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Friday, June 30, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 7


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT

This happy cat loved lying down on a light meant to brighten the entryway to a shopkeeper’s wares.

I was afraid he was getting overheated, so I crouched down to stroke him.

He ran off, circled back, looked me in the eye and made enough yowls and trills and sounds to let me know I was getting cat cussed out.

When I backed off, he danced around the light till he found just the right spot.


Settled down, he looked like an aging actor lit by a backstage makeup mirror.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 6


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT

What beautiful white whiskers and blaze on this wonderful boy – a natural model who framed himself perfectly for this portrait.


Bursa, a city of 2.3 million, has modern fixed rail transit and buses. 

The old quarters are nicely linked and you could spend a long weekend in them without ever mingling with the modern metropolis.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 5


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT

If I had a dollar for every cat I stopped to pet and talk to, I could buy a comfortable house in Bursa’s historic district.


During Ramazan, in the beautiful late spring, you can get a 3 star, very well-located hotel room – lavish rooftop breakfast and taxes included – for 120 Turkish Lira – less than $35 USD.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 4


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT

With a face and expression like this, is there any wonder why Kedis (cats) have captivated the hearts of Turks?


Bursa’s 14th-century Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) features Seljuk-style arches and 20 domes.

Monday, June 26, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 3


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT


This black kitten staked out a safe and cool place to nap next to the bustling market shops.


Bursa is nicknamed "Yeşil Bursa" (Green Bursa), owing to its many parks and trees, as well as its dramatic mountain backdrop. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 2


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT


Cats line up at 7 p.m. closing time of the markets, hoping shopkeepers have some snacks for them before they head home.


Bursa is known for its mosques and historical sites from the early Ottoman Empire. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

TURKEY LOVES ITS CATS -- 1


THE KEDI OF BURSA'S COVERED MARKET DISTRICT

This sweetheart took up residence on a stool outside of a watchmaker's shop.

Bursa is a large city in northwest Turkey, lying in the foothills of roughly 2,500m-high Mount Uludağ near the Sea of Marmara.

Friday, June 23, 2017

JUAN MULLERAT PRESENTS COMPLETE DISTRICTS CONCEPT TO


SOUTH FLORIDA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

PlusUrbia’s Juan Mullerat presented “Complete Districts – a New Placemaking Practice” to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s Planning Technical Advisory Committee. SFRTA is the agency that operates Tri-Rail.

The concept focuses on a network of clean, safe, but unique streets that together create a Complete District. Simply put, cities are a balance between public and private land, entities, enterprises and services. This balance is symbiotic where all elements are part of a system and they depend on each other to function. It is only when all are well-tuned and calibrated that they make great places.

The concept of Complete Districts creates this balanced equation by taking a holistic approach that couples the public with the private realms. It was conceived and formulated by PlusUrbia Design’s team while working through workshops and design exercises for a number of Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) and award-winning District Revitalization projects that created compact, mixed-use, vibrant districts.


For more information on Complete Districts, please visit:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ARA GÜLER - 5

KAFE ARA


From Lonely Planet:

This casual cafe occupies a converted garage in a lane opposite the Galatasaray Lycée and is named after legendary local photographer Ara Guler, whose photographs of the city adorn the walls. 

It serves an array of well-priced salads, sandwiches and Turkish comfort food. 

Enjoying Sunday brunch (₺35) at one of the lane tables is particularly pleasant. 

No alcohol.


http://www.araguler.com.tr/

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ARA GÜLER -- 4

THE EYE OF ISTANBUL: Documentary Film


THE EYE OF ISTANBUL tells the story of Ara Guler, the legendary Armenian-Turkish photographer, through the culmination of his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul.

The documentary follows a non-linear narrative, which explores the artistic process and impulses of this great master.

Ara’s curiosity, resourcefulness and fearlessness are revealed through a series of stories in the film.

At 87 years old, Ara is a complex and unforgettable character; he is still sharp, irreverent, funny and philosophical.

Although he is mostly recognized for his black and white photographs of Istanbul, he has enjoyed an international career, which has spanned over sixty years and has generated more than 1 million photographs.


A student and a follower of Henri-Cartier Bresson, Ara’s mastery lies in capturing the stories and interactions among people at the right moment in history.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ARA GÜLER -- 3

PHOTOJOURNALIST



Though I have seen him quoted as saying he's not a photojournalist or artist -- he's an historian with a camera -- Ara Guler is arguably the greatest photojournalist of the 20th century.

And he continue to document his beloved Istanbul, well into the 21st century, well into his 80s.

When I found out there's a book on him, I couldn't want to order it.

Amazon screwed up the first delivery. Hoping the second order arrives before the weekend.

Here's a mini blurb on the book:

Photojournalist, a book by Nezih Tavlas, provides a compelling and in-depth look into the life of Ara Guler who is regarded as one of the most accomplished documentary photographers of the 20th century and the pioneer of photojournalism in Turkey.
http://photojournalistaraguler.com/

Monday, June 19, 2017

ARA GÜLER - 2

I DON'T HAVE HEROES, BUT I MET AN IDOL



Yesterday's post introduced the reader to Ara Guler, the 88-year-old Turkish Armenian photographer belovedly known as the Eye of Istanbul.

