traffic"...

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Keep on Trucking

A UPS Store, hand trucks at the ready...

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On The Frontlines

Our editors celebrate the commitment, dedication, honor, and sacrifice exhibited by our armed forces in harm's way across the globe. They've surely done New Jersey proud. more

Plantation

Spotted behind a booth at a pizzeria...

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Cutting and Pasting the News

When was the last time you made a collage? Artist Peter Jacobs surely has you beat. He's made one every day for the past five years. 1,825 days and counting. more

Stacked

Emptying out a restaurant, piling up the remains of the day...

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Barbie at the Diner

She's sitting on top of the world, or at least a light fixture...

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Indoor-Outdoor

At Anthony's Pizza and Pasta, if you get the right table, you have the best of both worlds...

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Maxi-Melt

This picture is about what you can't see...

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UPSy-Daisy

While "UPSy-Daisy" makes very little sense, I trust the picture will...

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Popcorn and Pearls

Plenty of both in this unlikely juxtaposition...

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Dumpster Diving

Well, not diving, exactly, but peeking over the edge outside a restaurant being gutted...

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Out With The Innards

Emptying out a restaurant turns up all manner of quotidian supplies...

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Whirligig

Is it a weathervane, a propeller, a lazy Susan, a cable reel, a rotary shovel, a Swiss Army knife, a blender, a high-tech nutcracker, a Roto-Rooter, or a satellite dish?

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Sun Sets on Snow

It's a white on white world...

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Cash Corner

In case of fire or other emergencies, including being tapped out, this alcove is the place to be...

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On the Waterfront

A few minutes after these pictures were taken, cross-country skiers came schussing down the beach...

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Beach Avenue, Cape May

The sun barely penetrates the clouds, the parking meters are buried in snow, and the pavement shines...

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(Not) Lounging Poolside

In the snow, at the Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May...

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Beach Blanket Brrr!

With Cape May blanketed, this sign brought on shivers and chuckles...

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Cabanas in the Snow

Facing the beach in Cape May...

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Cape May, Valentine's Day, and Snow

People in Cape May were saying they hadn't seen so much snow "since...ever!" Cross-country skiers were spotted schussing across the beach. Mounds of plowed snow reached six, seven feet in the air. Yet the mood was warm, because people who braved the white expanses were there to celebrate Valentine's Day, come what may...

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The Big Maw

Behind the scenes at a big butcher shop...

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Beer (Book) Here!

The story of beer in New Jersey comes to life in a new book. more

Construction Site: Caution

Location: Morristown

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Wheel and Deals

Location: Morristown

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Cab Doffs Cap

At a repair garage in Morristown, a truck says "Ahh"...

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Wounded Trees of the Ivy League

Location: Princeton University campus...

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Show The Flag

By the side of Route 206, near Belle Mead...

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Sewers of the Ivy League

On the Princeton University campus, even the manhole covers have a pedigree...

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To the Loo

An old-fashioned sign directed patrons to the rest rooms at this French restaurant...

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Conversations With The Convalescent

My sister-in-law was sitting in the lounge chair beside her hospital bed, waiting to be released, and we were talking about her recuperation when I looked down...

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Choosing Sides

Lest there be any confusion during surgery, someone comes beforehand to mark the patient's hand to indicate on which side of the body the procedure is to be performed...

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Threads 3

From the tailor's driver seat, two headless figures form her offensive line...

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Kisses of a Kind 2

Photographer Emmet Gowin, who retired from the Princeton University faculty last month after 36 years teaching photography, trained and inspired many students, so it's fitting that some of their work forms a tribute to him in the current exhibit at the Princeton University Art Museum, "Emmet Gowin: A Collective Portrait."

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Threads 2

Tailor shop windows, busy working environments, are theaters of the hyper-particular...

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Love With The Proper Telephone Pole

Along Route 206 near Belle Mead...

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Pole Dance

A telephone pole on a flatbed by the side of Route 206 near Belle Mead...

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Kisses of a Kind

There are kisses and there are kisses. That photographs can be kisses is not an obvious idea, but you could imagine a list of ways that could get long before it came to the type of kiss embodied in the life and work of Emmet Gowin, who is retiring from Princeton University after 36 years of teaching photography and is the subject of a retrospective show at the Princeton University Art Museum through February 21.

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Verticals and Squiggles

The holidays linger in Palmer Square in Princeton...

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Drums in the Snow

Speared by a red vertical, against a white wall, blue barrels...

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Tool We Meet Again

A peek in the drawer of a Central Power & Light utility truck...

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These Boots Are Made For Slopping

Peering into the guts of a utility truck..isn't that what anyone would do, walking down the street?

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Magnets for Manhole Covers

I came across a utility truck in Morristown yesterday. The operator was checking voltages in underground cables. I asked him what this big yellow box on the back of his truck was for...

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Sew Central

The tailor sits here...

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Threads

No heavy lifting today, as compared to the last two days of PS. Just a view of a tailor's shop I happen to frequent...

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Dough Boy

For our restaurant maven, making pizza is not easy as pie. more

Speak Quickly, And Carry a Big Spoon

Whether cooking at her Hoboken restaurants (or at the White House), hunting edible lizards in Peru or hairy chayotes in Weehawken, Maricel Presilla is an ebullient culinary force. more

The Royal Road to Writer's Block

I'm worried that something I said in yesterday's Plain Sight might spread bad writing rather than make it easier for people to write well. I'd like to qualify my remark...

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Philosophical Significance of Infinite Value

The Dave Eggers-like title of today's Plain Sight in fact comes from an even more famous writer from a century ago, Marcel Proust, on the subject of writer's block. What does that have to do with photography and today's photo? Nothing, but I happen to be reading "Swann's Way" and came across this funny quote...

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Minus Whistle

A fringe of ice silences this teapot, which clearly could not stand the heat and got out of the kitchen...

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Yule Recall 2

One of the more elaborate late-lingering Christmas displays seen around is this diorama on the Green in Morristown...

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At a Standstill

Freezing temperatures stopped water in its tracks, creating a stalactite at the end of a drainpipe.

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Yule Recall

We've moved on, but not all the decorations have...

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Hangers On

White-collar collars of all colors, a community's collective answer to the question, which shirt today?

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Goodbye to the Zeros

There was very little peace, and what there was of prosperity was deep but obscenely narrow. So we march on, determined to get into shape (see this month's cover story!) for the age of full-body scanners...

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Heat on Demand

Baby, it's cold outside--and inside, too, if you happen to be working on a construction project like the condos on the Green in Morristown. Solution? Pipe in the heat...

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Across Two Rivers

The Hudson and the East. Traversing both and continuing into the Midwood section of Brooklyn (a largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, ironically) brings you to one of the most famous pizzerias in New York, Di Fara. A definite schlep, but worth it...

