August 5, 2014 § 7 Comments
Throughout the day, I felt like I was back in New York City. Maybe it was the old stone apartment buildings reminiscent of Brooklyn, the Copper Hen cakery and Glam Doll gourmet doughnuts, the Russian cocktails on the patio, the graffiti and odd art sightings, or the gigantic cathedral.
Whatever it was, it left me nostalgic for the greatest city in the world. Happy I can find aspects of it wherever I go.
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
I think this was formerly a tangerine, but it looks more like a peach, which it’s not.
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Driving home from dinner with friends I heard this song for the first time. The longing for New York City has officially commenced: Elbow — New York Morning
February 18, 2014 § 4 Comments
I’d like to think I’ll continue taking a daily picture for the rest of my life. Jamie Livingston did it for 18 years, well before digital cameras, using a Polaroid from March 1979 until his death in October 1997. A simple website of every photo taken shows the happy and mundane sides of his life, but the photos of his last year are particularly poignant as he quickly goes from brain surgery, to marriage, to death at age 41.
He was a filmmaker and appeared to live in or near Greenwich Village. Livingston captured some of the newsworthy items of this time via snapshots of the television screen or newspaper headlines (e.g., invasion of Kuwait, O.J. Simpson verdict, Reagan-Carter debates).
I didn’t go through every photo but viewed many, especially those of the city. I yearn to know more about this man, his friends, what happened to his wife, where he lived, the work he produced.
Here are a few favorites, but there are many more (credit: Jamie Livingston via photooftheday.hughcrawford.com):
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I continue to take daily photos as well. As proof, here is February 12-18 (some posted previously, some not):
November 28, 2013 § 6 Comments
A banner day, Thanksgiving was.
I ran a great race — my first since spring, post-injury.
The meal I feared ruining turned out way better than planned.
I was surrounded by lovely people — family, friends, children. I even chatted with a few dogs.
The only bad thing? I learned Saul Leiter, one of my favorite photographers, died the other day. I had clung to the hope that I’d bump into him on the Lower East Side one day, ask him a question or two, then leave him be.
Now I’m left to wonder what will happen to the disorganized photographs, drawings, paintings, and treasures that fill his NYC apartment.
November 20, 2013 § 3 Comments
The 7 train takes you from underground Manhattan across the river to an elevated track in Long Island City. Passengers emerge from the dark subway to wind through a neighborhood with colorful, old buildings and a spectacular view of the city left behind only moments earlier.
When I took the 7, my destination was always MoMA PS1, an old public school now serving as an exhibition space affiliated with the Modern Museum of Art. But it was 5 Pointz that always stood out on those train rides. The enormous warehouse was covered in graffiti — yellows and reds and blues and the infinite combinations of each.
The building still stands, but not for long. Despite efforts to save it, it’s scheduled for demolition by the end of the year to make way for condos.
Although it’s well-known and famous with street artists and their fans, the new owners white-washed the building yesterday, covering up years of treasured art. They say a wall of the new building will be available for the artists to continue their work, but I’m guessing they will have moved on.
(Note: The graffiti artists were allowed and encouraged to paint the building. They needed a permit to do so, but it was all legal.)
Gothamist has posted before and after photos, but I prefer to remember 5 Pointz like I saw it, as an evolving canvas from my train window and from these pictures I took on the street last September.
November 15, 2013 § 3 Comments
Good writers eavesdrop.
Think about conversations you’ve overheard at a party, in the cube nearby at work, in a public restroom, or while riding the subway. Just one perfect random sentence or two and you’ve got a story, or at least a solid start on one.
New York is an ideal place to eavesdrop, for there are many conversations to choose from, and you can casually listen in without blowing your cover (crowded subway during rush hour = opportune time to hear about how the woman next to you is suffering from bunions and a husband who won’t stop bringing home peppered mackerel and kippered salmon from Russ & Daughters despite her severe smoked-fish allergy).
One of my favorite overheard conversations took place on Coney Island on a quiet, cold morning. It was a long discussion among three friends on a bench, a portion of which I posted last year.
I also vaguely remember listening to two college students talking somewhere near NYU. I’d forgotten about the conversation until I came across my notes the other day. They were talking too fast for me to get much of anything. But I did manage to capture this little gem:
“Curing cancer and feeding baby tigers with eyedroppers.”
Those eight little words are the perfect start to a short story on two volunteers who constantly try to one-up each other. Or a piece on lame college application essays. Or whatever I want it to be.
Tomorrow morning you should go out and listen in on a conversation to which you weren’t invited. But be discreet. And respectful. And then see what you discover about your capabilities as a writer. The exercise will stretch your creative muscle and help you develop well-rounded characters upon which all your readers will love to eavesdrop.