140th and Lenox. by Gail. Ahhh, memories. As in, memories of the halcyon days before I tore something in my foot and I was walking 12-15 miles a day and plowing through this city in glorious, flat, even, gray, Spring light… (A reminder of my progress on my little map, here, for anyone who wants to relive those days with me? Anyone? Hi?) Oh, sigh. But this brief respite has allowed me to undertake the far less entertaining tasks of organizing files, color-management, SETTING UP A BRAND NEW WEBSITE (HI! LOOK AT IT), and even taking a little photoshop lesson, ha! So it’s not all bad to be hobbled even though I am practically crawling out of my skin to get back to shooting - my camera-callus is getting soft!!! And if you know what that means, you’re weird and you carry a huge camera in an awkward position far too frequently. But the moral of the story is that this is a lovely example of a bodega in Harlem, bask in its majesty, and as soon as my stupid foot is fixed, I’ll be out there taking pictures of more of these gems (so cross your fingers 7-11 doesn’t kill them all in the next 2 weeks).
28th and Lex. By Gail. Yesterday I may or may not have aggravated what may or may not be the third (and definitely least glamourous) stress fracture of my life - one time I apparently had a sports-themed stress fracture in my patella but I’m such a badass I didn’t notice for over a decade, one time I got a stress fracture from boxing every other day in Chuck Taylors. And now my left foot is turning interesting colors because it seems like I’ve made an unwise decision by walking 45 or so miles a week in cute shoes. Which is sort of boring. So here’s a picture of the headless lotto guy while I limp over to the urgent care center to find out if I’ll be dragging a giant boot along through the rest of Manhattan (LOOK AT THIS PROGRESS!), which would really not be awesome, but at least my camera-hand is still intact!
50th and 2nd - 2nd Avenue Farm. $1.25. I had a long stretch of boring shooting the East 60s and 50s yesterday and today isn’t looking much more promising - I used to work near 45th and 3rd so expectations are set to meh. I’m saving myself for the cream puff shop over by the Japan Society I guess?
Name unknown, 74th and York. Ahhh, the Upper East. I’m trying to categorize my photos as my image folder rolls into the 2000s - of course I shoot a few frames of each bodega, our city isn’t THAT cornershop-studded at this point in my progress - and I figured I’d post this gem as I prepare to return to the East Side. LOOK AT THIS MAP, IT’S CRAZY. I’ve covered the entire West Side down to 17th street (damn you Times Square), and I’m steeling myself for the incredible boredom of the Upper East. I saved Harlem as a reward for the tedium of the Upper West and the agitation of tourist-Frogger in the Theater District, but Harlem feels so small when I consider how many blocks of fancy boutiques and stroller-dodging I have ahead of me once I’ve hit Central Park. The nicer weather has brought out the stragglers which means I have more time leaning against phone booths and light poles, waiting for people to move - they finish conversations, absent-mindedly organize shopping bags, light cigarettes, and generally linger in front of my inanimate subjects. It’s been a lovely opportunity to chat with random strangers (or scream at hostile douchebags, as the situation dictates) and truly look at the neighborhoods where I’m shooting. It’s shockingly easy to run and gun in Times Square - which is something of a bodega desert - because not even the slowest moving flock of neon-blinded tourists will park for THAT long, and the herds actually pass in remarkably predictable waves (as dictated by the traffic lights). The Garment District, though, you could watch a bored barber just lean on an ice chest for an hour and talk to you about his life before he concedes that you should be able to take that shot of the tiny, grimy newsstand he’s obscuring. I’ll say this for the West Side: I’ve learned that you CAN pay a pedicab driver $1 to watch your back while you shoot from the middle of the street and he will, in fact, watch your back - and stop asking you if you want a ride (or a date). File that one under useful information.
39th and 3rd. I’m walking up to the Japan Society to check out a show I’m reviewing but this cup’s assertiveness was irresistible.
51st and 11th, $1.25. Cute cup. The theater district is a bitch. I bought this coffee to try to stop a migraine (well, to chase down an Imitrex) that I blame entirely on the slog through our fair city’s glittering asshole. The theater district has taken me two days so far and I’m not quite done, I’ve been in 2, um, disagreements so far (one man was desperate for me to take his picture while another felt that his bus company owned the public sidewalk where I was shooting), and I can barely explain the relief that washes over me when I trip over the last herd of upward-gazing, suitcase-dragging stragglers to dash onto 10th Avenue, over where the lights stop. This coffee was overpriced, in my opinion, because it’s the only game in town down the block from the bulging line for The Daily Show (or The Hustler Club, depending on when you’re winding through taxi garages and parks into this stretch of quiet street). I walked down 12th for a while just to steel myself for another dive through a sea of slow moving humans and flashing ads for stupid yogurt - no wonder tourists can’t understand why we live here, if this is what New York is to them, I’d get the hell out, too.
55th and 10th, 10th Avenue Gourmet. $1.25. So hot I keep having to switch hands and hold it weird and hold it with my jacket. WHO KNOWS WHAT IT TASTES LIKE. MAYBE IT TASTES LIKE MAGMA. I’m on the west side today and I just walked down Riverside from 65th to 55th just out of boredom because… this… neighborhood… is… boring. I’m saving Harlem for later, like a child impatiently choking down a plate of mushy, overlooked vegetables while eyeing that piece of cake sitting over on the counter. UGH.