His understanding of humanity, captured in black and white film -- as well so some color and moving images -- is unmatched.

He is, without question, the greatest living photographer on earth.

Burdened with a heavy, but well worth it hardback edition of his photos of trams, I was heading down Istlikal Caddesi for another night of roaming the backstreets of Beyoğlu.

I do my own photography -- digital, color, never improved with PhotoShop -- of Istanbul's constantly changing streets.

I was near Galatasaray, when I decided to stop into a cafe to get some tea, or perhaps limonata, for the privilege of using a nice clean restroom before heading out for that golden light.

I sat down, ordered and next to me, was an octogenarian, bald, bearded man who looked a lot like an older version of the legendary historian with a camera who I idolize.

Knowing Guler had opened Time-Life's branch in Turkey in the late 50s, I figured he must know some English.

My phrasebook Turkish is just not adequate.

So I took a sip of Çay, took out the fine bound book I'd purchased hours earlier, and told Guler that I thought he was an artist.

A bit hearing impaired, he leaned forward to ask me to speak up.

Thankfully, he (1) was actually Guler and not a look alike, (2) does speak English and (3) didn't run me off for imposing on him.

I scooted over to the table -- clearly, he was having a bottled water and unwinding from a day in his nearby studio before meeting friends -- and chatted a bit.

He asked me what I thought of Istanbul.

I said it is one of my favorite cities on earth, but I feel it is getting too modern too rapidly.

He observed that it has to find room for 20 million people.

I agreed, but I said not at the expense of an old neighborhood getting sacked in return for high rise tomb stones.

He nodded.

I told him no artist in any medium captures and understands humanity better than him.

He appreciated it.

I handed over my book.

He studied each image.

Many looked to be about a half century old.

He told the story of some of them.

His aged hands glided over the pages, as if he was still looking for some imperfection, some magical angle of light, some way of doing even more brilliant story telling with his still images.

Two men arrived. Much younger than him, but not college age.  Contemporaries? Protegees?, or simply neighbors or friends?

I didn't want to over impose. We'd chatted quite a bit about light -- how a photographer's eye for it is 100 times more important than any fancy camera body, zoom lens, filter, etc.

We also talked about humanity. How humanely portraying people in pictures is important on dozens of levels.

From a pure artistic standpoint, introducing humanity into pictures is one thousand times more useful than the most advanced photo editing software -- we agreed.

Getting ready to pay for me tea and limonata -- I ordered both -- and let the great photojournalist get on with his life, I bashfully asked him if he would sign the book that I had purchased at a book fair part of a Ramazan carnival earlier.

His told me he know I wasn't some Ebay profiteer, pretending to befriend him so I could up the value of a book with the autograph of a famous person.

He lovingly inscribed the book.

Till the end of the trip, on the flight and on the taxi ride home, I clutched the signed Guler book like it was more important than my passport.

Classic Ara Guler photo of trams in Beyoğlu, 1960 -- four years before I was born.

http://photojournalistaraguler.com/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

ARA GÜLER

THE EYE OF ISTANBUL


As a photographer, I don't know when I first discovered the black and white images of Turkish photographer Ara Guler.

His mastery of light haunted me, in a good way, from the first time I looked at his images of Old Istanbul, often in the old Armenian neighborhoods now long lost to development.

My first time in Istanbul, I sought out galleries with his images and came how with a few modern books of his work.

On my very recent trip, I bought so much of his work that I knew it wouldn't fit in the suitcase.

So I went to a shipping agent and spent about 300 Turkish Lira to ship his stuff home.

After that, I vowed to put the buying on hold for my last few days in the city.

Then I went to explore a hotel's wheelchair access, near Taksim Square.

As headed toward Taksim Gezi Park, beyond the square, I noticed a carnival of sorts set up.

As is common for Ramazan in Turkey, most public squares set up large areas for dinners, shows and activities for the sundown breaking of the long day's fast.

A paved area next to Gezi had a carnival of crafts, food and antiques set up.

Try as I might, I was drawn to a row of book sellers.

One had tons of photography books.

Were I a wealthy man, I would have bought out the whole tent and sent it home in trunks.

As I am not, I looked for a special Guler book.

One of trams caught my attention.

It was especially poignant, as the nostalgic tram that goes from Taksim to Tunel along Istiklal Caddesi had been ripped out and taken away since my last visit.

Orhan Pamuk often writes of the Tramway through old Pera.

I settled on the book, haggled...paid way less than the opening price but probably more than I should have.

Worse yet, it is a hard back. Meaning my book bag, already stuffed with a sweater and thousands of dollars worth of high end Nikon lenses, would feel like an army back pack.

But hours later, near sundown, my purchase would pay off.

