Corner restaurant on a sunlit evening. Tribeca, New York City.
Certain colors dominate memory mixed on the palette of the mind’s eye with the hues from dreams and tones of nostalgia.
But it’s the tones of nostalgia that stand out the most: the penetrating longing for places and moments we have or have not experienced that creates a void in our beings so deep that its echo is felt in every moment and heard in every thought.
There are words for this type of nostalgia: sensucht and saudade. Sensucht is a German word that describes the emotional state of longing and yearning and saudade is a Galician- Portuguese word that describes a similar intense state of longing for something or someone. They can both be experienced as a longing for a place that is unidentifiable but somehow familiar and indicative of what we would most closely identify as home. Sometimes the yearning is so intense that only the emotional state is what we are aware of and it’s not always easy to tell that there is a deep yearning for something or someone at that moment.
New York City, for me, fills me with constant yearning with its colors and the way that light casts its glow on streets, brick, and the structures that fill in the image of New York City in my own mind. In the reds of the bricks I feel a longing for other cities I have not yet experienced and in the light that falls onto the street early in the evening I see the same light casting its glow on the spaces I wish to walk thousands of miles away.
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New York by Gehry and the New York City skyline under storm clouds.
In very, very exciting news my photography was discussed on a live on-the-air show called “Great Google + Photographer Discoveries” on Monday night. To my surprise (and many other people’s surprise too), Sergey Brin stopped by during the recording (yes, this Sergey Brin. I think my jaw literally dropped when he ‘popped in’. I was super honored to be one of the photographers discussed but I can’t even describe how it felt to hear/see my photography discussed while Sergey Brin watched. It’s one of those moments I know I will cherish forever.
You can view the broadcast here. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some insanely awesome visual inspiration because the other photographers highlighted are truly phenomenal and gorgeous examples of their work are also displayed and discussed (all photographers are also linked in the link below in case you want to browse their work:
And if that wasn’t enough excitement to last for ages, I sat in as a panelist last night for a live on-the-air discussion with the one and only Thomas Hawk and the inimitable Lotus Carroll for their weekly video broadcast called Photo Talk Plus. If you have ever wanted to hear me talk or see me try to not completely die of stage-fright on another great show highlighting photography (the theme last night was New York!), feel free to watch here:
What a week, right? I have no clue how anything could top it :).
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Night and shadows in Lower Manhattan. Financial District, New York City
At night after the multitudes have retreated to their homes away from the buildings and streets that hold them close during the day the city relaxes shaking the dust of the long day from its concrete limbs.
The street lights flicker like dream-heavy blinks of an eye while smokestacks exhale world-weary breaths of smoke into the yawning night air.—
This is a re-post from a few months ago. There was a mishap over at my Google Plus account which resulted in my post there being eaten up so I am re-posting to re-add the post plus the writing to my main album there.
Street corner and ode to Bob Arihood. Alphabet City. East Village, New York City.
Autumn weekends are draped in a chilled warmth down in the East Village and on the Lower East Side. Trees hang their colorful limbs lazily over the multitudes of people who unwrap their weekend day slowly and casually. The East Village has changed so much over the last few decades but sometimes on days like this one glimpses of its charm radiate so brightly that it is almost impossible not to smile.
Yesterday, one of the East Village’s (and really New York City’s) most brilliant photographers died. His name was Bob Arihood. He was the last of a dying breed.. He covered the not-so-pretty side of the East Village taking great care to carefully document the colorful personalities who made up the mosaic of the East Village over the years. A few years back he was profiled in the NY Times: An East Village Blogger Hangs Up His Mouse (Nadie Se Conoce and Neither More Nor Less.
I had the pleasure of meeting him for the very first time after being a long time admirer of his work at a burlesque birthday party for Ray, the owner of Ray’s Candy Store in the East Village last winter. I will never forget the first five minutes of conversation with him. He asked me where I grew up in New York City and I said “Queens!” and he looked at me, smiled and said “Oh, Queens. They have an entirely different currency in those parts.” We both laughed and talked about cameras, the changing face of the East Village and his work. After that, I ran into him quite a few times in and around Tompkins Square Park, at Ray’s Candy Store and on East fourth street. He was always kind, always had time to talk, was an incredible listener, had the biggest heart of anyone I have known and was super humble about his work. His humility was one of his most stunning characteristics. In fact, he was almost embarrassed that he had made it into the NY Times.
The last time I saw him and spoke to him was at the beginning of summer. It was a bittersweet conversation. He spoke to me about wanting to find a way to convert footage he had of the East Village in the early 1970s to a format that would be viewable online and he said something that has been haunting me ever since I found out that he passed away yesterday.
