I love New York. Even Times Square. Even the fact that I can’t wear flip flops without my feet turning black. I love the 40$ salads, the scaffolding on every block, and the piled up heaps of trash that make you wonder how the city even works. I love the bum in the pink tutu who turned a storm drain into a bathroom outside of Zabar’s on the Upper Westside. I am particularly fond of the cabs that speed up when you are crossing the street as if deliberately trying to hit you. I love The New York Times, and I’ll admit it, I love The New York Post & trashy Page 6 too. The neon, the color, the clutter, the art; the children dressed in private school uniforms made of plaid and tweed; hopscotch and hoops and hippies in Washington Square Park, all day and night jackhammers, you are amazing! And Lucy’s in the East Village. Mwah!
I love that there is something to photograph at every turn, and I really love B & H Photo who peddles by conveyor belt my photo gear at their super store in Midtown. (Mostly, I love them for shipping free to me in DC.)
I detest the heights yet I adore the buildings that stand so tall. And there are other tall things I can get behind too — as I mentioned, it’s a vertical city. Tall things such as sky-high pastrami sandwiches at Katz Deli — sandwiches so obscene that funnyman Mitch Hedberg once asked for “a loaf of bread and some other people!” in order to finish the eat. (RIP Mitch, you were the funniest man in comedy.)
Thank you MOOD fabrics, the Garment District and Broadway and off-Broadway and Brooklyn too; Pollock, Basquiat, Steinem, Warhol, Edie Sedgwick and the Factory and The Park, I thank you — you have permanently improved the city. Central Park, a special shout out to you for so generously offering green space inside a concrete jungle, and for leading to the pond, to the MoMA, to the chestnuts, and to the Oak Room (where they make the best Manhattan in Manhattan.)
…And to the dreams that come alive, and the dead dreams that live on — dreams that travel on the haunted subway trains, the Staten Island Ferry, and scurry through the corridors of Penn Station — I love you, and the wanderous souls whom wander them all. Thank you immigrant past and local future. Good luck Citi Bike and goodbye over-sized sodas…
I love New York and I could write on forever. New York is culture. Photographer Garry Winogrand once said, “Culture is not something placed in the pockets, it is something that is.” He was talking about New York — a place where you don’t go to look for culture, it consumes you. You could not escape it even if you tried.