At the end of last month, I had the pleasure of spending seven days and six nights in New York City, walking the streets of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn and what a trip it was.
Now, I have to admit, I’m not to keen on the business practices of AirB&B, but if you can’t beat em’, join em, right? So hell yeah I jumped at the chance of a seven day stay in Queens for less than 500 duckets.
My host was awesome too, so a big thank you goes out to Nia for the room and to both her and her boyfriend for some great conversation. Better still, was the location, a mere two minute walk to the subway and 15 minute ride, straight into the heart of Manhattan. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.
Part II of this post – I’ll feature a personal list of unscientific and very unhelpful thoughts on a few of the New York City neighborhoods. Read at your own peril.
The trip out was quite smooth too, enjoying the company of my “single-serving” friend, as Tyler Durden would say, with a 5 hour conversation attempting to cure the world’s woes.
I did not however, get through the flight unscathed. See, due to such an exceptional discussion, I completely forgot my damn laptop was propped on the sidewall at my feet and that is where it stayed as I left the plane.
Not only was this a majorly stomach churning oversight, it was incredibly untimely. See, I arrived on Thursday… and Friday was the intended publishing of Episode 23 with Marie Laigneau on StreetPX. On this computer was the audio file for this release, a file I spent an immense amount of time editing (audio issues and all that) and now it was missing in the wind.
So I called Virgin Airlines, which I didn’t at the time realize was a completely different company than Virgin America… So, food for thought readers, they are not the same. A benefit here is, when I finally did get in touch with someone in Lost & Found, I was greeted with the best damn customer service experience I have ever received.
Mind you, my insides were in knots at this moment, imagining all sorts of potentialities for where my laptop may be disappeared to. Was it on it’s way back to SF? Did it find itself in the bag of some lucky new traveler? My mind was racing…
But loo and behold, within 5 minutes of speaking with the magnificent Raqy (pronounced Rocky), she called me back with the beautiful news… It was FOUND!
Sweet relief! The weights lifted from my shoulders, countless imaginary nightmares vanquished from my mind. But I still had to get my happy ass back out to JFK to pick it up. It was midnight at this point, I was in the West side of Queens, staying in Long Island City… so that 1hr+ trip back had to wait out the night.
So day 1’s travels were complete, with a worthy amount of drama incurred.
The following day was a day for shooting, and of course a run out to JFK. Similarly to my trip to Chicago back in June, I hit the ground running and blasted out 14 miles under foot, all over Manhattan island before I made my way back to JFK to grab up my beloved laptop. It was magnificent with so many endless characters captured.
I might as well get the only other down side out of the way. That being the complete lack of accessing the only two hard drives I brought along the way.
Now with a camera such as my XPro2, having no additional memory space is a huge issue. Especially with the anticipated amount of shooting I planned, over the course of 7 days. There was no way my laptop could hold it all… So, a trip to B&H Photo was in the cards. The horror, right? It was pretty much a guarantee that I’d be spending too much money there, and I surely did.
In addition to a hard drive, I also was looking to broadcast a number of walks (many shared throughout this post), so I needed both a battery booster for the cell phone, an additional SD card and of course, a bracket to attach my phone. Which, due to Facebook’s fucked up Live feed system, proved useless as video no longer rotates to match the phone orientation while broadcast. SHAME on you Facebook. Shame on you, indeed.
Anyway, I decided to record that run through B&H and if you have not yet visited the store, then check out the video below for a teaser.
I couldn’t hit up B&H without also strolling through Adorama. Though I must admit, while I prefer to purchase my photographic goods online through Adorama, the storefront holds no candle to that of B&H. The place is a megalith of electronic goodness. But then again, B&H is all about impressing on the front and Adorama is about impressing on the backend. I think with that in mind, as well as B&H’s continuous employment drama and anti-union measures, I’ll be sticking with Adorama on all my photographic purchases.
Never the less, here’s my walk through Adorama.
After getting my equipment, there wasn’t much else standing in the way of my daily exercise of waking at dawn, hitting the subway, finding a path and walking until I couldn’t walk anymore. Which was usually around 10-12 miles each day for the next few. It was monumental.
The thing to keep in mind is, when visiting a new region and enjoying an extensive street photography walk will offer one unquestionable result… a familiarity with the area. If you want to get to know a place, shoot it and shoot it I did…
Fun factoid, by the time this was all over, I logged over 70 Miles of distance walked, or 163,000+ steps taken. Trust me… I Felt it. But honestly, I wasn’t hurting as bad as I had when I did 50 Miles during Streetfoto here in San Francisco (June) or the 30 or so Miles I did during Out of Chicago.
So much ground covered, but I didn’t only focus on shooting, I also had the chance to catch up with my good friends Nima Taradji, Scala and Richard Bram. Met new people, such as Mike Lee. I even got to site see some tourist spots a bit and attend Photoville over in Brooklyn (neat as hell, by the way).
Oh, I thought it would be neat to add my walking paths from Google Maps as well… Why? Because its the 21st damn century and technology is cool as hell.
Light Blue is Walking, Dark Blue is Transit Lines (Subway)
New York is one hell of a place and much larger, or smaller for that matter, than it may seem. But that’s New York, just throw away any preconceptions and visit with a camera in hand. Walk around aimlessly and discover it for yourself. That’s your best bet.
In addition to shooting, I also had the pleasure of catching up with some friends, so I’d like to give a quick shout out and thank you each for the time you put aside for me.
- New York local Scala, who was kind enough to guide me through a few neighborhoods and join me for a ferry ride over to Staton Island. He also tipped me off to Tasty Dumpling in outer Chinatown to gobble up some of the best dumplings you will ever find.
- Nima Taradji, who tipped me off to the Chicken and Rice goodness found at many of the street vender stands (what can I say, I like food), found me in Mid-town and later he Scala, Mike Lee and I met up at Photoville in Brooklyn, to kick back some brews and check out some amazing photography on display.
- Another local (for now), Richard Bram, was kind enough to meet me at a local bar for some drinks and a great time catching up (I also like beer). Can’t wait to catch up with you in London after your settled good sir.
That said, more photos are available in the follow up post. If you really, I mean really want to read my thoughts and get lost in a useless word salad attempt to put memory to keyboard, you can read it, but if you’re looking for the photos, as I believe you to be, then head on over to Part II: Photographic Thoughts and skip the words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.