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Thread: Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

  1. #16

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    im really shocked that the mcgraw hill building was done in 1930!! i always thought it could not be more than 20 or 30 years old! it just doesnt fit into the style of the 30s at all. Anyway i like the tower part of the Westin, its that orange bottom part that doesnt look right.

  2. #17

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    I agree. I don't like that part either.

  3. #18

    Default Westin to open in Times Square


    Times Square Makes Room For Eclectic Luxury Hotel

    By Elias Wolfberg
    October 16, 2002

    Even for the "new" Times Square, where McDonald's boasts exposed brick walls and what now passes for a peep show is a glassed-in, street-level TV studio, the new 863-room Westin New York opening today on 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue will almost certainly cause passersby to do a double-take.

    Some may think the $300-million hotel is the ugliest structure, others the most eclectic or just the funkiest new addition to an altered old neighborhood. Already, the New Yorker's architectural critic, Paul Goldberger, panned the luxury, 45-story hotel for making Times Square "vulgar in a whole new way."

    Its multicolored exterior and modernly minimalist interior, together with a cube-like section that hangs above the E-walk movie and shopping arcade complex, has inspired both supporters and detractors to say the Westin New York successfully blurs architecture and entertainment.

    "In this case, the market has asked for all this gaudy, eclectic stuff on 42nd Street," said Lynne B. Sagalyn, a professor of business administration at Columbia University, and the author of "Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon" (MIT Press). "Are they supposed to build a hotel like what you have on Park Avenue?"

    Certainly, the largest hotel to open in Times Square in nearly 20 years is unique. It has 8,000 different shapes and sizes of glass on its exterior, all in the hotel's blue and rust motif.

    A 40-story curved white line - which separates the aqua colors from the rust-like hues - runs the length of one facade and will light up at night - once the hotel officially opens - in different computer-controlled patterns. A huge spotlight on the roof will work in concert with the light patterns on the building to shoot into the sky.

    Inside, most rooms will cost between $299 and $399, and six suites at $1,500 a night feature elegant, minimalist touches such as slate bathrooms, two-headed showers and double- to king-sized beds.

    But what has several critics who have already reviewed the hotel up in arms is the hotel's departure from the staid and classically elegant - or at least old - architecture of neighboring large buildings.

    The renovated New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street, and the Milford Plaza Hotel, a half a block up from the Westin New York, are imposing, traditional Times Square buildings with classical features, and facades in mostly uniform white or beige. They differ markedly in flavor and tone from the Westin, whose designer, the Miami-based Arquitectonica, gained international fame after the TV series "Miami Vice" featured one of its buildings in its opening credits.

    The Milford Plaza was built during Times Square's original hotel boom in 1928 and was named the Hotel Lincoln at that time. It was built to attract what at the time was essentially the same crowd the Westin New York targets today - an upscale group of executives and upscale vacationers.

    Still, with rooms now starting at $109 and a clientele a pay grade or two below the corporate demographic of the Westin, the matronly Milford, with 1,300 rooms and suites, is publicly welcoming its eccentric new neighbor.

    "We appreciate the construction of a new and expensive hotel because it will help lift the area and improve Eighth Avenue," said Max Eisen, a spokesman for the Milford Plaza.

    Nevertheless, in a neighborhood with a quarter of all Manhattan's hotel rooms - about 15,000 rooms are available in Times Square - the Westin New York's occupancy will reach 75 percent to 85 percent by year end, said manager John Sweeney. John Fox, a senior vice president at PKF Consulting, which advises the hotel, said the average occupancy rate in Manhattan since January has been 74 percent.

    But Sweeney said he expects the Westin to outperform other city hotels because of its location near Broadway and the Javits Convention Center, and its international name recognition.

    Despite pot shots from critics, the Westin's opening is being watched closely because of its size and ambition, and for its unusual look. And in Times Square, with scores of names in large, multicolored lights, notoriety - throughout the ages - has always been a hard thing to come by.

    "We felt we really had to build something edgy in Times Square," Sweeney said. "And we think we have."

  4. #19

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    I read somewhere else a while back that it was opening the 18th, but I trust here too. *The sooner the better, I wanna see that beam!

  5. #20

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    A 40-story curved white line - which separates the aqua colors from the rust-like hues - runs the length of one facade and will light up at night - once the hotel officially opens - in different computer-controlled patterns. A huge spotlight on the roof will work in concert with the light patterns on the building to shoot into the sky.

    Maybe its not officialy open for business...

  6. #21

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    An average occupancy rate of 74 percent since January is not bad at all.
    NY still popular !

  7. #22

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    What a surprise.