We were talking about how he managed to get the incredible photos of people that he had captured over the years and he spoke about being an admirer of Arthur Fellig (Weegee) for many years and that he had spent years befriending and getting close with many of the gangs, vagrants and fringe element in the East Village just so that they would be comfortable enough to let him into their circles and photograph them. That was what made him so unique. He had a distinct compassion for those who society often overlooks. He would sometimes take in the junkies and give them food and the ability to take a warm shower. Sometimes he would listen to police radio to try to assess if anyone he knew from those circles were freshly involved in altercations (ala Weegee).
He spoke with sadness about not being fast enough to catch these things due to his increasingly poor health and how he was considering a car at some point. It was then that he leaned in and said softly to me “It feels like life is passing me by.” Something about that moment struck me with incredible sadness. I put my hand on his shoulder and just nodded because sometimes words just aren’t enough.
Whenever I spoke about him I would tell people that he was one of the people who deserved a documentary. I still feel that way. He was and remains a legend. It’s hard to believe he is gone but he will never be forgotten.
You can view the announcement of his passing as well as a beautiful write-up of him here on one of the East Village’s best blogs: RIP Bob Arihood
Street art. Soho, New York City
Through each and every scattered urban landscape every sidewalk dream unfolds periphally as daily adventurers traverse the city full of promise and silent giddy trepidation.
It’s in the quiet still moments marked by emptiness, vast loneliness and encroaching solitude that these peripheral dreamscapes come into focus.
These moments, suspended in time, marinate in the severity of their potential to eventually etch themselves into the eternity of the mind.
The rest of time moves with the rapid ebb and flow of life like bits and pieces of paint on a wall chipping and peeling off, finally scattering like a discarded lover’s flower petals in the wind.
“When the sun hits”. Lower East Side, New York City.
It’s been exactly a year since I moved from the border area of Spanish Harlem in Upper Manhattan down to the Lower East Side. This photo will forever remind me of what a turning point this move was for me. My life has changed in so many ways since I moved that it feels as if my life has been divided in two parts now; life before moving to the Lower East Side and life after moving to the Lower East Side.
Having been notified that I had to find an apartment in a period of only two weeks because of a not-so-great landlord issue I spent every waking moment scouring Manhattan for a new, affordable apartment (a rarity). New York City was experiencing a dramatic heat wave at the time with temperatures in the triple digits and humidity at nearly 100 percent for days on end. On a 100 degree + (Fahrenheit) weekend, I moved into a tenement on the Lower East Side. This was no easy feat considering that my new apartment was on the 5th floor of a walk-up (it’s 76 steps up to my apartment! I have grown to love it). With no air conditioner, no fans, no internet and two extremely angry cats, I experienced the heat wave in all its glory.
I spent that memorable weekend roaming the nearby streets taking photos between ducking into places hoping to catch some relief. I would spend the rest of my time laying out ice blankets and pans of ice water for my cats because the temperature in the apartment was close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the middle of my first week living on the Lower East Side, I decided to take a two hour tour at the Tenement Museum. Since my apartment is one of the early tenements and I am an avid New York City history buff, I couldn’t resist finally going to this museum. To say that it was one of the most incredible experiences I have had would be an understatement. Being the daughter of an immigrant to the United States (my mother came here as a concentration camp victim of WWII when she was nearly 10 years old) and growing up in the dense cultural center of Flushing, Queens (a borough of New York City), I have always enjoyed learning about other people’s experiences with immigration to New York City and the United States.
On our tour that day, we learned all about the families who lived in the tenement apartments we toured (kept as they would have looked like when the families lived there) and viewed census records, photographs and keepsakes. At one point we listened to a short oratory recollection by an inhabitant of one of the apartments via a recording. She spoke about what it was like to live in the tenement we were standing in during the beginning of the 20th century. Being able to visually see these recollected remnants of someone’s experiences as they described them was a special experience. My group was also taken through a non-restored apartment in various stages of decay. Writing etched into crumbling walls indicated the amount of garments that had been stored in the room by tenants who would often share these tiny dwellings with their large families. Every object, every garment meant so much to them.
Since it was the two hour tour, we were able to ask a lot of questions of the historians and engage in quite a bit of spirited discussion. At the end of our tour through the early tenements, we spent a good half hour around a table in a cooled room eating cookies and drinking iced tea while listening to each other’s family histories. We cried and laughed together and when it was all over we hugged each other as if we had become a family right then and there. It was a quintessential New York City experience.
