Sunday in New York and our first day of work, if you could call photographing NYC dogs and their owners in cool places work. Even if you aren’t animal lovers people keep reading because you won’t want to miss out on the places we went with these dogs…. shops/ stops/ parks/ skyscrapers/ cool neighbourhoods…. it really is a dog’s life.
To give you some context Fiona and I joke that our lives are wonderful cocktail of “shit and sparkle”. We spend half our lives creating glamorous articles, conferences and businesses and the other half with dogs. It’s a nice balance. For me it’s about keeping it real.
As many of you know Fiona is one of Australasia’s most accomplished photographers and I am a serial entrepreneur, we both love variety but above all else we are total doggie people. We like to think we aren’t those, hillbilly, feral, animal types just your slightly crazy, spoon them, kiss their heads and leave lipstick sort. We like our dogs sweet smelling and well behaved because we also love gorgeous interiors, mid century furniture and a lot of glass.
Anyway our first project while we are away is to photograph NYC dogs preferably with Kiwi owners so we can write about them both. It’s our intention to get these wonderfully talented Kiwi’s some exposure by featuring them in lifestyle magazines, but if it doesn’t happen no worries we can all have them hanging in our homes as a wonderful reminder of inspiring dollies, doggies and destinations.
So the day started with brunch at the Standard Grill which is part of the Standard Hotel the very trendy hotel situated in the Meat Packing district. It was so cute as our salt and pepper shakers on our table were two dogs kissing – a good sign.
The Standard is owned by Andre Balazs whose recently hooked up with Chelsea Handler and also owns Chateau Marmont in LA. This boy gets around having hotels around the world and also being Uma Thurman’s ex. Uma’s now pressing the flesh with ex Elle MacPherson baby daddy Arkie Busson. Keeping up? Uma and Arkie are now having a baby together a little Ukie, aren’t you pleased to know I read my NW.
Anyhoo The Standard is right by the Highline a cool inner-city urban park I’ve blogged about earlier. The floor to glass windows mean the hotel has a reputation for having guests who are a bit voyeuristic… unfortunately for us there was no action happening when we walked past Samantha was not in the house.
Anyway after a yummy brunch no carbs for me as I am still hoping to not be the big apple in the big apple we meet our first Korker – my name for a Kiwi New Yorker. Carrie reminds me of a modern day Tinkerbell which is appropriate because she is a performance artist / film maker who looks like a pixie princess. Petit and fabulous, Carrie arrives for our interview in total costume and makeup for her latest film which has just shown at Sundance craddling her new baby Cleopatra (Cleo for short) the 1 year old Manchester terrier Chihuahua cross she has just rescued five weeks ago. We are doing a full interview on Carrie for the media so we will be sure to post that when finished.
Carrie and Cleo made wonderful subjects both gorgeous, nice, accommodating and the camera loves them, we photographed them both on The Highline and then we headed downtown to Battery Park to get a shot of Cleo with the Statue of Liberty and also the Wall Street Bull, her tiny little body all 3kgs of her compared to the large bull made an interesting picture.
We have included some basic shots unfortunately we can’t release the final magazine quality ones until they are published. Suffice to say they are lickable.
Battery Park is Downtown which is also 911 Territory, so we checked out the monument and the gaping hole where the world tradecentre was. Sombering stuff. A taxi ride from the MeatPacking District to Downtown is about $20.00. The taxis don’t blink an eye picking up three women, one in 18th century costume and a dog.
Carrie and Cleo live in the very gritty grungy but uber cool Lower East Side which is still slightly dangerous as there are projects in the suburbs and along with that comes the drugs and the crime. The increasing property prices will see the pimps get pushed out but where to next no-one knows.
The Lower East Side is known as LES for short it’s the total opposite of the old money Upper East and West Sides, this is cool NYC. Carrie and Cleo’s home borders Alphabet City and I can’t help but hum Prince or whatever symbol he’s now known as song Alphabet Street. I know I am officially a dork but this dork is going down to Alphabet Street to talk real sexy from her head to her feet. Sing along now. http://vodpod.com/watch/1641760-prince-alphabet-street
We head to LES to photograph Cleo on a traditional New York stoop aka doorstep and also to meet Carrie’s next door neighbour another Korker Michelle Mcvicar. It’s not just NZ that’s a village. Michelle by day is a skin/ plastic surgeon consultant the rest of the time she runs The NYC Pitbull Rescue. We will also be doing a full feature interview on her and her work as it is totally inspiring stuff. Here’s Toby, Michelle’s own rescue pitbull looking very handsome.