Istanbul Trams, trough Ara Güler's Eyes, is the translated title of the book of photography

link to great documentary about Guler

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PLUS URBIA'S JUAN MULLERAT NOMINATED FOR BEST OF MIAMI RECOGNITION TWICE

Those who commit words to paper, then bring them to life


Last Saturday, I shared the first of two Miami Today Best of Miami profiles of Juan Mullerat of PlusUrbia Design. Today, the text from the second honor in the prestigious business and government coverage weekly newspaper:

Also named as one of best in planning our future category is Juan Mullerat, founder of PlusUrbia Design, a boutique urban design and land use planning studio based in Coconut Grove.

Mr. Mullerat was nominated by Marta Viciedo of Urban Impact Lab for his vision for the community and his company’s progressive planning for booming areas like the Wynwood Arts District. 

Mr. Mullerat was awarded the 2013 Urban Designer of the Year by the Miami Chapter of The American Institute of Architects.

This year, PlusUrbia’s Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD) won the National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning from the American Planning Association. 

The City of Miami partnered with PlusUrbia and Akerman law firm to develop a plan to transform Wynwood into a progressive arts community with walkable streets, transit corridors and green space.

The Wynwood Business Improvement District hired PlusUrbia to create guidelines, incentives and zoning changes that became the NRD. 

The plan spurred more residential development, particularly small, affordable apartments and live-work units that appeal to millennials.

Friday, June 16, 2017

LITTLE HAVANA MUSEUM COMING TO CALLE8

THANK YOU TO BILL FULLER AND MARTIN PINILLA II OF BARLINGTON GROUP


Miami urban developer Barlington Group is working with the HistoryMiami Museum to build the 1,200-square-foot project at 1637 SW Eighth St., which is the current home of Futurama art gallery.
The museum, free to the public, is expected to open this winter and feature artifacts and photos from HistoryMiami to highlight the neighborhood’s cultural and political significance. Black-and-white images show people dining at Versailles Restaurant in the 1980s; classic cars rolling down Calle Ocho along the famous Tower Theater; and folks ordering coffee from a window counter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

NOTHING LIKE TURKISH HOSPITALITY


Snacking on homemade, special for Ramazan Tahini Helva.

Three different friends in Istanbul wrapped some for my trip home last weekend.

A longtime friend, fairly new acquaintance and brand new pal all gave me the gift of good food.

That is the true Muslim faith -- sharing, caring, hosting, observing centuries-old customs peacefully and warmly.

Please, America, do not confuse crazy/angry people who justify their bloodshed with some fringe tenant of religion....with the 99.9 percent of folks who just happen to call their god Allah.

With a delicious mouthful of helva, I feel the warmth of my dear friends in Turkey.

Thank you, my brothers who happen to be Muslim, for hosting a weary traveler and filling him with a lifetime of warmth, fellowship and great stories.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY BELOVED WIFE HEIDI

29 AND COUNTING WITH THE MOST WONDERFUL PARTNER ON EARTH

There are millions of reasons I adore you.

Your love of travel and sense of humor rank right up there.


This picture was taken on the hottest Christmas Day on record in New Orleans.

In the French Quarter.

With a strange guy dressed in Darth Vader and Saints football team gear.

By the way, the guy was doing interpretive dance to George Michael songs, in tribute to the artist who passed away that morning.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BARRIO SANTA ANA


PANAMA CITY, PANAMA

Donde esta Vernon Ramos

Where is Vernon Ramos?

Google this.

It's not a pretty story.

It smacks of corruption and far worse

http://www.thepanamanews.com/2015/11/three-years-later-inquiries-continue-in-ramos-disappearance/


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

GENERAL LAUNDRY CLEANERS & DRYERS

NEW ORLEANS

THREATENED BY THE WRECKING BALL

READ ABOUT IT IN NOLA.COM


An ornate example of New Orleans' early 20th century architectural history could go under a jackhammer if its current owners get their way.
The dilapidated building, its cracked facade thick with ferns and vines, has moldered near the corner of St. Peter and North Rocheblave streets for decades. Its steel insides have long been deteriorating.
But terra cotta florets above the second story windows still grasp a bit of their viridescent sheen. Fluted yellow columns bracketing the two main doors appear plumb. And blue san-serif font announcing "General Laundry Cleaners & Dyers" retains its authoritativeness.

It is a work of Art Deco flourish rarely paralleled in the American South. But it is also taking space away from a functioning business that could use that extra square footage to improve or expand operations. In short, the General Laundry Building exemplifies the recurring confluence of preservation and economic development in an old city on the rise. 



Monday, June 5, 2017

NOMA

The five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA is one of the most important sculpture installations in the United States, with over 60 sculptures situated on a beautifully landscaped site amongst meandering footpaths, reflecting lagoons, Spanish moss-laden 200-year-old live oaks, mature pines, magnolias, camellias, and pedestrian bridges.

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), New Orleans’ oldest fine arts institution, opened in 1911 with only 9 works of art. Today, the museum hosts an impressive permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects.