Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kids These Days

Walking by this playground the other day in West Chelsea, I noticed that the tops of the structures were capped in the likes of our city's own Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.

It really made me stop and appreciate how sometimes the simplest things, with just a little bit of thought, really work. There are probably thousands of these ugly steel primary colored play structures churned out (from China?!) and placed in playgrounds throughout the nation, but the fact that someone thought to personalize it to OUR city is great... Taking New York's icons and simplifying them into a recognizable, approachable, and NON-CHEESY way is not easy.

I found that I was not the first to notice/appreciate... The NY Times wrote about another innovative playground although that scheme seemed a bit excessive with it being "based on child-development theories that children need to engage in social and fantasy play… envision[ing] groups of children collaborating... [on] loading containers with sand, hoisting them up with pulleys and then lowering them down to wagons waiting to be wheeled off to another part of the park.”

Are kids these days so much more sophisticated that they can't be bothered with sandboxes and monkey bars?! Speaking of... I wonder if any kid has ever climbed to the top and made a reference to the classic film featuring that famous simian. Or maybe that would just be waaaaaay uncool.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Absolut Machines

"A giant kinetic sculpture that composes music based on input from website visitors. Known as the Absolut Quartet, the musical machine is the creation of engineer-designers Dan Paluska and Jeff Lieberman and is part of Absolut Machines, a global technology project sponsored by the spirits company that asks, "In an Absolut world, would machines be creative?"

The Absolut Quartet's three-minute songs are not only surprisingly soulful but also visually stunning. When a chord is played, the rubber balls fly almost six feet into the air before hitting the marimba keys, making one suspect a squad of tiny, highly-skilled jugglers with meticulous timing lurking beneath. Other components include a series of wineglasses played by little robotic fingers and an array of robotic percussive instruments."

This is around the corner from my apartment. It's times like this when I love my neighborhood.

186 Orchard St.
Installation ends April 30

Saturday, March 01, 2008

My students graduated high school...

One of my former students from Miyazu High School sent me an email from her phone with a couple of photos telling me they graduated...

"Hi Laurie!!
We graduated yesterday!!!
But I can't believe that."

I'm a little misty eyed...
It's off to college for most of them! Ganbatte!!!