Sunday, July 5, 2009

New York Confidential

Not unlike the legendary Michael Jackson face that logged an ever increasing array of alterations by the year, the populace of Manhattan also seems to increase in size with each and every visit, slowly morphing into some Western equivalent of Shanghai on the Hudson. On a recent weekend there was, what for all practical purposes appeared to be, a cue just to cross the Brooklyn Bridge! Forever gone are the quiet little nooks and crannies one could seek out on weekend afternoons that made the place livable.

New Yorkers, of course, are born into a constant state of competition. We learn to talk fast, walk fast, and eat while doing both. And everyone on that high speed treadmill is either a potential contact or outright competition. A fortunate few find their mark, others learn to "voluntarily" step off- the remainder are simply thrown aside. I fear there will be more of the latter with such increasing numbers. Neighborhoods once dangerous, are now safe- and unaffordable! New York has always been a city of extremes, it's just a shame that it takes colossal tragedy for its denizens to momentarily stop doing for themselves, and start doing for each other.

The weather: I'm told it has been raining in New York since April. At first the usual April showers, followed by increasing rains in May, then daily downpours in June which are continuing unto July. Pa Banos says he's seen nothing like it in the fifty years plus he's spent there. And the elderly guy crossing the street as I was coming out of the Strand pretty much agreed, "Rain, rain, rain- why does it have to rain every goddamn day!" (7/4- sunny, warm & dry)

This and That: Took a few photos and anxious to see the results. Managed to catch a few photo exhibits- my favorite being Carlos Jimenez Cahua's other worldly Peruvian essay at Anastasia Photo Gallery which has the rather unique policy of attempting to further connect the photographic images and the events they depict by coupling each exhibition with a related philanthropic organization. Cool!

Walked the 1/3 completed NY High Line- would have liked it a lot more if they had just left it alone a lot more- instead of making it so "people friendly." And while NYC does actually seem a bit more bike friendly with some freshly minted bike lanes- I hardly felt the urge to risk life and limb in that potporrri of traffic and mayhem.

Both Williamsburg and DUMBO are tragically overhip, overcrowded, and overdone. Long Island City, as Ber Murphy's Sleeping Giant has chronicled, will also soon be there with all the construction going on. Right now however, it still has a nice balance, not to mention the LIC Bar- a great place to stop by for some suds after a long, humid day lugging camera in hand!

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