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  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:42 am on August 24, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Art Deco Chanin Building, Berenice Abbott, Bernice Abbot, , , Douglas Levere, Gobbledygook, Graffiti, , , Pentacle, steel eagles, , taxi driver, Taxicabs of New York City, , , Yashica   

    The Devil in the Details 

    Working most of your adult life in a cubicle is like being in sensory deprivation chamber. You start noticing more details. I took this series of pictures without a tripod, just walking around town with my long lens.

    Looking at the steel eagles on the Chrysler Building up close, it’s easy to imagine yourself a superhero, standing on it with a cape billowing behind you.

    It’s a little harder with the eagles’ less popular neighbors – flying hubcaps.

    The decorations of the beautiful Art Deco Chanin Building are so very Lovecraftian. Tentacles, pentacles, tentacles with pentacles.

    More tentacles and jellyfish on the copper parts.

    The fighting dragons. An allegory of retaliation or something?

    Minerva on the top of the Grand Central Terminal has a very modern look favored these days by Conde Nasties and the like. Must be cold up there.

    It’s pretty cool to see how cabbies order hot dogs without getting out of their Crown Victorias.

    I hate graffiti, and especially train graffiti. That said, I must acknowledge that an infinitesimally small percentage of graffiti tags is actually cool. Here’s one that caught my attention. It looks like instead of the usual gobbledygook and gang symbols, this tagger painted “NYC” in a manner highly reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. I still mind having it blocking my view, but I would not mind purchasing something like that on a scroll.


    Ad:
    These are my two favorite NYC photography books. “Drive by Shootings : Photographs by a New York Taxi Driver” is a collection of photographs by a taxi driver with a Yashica T4 from behind the wheel.

    “New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott’s New York” is a collection of photographs of New York originally taken by Bernice Abbot in the thirties, and then retaken with the same camera, lenses and at the same angles by Douglas Levere in the nineties.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:02 pm on February 26, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: (212) 297-6400, , 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station, , , , , , director marketing, Gannett, , Graffiti, , , New York Subways Advertising Co, , , Sci-fi Channel, Scientific American, sparse search results, Steven Spielberg, Television advertisement, , , War of the Worlds   

    “If You Paid Attention, You’d be Worried Too” or Finit Finis Finish Omnious Omnium Shmomnious 

    The very special 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station has some very strange advertisements posted in the decrepit old clock boxes. You know, the ones overhead, the ones to which nobody pays attention too because the clocks are usually way off?

    For some reason I thought that the ads that I’ve seen for a long time were cigarette ads. But recently I looked at them a little bit more carefully and realized that something was odd. The ads show a sunset over the forest and a flock of birds in the air. The caption says “Omnium Finis Imminet”. Huh. Hello conspiracy theories.

    Well, my crappy knowledge of Latin tells me that “omnium” means “all”, “finis” means “end” and “imminet” since it sounds just like “imminent” means “is coming”.

    Apparently graffiti with this nice apocalyptic message has been popping up in other places. On the other hand, this is not graffiti, is it? At the very best this is a well executed hack.

    Come Monday (well, if the end of the world is not going to happen before then) I am totally giving a call to Gannett Transit (formerly New York Subways Advertising Co) at (212) 297-6400 to figure out what’s up with this.

    Update.
    I called Gannett Transit just to be kicked to voicemail, but it looks like the ad is legit. I’ve seen a whole bunch in West 4th Station and comments are rolling in about TV spots too. As commenters pinted out this is probably a “guessing game” ad for the new War of the Worlds movie or some stupid Sci-fi Channel movie or series. Well, at least nobody seems to be paying attention to the ads. None of the people I asked were able to recall what it was about.

    Well, at least it seems that my humble blog ranks high in the very sparse search results for “omnium finis imminet”, “omnium finis imminent” and the other creative ways to spell this slogan, so hopefully I’ll gain some readers along the way.

    Now, if this were an ad for Darren Aronofsky’s Flicker, that would be way cool. But I am not even sure that he is filming it at all.

    Another update
    Wow, it looks like New York Times fact checkers are in hot water as the reporters totally pulled this out of their butts (or read on this in my blog as it was the top result on Google for a while) :

    “The advertisements portray a flock of birds against an angry red sky, with a single phrase: Omnium Finis Imminet, Latin for The End of All Things Is Near. The advertisements, for Steven Spielberg’s movie version of H. G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds,” cost about $50,000. The film is to open in July.”

    They did post a correction later on. Here’s the full ad from a recent Scientific American that my wife brought me today.

    Note the Photoshop lens flare and the horrible font. Looks like their art director is about as competent as their marketing director. The letter “T” is probably made to look like the Orange County Choppers dagger logo to capitalize on the popularity of that show.

    He heh, the show seems to have a stupid “X-Files” marries “Millennium” premise. The end of the world is approaching, and investigators are a physicist instead of Scully and a nun instead of Mulder. That’s some sexy and original stuff. Just get a bad 80s rock ballad for a theme song and all the geeks mourning Star Trek will flock to see this.

     
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