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Ecce Panis

Or, behold the bread! For pizza this good is indeed the staff of life...

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The Pizza Monk

Meet Al Santillo of Santillo's Brick Oven Pizzeria in Elizabeth. Of all the excellent pizza we tasted for our upcoming pizza issue, none was better than his...

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Remember Autumn?

It was only a few weeks ago, around Thanksgiving, when winter still seemed a ways away. The wind hadn't yet turned fierce and ripped the last brittle leaves from the trees. It was still possible to step outside under the mid-day sun in shirtsleeves...

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Heaven's Gate

Through this portal pass some of the best pizzas in New Jersey...

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Unplugged

The TNT Ramblers--an acoustic rock, folk, blues group--played recently, as they do every month, at Toni's Soup Kitchen in Montclair during a Saturday luncheon...

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Cookbook as Cliffhanger

Restaurant Nicholas’s handsome tome is for kitchens as well as coffee tables. more

Wetness

Around the corner from the main shopping street in Chatham, a building's exposed flank spoke of wear wrought by the elements...

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Poof! You're a Malted!

That was the punchline of an old Lenny Bruce routine in which a Genie mans a soda fountain and a customer says, "Make me a malted." Anyway, at this soda fountain it looks like you can safely order a malted without becoming one.

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Venting

The oven at Anthony's Pizza and Pasta on the Green in Morristown can handle eight large pies at once. In other words, it's a biggie. It runs at 550 degrees, and requires some serious ductwork to vent the excess heat...

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Restroom Pastoral

A homespun bit of interior decorating in a men's room painted a buttery sunshine...

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Silent Cacophony

An oxymoron, sure, but this utility truck did bring to mind a kind of white noise or a representational canvas tilting into geometric abstraction...

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Electric Field

At play in the fields of electromagnetism...

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Miss Lonelyhouse

Poor little cute garage...

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Keep Out

If you're close enough to read this sign...

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Fore and Aft

Last week I went on the maiden cruise of the Oasis of the Seas, at 1,184 feet long and 184 feet wide, the world's largest cruise ship. It's 52 feet longer and 40 feet wider than the Queen Mary 2, the state-of-the-art North Atlantic ocean liner. Having never been on a cruise ship or an ocean liner, I was agog at the immensity of the thing, which was nonetheless accessible on a human scale.

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On a Pedestal

Your faithful pizza explorer made it to Neptune City, where restaurants instead of a fork should give you a trident. Neptune, of course, is the home of the estimable Pete & Elda's...

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Elks Like Pizza

On the trail of good pizza (for our February issue), I arrived at the estimable Federici's in Freehold, there to behold a rare breed, a Jersey Elk in a cowboy hat...

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If the Borgata Could Float

Reporting from Deck 5 (of 17) of the world's largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, on its maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It's hard to describe how big this ship is. Numbers (like 1,184 feet long) don't do it justice. Imagine, instead, being on the 17th floor of the Borgata or one of the other big AC casino hotels. And you look out the window and see nothing but ocean, and although the ship is making 20 knots or more, you feel no more sense of movement than if you were in a Boardwalk hotel.

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Say Ahhh

Had to make an emergency run to the dentist recently...

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Pie Scout

Doing my due diligence for our upcoming pizza issue, I'm scouting the best pizza joints in the state. Just went to Bayonne on a reader's recommendation to experience the thin crust pie at Venice Restaurant. It was excellent, but so was this little corridor between the bar and the outdoor seating area...

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A Whiff Supreme

At Grissini Restaurant in Englewood Cliffs, a special chef comes in once a week to make several gallons of tomato sauce--the owner, 71-year-old Tony DelGatto. The proof of this particular pudding is in the smelling...

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Boss of His Sauce

Grissini restaurant in Englewood Cliffs has a first-rate executive chef in Alberto Leandri, but some things owner Tony DelGatto, 71, insists on doing himself, like making the tomato sauce he learned as a boy helping his mother cook...

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Spray Day

With a break in the drizzly weather, I was overdue for a trip to the car wash. Then a funny thing happened...

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Slice This!

Thanks to all who submitted their favorite places for our upcoming pizza issue. I've been doing my due diligence. Last week, I went to RESERVOIR TAVERN in Parsippany. Loved the "Gatto di Potato," which is a sliced potato, bacon, and fresh tomato pie (no sauce, no cheese). But visually, loved what you see here the best...

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Wurst Case Scenario 4

Continuing my tour of the Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt, we came to the supervisor's station, the elevated, windowed housing where one can keep an eye on (on this particular day) workers filling steel forms with ham for cooking...

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Wurst Case Scenario 3

A worker swabs out one of the small ovens at Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt. By small I mean big enough to hold a Smart Car, but not two Cadillac Escalades, like the big ovens at Thumann's.

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Wurst Case Scenario 2

Another stop on my tour of the Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt. A welcome sight in this day of digital signatures, bar codes, and laser printing...

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Wurst Case Scenario

Recently I toured the Thumann's deli plant in Carlstadt for a story for our December issue, whose cover theme is NJ ROOTS: AN ETHNIC PORTRAIT OF THE GARDEN STATE. The Thumanns (whose name, owing to marriage, is now Burke) are one of 12 families profiled in the issue...

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Begin With A Broom

German immigrant Henry Thumann built the deli company his heirs have tended. more

The Cantor's Kin

Tracing seven generations back to the leader of Newark’s first Jewish congregation. more

State Of The Stats

Rutgers University Press’s interpretive atlas is a history buff’s beautifully browsable bonanza. more

Late For Halloween

This ghost missed the party, and wound up in a doctor's office...

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Fence Faces 3

Looking through a smiling face to the construction materials behind...

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Fence Faces 2

Another of the faces printed on weatherproof material and hung on the chain link fence surrounding the construction site of luxury condos on the Morristown Green, forming an ad for the development...

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Fence Faces

The chain-link fence around the new luxury condo development on the Green in Morristown is alive with people whose beauty is only skin deep...

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Roll Call

Out with the old at a condo development under construction...

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The DePersios Open a Second Restaurant

The DePersio family, who own and operate one of the most successful, and well reviewed, BYO restaurants in Essex County will be opening a second restaurant in January. They've been looking for the right location at the right price for three years, and they say they've now found it on Broad Street just north of Watchung Avenue in Bloomfield... 

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Halloween Earlybirds 2

This Jersey City brownstone has quite a stoop to conquer tomorrow night...

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How They S'pose to Eat?

Stone crab claws are coming to New Jersey from Florida. Nothing is ever done with the rest of the crab, which is thrown back into the water, where, if the crab is lucky, its claws will regrow. But how are they supposed to grasp their food before their claws grow back?

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Magritte in Montclair

I don't know why, but when I look at this picture I think of the painter who made a locomotive come out of a fireplace...

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A Chink in the Armor

Renovations often look worse for a long time before they start to look better...

