Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Watergraafsmeer:

Watergraafsmeer is a decent sized polder, located just a quick cycle south from the Indische Buurt, that was reclaimed from the water in 1629. Formerly located in the 'countryside' and stuffed-full with oversized mansions owned by Amsterdam's gentry; these days the city has swelled around the former collection of weekend-retreats, housing the city's young-and-hip families (and their older counterparts), gentrified houses, plenty of cafés, and one of the most stunning fountains in Amsterdam–especially when viewed at night. One mansion from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries remains in Watergraafsmeer; the lovely Huize Frankendael–perfect for dinner, or lunch, for two. I can't wait to lunch on their terrace, on a (soon to come) sunny spring day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spring, please come soon:

The sun becomes brighter everyday. The birds are beginning to sing their songs and the cloudy skies are giving way to blue. The sudden burst of sun this weekend brought a delight to my sun-staved soul; my balcony practically invited the reading of (quite) a few new magazines, among them Purple. I can easily spend all afternoon, like yesterday and today, lost within the pages of editorial content; the images, the articles, the graphics–ah, love. Outside though, in the real world beyond the pages, the trees are still barren, lacking any leaves, and lacking any sign of life–or, at least, any sign of new buds. The winter sun continues growing longer each day, and the shadows are shortening–silhouettes become ever more detailed and defined. Winter is on its way out, and I'm ready for it to be gone. For now, I'll stay here in the Indische Buurt, waiting for the clouds to depart, the sun to return fully, and the city to be bursting full, with spring-time blooms and deciduous greenery. The seagulls are returning, looking out over the rooftops that surround my humble home. What a wonderful weekend this has been. Spring, please come soon.








Warren Neidich:

Warren Neidich is an American artist I found myself sitting next to on my flight from Amsterdam to Berlin. He was in this city on the North Sea, overseeing the final touches of his latest piece on Dutch soil. It's located on a tiny rooftop, just to the left of the Rijksmuseum–where Stadhouderskade and Ruysdaelkade intersect



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lamp posts and street lights:

All throughout Amsterdam are street lights, or street lamps–either way, hanging or fixed, the streets of Amsterdam are well lit at night. The juxtaposition between the two types of lighting–referring to that of the city center specially–often reflects if there is enough space for street lamps–if not, hanging lamps like those in the Jordaan seem to be the lighting of choice. When there is enough space for street lamps, the next question is… in what part of the city are we discussing? There are three types of areas in the city, as classified in accordance with Amsterdam's street lamps styles: parts of the city retaining their original street lamps, parts of the city that have recently been refurbished and bestowed with new 'old' street lamps, and, areas without nineteenth century 'original looking' gas-lamp-style street lamps. The last category is often very different throughout Amsterdam, and usually reflect the time period they we designed within.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Marijuana & Motorcycles:

Amsterdam's marijuana culture creates a very interesting sub-culture that's also very clearly present within the city, yet it is totally and completely embedded within it. It's there, but must be sought out. Diversity, tolerance, creativity; a free spirit mentality runs unbridled through Amsterdam's streets.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

John does Berlin:

Three weeks ago I journeyed to the German capital for some late-night adventures. The trip marked my third visit to Berlin, and–like my previous visit–this one did not disappoint. I have only ever visited the city during the dead of winter, which skews my perception if it, just a bit. I, until I visit in summer, will permanently have the city sizzled into my memory as being a frigid metropolis on the edge of Europe–where Scandinavia meets the Continent. Because of these mid-winter visits, I have never seen the city in full bloom. I've yet to lay eyes on its (supposedly) luscious vegetation, and never seen the masses clinking beers on its sunny terraces. One day soon enough, I imagine. What I did see though, were mountains and mountains of snow, and thermometers lacking any abundance of mercury. The German capital was frozen to the bone, to the tune of -12C. Lucky, the SoHo House kept me warm.






Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cold Amsterdam:

...just like that, the snow is gone! Last week Amsterdam was a frozen tundra. A white, but wet, sticky-mess of stunning beauty. It was magical. But also–quite literally–freezing.


Cycling hurt because, well, freezing wind hitting your face, is never fun. So for that early-to-mid February transition we just had, I was a proud taker of my almost always reliable, tram 3. We are the best of friends, me and 3. When I do take the tram, I'm offered 20 minutes to read. Or to zone out. Or to listen to music. Or to people watch. All options, are so nice. The alternative to not taking the tram, when the temperature is -4C, is cycling. And that means: frozen fingers.


Surprising yet welcomed; this week the birds began to chirp. Spring is near and you can really feel it in the air. Just like that, green is back; the sun stays up longer; the gloves, scarves, and hats on the city's cyclers, have come off. I am looking forward to the months ahead, when Amsterdam's canals come alive: the birds sing, the boaters boat, and the tourists begin their induced-state canal-side strolls. The city is coming alive; red wine is giving way to white.

I began 2012 just knowing that, with knowing how, this is my year. Life is grand–and the weather gives me great glee. Amsterdam–I have my eye on you now. You're no longer a stranger, and our roots run deep.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Leidseplein's fluid fountain:

The fountain within the city that continues its flow–day or night, rain or shine. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Excited to devour: Purple Fashion


Purple Fashion is one of my favorite magazines, and one of the best that Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum on Spui serves up. Each issue's graphic system is designed by M/M (Paris), and each issue–all two of them per year–comes packed with a plethora of the latest in-the-moment-visual-candy; often making use of at least four or five different paper types. And that makes turning each and every single page, oh-so-fun.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Surrealist Leidseplein:

Byzantium, by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Amsterdam: 1985-1991

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ice skaters, on Princengracht:

All of the Netherlands is literally freezing cold. And it's supposed to stay that way for the coming days/weeks. And many Nederlanders, are hoping for the beloved ice skating race: the Elfstedentocht.




Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Layers within the Jordaan:

The Jordaan, in addition to being one of the most layered neighborhoods of Amsterdam, is also one of the most joyous for me to immerse myself within. Bridges and canals snake their way over and through some of the loveliest assemblages of bricks and stones I've ever seen. The tiny canal houses of this area of the city, never cease to delight me with their layers of hidden–and often overlooked–riches. This particular view can be found here–using an ultra zoom-lens. Zoom-lenses enable me to uncover layers, of beautiful Amsterdam. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Making more books:


All my life I have really loved books, magazines–printed materials in general. I never wanted to 'borrow' them from the library; I wanted them to be mine. So I could rip them, doodle in them, sort through and organize them–over and over again. I imagine, then, it only made sense for me to move to Amsterdam to collaborate with and write for the world's best architecture and design magazines. Who knew that life would take me to where I am, right now? I have just finished making and assistant editing/visual editing a new book, which really makes me happy. Making a book really is a time consuming task; and this is not my first. But this book, is the first book, where I really feel my presence in the book. I even wrote the introduction. Hours and hours of pouring over pictures and selecting only those few who deserved to be printed in editions of thousands. Countless days spend reading each page again and again–ensuring every word is perfect–that every sentence says what it says. I've learned to savor the essence of turning the page. And the pages in this book–well, a few of them–can be ripped and pulled out; encouraged even, through the aid of perforated pages along its spine. And while most would rather choose not to rip pages out of their brand new book, the book's designer actually encourages it. It is really fun, to do great things in the world, with those whom you admire.