  8. #23

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    Quote: from Fabb on 10:41 am on Oct. 17, 2002
    An average occupancy rate of 74 percent since January is not bad at all.
    NY still popular !
    I've had people tell me that it was hard to get a room in NY, which was surprising to me because I though vacancies were up. *Apparently the city is rebounding faster than anyone thought...

  9. #24
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    Saw the "grand opening" type lights swirling in the sky over Times Square last night from my apartment - assumed it was the opening of the Westin....?....

  10. #25

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    Here ther is an old article by Horsley about Arquitectonica's E-Walk. I guess this is a good bldg, good thinking of Times Square area of course. A bldg like Bear Sterns or Met Life really was not in the right place here. This is anice addition and a kind of 'fresh air' in NYC architecture. It's not elegant like Piano's NYT Tower but it has personality.

    By Carter B. Horsley

    One of the handsomest architectural shows in recent years was held at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum on Fifth Avenue at 91st Street.

    The exhibit highlighted the "Times Square" project of Arquitectonica, the flamboyant Miami-based architectural firm whose work is probably the most consistently sleek and interesting New Modernism of the past two decades. The project is actually on the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and not on Times Square, which is the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway.

    The project is the firm's first major commission in New York, although it was brought in as a design consultant to sculpt a rooftop for a east Midtown apartment project, Sterling Plaza, a few years ago.

    The new project, which is due to be completed in 1999, promises to be the wildest new development in decades in a city that has long forsaken innovative and exciting design. The frontage on 42nd Street is a melange of jumbled forms and large signage with a large, bent checkerboard motif as the main accent. The 47-story tower is boldly split vertically by a recessed gentle vertical arc that will emanate light between two very different facades, the western one blue glass with vertical panels and the eastern one gold glass with horizontal panels. The western side is a bit taller with a rakiskly angled roofline rising to the east. Renderings, like the one above, indicate that the building will emit a bright light upwards form the middle arc of the tower. Such nighttime illumination is exciting and since the main beam is directed upwards, at an angle, it may not be too annoying to neighbors in this overly political correct city. Of course, it may inspire other projects to mimic its lighthouse effects and turn New York into a better magical kingdom.

    The project is known as "E Walk" and is being developed by the Tishman Realty & Construction Company Coporation. It is a $300-million, hotel and entertainment complex that will contain more than 870,000 square feet that will include a 860-room, 45-story hotel and a 200,000 square foot base, designed by D'Agostino Izzo Quirk, with 13 movie theaters, The Museum Company and Broadway City, a virtual-realty entertainment venue.

    E Walk is the most ambitious component of the long delayed and very controversial redevelopment of the 42nd Street block between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, which is known as "The Deuce" and which originally contained many of the city's most famous theaters that, following the Depression and World War II, began movie theaters, mostly showing second- and third-run films on double bills. By the early 1960's, the street had deteriorated significantly and witnessed a proliferation of pornography stores and theaters and came to epitomize sleaze. The ambiance of the street was not attractive and at times dangerous and became a threat to the surrounding theater district. In 1981, the New York State Urban Development Corporation and New York City announced the state would use eminiment domain to condemn more than 50 properties on the street. Park Tower Realty and the Prudential Insurance Company won the right to develop four major office towers at the east end of the street and the bottom of Times Square. Their initial Post-Modern designs for their part of the project were not well received, although a second design was much jazzier and more modern. At the western end of the block, negotiations were entered with the Kennedy family, which owned the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, to develop a merchandise mart directly across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Bus Terminal. The Kennedys, however, eventually withdrew, and the office market plummeted and the entire project seemed hopelessly mired in lawsuits, controversy and a bad economy.

    The decision, however, of Disney to take over the old New Amsterdam Theater, widely considered the best on the block, and open an adjacent corner store, revitalized the redevelopment of the street. The original plan had as its goal not only cleaning up the street and restoring some of its theaters but also spurring new office construction on the West Side. The mammoth commitment of Park Tower Realty, headed by George Klein, and Prudential did have that effect and many new office towers sprung up, aided by new zoning, around Times Square. It was ironic that many critics of the redevelopment project continued to oppose it on the grounds that huge public subsidies were not necessary for it and they often cited the new buildings nearby as added argument, overlooking the fact that none of them would probably have proceeded had the developers not thought that a Rockefeller Center-like redevelopment at the most critical intersection was being undertaken by such powerhouses as Park Tower Realty and Prudential.

    The "new" Times Square has taken virtually everyone by surprise, both in its scope and quality. It is a mixed bag of buildings, but most are eclectic and far more interesting than the previous generation of office towers in the city by and large. Perhaps more interesting is the spectacular retail activity that has occurred that has made Times Square perhaps more vibrant than ever in its illustrious and often notorious history.

    Some "name" architects, such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, designed some of the new buildings, often with considerable flourish and panache, but individually there are no masterpieces.

    Arquitectonica, which is headed by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia, has become one of the leading architectural firms in this country in a relatively short amount of time and now is in much demand abroad, a reflection of the general ignorance and cowardice of most American developers and the lack of sophistication of many city planners.

    Arquitectonica came to prominence with several spectacular apartment buildings in the Miami area such as The Atlantis, shown, at the left, The Palace and The Imperial. All share a sleek and very bold sculptural massing and strong colors. More recent apartment projects such as the Grand Corniche in Miami Beach have multiple cut-out sections and very interesting compositions such as the San Gabriel Condominium in Lima, Peru, a wonderful exclamation point of a building with staggered red balconies, and the Nexus World in Fukuoka, Japan, that has an undulating facade of white, yellow and blue banding and multiple "smokestock" rooftop elements.

    The firm's two greatest projects, both shown in the exhibit, are the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Va., and the Banco de Credito del Peru Headquarters in Lima, Peru. The exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt includes many wonderful renderings and models. Other projects shown in the exhibit include the Shanghai Information Town and a marvelous soaring wing building at La Defense in Paris. Not shown are other important projects including Exchange Square in Manila, The Philippines, which bears a strong similarity to the design of E Walk, Jin Hui Plaza in Shanghai, and Pacific Plaza Towers in Fort Bonifacio, Manila, The Philippines, an apartment complex of undulating blue-glass facades.

  11. #26
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    MANHATTAN: HOTEL OPENS IN TIMES SQUARE The city has a new hotel in Times Square, a 45-story multicolored glass prism. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who attended yesterday's opening of the hotel, the Westin New York at Times Square, said the 863-room hotel was the largest to be built in the city in 17 years. On 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue — one block from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in the redeveloped Times Square — the $300 million hotel is owned by the Tishman Realty and Construction Company. Operated by Westin Hotels and Resorts, it has a nine-story atrium. Tishman estimates that the hotel, through the construction period and the first 20 years of operations, will generate more than $297 million in occupancy and sales taxes to the city and state. * (AP)

  12. #27

    Default Westin to open in Times Square

    From the ESB cam:

    no beam piercing the sky, unfortunately.

  13. #28

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    The 43rd Street entrance to the new Westin New York at Times Square Hotel.

    The lobby of the new Westin New York at Times Square Hotel.

    The reception area of the new Westin New York at Times Square Hotel.

  14. #29

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    October 20, 2002

    A Latin Jolt to the New York Skyline


    The new 45-story Westin Hotel at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street was designed by a Miami-based firm, Arquitectonica.

    The redevelopment of Times Square has finally produced a building worth talking about: the new Westin Hotel on Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets. And people are talking about it for a welcome reason. The Westin has raised a flag over the issue of taste. Translation: many people find it ugly. Hideous. The very embodiment of beauty's evil twin.

    Look up, people. This is New York. We live in one great ugly town. Not being too hung up on beauty is what makes life here possible, even thrilling. In exchange for surrendering refinement, we get a kind of urban poetry that is the envy of the world. Sometimes it takes outsiders to see it. Often, outsiders introduce new rhymes. The beauty resides, in some sense, in staying an outsider. The Westin is the consummate outsider's hotel.

    Developed and owned by Tishman Realty and Construction Company, the 800-room Westin is the first major New York hotel to open since the Four Seasons in 1993. The building is a sign — a bill-ding board, in Robert Venturi's phrase — and the sign says: Welcome to Nueve York. Latin American architecture is here! It is the first completed New York project by Arquitectonica, the Miami-based firm led by Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear.

    Mr. Fort-Brescia, who was born in Lima, Peru, and Ms. Spear were the first architects of the baby boom generation to win large-scale commissions. The Spear House in Miami, designed in 1977 with Rem Koolhaas, was one of the most photographed houses of the late 20th century. Influenced by the Mexican architect Luis Barragan, the design introduced the firm's carnivalesque vocabulary of crisp, brightly colored, geometric forms.

    Among the first of their large-scale commissions were three residential high-rises on Miami's Brickell Avenue that were instrumental in defining a new identity for the city. By then, Miami had largely ceased to be a city of the south. It had become a metropolis of the north, a magnet for people and capital from throughout Latin America. The influx of Cuban refugees had been superseded by waves of vibrant cosmopolitanism to which the Brickell Avenue buildings gave a strong public face.

    The Latin strain is moving farther north again. North Americans are long accustomed to it in music, theater, film, literature and dance. It has been a presence in New York architecture, too, but is seldom grasped as such. We have work by Latin American architects here, but not, thus far, an easily discernible Latin American architecture. This is changing.

    The city's shifting demographic is one reason our architecture seems destined to become increasingly Latinized in the years ahead. A more important reason stems from the exhaustion of the northern European version of the Western tradition. That linear, 19th-century view of history has fallen apart as a measure of urban architecture. Post-modernism, a movement that tried to extend that line beyond its natural span, had the opposite effect of running it into the ground.

    One tradition does not fit all. There are other routes back to the Mediterranean, paths that do not take us through London, Paris and Berlin. And the future of New York architecture may well represent the further unfolding of southern routes from the Old World to the New. If so, the Westin Hotel is a pivotal building. Like it or not, the building signifies an important shift in the history of taste.

    Arquitectonica has acquired two additional New York commissions since work on the hotel began: a large residential project in Long Island City, Queens, and, with the New York office of Cooper Robertson & Partners, an urban design plan for the Penn yards site on the west side of midtown Manhattan.

    The hotel's 45-story tower rises behind a 10-story base. The base, which itself appears to float above the four-story E Walk entertainment complex, is the weakest part of the design. The base's corset silhouette is comely. Its painted surface goes flat.

    The base is an improvement on the original design, which envisioned a vast and redundant mural of New York City tourist attractions. That has been replaced by an abstract domino of punched-up masonry colors. But the colors don't hold their own with the design-controlled signage that wraps the base along 42nd Street. And the abstract patterns unhappily recall the two-dimensional public art projects of 30 years ago.

    If the owners take my advice, they will redo the base with a stylized version of Calvin Klein billboards. A folded photomural. Black and white pictures of pouty young people. Some slashes of color for accent, perhaps. An homage to the street's unsanitized, John Rechy, Russ Meyer past. (The graphic designer Tibor Kalman would have known how to do it.)

    The tower is erotic enough. You might take it for a New York 21st-century version of the Victorian Cupid around which Picadilly Circus revolves. The tower is, in any case, the first of the area's new buildings to project a clear sense of place into the Midtown skyline. It is as if the libidinous energies driven underground by "the New 42" have found momentary release.

    The glass skin of the tower is post-modernized Mondrian: Broadway Samba. A shallow arc, extending the full height of the tower, splits the southern façade in two. Blue glass predominates on the western half, pink-orange on the east. The skin is accented with stripes of contrasting colors that evoke the movement of traffic on uptown and crosstown streets. Beep-beep. Toot-toot.

    Joris Karl Huysmans, author of the fin de siècle classic "À Rebours" ("Against Nature" ), considered blue and orange the most decadent of all color combinations. The tones here fit that description. They remind me of the strange pink patina acquired by mid-century navy blue American sedans after too many harsh scourings and hours in the sun.

    The tower's lop-sided crown is one of the larkiest on the skyline. Instead of one more Art Deco retread, it forgoes symmetry for syncopation. At regular intervals, lights recessed within the vertical arc perform a blast-off number, shooting up the façade of the building and far into the night sky.

    Inside, the colors fade to quieter pastels, combined with wood and metallic finishes. Two atrium spaces, both of irregular contour, are housed within the base, which also contains a business-class section that can be used for small conventions and private events. Arquitectonica custom-designed the interiors. Elegant and efficient, the 863 rooms are executed in a nearly monochrome palette in pleasing contrast to the exterior's carnival skin.

    That skin is the main target of the sidewalk superintendents' wrath. It is indeed garish. None of that Vuitton Tower subtle-veil surface treatment here! Last summer, I saw the tower from Richard Meier's window. I felt his pain.

    Yet a more refined facade would not have drawn so much attention to the pressing issue of taste. The truth is that beauty and ugliness have been up for grabs for some time, and not just on 42nd Street. There's a crisis in evaluation going on all over town. It's one of the reasons discussions of the future of the World Trade Center site have been going around in circles.

    People can't agree on directions, movements or styles. It is daunting to contemplate the strong possibility that we may have to judge buildings without recourse to such familiar frameworks. Yet that likelihood must now be faced. If the ruckus over the Westin is loud, that is partly because such a reckoning is overdue.

    It has been a decade since state officials relaunched the Times Square redevelopment project. The youngsters for whom the place was initially conceived are now old enough to rent X-rated movies. There have been other changes. Ten years ago, New York architecture was still tyrannized by a protectionist retro ethos. That tyranny has lost its grip. The city has worked up a healthier appetite for change.