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American Gothic Redux

This tableau at Village Laundry in Upper Montclair puts me in mind of Grant Wood's famous "American Gothic"...

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Fine Dinering, Anyone? Shelton at the Skylark 2

As noted the other day, chef Craig Shelton, formerly of the Ryland Inn, has landed as "guest chef" at the Skylark Diner in Edison. He has introduced an upscale but modestly priced lunch and dinner menu that supplements, rather than supplants, traditional burgers and salads and the always-available breakfast menu.

That reminds me of a Steven Wright joke, he being the deadpan, postmodern Henny Youngman, master of the one liner. (Wright plays the Wellmont in Montclair next Friday, Oct. 30). Wright says, "I passed a restaurant. It had a sign in the window, said 'Breakfast Any Time.' So I went in and ordered French Toast in the Renaissance." Maybe you have to hear him tell it. Anyway, on to Shelton's menu, which I recently sampled...

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Precautions

Don't know why these were hanging up, and my bad for not asking. But they sure introduced a sober note as the tumblers tumbled and the agitators agitated and the people folded their laundry...

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You Lookin' At Me?

Well, yes, I was...

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Pig Heaven

The Mangalitsa pig has bounced back from near extinction to be prized by foodies for its beefy flavor and luscious fat. The only place Mangalitsas are being raised East of the Mississippi is, you guessed it, New Jersey. more

Mobile Mosaic

Drove by this panel truck the other day, and snapped this picture. Mondrian, eat your heart out...

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Not A Misprint: Chef Craig Shelton Now At Skylark Diner

Craig Shelton's career has taken some surprising turns since (and including) the demise of his Ryland Inn following a water main break in 2007. He started a high-end coffee company, teamed up with chocolatier Diane Pinder to create a line of uniquely complex chocolates, consulted for the upscale catering company Ome, and developed a TV series, yet to be shot. Now comes what at first seems the most surprising twist of all...

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Riding Shotgun

The truck in yesterday's picture pulls out of the parking lot, proving once again that still life never sleeps...

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Old Ironsides

I pulled into the parking lot next to a truck whose function was a mystery to me but which kind of captivated my attention with its fang-like handles and slab sides against a bright blue sky with puffy clouds...

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When Bumper-to-Bumper

Yesterday's commute was a bear. Traffic bumper to bumper for a mile or more, from 280 to 80 to 287. About a 30-minute delay, most of it spent not moving at all. The only thing to do--for me, anyway--was reach for the camera and roll down a window...

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Step Right Up 2

The front of this shoe repairman's shop was blocked off for reconstruction of the building's facade, so all customers were directed to the back...

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Step Right Up

During the renovation of the facade of the building where he rents his shop, a shoe repairman placed his sign not where signs go but where feet are found...

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In the Park 2

While the leaves turn color (see this month's How Things Work for an illustrated explanation), the evergreens do not stand idle. Though they will keep their coats all winter, they do the opposite of what we do--lighten them as the weather gets colder...

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In The Park

A section of stone wall and some steps, remnants of what once was...what?

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Reading the Rust

Can't quite make out the name of this painting company, but wonder how they got an old mailbox to use? It sure isn't an official one...

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New Car Joy

After almost a year of shopping, dithering, shopping, finding reasons not to buy, shopping some more, flirting with Cash for Clunkers, backing off, brooding, and finally buying (well, leasing), we got a new car last week. Now, in addition to pinching pennies, I am pinching myself...

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Across the Hudson

The Spirit Cruise boats pull in to Chelsea Piers...

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Big Foot 2

Splat. Ploompf. Let's look closer at what happens when a boot stomps down in a thin layer of wet concrete...

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Big Foot

This boot was made for walking, and that's just what it did. It stepped into the concrete, left a mark that can't be hid...

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Dumpster Delight

Ah, the surprising orderliness of the haphazard...

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Clothespins in Paradise

A Bermuda kind of roadside attraction...

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Lockertini

In Bermuda, I had the privilege of playing golf at the famous Mid Ocean Club, designed by C.B. MacDonald, one of the founders of the USGA, and later modified by New Jersey's own Robert Trent Jones Sr....

 
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Your Fave Pizza Joint Is...?

Tell us. We want to know. We're getting to work on a cover story on New Jersey's best pizza, for a forthcoming issue. Which places should we make sure to hit? Email your suggestions to us at pizza@njmonthly.com. Or add your suggestions here...

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The Picnic Table at the End of the Mind

In Bermuda, the narrow, winding roads are abuzz with motor scooters. I joined the crowd, rented a scooter, and did some exploring. I don't think I've ever seen a picnic table as idyllically situated as this one...

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Bermuda, Bumper-to-Bumper 2

Through a taxi window, rolled down, I enjoyed a series of curbside closeups of Bermuda as we inched through a serpentine traffic jam...

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Bermuda, Bumper-to-Bumper

Believe it or not, there is rush hour in Bermuda. I was there last week to report a story for our sister publication, Park Place. On Wednesday morning, I set out in a taxi to check out a golf course (tough job, I know), and the driver told me it could take awhile...

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The Skyway Series 5: Support

The Pulaski Skyway's immense bulk rests on concrete towers that are surprisingly slim...

 
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Pluckemin Inn

After a stressful year, the Pluckemin Inn reemerges with a sterling new executive chef and continuity in other key posts, from pastry chef Joseph Gabriel to owner Gloria LaGrassa. more

Golden Golf

Don’t even think of putting away your clubs this month. New Jersey courses beckon in their autumn finery. Here’s a loop of nine prime layouts around the state you won’t want to miss. more

Happy Harvests

In October, the Garden State’s food and wine festivals invite you to put your month where your mouth is. more

The Skyway Series 4: Reflections

Where 18-wheel cowboys corral their 10-wheel mounts...

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The Skyway Series 3: Close-Up

Anyone remember Mister Magoo (whose voice was Jim Backus)? Or am I dating myself? The latter, I know. Anyway, this one's for him...

 
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The Skyway Series 2: A River Runs Under It

Just a few hundred yards from the Lincoln Park Driving Range in Jersey City, Duncan Avenue dead ends at the Hackensack River, just above where it and the Passaic River empty into Newark Bay. It's quite a sight...

 
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The Skyway Series: Drivers

I recently met fellow photographer (though he's a pro) and golfer (though he's a low-handicapper) Chris Lane at what may be the funkiest driving range I've ever hit balls at--On Route 440 in Jersey City, with a backdrop no other driving range can claim--the Pulaski Skyway...

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Fixer Upper

You'll find them in every neighborhood. This one, otherwise nondescript, had an attractive, vaguely macabre, little decorative window over the porch...

 
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Big Doings

So I was walking down Brackett Street in Portland, Maine, last week, when I stopped to photograph an interesting sandwich of houses...

