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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Walk Through New York. Day 5

Me in Times Square. Photo: Glynn Lavender
So where did Day 4 go, you ask? Well, that's easy. It was spent trying to get through security in LA airport, followed by a long flight to New York, followed by dinner with one of Glynn's old friends, Heidi, in a restaurant in Newark. Ok? See. Nothing there to excite you too much. We did have a good giggle with Heidi, however! She is a laugh. We'd been used to Bonni's unique sense of humour in LA so it was time for a change. Thanks Heidi! After a long day managing airports, security, public transport and a long flight, you were great company. 
But Day 5 had been long scheduled as our 'day off'. And how do photographers spend their day off? Taking photographs, of course! But I have to tell you that when the alarm went off at 6am I was not pleased. Aren't you supposed to sleep in on your day off? Apparently not. To top it off, we would spend the next 14 or 15 hours walking through New York, a LowePro ProRoller between us, carrying the lenses and cameras we would both need.  In the end, we probably could have done most of our photography with our trusty little street camera - the Ricoh GRDIII. Have I said how much I love that little beastie? Oh well. Rolling the LowePro wasn't too difficult considering we were taking turns anyway. Travelling without the ProRoller would be so difficult. How did I ever travel without that thing? Anyhoooo.....
The view from the Empire State towards the Statue of Liberty
After a motel breakfast, Glynn and I caught a crowded subway into town, getting out at Madison Square Garden. Yep, I was finally in New York. Stepping out from the station I felt that familiar rush of being in a new place, a new city, somewhere I had never been before. Glynn had been there before, but this was my first taste at the Big Apple. I planned on taking as big a bite as I could in the one day we had. It would turn out to be an exhausting day off, but one I won't forget. First on the agenda was a morning shot of New York from the top of the Empire State Building. Glynn is acrophobic so I went up alone....with a thousand other tourists. But its all worth the wait when you finally get to the top. Ok. That box? Ticked.
A dancer poses for some quick photographs in Central Park
After that, much of our day was actually spent in conversation with complete strangers. There was Donnie in Central Park, who regaled us with stories of his battle with alcohol. And then there was Ed who played the fiddle for passersby. After asking an older couple seated geometrically on a park bench if I could photograph them, Glynn and I spent quite some time with them after having been given a polite 'No'. Its fabulous what a conversation can do. They acquiesced after a while and even 'made out' for the camera! I have since even received an email from the gentleman who apparently wants the photograph now. You see, it was all just a matter of trust. This is where the photographer needs to gather skills that have little to do with the art of taking photographs. Conversation is just one of them. For Glynn and I it proved a worthy tool in our street photography toolset. Without the ability to engage our subjects in banter and manifest an interest in them as people, we would have simply gone nowhere. More than that, we would not have had the joy of meeting new and interesting people in our walk through New York. Photography offers more to your life than the joy of images. It also adds another dimension that is not expected.
Making our way through the acreage that is Central Park, on through Strawberry Fields and then back through town, we found ourselves in Times Square for a a well earned pizza before heading home. It had been a long day and we were very tired. But here's the thing people often get wrong about New York, at least in my limited experience.The people are friendlier than you expect. At least that's we found.
The couple who said 'No'...

Glynn in Times Square
It was around 10pm and we were wondering how we were going to get back to our motel near Newark airport. Oh yeah, we stay in all the ritzy joints. Glynn pulled out a map to get our bearings and as he did so a young woman passed by. Realising that we were a little lost she stopped, turned around and asked "Are you guys ok?" After we explained our plight she gave us all the directions we needed for finding the perfect bus back. I was impressed. That kind of interest in others isn't supposed to happen in the Big Apple, is it? But this kind of thing had happened to us all day. We had encountered all manner of friendly people. I had been told that New Yorkers are rude. Maybe they are. I don't know. I must have only met the friendly ones.
Well, I made it. And,as the old song says 'if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere'. Thank you, New York, New York. It was fun. See you again in May 2011.
Strawberry Fields, forever...

Shelton Muller

1 comment:

Heidi said...

It's amazing the kind words a good meal will buy...thank you for the very sweet mention.

I am flattered and thrilled to have had the chance to be part of your visit and look forward to part two (and many more). It really was my pleasure.

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller