The Changing Skyline of New York

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O’Brien

Autumn in Prospect Park

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2017 by Gerry O’Brien

Fall in Central Park


Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

Star Trek at 50

50 years ago tonight, the world got an optimistic vision of the future that has delighted millions and millions of people ever since.

For the first time, we saw people we recognized … not just surviving, but thriving in a society 400 years from now.

Here’s my favorite episode from each of the various series that have been broadcast since.

Star Trek: The Original Pilot: The Cage

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in "The Cage"

Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in “The Cage”

Star Trek: TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever

Kirk and Spock in "The City on the Edge of Forever" by the incomparable Harlan Ellison

Kirk and Spock in “The City on the Edge of Forever” by the incomparable Harlan Ellison

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Inner Light

Picard playing a flute recovered from the ship of a long-dead civilization

Picard playing a flute recovered from the ship of a long-dead civilization in “The Inner Light”

Star Trek: DS9: Far Beyond the Stars

Captain Sisko of the Federation? Or a science fiction writer in 1950s New York?

Captain Sisko of the Federation? Or a science fiction writer in 1950s New York? Watch “Far Beyond the Stars” and decide

Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Origin

Alleged remains of  a human found by a Saurian scientist

Alleged remains of a human found by a Saurian scientist in “”Distant Origin”

Star Trek: Enterprise: In a Mirror, Darkly

A Tholian, not seen in ST since the original series

A Tholian, not seen in ST since the original series,  from “In a Mirror, Darkly”

What are your favorite episodes?

The Party’s Over (for me)


Forty years ago this summer, I became a Republican voter in New York State.

Since then, I’ve been a Republican candidate for City Council and State Assembly, a State Committee Member (in two very different districts), Secretary of my local County Committee, and a Reagan Delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention.

Today I leave the G.O.P. to become an Independent (or Blank, in New York election parlance).

It’s not just the imminent nomination of a man so vile he isn’t worthy of shining shoes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (though it was the final straw). More about him, shortly.

I am troubled by religious extremists in the G.O.P.  Their ideology mirrors that of terrorists we fight around the globe. It includes suppression of women, intolerance, and the blind rejection of known scientific fact.

America’s founders established separation of church and state to avoid the sectarian bloodshed and divisions prevalent in so many nations.

Today’s Republican Party is beset by phony preachers and religious extremists who want to blend church and state.  Their presence at the highest levels of government makes it impossible for Republicans to speak with any integrity or independence in the war on Islamic terror.

If you think joining religion to government and politics is a good idea, take a closer look at Ireland’s last 400 years. Or today’s Middle East. My ancestors came to the New World in 1792 to escape religious divisiveness in Europe. Why would we invite it to America?

For all their talk of freedom and individual liberty, conservative Republicans get downright ornery when real people try to live their own lives. These same conservatives find many people’s personal choices offensive, unusual, or just too different for them, and now they claim religious exemptions to justify their bias.

God is not an excuse to refuse service to anyone in a commercial business, anymore than God is an excuse to blow up buildings and airplanes. Render unto Caesar, as a famous carpenter once said.

Democrats have their own massive problems with identity politics, so joining them is not an option for me.

I’ve always been an independent-minded person. Now my party enrollment (or lack thereof) can be a more accurate illustration of my independence.

About Trump: I understand the anger his supporters feel. Hell, any American voter who isn’t angry today hasn’t been paying attention. The system has failed us. Completely.

The solution is not to hire a con man whose family has been financing that same failed system since the 1950s.

The answer is to elect a President who can inspire us, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt all did.

Imagine for a moment that Trump were to meet any of those legendary former Presidents. It would not end well for Trump.

Washington would horsewhip him. Lincoln would pin him to the mat and muss that bizarre orange hair until Trump confessed to being a fraud. And Roosevelt? TR would knock Trump out with a single punch, like he did to another loudmouthed bully back in his cowboy days.

Trump is beyond an embarrassment. He is a crude, disgusting man who treats women like meat, mocks the handicapped, and shouts juvenile insults at anyone who crosses him. Trump is ignorant about so many issues, (including what the nuclear triad is). And the story of his business success is pure fantasy.

He’s conned you, folks. 

You want to give this lunatic control of our armed forces and the nuclear launch codes? Have you not seen the Mad Max movies?

A Trump Presidency is a threat to more than just the Republican Party. It puts America and our modern world in grave peril.

I don’t know who I will vote for in November — I may write-in someone — but I could never, would never, ever vote for Donald Trump.

And I won’t be a member of a political party that would nominate or endorse him. America comes before Party.

As the old saying goes, a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something. I’m a political consultant here in New York, so I have a good idea how leaving the G.O.P. will impact my bottom line. So be it.

To my friends staying in the Republican Party: I hope you somehow manage to stop this madman, and that our nation survives. As for me, after 40 years as a Republican, the Party is over.


“The dark side clouds everything.” ~Master Yoda

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O'Brien

Photo copyright © 2016 by Gerry O’Brien

Nancy Reagan, 1921 – 2016

Nancy Reagan Labor Day-SharpenedPhoto copyright © 1980 by Gerry O’Brien

Although I photographed her husband a couple of times, this is the only image of Nancy Reagan I ever took. It was shot on Labor Day, 1980, at Liberty Park in New Jersey.

Star Wars is for everyone

Star Wars Come into Theaters

My final Star Wars poster before the premiere of The Force Awakens.

Backyard Bambi in McLean, Virginia

DC 9-10 Trip_0148-Deer

Photo copyright © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien

Flatbush Avenue before Dawn


Photo copyright © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien



Photo © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien




Photo © 2015 by Gerry O’Brien


Cloudy with a chance of books


Union Street Sunset


Marvel’s Jessica Jones: the female superheroes we’ve been waiting for

Jessica Jones and Trish Walker

Jessica Jones and Trish Walker

Marvel’s latest TV series, Jessica Jones, tells the story of a former superhero eking out a living as a private investigator in New York City. She’s incredibly strong and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. She also drinks a lot, and is generally a mess.

And rather than give us one strong female superhero, Marvel throws in a version of Patsy Walker (a Marvel character first published in 1944) as Jessica’s foster-sister.

There’s also a third Marvel hero, Luke Cage, Jessica’s on-again, off-again love interest.

And David Tennant is positively creepy as Killgrave, whose mind-controlling power nearly destroyed Jessica once before.

It’s a dark and compelling story. Marvel really ups the ante for superheroes on television with Jessica Jones.

Now available on Netflix, this series exists in the same universe as the Avengers and Marvel’s other Netflix show, Daredevil.


Navigating New York City With a Guidebook From 1899 

Source: The Delights and Perils of Navigating New York City With a Guidebook From 1899 | Atlas Obscura

Calvin & Hobbes at 30


Thirty years ago this week we first met a boy and his tiger. Time to set more traps with tuna fish sandwiches.

Today is the 152nd Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address



Abraham Lincoln, highlighted in sepia tone, at Gettysburg.


Has anyone seen or heard anything in the media about today’s anniversary?

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Have squirrel. Where is moose?


The Runner


Predawn Prospect Park


Sunday in Prospect Park


Planetary Society says Humans Will Settle Mars, and Nowhere Else

(It’s a start. Let’s revisit the discussion once we’re there.)

Planetary Society co-founder Louis Friedman argues the Red Planet will be humanity’s final destination, but our robots could reach the stars

Source: Oh the Places We Won’t Go: Humans Will Settle Mars, and Nowhere Else [Excerpt]

Was Lafayette statue defaced?

Looks like someone threw something at the statue of Lafayette on Prospect Park West since the Paris attacks. Maybe @billdeblasio can get the Parks Dept to clean it up? #WeStandWithParis  

Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument, Fort Greene Park


Sunday Steps


Williamsburgh Savings Bank


A Gathering of Ents


Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument


Brooklyn Academy of Music


Fort Greene Park


France, America’s First Ally

‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’ … We stand with France.

Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon.

Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon.

It’s going to be okay.

Great true story from The Oatmeal. Definitely worth a read.