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Meter Reader Heaven

During the four days I spent in Portland, Maine last week, I noticed that all the electric meters are on the outside of the houses, which in the neighborhood (near Longfellow Square) where I was staying were all small, multi-family dwellings...

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Back From Fishin'

I mean "fishin'" figuratively, in that the only thing I cast was a credit card, but I did eat a lot of seafood during my four days in Maine. If you're up in Kennebunkport...

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Gone Fishin'

Plain Sight will take a breather as I head to Portland, Maine for a family wedding and a few days of R&R. Back Wednesday, Sept. 2. Meanwhile, a few vacationy images...

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Where There's A Wheel...

...there's a way (to make a bad pun). And not even an accurate one, since the theme of this junkyard in Jersey City is old tires, not wheels. For a look at a really big wheel, um, tire, click...

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Johnny Applesqueeze

Arriving at a bed & breakfast in the Berkshires for a weekend with my sister-in-law, Mike had a firm grip on everything he needed for a country weekend...

 
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Still Life Never Sleeps

Behind a bed & breakfast in Great Barrington, Mass., I came across this scene. which went poof about 15 minutes later when a car parked right in front of the sheet of glass...

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So Sue Me

I said Tuesday's group of hot rod pictures would be the last. Well, I lied...

 
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Car in the Headlights

Yes, what you are about to see is a car caught in the headlights, more still than a deer, but ghostly white...

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Boy Toys

We bid a fond farewell to the Morristown hot rod rally with these pictures...

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Merc' Melange

When we left Tony Gaglio yesterday, he had sold his beloved 1951 purple Mercury Monarch, missed it so much he asked the buyer to sell it back to him, and had been turned down flat. Now for the rest of the story...

 

 

 

 
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One Man's Merc'

Tony Gaglio loved his 1951 Mercury. Then, in a moment of weakness, he succumbed to a generous offer for the car, and rashly sold it. He went out and bought a 1949 Merc', and he had a lot of work done on it in an attempt to duplicate the feel of his treasured '51. "But I just couldn't get it the way I wanted it," he says. So then...

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Smile, Dan (Nona Would)

A homemade meatball recipe makes a splash, and—draws the attention of Martha Stewart. more

Hot Rod Messages

Hot rodders are very touchy about certain things, and about their basic convictions wear their hearts on their sleeves, or rather their windows, spare tire covers, and saddle bags.

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Rumble in Town 2

Details, details. Hot rods are all about the details. Continuing yesterday's coverage of a hot rod rally on the Green in Morristown...

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Rumble in Town

A passel of hot rods, chrome exhaust pipes rumbling, ringed the Morristown Green last week for a show and tell. Plain Sight was there...

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From The Other Side

Over the weekend, Plain Sight looked up at the elevated entrance to a plumbing supply store. As promised, here is the view from the other side...

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Elevation

This plumbing supply store sits well above the sidewalk because the street is steeply angled, making for an interesting perspective...

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One More From Griggstown

Sustainable, shmainable. At the end of the day, or even before, my eye is drawn to what my eye is drawn to. And, yes, I found it at the Griggstown Quail Farm during the Sustenance Events fundraiser for Slow Food New Jersey. My kind of sustenance...

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La Dolce Finale

At the end of the Sustenance Events fundraiser for Slow Food New Jersey, we had crepes filled with creme anglaise and fresh raspberries. But more beautiful were the fresh Jersey peaches in baskets, especially as the sun sank in the west.

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Flavor Most Fowl

At the Sustenance Events fundraiser for Slow Food New Jersey, chef David C. Felton, formerly of the Pluckemin Inn (and soon to be chef of the much-awaited Natirar Culinary Center) served a smashingly succulent breast of guinea hen.

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Field of Dreams

Margaret Noon's Sustenance Events company recenty held a benefit for the New Jersey Slow Food movement at the Griggstown Quail Farm, near Princeton. Prior to an excellent four-course dinner under a white tent in a vast grassy field, the patrons received a tour of the farm and were introduced to some of its feathered inhabitants...

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Food Festival Merits Second Helpings

Last weekend's Summit Wine & Food Festival, held at the Grand Summit Hotel, was a smash—and not just for the hail storm that pelted (but didn't daunt) Sunday night's closing Burger Summit.

From Friday night to Sunday evening, a total of 1,611 people attended the banquets, cooking demonstrations, tastings, book signings and other events of this inaugural festival. Planning is already underway for an even bigger program next year.

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Behind The Green Door

If you're an heirloom Bourbon turkey, this is where you live, if you're lucky enough to live on the Griggstown Quail Farm near Princeton. Yes, behind this door, strut and peck some of the most delicious birds around.

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Stand and Deliver

I don't have a thing for FedEx trucks, but something about this one caught my eye while the driver was making a delivery...

 
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Another Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow's riveting movie, The Hurt Locker, about a U.S. Army bomb squad in Iraq, has the verisimilitude of a documentary. The title is bomb squad slang for the world of pain the soldiers will be in if they fail to "clear" one of the roadside improvised explosive devices they spend their days tracking down and disarming.

Somewhat closer to home, I visited another, much milder kind of hurt locker...

 

 
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No Tick, No Tock

At the center of town, the clock above a bank is beautiful. So what if it doesn't work...

 

 

 

 
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Thanks, But No Thanks

Not sure what this vehicle delivers, but unless it's laughs, I think I'll pass...

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That's Some Banana Ya Got There

Odd to peel the whole banana before taking a bite, especially a trombone of a banana like this one, unless you were going to slice it into cornflakes or something. But whatever works.

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Una Pizza Napoletana 2

Having finished his dough, master pizza chef Antonino Esposito, visiting restaurant A Mano in Ridgewood from Naples, Italy, demonstrated the correct way to turn a bowl full of whole peeled Italian tomatoes (pomodoro) into sauce for his classic Neapolitan-style pizza...

 

 
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Una Pizza Napoletana

Antonino Esposito, a star of the Food Network in Italy and a renowned pizza chef of the style practiced in Naples, gave a demonstration at A Mano in Ridgewood yesterday...

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The Animal Cokedom

On a recent trip to the zoo, the lions and zebras gazed out from soda dispensers--and a young father entertained his baby in a stroller with a green serpent...

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Scratch and Sniff

About a year ago I suffered a concussion. As a result, I've lost much of my sense of smell. Surprisingly, my sense of taste remains wholly intact (supposedly a physiological impossibility). I recently took a test to determine exactly how much my smeller can smell.

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At the Feet of the Founders

George Washington was embroiled in conversation with Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette while at their feet a child of the future was taking notes...

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Dolls or Dessert?

Walking down the street I passed a variety store with an odd juxtaposition in the window...

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The Wizard of Zod

Why New York wants to grab New Jersey’s hugely talented, most idiosyncratic chef, and why he doesn’t want to leave—yet. more

The Waiting Room

Magazines here are limited to the Tire Rack catalog and back issues of Road & Track and PCA-NJ (Porsche Club of America--New Jersey)...

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Dog Pound

When you're in Union, there is only one place to go for hot dogs--the Galloping Hill Inn. No matter that it isn't really an inn. It looks more like a diner with a big takeout area in the back, which is where the action is.

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Basie's New Beat

I recently saw my first concert at the renovated Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. The place was beautifully restored, and from the stage attention was directed to the magnificent domed ceiling, sky blue with puffy clouds. The concert was a benefit for the theater, and the group--my favorite band--was the Fab Faux, the great Beatles tribute fivesome (plus horns and strings).

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Elephants' Graveyard

Where two lumbering old machines go to rust away, unless someone should want to call them out of retirement, the Mets, for example...

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Nutley Pastoral

A side street, a patch of green, and late afternoon sun...

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The Owl Yard

You can find all manner of things here, but first you have to pay your respects to the owl...

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Controlled Chaos

They say you should never look at a restaurant's kitchen if you want to feel good about eating there.

But what about the back of a restaurant?

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See You In September

This space heater on a restaurant patio is just hanging out this summer, not doing any work for the next couple of months as flowers bloom beside it...

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Ask the Oracle

At an auto body shop, this broken construction block seemed to beckon me into its tucked-away temple...

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Circle of Spheres

On an office window sill, a shrine to pastimes...

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Sideways

Oh, the compromising positions you get into working on your car...

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Resto

What is “modern French,” the cuisine of Madison’s year-old Resto? In the hands of chef-owner Robert Ubhaus—an Edison native who trained in Paris, Italy, San Francisco, Long Beach Island, and at New York City’s French Culinary Institute—it’s above all “fine dining without the pretension.” more

No Pizza For You...

..if you violate these rules.

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Antitecture

I was walking from the parking lot to the office when I noticed, in the middle of the sidewalk, this neat, perfectly round mound with a tiny hole in the middle. It had not been there the day before. Strangely, not an ant in sight...

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Where's Elvis?

Even in the shadows, he catches your eye...

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Of Liberty and Lunch

Three icons of the American way of life meet at the side of a car wash...

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Cinder Block Gardening

Here's how it's done in Jersey City...

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Foiled Again

Ever wonder what Santa's elves do in the off-season?

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For Sale Sale Sale!

Where these signs of the times go when the market is slow?

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Don't Rain On My Hit Parade

The Beatles tribute band Rain played NJPAC yesterday afternoon. The five members of Rain can play, but the show, with its slavish impersonations and onslaught of strobes and smoke and flower-power visuals, indulges in something the Beatles had no truck with: schlock.

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Fill-'Er-Up Millinery

We pulled into this unpromising station for a tank of gas, and while it was pumping, my wife found three stylish straw sunhats inside...

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O Say Can You See City Hall?

From this vantage point a block away, with an interestingly cordoned motorcycle in the foreground, yes you can...

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The Gate

Through these portals pass people hungry for Mexican food...

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Iron Hill Cometh

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant will become New Jersey’s thirteenth brewpub when it opens in Maple Shade this month. more

Jam Sessions

Switching from making documentaries to making conserves in France, two expat Brits have Tea Together ready for its Jersey close-up. more

I Pledge Allegiance To The Lunch...

At a newly renovated car wash in Verona, this tableau of American values...

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What's With Roscoe

My cat is so old, in people years, that he should be playing pinochle in Miami Beach. Here is what the vet said is ailing him...

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My 80-year-old Cat

In feline years, Roscoe is 16, which makes him the equivalent of 80 in human years, which helps explain the trouble he is having...

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Guy Walks Into A Bar...

Okay, that kind of joke probably was not what this youngster was telling. But just after school in downtown Jersey City, she held her audience rapt for at least a minute after this picture was taken...

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Porcines of the Times

At this pig roast, they served some mighty fine swine, making hogs of us all...

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Souls Have Shapes

I have a series of pictures I call "Souls Have Shapes." The title comes from the first stanza of a poem, "My Sisters," by Stanley Kunitz:

Who whispered, souls have shapes?/ So does the wind, I say./ But I don't know,/ I only feel things blow.

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"First I Look At The Purse"

Most of you are too young to remember this song by the J. Geils Band, but it was a hit when I was in college in Boston, which is where the band is from. I hadn't thought of the song or the band until just now, when I sat down to post today's Plain Sight picture...

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Keg Lift

Anyone recruiting for the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team might want to track this fellow down...

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Still Life Never Sleeps

All of us see things every day that we take for granted will look exactly the same tomorrow. But as I like to say, still life never sleeps.

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The Case of the Illuminated Pastries

Sometimes I just like to stare at the evidence...

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No Misplaced Modifiers

However you want to modify your tea or coffee, the waiters and waitresses at the Tick-Tock Diner in Clifton know where to find your main squeeze.

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Son Rise

My wife and I are heading to Connecticut this weekend to watch our son, Michael, graduate from Wesleyan on Sunday. I am taking off in another sense, too. Michael spent a few days on Cape Cod with friends recently, and he emailed me this photograph he took in an alley near where they were staying. Check it out. The kid's got an eye, and a sensibility.

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Heavy Bondage

Thick straps immobilize this hard rubber implement for all to see, even children innocently passing by. Scandalous!

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Here Comes The Sun

Until yesterday and today, spring looked and felt a lot like what you see here. Click below to see full picture...

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What is it About Backhoes?

Maybe it's a vestige of boyhood, but I'm a sucker for a backhoe, with its digging tools fore and aft and its cockpit full of levers. And especially so when juxtaposed against something interesting, as here...

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The Paper Serpent

I don't know what came in the box that appeared in the NJM offices at Morristown the other day, but it could scarcely have been as interesting as the packing material that surrounded it.

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I'm So Vein 3

I don't know about you, but I feel better knowing the person drawing my blood is wearing a latex-free, powder-free, ambidextrous, Med Pride vinyl examination glove and has a little play sunflower attached to her station.

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I'm So Vein 2

One thing I like about blood tests--probably the only thing--is the colorful paraphernalia, especially the specimen vials with their color-coded caps and mysterious preservative gel at the round end...

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I'm So Vein 1

Awaiting the tourniquet and needle for a blood test, I did what anyone with a camera would do--look for pictures.

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Deep in the Heart of Jersey

Boyd Lafferty grew up in Cape May, then spent 28 years in the semiconductor business in Austin, Texas. While there he earned a PhD. in international business, but when he returned home in 2004 he was thinking strictly local. more

Dog(wood) Days

Catch 'em while you can. The dogwood blossoms will be on the ground before you can bark up the wrong tree.

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Green Day

A vacant storefront gets a makeover, here in the early stages of the process...

