The world is full of singular cities, those sprawling metropolises that have no equal in the world. London. Tokyo. San Francisco. Currently, I’m in New York for a few months, and it’s a difficult place to describe, if you want to provide a complete sense of it.
Like anywhere else, it’s defined by its people, and the variety of life they represent. Anywhere in the city, from walking the sidewalk to riding the subways, you can see a dozen unique demographics at once, elbow to elbow. New York well represents the melting pot of society the founders envisioned.
Except for selfie-sticks. Those weren’t anticipated at all.
Exploring a city like New York or London is intoxicating. New York especially, I find myself looking at all the varied rooftops, knowing there are unique views from each, like I’m living in a city-rendered version of the ‘Little Mermaid’, humming ‘Part of your world’ to myself and wishing I had a drone. Even so, any given view is just a slice of a hundred different microcosms of life within the city, little pools of humanity distinct from their neighbors. Firehouses. Noodle shops. Cop bars. Orthodox communities. Chinatown. A neighborhood full of brownstones. Metro workers. Fashionistas. Stroller-wielding street gangs holding turf wars over a Starbucks. Theatre districts. Wall Street gestapo. This guy walking past me in a pretty nice suit carrying a briefcase and a bouquet of flowers, followed by some dude in a track suit.
It’s an overwhelming place with curiosity like mine.
I got out last night and hiked across the Brooklyn Bridge to get some street work in, finding a great angle on the bridge that completely justified the expense of a 14mm rectilinear wide-angle lens. The angle and content gave me a great moment to throw the rule of thirds mostly out the window. Mostly. It’s sometimes hard to explain when it’s appropriate to break the rules of composition, such as they are, but this shot at least gives me another great example to use when teaching.
I’m in New York for another six weeks! Manhattan being Manhattan, there’s a billion things to see there, but I’ll be spending some time in Brooklyn as well, and by far, my stomach is outdoing my eyes when it comes to playing tour guide. The crazy variety and quality of food in the New York metro area is astounding. I read somewhere that you could eat at a different restaurant every night for 25 years, and still not eat at the same place twice.
And a well-deserved shout out to the team at Google Maps. You helped me survive Dallas, despite their wanton appetite for construction, but your work on the New York subway integration is simply stellar.