Tag Archives: subway

Context Matters


You shouldn’t be surprised at the results of these two similar experiences:

Scenario A

A flickr user seeking critique, uploads a photograph (above) by Henri Cartier-Bresson, “father of modern photojournalism”. The criticism received was harsh and the photo got deleted from the DeleteMe! photo pool.

Scenario B

A world class violinist, Joshua Bell, plays music on his Stradivarius in the Metro system. After 43 minutes of playing, few notice and he has made $32.17.

A senior curator, Mark Leithauser, at the National Gallery, explains how this happens:

“Let’s say I took one of our more abstract masterpieces, say an Ellsworth Kelly, and removed it from its frame, marched it down the 52 steps that people walk up to get to the National Gallery, past the giant columns, and brought it into a restaurant. It’s a $5 million painting. And it’s one of those restaurants where there are pieces of original art for sale, by some industrious kids from the Corcoran School, and I hang that Kelly on the wall with a price tag of $150. No one is going to notice it. An art curator might look up and say: ‘Hey, that looks a little like an Ellsworth Kelly. Please pass the salt.'”

Leithauser’s point is that we shouldn’t be too ready to label the Metro passersby unsophisticated boobs. Context matters.

People rely on signalling to provide context. If it’s at the Met or Lincoln Center, it must be good. Similarly, if they have a Stanford or Harvard MBA, they must be qualified. Signalling makes sense in a complex world where nobody can be the master of everything. With specialization, we may be good at what our job requires, but we outsource reputation/credibility to 3rd party indicators (such as prestigious museums, universities, award shows, etc.).

Follow Us Vocab

An ad spotted on the subway for Luna Park:

Luna Park Subway Ad

The ad says “Follow Us” whereas each site offers different vocab for interaction:

  • Facebook – Like (to follow) company pages / Share posts & links
  • Twitter – Follow profiles / ReTweet tweets
  • YouTube – Subscribe to channels / Watch videos
  • Flickr – Add contacts / Tag photos
  • Foursquare – Follow brands / Check-in to venues

Walkabout NYC – May 2011

Inspired by Danny Choo‘s long running A Week in Tokyo series (possible NSFW link), I want to post an odd assortment of photos taken around NYC in the month of May. Instead of one off twitpics, a series of unrelated NYC photos makes for good juxtaposition.

NYC Subway Ad

Dorky yet amusing.

Kalbi from Shilla Ktown

You can never have too much Kalbi.

Vintage Bowling Set

I don’t remember what UWS furniture store this came from.

Red Mango Fulton St Grand Opening

More pay by the ounce yogurt shops is a good thing. The white peach yogurt I got was a bit too runny

Soul Daddy sauces

South St Seaport area – Soul Daddy of American’s Next Great Restaurant fame

Xiao Long Bao sauce stacks

So great, so far away. Nan Xiang Dumpling House in Flushing

Shaved Ice topped with Condensed Milk

As you can tell, I’m never one to shy away from blanket generalizations! Condensed milk goes great with everything! So does tapioca pearls, aloe vera, and bacon (though not necessarily all in the same dish)

Also in Flushing, at Ice Fire Land

Uniqlo Captain Jack Sparrow Shirt

The Disney hype machine is building up for the latest Pirate’s movie. This shirt was spotted at Uniqlo

Goomba hats

From the Nintendo World store, goomba merch

Bowser backpack

You guessed it, from the Nintendo World store. I’d buy this, but $50 is too much for a novelty backpack

TSL3 Afterparty

From the TSL3 afterparty, you can see Thorzain in the background with the adidas three stripes garb

Brown Butter with Candied Bacon on Brioche Cookie

Coolhaus in NYC. That is one seriously heavy dessert

Monopoly Graffiti

Representing the streets of NYC

Chelsea Market exit

The Chelsea Market is a great example of repurposing old buildings (but this isn’t new news)

Whole Foods - Columbus Circle

Looking down at the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center