People’s perceptions of NYC dogs are they are totally pampered and most are but interestingly most are also rescue dogs. It’s considered a total no/no to spend money on purebreds when you can rescue a life. In the States puppy farming of purebreds by dodgy breeders mean you are as likely to find a pure on deathrow as you are a bitzer.
Michelle and Toby take us on a tour of the LES. On our way we take the shot to the left on the entrance way to Keanu Reeves and Iggy Pop’s building. She points out the local very cool and dog friendly Esperanto Cafe on 9th and Alphabet C which specialises in Cuban music and food. Michelle’s a music lover and ex producer and that’s what bought her to NYC so she knows where to go for good music, beats and eats.
A stroll through Thompkin Square Park see’s us check out the muscle men of the LES. Michelle explains it is the Venice Beach of New York where the hard men of the streets gather to pump iron and play ball. Fascinating and ridiculous and a funny way to spend some time. We say goodbye after taking some amazing shots of Toby, who I have to say is possibly the most well behaved dog I have ever met or at least to quote Flight of the Conchords “in the top five in the street depending on the street” and that’s saying something as I’ve met a lot.
Next stop, we are off to meet two glamorous blondes, Christine the art director with hair down her back and Charlie her golden Labrador. Both are gorgeous on the inside and out. We met them at Christine’s suggestion at Tudor City a very interesting part of NYC which gets its name from the architecture which was built in the 1920s and at the time was the first residential apartment area in the world. This area is very pretty and while we are there a movie shoot is in process.
Christine is an art director so knows the importance of a great location and she chose well. Tudor City affords a spectacular view of the UN building, Hi Helen and also up to Grand Central Station with the Chrysler building in the background. Gorgeous.
Charlie rivalled Toby for top dog, posing beautifully for all his shots. We finish at Tudor City and make our way to Grand Central Station. OMG! Breathtaking space. Fiona was last in NYC 20 years ago and back then it was a hole filled with bums and rubbish and stinking of wees.
Through a clever gentrification plan the homeless were employed to make the space beautiful and today it is gorgeous. When you go make sure to check out the Apple Store, Oyster Bar and Whisper Wall. The wall gets it name because the arches in the architecture allow you to stand at one end of the building and whisper into the corner to be heard all the way down the other end. Not sure how it works but it does.
We say goodbye to Charlie and Christine but not before we get the shot of the day and ironically the last one of Charlie in front of an iconic yellow cab. Money shot. Sorry we can only show you the duds but wait until you see them OMG!
Our final stop was to meet Yasmine the 6’2 titan haired supermodel and her two dogs Oscar and Felix. The trio live in the Theatre District where they also own a fabulous restaurant Un Deux Tois, named because of its location at 123 West 44th Street right opposite all the famous theatres. It was fitting then to photograph them in front of flashing lights and billboards advertising the shows.
We make our way to 5th Ave to get the quintessential double combo of cute dogs outside Tiffany’s. Yes I have died and gone to heaven. Dogs and Diamonds. Could life get any better?
What a day, being shown around NYC by animal loving locals… it was like we got our own very cool tour guides to the world’s greatest city. One of the best days of my life. Thanks to everyone involved.
5th Ave deserves a post all of it’s own so be sure to tune in. That one is going to be epic its retail mecca.
Sensory overload. As there is so much to see and write about it’s hard to get it all out, I’m also going to start doing a highlights of the day my fav places, people and pets.
Enjoy the pics. Remember these are the duds and definitely not Fiona’s best work they are untouched snaps, the money shots are embargoed until publication so sorry I’m being a photo tease.
Over and out still need to blog about ironically the first day of the publishing and bloggers conference. Apologies for the lack of humour its 1:30am! Some cute pics of Fiona below, it’s hard to get her out
from behind the camera, modest and talented that one!