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Kinkis: The Wings Beneath My Belt

A late-night stop in Atlantic City pays off in peerless chicken wings. more

The Light At the Top of the Stairs

In the lobby of a busy hotel, a dark ascent to a landing in the sun...

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Season's Greetings!

Santa has his sleigh, landscapers have their trailers. It seems, now that it's May, the landscapers make as many stops as Santa does on Christmas Eve. Except reindeer don't create a racket like edgers, leaf blowers, shredders and riding mowers do.

Come to think of it, do reindeer make any noise at all? They would probably trim the grass free of charge, and the way the temperature has been, it's not too warm for them.

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D-Day Plus 65

A chance encounter and the lessons of a lifetime. more

Like Water For Decaf

At Steel Pier in Atlantic City, a vendor dispenses Boardwalk vittles...

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Across the River

Disguised as a person with concert tickets, I slipped across the border to Area Code 212 using an amazing tunnel dug under the Hudson  River. (Code Name: Lincoln). When I emerged and hid my escape vehicle in a multi-level secure repository (Code Name: Kinney), I found myself in front of a cleverly disguised wallet-emptying facility (Code Name: Souvenirs) that was undergoing some renovations.

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Street Shoes

Why risk spilling soup on a beautiful pair of boots? Instead, they rest atop a locker in a  restaurant's back room until the employee's shift ends.

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Side Door in the Sun

Late afternoon sun does something even for entrances not ready for their closeup...

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George's Place

If on the inside it looks like a diner, serves like a diner, charges like a diner and satisfies like a diner, but occupies just part of a plain brick building on a street corner in Cape May, it is a diner, and a darn good one at that.

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Kosher Scotch is Coming

Here's a product we didn't know the world needed. The religious argument for it is tenuous. But it is real Scotch, from a distinguished maker in Speyside, in northeast coastal Scotland, and you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate its quality.

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The Other Shore

If you've had it with honky-tonk, are fed up with funnel cake and bothered by beach badges, drive northwest of Cape May. You'll come to peace and quiet, and this interesting vacant lot, on the Delaware Bay shore.

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Sunscreen, No Schmutz

Before there was SPF, there were these...

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The West-Facing Shore

There's more to the peninsula that is Cape May County than the Wildwoods and Cape May. Drive northwest from Cape May and you find yourself among the towns facing the Delaware Bay...

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 7

And so we come to the end of our series on the pre-season amusement park, shot at Morey's Piers in Wildwood. We close with one of the most iconic of all rides...

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 6

Through these portals at Morey's Piers pass Curly Fries, made with fresh potatoes. In the heat of midsummer, the aroma alone is worth the trip.

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 5

I loved these as a little kid, but even then it irked me that no matter what I did with the steering wheel the car continued to move mulishly in the same plodding circle.

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 4

What goes up must come down, whether it's the roller coaster or the metal weight that, if you're strong enough, rings the bell when you slam the sledgehammer down.

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 3

Step right up and buy a ticket to ride...once Morey's Piers opens for the season, that is.

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The Tilt-A-Whirl Series 2

Morey's Piers in Wildwood, before the season opens--silent, still, pristine...

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T(ee) V Star?

Glen Ridge native Eugene Smith leans to deal with the pressure of appearing on the Golf Channel's Big Break reality series. more

The Tilt-A-Whirl Series

Stillness is even more still in a place that is the antithesis of still--an amusement park.

Here the first in a series of pictures taken walking around Morey's Piers in Wildwood before it opens for the season.

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Spring Cleaning

Ah, the robin's chirp, the daffodil's bloom, the leaf blower's ceaseless whine. A sure sign of spring is the return of landscapers' trucks to suburban neighborhoods, gathering up winter's flotsam and jetsam...

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The Stair Series 3

In today's resonant finale, we look back at the stairwell and all the neatly hung household cleaning implements it contains, each a tiny soul awaiting its moment in the schmutz...

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The Stair Series 2

In today's exciting episode, we reach the top of the stairs and look back...

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The Stair Series

Friends in Long Branch have just moved into their first home—a beautifui and cozy one in Craftsman style. One of my favorite parts of the house is the back stairs from the basement to the kitchen.

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Got Eggs?

This little guy, peeking over a box of candy on the "freebie" counter at our office in Morristown, and his real-life sisters put out a lot of work this weekend, making sure there were plenty of Easter eggs to hunt for.

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Seniority

Assisted living and better nursing homes make these the good old days for many elderly Jerseyans...

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Our Own Ice-Nine

I’ve been trying to visualize the web of toxic debt and derivatives that have strapped our economy to the ground. I first thought of Gulliver in Lilliput, lying on his back, helplessly trying to get a look at the teeny beings scurrying around and over him with their wispy threads.

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Conehead

Sometimes I just can't resist traffic cones, especially errant ones. I cropped them out of this thumbnail, so you'll just have to click to the full picture to see them.

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Out, Damn Wrinkle

In the laundry room of a home in Long Branch, this tableau brought to mind an ocean liner and its escorts, a sovereign and its retainers...

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Duck, No Soup

A lone rubber ducky was left low and dry in a bathtub in Long Branch...

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Rinse, Please

A day at the dentist. Sip, swirl, spit. Ptooey in pink...

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The New Hanging Out

Vacant stores are an unfortunate sign of the times as unemployment hits a scary 8.2% in New Jersey...

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At the Dentist

Excessive cuteness makes my teeth hurt, but in this case my tooth already hurt for another reason, and I found the tableau in the dentist's examining room amusing.

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See-Through Luxury

Here's a glimpse of the living room of a new luxury condo going up in Morristown--plus some designer chainlink fence...

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Pickup Lines

I keep my camera on the passenger seat of my car just in case I see something at a red light. I often do.

Pictures that require shooting out the driver's window are the easiest. Shooting through the windshield is trickier. Hardest is shooting through the passenger window, as here...

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Ah, First Day Of...WHAT THE??

I thought it was the Ides of March you had to beware, not the first day of spring. But in North Jersey, at least, Mother Nature pulled an April Fool's on us--in the middle of March.

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Building Blocks

Rarely does a building look as made from the kind of blocks I used to play with as a kid as this one does...

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The Orange Squirrel

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That describes chef Francesco Palmieri and his enthusiasm for his new restaurant. But in the kitchen his passionate and serious side comes to the fore. more

Salute the Sun

Yesterday's late afternoon sun begged to be beheld and basked in, and on St. Patrick's Day what better place than by a bright green door?

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Carflections

I drove by the body shop to see about getting my 20-year-old BMW repainted, but they were closed. No problem, I had my 40D with me...

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Yanks For The Memories

It served me well for half a century, but when it comes to sore molars, the squeaky wheel doesn't get the grease, it gets the hook...

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The Wash Cycle 10: Finale

Plain Sight's ten-photograph series on a trip through the car wash concludes with a lone figure waiting for her vehicle...

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The Wash Cycle 9

All good things come to an end, including the drag line at the car wash...

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The Wash Cycle 8

Having your car washed is an old-fashioned pleasure in at least two ways: it's a mechanical process (you can actually watch what's happening step-by-step, as opposed to the invisibility, the inscutability of digital), and it requires manual labor by human beings at the beginning and end of the process. For example, the initial drying...

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The Wash Cycle 7

I originally promised six Wash Cycle pictures, but hey, I seem to be on a roll, so it's on to bonus time.

In today's Plain Sight, midway through the tunnel of scrub at Palace Car Wash in Montclair, we encounter...the dancing sponges!

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The Wash Cycle 6

One of the pleasures of having your car washed is that the process has a distinct beginning, middle and end, like life itself. Watching your car inch through that tunnel of scrub, with its fulsome sprays and blinking lights, and emerge in the sunshine dripping as from a baptism, is to participate in a kind of secular born-again ritual.

Click to see whole picture...

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The Wash Cycle 5

Roads are clear, if slippery in spots, and the sun is bright, so with car washes open again we resume our stroll through one in particular...

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We Interrupt This Program...

,,,to bring you a snowstorm. We'll get back to The Wash Cycle 5 when cars start lining up outside car washes again.

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The Wash Cycle 4

Today we move from clothing to cars. First, the residue of brisk business paints the pavement.

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The Wash Cycle 3

Village Laundry in Upper Montclair has some serious hangups.

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The Wash Cycle 2

Who says a laundromat can't venture into the deep waters of interior decoration?

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The Wash Cycle 1

The entrance to Village Laundry in Upper Montclair, seen from within, begins Plain Sight's six-part series on two very different sudsing spots.

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Public/Private Partnership

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner has his version, which has been criticized as vague, and so does this Montclair hardware store. Its version is not vague so much as contradictory.

click next line to see full picture...

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Raul's Empanadas Town

Raul Silva grew up in Colombia on his grandmother’s traditional cornmeal-crusted beef and chicken empanadas. When he emigrated to New York City at age 20, he started as a dishwasher in a Bolivian restaurant in Queens and eventually ascended to line cook at two of the jewels in New York’s restaurant crown—Jean-Georges and Daniel. more

Pleasures of the Porch

Be it ever so humble, a table and chairs on the front porch is still pretty inviting.

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Two's a Shroud

Was Christo in Morristown last week?

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Meeting of Leaders

It was a rush to the bottom as two leaders met behind the Saunders Hardware Store in Upper Montclair.

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My Top Doc

My aches and pains are nothing compared to those this man unkinks in my 20-year-old BMW, whose 189,000 miles dwarf even the large number of annums on my odometer.

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The Tunnel of Scrub

On a sunny winter day you can see slush-spattered vehicles lining up halfway down the block to be vaccumed, hosed, blow-dried and buffed. No coins please. Leave a greenback in the old-fashioned mail box strategically placed within reach as you step out the exit and head toward your still-dripping mount.

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Totally Tubular

Johnny's in the basement, mixing up the medicine...Today's picture (the whole image, not the thumbnail here) reminds me of that line from Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." It wasn't the basement or the same kind of medicine, but it was strong stuff.

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Snowscape With Blacktop

Just a random piece of road near Chatham, but with snow falling and the branches sheathed in crystal kind of beautiful.

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Snowscape With High Tension

Two squat brick buildings inject autumnal color into a gray-and-white scene behind locked chain-link gates.

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Snowscape With Listings

The Magley real estate office in Chatham, and its brethren in the background, inject blocks of color into a gray and white world.

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Fence The Dishes

Another day, another TV interview promoting our February "Recession Pricing" restaurant issue. Evidently it takes someone with a ladder to do the dishes at WMBC-TV in West Caldwell.

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Spool Days

They don't call it cable TV for nothing.

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Many Hands At Work

No excuse for tardiness here...

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Three-Legged Eye

I've been making the rounds of television stations lately, talking about our February Dining issue. This was the studio at Time Warner Cable in Palisades Park.

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It's Showtime

The view from inside a storage closet at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange. What was I doing in a storage closet at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange? You'll have to click to find out.

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In the Wilderness

In what untrammeled part of the state was this snowy landscape photographed?

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Where We Watched the Inaug

The NJM editorial staff convened at the Grasshopper off the Green pub, just down the block from our Morristown offices, to witness history and eat lunch.

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How To Stay Warm Outdoors

In Meadowland Park in South Orange, a lone spot of green keeps the hardy happy.

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They Made Their Bed

If you're like me, you never walk past a pickup truck without taking a peek at what's in the bed. You see some  interesting things that way.

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Something New Under The Bun

Slideshow: Amsterdam Outdoor Market

What I did on my winter vacation--browsed the big open-air Albert Cuypmarkt in Amsterdam. That would be well east of the Holland Tunnel...in Holland, where this Jersey Boy felt right at home

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Spotted in Amsterdam: Mickey Mouse

Just back from a week's vacation in Amsterdam, where I found one ageless American icon ringing a Dutch bell.

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Slideshow: A Glimpse, A Glance, Now Plain Sight is in Long Pants

Plain Sight, a Jersey Photo Blog, first blinked its eye at the world on Wed, Apr 23.

To celebrate its first calendar year--and the fact that I am on vacation until Monday, January 12--here is a slideshow of some of my favorite images, drawn from the more than 200 pictures I posted in 2008.

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Night Shoot

The scene on Myrtle Avenue in Montclair late during a recent filming of a commercial at one of the gracious old homes where production companies like to shoot commercials and the residents are paid very well and everything is put back together afterward better than it ever was beforehand. Sweet deal.

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Pump Me Up

Last week, before the snow melted, I came across this pickup truck parked in front of one of Morristown's vintage homes. The truck itself, or the gas pumping apparatus on it, was itself kind of vintage.

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The White Album at 40

Forty years ago, George Martin, the Beatles' producer, advised the band against releasing what would become known as the White Album as a two-record set, and both Ringo and George later allowed that editing it down to a single disc might have been a good idea.

But few would argue today that the Beatles made a mistake. Last night's note by note, song by song, reproduction by the Fab Faux--an extraordinary group of five musicians devoted to reproducing the Fab Four's entire body of work live onstage--shows more clearly than can ever be appreciated on even the finest stereo system just how monumental a musical achievement the White Album was, and still is.

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The Mystery of Time

I slipped across the border last night to hear the Fab Faux, the crazy-good Beatles cover band (the description does not do them justice) play Let It Be and Abbey Road, note for note, in full.

There are no seats at Terminal 5, on W.56 th St. in Manhattan, so I stood for three-and-a-half hours. When you get to a certain age, which I have reached, you don't go out of your way to stand in place anywhere for more time than it takes to reach the front of a hot dog line. But this was worth it.