This photo for me represents the heat of that summer, the heat in my apartment that was similar to the heat felt by the tenants over one hundred years ago before there was air conditioning/reliable fans and many of the amenities we are used to in our modern living environments. It represents the heat of the hot tears that ran down my face while I cooled off that one morning at the Tenement Museum after sharing my own family’s history and listening to other people’s family’s immigration stories.
The sun hit the buildings in the most beautiful of ways that summer. The sun hits the buildings in the most beautiful of ways all year here. Because the Lower East Side is home to many of the original tenements which are shorter than modern buildings, it’s one of the neighborhoods where the sun can be seen regularly as it illuminates the fire escapes on the tenements that housed early New York City residents who carried with them many of the same hopes and dreams as those who inhabitant the same tenements today.
I wouldn’t trade the light and the heat for anything.
Bow bridge in the winter covered in snow. Central Park, New York City
It’s another super hot day in New York City today. The temperature is currently something like 101 degrees (fahrenheit) with heat index values climbing up to around 115 in certain places. I have decided that the only way to cope is to look at photos of New York City in the dead of winter like this one.
This particular image was taken back in January during a blizzard. New York City got something like 19 inches of snow and this was only weeks after the first blizzard of the season which practically shut the city down.
Central Park in the midst of heavy snowfall is absolutely magical. Because of the heavy wind gusts and storm conditions, the only people in the park were either very adventurous tourists trying to make the best of their vacation to New York City and other crazy photographers reveling in the beauty of Central Park’s landscapes covered in ice and snow. I spent around 4 hours there in total and only came across less than 10 people in total. The people I did come across were very friendly and in awe of the environment.
This is one of Central Park’s most popular bridges, Bow Bridge. It’s one of my favorite spots in the park. It’s usually packed with people enjoying the views from on the bridge itself. Under Bow Bridge sits The Lake which spans 22 acres and is Central Park’s largest body of water. It is fully iced over and covered in snow.
“Bow Bridge, shaped like an archer’s bow, was built between 1859 and 1862. It connects the Ramble and Cherry Hill, and spans more than 60 feet of the Lake. Because the south bank was higher than the north, construction of the cast iron bridge included raising the height of its northern abutment. Janes, Kirkland, and Co., the firm responsible for the dome of The Capitol in Washington, D.C., did the ironwork for the span of Bow Bridge. Vaux and Mould created the ornamental iron railing that incorporates elements of Gothic, Neo-Classical, and Renaissance design.” Source
Additionally, I won some swag from Gansevoort Hotel due to being one of two winners of a contest they ran called Gansevoorthenge where they asked for Manhattanhenge photo submissions via Twitter. You can see an embarrassing photo of me taken a few days ago in the midst of this heatwave (I hate all photos of myself!) with the winning swag here: Our #Gansevoorthenge Photo Contest Winners!
The Andy Monument, a tribute to Andy Warhol. Union Square, New York City.
This is a public art installation tribute monument of Andy Warhol by artist Rob Pruitt. It went up at the end of March and will be on view in Union Square until October. It is situated on this particular corner since this is where Andy Warhol would stand when he signed and gave away copies of Interview magazine. It is also just steps away from the Factory:
“In 1968, Andy moved the Factory to the sixth floor of the Decker Building, 33 Union Square West, near Max’s Kansas City, a club Warhol and his entourage would frequently visit.
By the time Warhol had become famous, he was working day and night on his paintings. To create his art, Warhol used silkscreens so that he could mass-produce images the way capitalist corporations mass produce consumer goods. In order to continue working the way he did, he assembled a menagerie of adult film performers, drag queens, socialites, drug addicts, musicians, and free-thinkers that became known as the Warhol Superstars, to help him. These “art-workers” helped him create his paintings, starred in his films, and basically developed the atmosphere for which the Factory became legendary.
Aside from his two-dimensional art, Andy also used the Factory as a base to make shoes, films, commissions, sculptures and just about everything else that the Warhol name could be attached to and sold. His first commissions consisted of a single silkscreen portrait for $25,000, with additional canvases in other colors for $5,000 each. He later made that $20,000. Warhol used a large portion of his income to finance the lifestyle of his Factory friends, practically showering them with resources. - Source
The Banco Santander and DuMont Buildings. Midtown, New York City.
One of the most distinctive features of the Dumont Building is its broadcasting antenna that dates back to the skyscraper’s role in the first ever television broadcasts of the station WNYW in the late 1930s.
“WNYW traces its history to 1938, when television set and equipment manufacturer Allen B. DuMont founded W2XVT (re-named as W2XWV in 1944), an experimental station. On May 2, 1944, the station received its commercial license — the third in New York City — on channel 4 as WABD after DuMont’s initials. It was one of the few stations that continued broadcasting during World War II, making it the fourth-oldest continuously broadcasting commercial station in the United States.” Source
The Williamsburg Bridge pedestrian walkway, New York City
I might be a bit biased since I live so close to the Williamsburg Bridge and have crossed it quite a bit on foot but it’s one of the bridges in lower Manhattan that remains close to my heart. Spanning a little over a mile, It opened in 1903 and it’s one of only two bridges in New York City that carries train and car traffic.
There is just something so oddly endearing about its steel architecture and bright red fence.
Broadway buildings bathed in sunlight and thoughts on Google +. Soho, New York City.
Spent quite a bit of time last night exploring Google +, Google’s new social network. My (not totally set-up) profile is here: My profile on Google + . If you are already on there, feel free to add me to any of your ‘circles’!
I have to say that I am really psyched about it! The interface is super easy to use and I am loving the ‘circles’ feature which I think is miles ahead of Facebook in many regards in terms of usability and privacy.
Basically you are able to add people to categories called ‘circles’. Everyone shows up as just being a part of your ‘circles’ so you don’t have to worry about others getting upset at which ‘circle’ you have put them in. You can also even disable sharing circle info on your profile entirely if you wish.
The ‘circle’ categories are customizable and there are also pre-set ‘circles’. The pre-set ‘circles’ are ‘Friends’, ‘Acquaintances’, ‘Family’ and ‘Following’. The ‘Friends’ circle allows you to post only to the people you feel closest to and are comfortable sharing certain things with. The ‘Acquaintances’ circle allows you to post to people you have met but ‘aren’t particularly close to’. The ‘Family’ circle is for posting or following people you consider your family. Finally, the ‘Following’ circle allows you to follow people you may not know personally at all but find their content interesting enough to read. You can also then create as many different other circles as you wish. The tools for doing this are straightforward (drag and drop!) making it easy to put the people you know or are interested in into the correct categories. You don’t have to worry about adding your mother or that person you worked with 2 years ago or someone from school you aren’t close to. By using the ‘circles’ function and putting everyone in the best ‘circle’ you can share what you want with who you want at any time.
While Facebook has allowed you to do almost the same thing with their ‘Lists’ function, the settings to do so are relatively buried and not highly intuitive. This is where I think Google + excels in that right off the bat, the way to control how you share is easy and simple to do as it is a major part of their interface. The drag and drop controls are also a pleasure to use.
You can also control visibility of what you share in each post you make as well as edit your statuses and posts once they are made (!) which is awesome (considering that I have never understood why editing of a status on Facebook never seemed to make it to the Facebook interface). The only thing I have found to be mildly annoying so far has been dealing with photos primarily because I want(ed) to upload a small portion of my photos on Flickr to my Google + account. Picasa, which belongs to Google is the photo hosting service for Google + and so I have been spending some time uploading what I need to my Picasa account using a workaround. It’s mainly a sticky point for me since I have quite a bit of photos I want to share on Google +. I am not so sure that this would be a huge issue for others :).
In general though, I am happy with what I see so far. I can’t wait until more people are on Google + and until Google + adds their business ‘pages’ function later this year. I did want to make a photo page there like the one I have on Facebook here: NY Through The Lens on Facebook. However, they are discouraging people from making these types of pages and any non-user pages will be disabled when the actual ‘business pages’ function rolls out. This video which describes the future functionality for those pages sounds great: Google to Businesses: Don’t Create Google + Profiles Yet.
We will see how all of this plays out. I see Google + as being a good step forward in terms of privacy and ease of use for a social network but I am sure that Facebook will end up rolling out new features on par (or better) with Google +. Either way, this is a possible game-changer.
The Empire State Building towering over the New York City skyline. Midtown, New York City.
“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” -Le Corbusier
The Globe in front of Trump Tower. Columbus Circle. Upper West Side, New York City.
I love the huge globe that sits outside of Trump Tower near Columbus Circle. There is something vaguely old-school futuristic about it. Perhaps that is because I grew up relatively close to the Unisphere in Flushing here in New York City that I have these sorts of associations.
The Flushing Unisphere was designed specifically to celebrate the beginning of the space age, representing a theme of “global interdependence”. I am not quite sure that this particular globe has such a lofty theme but it’s an interesting association, nonetheless.