    Still, change isn't supposed to be comfortable, and even at the best of times architecture is a conservative art. Those with long memories will recall a similar controversy that erupted in 1961 with the completion of the Summit Hotel (renovated by Loews and renamed the Metropolitan) on Lexington Avenue and 51st Street. The hotel was designed by Morris Lapidus, also of Miami, a big-time architectural outsider of his day.

    The hotel's theme was Latin America. The curvilinear building, clad in green and turquoise tile, recalled Brazilian housing blocks of the 1950's. Palm fronds waved at the door. Inside, guests seeking refreshment could choose from the Gaucho Room, the Carioca Lounge and the Casa de Café. Beneath skull-shaped light sconces, they sat surrounded by fake pre-Columbian ornaments.

    The critics hated it. One of them, Russell Lynes, at least had the wit to turn his revulsion into confessional social comedy. "We are snobbishly intolerant in New York of the subculture of Florida," Lynes wrote, "and we wish they would keep everything but their pompano and oranges down there where it belongs and not foul our nest with their taste. Ours is bad enough already; we need no help from the provinces."

    But there was a note of bigotry beneath some of the rumblings over taste. "Too far from the beach," wrote one critic, a remark that, in 1961, could be read as code for "too Jewish." And I suspect that for many who liked the Summit, including myself, the Jewishness, not the ersatz South Americana, helped account for the appeal. Why shouldn't the Fontainebleau have an East Side pied-à-terre?

    The Westin is too Latin. It's Almodóvar. A building on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Over the edge, even. One might see that arc of light as a gauge of urban anxiety level. Here comes another crackdown on something: sex, smoking, loud noise, loud colors, whatever. Anything that sticks out.

    The Summit's negative reception shows that New York's intolerance of outsiders is nothing new. But I envy the confidence with which Lynes could describe Lapidus as a provincial. In 1961, that was a simple statement of fact. Thirty years later, the tables had turned. Only now are we beginning to emerge from a period in which New York's architecture became the most inbred, the least cosmopolitan of all world-class cities.

    I leave to intrepid future historians the task of sorting out the sordid details of the process by which a deeply provincial protectionism tightened its grip in the 1970's and 80's. Suffice it to say that the city of Russell Lynes found room for work by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, Pier Luigi Nervi, Marcel Breuer and other outsiders. Even Lapidus made return engagements. Though the work of these architects sometimes fell short of expectations, their creative ambition boosted the city to the level of architectural history.

    No comparable record of receptivity exists for the 1970's and 1980's. And the local firms who flourished in those years were gazing into rear view mirrors. They were as out of touch with architectural developments internationally as they were with social and cultural currents here at home.

    It's catch-up time. New York has never truly known what it's like to build outside a northern European framework. And the city has ceased to be a northern European province. There is, in other words, a gap between who we are and how we build. New York is a Western city, but there is more than one way to be Western. New York has many. But we are just starting to trace alternative architectural paths.

    Enrique Norten's planned addition to the Brooklyn Public Library, for example, will do more than enlarge the architectural prospects for New York's future. It will also help to uncover a different Western past. Arquitectonica's residential project for Long Island City, which is still in design development, could expand the New World beyond the cheerless vision of lost New York.

    Yet it may well require more "ugly" buildings before the city's builders begin to recognize the magnitude of the shift taking place beneath our noses. The change is more momentous than the cosmetic swings we have lately seen between modernism and tradition. It involves the understanding that there are many modernisms, each with its own set of traditions, all of them with deep historical roots. The difficulty of adjusting to this idea is only part of the crisis in evaluation facing those uncertain about how to build. But the most promising and accessible way out of the impasse may lie with outsiders.

    A revised critical framework will be needed to interpret their contributions. It will not exclude such values as beauty or ugliness, good taste or bad. But such terms will be recast within an outline of difference and sameness, of fusion and separation, bridges and boundaries, proximity and distance. Such frameworks already exist. They have enabled us to appreciate the dynamic interaction between the creative process and the social contract. Until one is assimilated by New York architecture, aesthetic evaluation will amount to little more than glorified police profiling. *

    The atrium of the new Westin Hotel.

    The hotel's designers, Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica, in an elevator.

    Copyright The New York Times Company
    Last edited by Kris; February 21st, 2005 at 08:43 AM.

  15. #30

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    Loved reading the Goldberger vs. Muschamp "good taste" debate -- thanks for posting these; they give you a lot to think about! * I personally have not yet found a viewing location in which the 42nd St. base of this building does not seem ugly .... Here are a couple of additional pictures and notes about it: *

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