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The Greatest Begat The Boomers Begat...

...X and Y and the square root of Z over the youngest person's PIN.

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28-Candle Salute

The gang's all here. Now, can we get 56 eyelids open at the same time, with 28 eyeballs looking into the lens?

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It Maccabees That Way

How to photograph 28 people in one living room at my family's annual Hanukah party.

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The Two Faces of Waldwick High School

Through this door pass students in thrall to the classical masks.

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Come Here Often?

Actress Amanda Bynes has a hang up in the Waldwick High School cafeteria.

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Impaneled

Walking along Glenridge Avenue in Montclair, I stopped to enjoy the geometry of storefronts.

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Undeveloped Country

It's rare to see a vacant lot in the thickly settled northern suburbs anymore. When you do see one, the contrast between something and nothing is striking.

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Trailer Park

Yes, right in downtown Montclair, outside the Wellmont Theater. Residents are peeved that the trailers eat up parking spaces, and they have a case. But from a photographer's point of view, the trailers are kind of cool.

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I Dig A Dozer

In this age of personal pan pizzas,  personal digital assistants and Smart Cars barely bigger than a suitcase, the mini-bulldozer has become a construction site mascot.

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All The Eyeballs

Decoding Chaos

Though the Wellmont Theater in Montclair has been open more than a month, renovation mop-up remains.

I'm glad I happened by before the clean-up, because the search for order in disorder is one of photography's great pleasures.

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Last Unfallen Leaf

At a lonely table for one, late at a wedding in Long Branch, burning the candle literally at one end, figuratively at both.

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Truck Stop

Talk about a windshield filler. Such is the view from the driver's seat as I sat behind a dump truck at a red light in West Orange.

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Dalto

Dalto regulars often know what they’re going to eat before they walk in the door. Part of that comes with knowing the small menu (though there are always tempting specials). But many put in requests when they make their reservations (a must on Friday and Saturday). more

PODScasting

I've seen them in driveways, but I didn't know quite how those Portable On Demand Storage bins were dropped off and picked up until I found myself behind a PODS truck at a traffic light in Morristown.

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Who Cleans Up The Confetti?

Is it fair to shower a man with congratulatory confetti when he is the one who has to clean it up?

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Dreaming of England

What's a nice boy from New Jersey doing dreaming of England at the end of Thanksgiving weekend?

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Fish Tails

String and a hook make the last roundup for a passel of bacalao at Corrado's in Clifton.

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Just Because You're Not a Turkey...

...doesn't mean you're safe on Thanksgiving. Especially at Corrado's in Clifton.

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That Empty Feeling

After the chafing dishes have been swept away, the wedding cake has been cut and the crowd has migrated to the dance floor, leave it to Mr. Lugubrious to find an altar of conjugal emptiness.

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A Chorus Line

A wedding in Long Branch brings to mind John Updike's wonderful brief essay, "Women Dancing."

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Wall in the Windshield

A Morristown alley, a brick-and-mortar relic and a new automobile -- perfect together.

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After Hours

An auto repair shop takes on a Raymond Chandler aura under glancing headlights.

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The Stride of Pride

The royal road to the unconscious? Not quite, but a certain old-fashioned dignity, middle-class grandeur, Hollywood's red carpet transposed to a minor key on a quiet side street in Montclair...

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V

The haphazard leftovers of urban planning, or the lack of it. But at least it's green.

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More From the Doctor's Office

Strange things you see while waiting in the examining room.

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The Dummy Doc

I don't mean this cute little kid, and I'm not casting aspersions on our praiseworthy Top Docs, either. But click and I think you will agree with my characterization.

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Yella Lennuf

It may seem I'm speaking in tongues, but sadly  I'm simply succumbing to sophomoric silliness (and my.soft spot for same starting sounds, aka alliteration).

Yesterday's plain sight was Funnel Alley. Reverse that and you have today's Plain Sight.

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Mansion of Meows

Jonathan Rosenberg made millions in the first dotcom boom and cashed out to build a heaven-on-earth for seriously ill cats. more

Funnel Alley

How many shapes do alleys come in? Has there ever been one exactly like this?

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Fallen Wicker

A moment of silence for a piece of summer furniture--dashed, wet and alone, out of sorts and out of season. I'm getting misty-eyed. Or is that the rain?

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Greek Taverna

Looking Inside Out

If the sign looks like this, you haven't lost, you've won. Buon appetito!

click "read the rest of this post" to see full picture.

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Slideshow: Early Birds at the Polls

At 6:30 am yesterday in Montclair, the line at St. Luke's Episcopal Church was already spilling out the door. It was morning in America, literally and figuratively.

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Fall At My Feet

Running to my car in the rain, fumbling momentarily for my keys, I was struck by the photographic equivalent of "It's the economy, stupid."

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At the Dentist

I got into the chair and...what is that woman doing there?

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Found Art on a Flatbed

On a quick run to the drugstore, I left my thoroughbred Canon 40D at home, thinking, What are the odds of finding something on this route I've driven a million times? Of course, you know the answer.

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Stamna

Slideshow: Squirmin' Furballs!

I recently read that John McCain ties his neckwear with a Windsor knot while Obama uses the slimmer four-in-hand. At Tabby's Place, the cat sanctuary in Ringoes, I came across this literal four in hand, who were quite a handful.

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Autumn in Hunterdon 2

A country road on a spangling blue sky day.

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Autumn in Hunterdon

Earlier this week, I took the scenic route back to our office in Morristown after reporting the Tabby's Place story in Ringoes. This picture was taken about two miles west of Sergeantsville.

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Coming Attractions: Tabby's Place

In December we will present our first PET ISSUE. One of the stories is about a man who made a fortune in the first dotcom boom and then cashed out in order to devote his life to saving seriously ill and injured cats from euthanasia.

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Tent Show

Metal-framed, arch-shaped storage tents are becoming more common, but to me there is still something exotic and mysterious about them. They have an almost Christo meets Joe Sixpack quality.

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Crowded Intersection, No Traffic

I've always had a thing for corners. This one, in Montclair, is one of the best I've seen in awhile.

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Prayers Are With You

On the bulletin board, behind a coat rack, at a company in Cedar Knolls, Morris County.

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I Could Have Kicked Myself...

for leaving my camera at home during a quick stop at my mechanic's place in Caldwell to drop off my car. All I had with me was my brand new iPhone.

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In the Valley of the Alley

Some pictures I take I know why I like. Some I can only hazard a guess. This is one of those.

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Dept. of Deja Vu: Station Identification

I was interviewed at a New Jersey radio station earlier this month, and it brought back memories of my days (make that nights, late nights) hosting a jazz show on WBUR-FM, the Boston University NPR affiliate, when I was in college.

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