cityscape

Posted by Ellen

Visitors enjoy their reflections in the bean, in downtown Chicago's Millennium Park, near the waterfront. The couple pictured here can also be seen at lower right in the picture below, when they were first approaching the shiny thing and had not yet found themselves in it. But they're already there, if you look closely, along with the skyscrapers in the background and an ice skating rink in the middle distance.

Posted by Ellen

The Washington Post Online posted this photo the other day, which features our own Ted Stein (in cammy) organizing the Occupy D.C.'s very first OccuPie feast. Supporters contributed 15 home-baked pies, which, when sliced very, very, very thin, fed the multitude. Occupy D.C. was that day occupying the vacant building in the background here, which was once a homeless shelter and later Franklin School. Soon after OccuPie, however, the occupiers were evicted and had to regroup out of doors.

Posted by Ellen

At least two ornamental cherry trees in our neighborhood have broken out in blooms this month, somehow mistaking November for April. As should be evident in this scene on Lombard Street, all the other trees have a much better grip on seasonal propriety.

Posted by Ellen

This is something new for Philadelphia, and perhaps for the American urban scene in general: a permanent concrete ping pong table, with paddles and balls stored underneath, recently installed in the grass strip alongside Benjamin Franklin Parkway, about halfway between city hall and the art museum.

Posted by Ellen

I don't know where Lenfest Plaza is in Philadelphia, but I gather that this airplane sculpture by Jordan Griska has been installed there recently, along with some Oldenburg paintbrushes. Guess I have to check it out.

Posted by Ellen

That's the Eiffel Tower under all that sky, late in the afternoon of October 25, 2011.

Posted by Ellen

A couple of weeks ago, on Philly Photo Day, Ashley Cabrera shot this scene of a train headed eastward above Market Street in West Philly. Some of the Love Letter rooftop murals can be glimpsed off to the right, and of course that's the Center City skyline straight ahead.

Posted by Ellen

Friday was the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center's second annual Philly Photo Day. Anyone can submit a digital file for a photo taken anywhere in the city during the twenty-four-hour period of October 28; the Photo Arts Center prints the pictures and offers them for sale at a fund-raising gala. My submission was this snapshot from the checkout line at an ABC store, where Philadelphians were getting ready for the weekend.

Posted by Ellen

Way back behind the beachside hotels and the downtown apartment towers, Rio's notorious favelas cling to the mountainside. The people who live up there–who have no other place to live–have long endured every kind of danger and distress, but they are currently wrestling with a new dimension of difficulty: Rio's real estate boom is spreading all the way back and up to the slopes the moradors da favela have staked out for their dwellings.

The real estate developers moving into the favelas have government backing,  as Brazil attempts to clean up the city in preparation for the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. The people being displaced don't exactly own the land their shanties are built on, so they aren't cashing in on the redevelopment. And they have nowhere else to go.

Once the favela structures are razed, and the sewer and water and power lines are extended up the mountainside, the new homes and businesses take full advantage of something the former residents long enjoyed for free: the view.