NYC - You can go back, but don't expect to it to have waited for you.

View from my room - 081311

New York changes me every time I go there.  This time was no different.  During the days I had to do my daily job in a northern New Jersey town.  In the evenings I went into the city four times.  Most of the side trips to the city were influenced by my life-changing trip last summer in two ways.  First, I went to a few places I wanted to get to, but didn't get the chance.  Second, I went to see or revisit a few things that brought back happiness, mixed emotions, and taught me a few important life lessons.

Last summer there were three places I wanted to go to, but missed for a variety of reasons. The first was Times Square.  The second was to visit Strand Books in Manhattan.  The third was Brooklyn.

Strand Books - 081311
How can anyone who visits New York miss Times Square?  During my last visit some of my group went to it while I visited  30 Rockefeller Center while walking to the MoMA.  I went under Times Square at least three times on subway trains and transferred to other trains.  Many of my classmates got there and created amazing night images.  It felt like those tv shows where two people keep almost meeting and something interrupts or misguides them away.  I made it there my first night.  Three things about Times Square - lots and lots of giant screens and lights, tons of tourists, and now the great New Years Eve party makes sense to me.  I brought a great tiny point and shoot camera that I hadn't learned all the tricks with so my pictures of it are meh.  I want to go back to it because it has a the same simulacra feel of Las Vegas, which I also love.  I love seeing such effort put up to create a false facade.  Times Square is another great metaphor for life.

Strand Books is the largest physical bookstore I've been in.  I love books, but I am no bibliophile.  This place would be a sacred pilgrimage if I was one.  There is one large floor dedicated just to art books.  The photography section is overwhelming.  The erotic art section is larger than  the local Barnes and Nobles' complete art section.  In that section I bought the Taschen photo book La Petite Mort by Will Santillo.  I couldn't resist after I read the line, "If orgasm is the little death, is masturbation the little suicide?"

Valya - 081311
Brooklyn was a view across the river that I never visited last summer.  We went to Coney Island on the far side of it, but never explored the heart of the borough.  This time I spent part of an excellent and artistically enriching afternoon visiting with a friend.  (The visit with my friend will be covered in my next post.  Look at the photo on the right for a sneak peek.)  I walked around the Jamaican neighborhood for a while.  I couldn't help comparing it to Manhattan and thinking "minutes away, worlds apart".  This residential area doesn't have the glamorous charm of Manhattan.  It is a rougher area with a vibe and feel to it that make it tangible.  The music coming from the windows, the talks on the stoops, and the energy made me want to spend an evening there getting to know this rich neighborhood a little better.  Sadly though, I had to go and try to catch my plane out in Newark and had to leave all too soon.  I will be back.

Dinner Outside - 081311

As mentioned I also visited a few places I had been to before.  First up was B&H Photo on 9th Street.  It is my photography store Mecca.  I've bought four or five cameras there including my newest acquisition, an am/pro HD camcorder.  I want to experiment with moving images and need one before my big trips this fall.  I highly recommend B&H.  They are very helpful, friendly and non-pushy.  They know their stuff too.

After leaving B&H I had to go to the Empire State Building.  I plan a personal post about this icon of New York.  For now though I had to touch it.  I had to make sure that both it and I are still grounded. This beautiful building towers over all its neighbors.  It towers over me and is so significant compared to me.  I will always remember and revere it, but I am sure it is not aware of me or my connection to it.  More on this behemoth of a charged building later.
Times Square - 081311

How did New York change me?  I am still sorting that out.  One thing I learned though is that I've changed greatly since the last time I was there.  In so many areas I've flown high and I have also crashed and burned.  This has been a hell of a year.

In New York, everyone is a small individual in a great big whole.  Every person is their own story, but almost no one notices each other.  They just pass by and let the story move on.  There are an insanely overwhelming number of stories just on one block.  Sometimes they bump into each other for better and for worse, but sadly end up moving away, losing the connection that the city allowed them.  As melancholic as that sounds, I love New York City for its beauty and pain more each time.  Love is a complex beast.  It both builds you and tears you down.  Everyone has the choice to fall in love so I guess the beauty and beast of it all are self-induced pleasures and pains. 

1 comment:

  1. What an exquisite anchor photograph of NYC!

    Cities can become as great a love as any lover. Chicago is the city of my youth, and it remains different yet always the same because of its distinctive character. Paris is my paramour, the great lover who remains unchanged except for the seasons, visit after visit after visit.

    Then my one-time residence, Rome, The Eternal City. When I returned 20 years after I packed up and left, I wept. Why? Because I had changed, and the city had not. The entire 20 years flashed before my eyes. How innocent I was then and vulnerable!

    Thank you for the love song to your city.


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