Every thing in the world, every event, is like a dewdrop on a multidimentional spider’s web, and every dewdrop contains the reflection of all the other dewdrops. But you see, the hermit finds this out through his solitide, and so also human beings can aquire a certain solitude, even in the middle of New York City. It’s rather easier, as a matter of fact, to find solitude in New York City than it is in Des Moines, Iowa.
In 1911, Swedish film company Svenska Biografteatern recorded its trip to New York.
Fortunately, the footage survived and most recently was speed-corrected and reproduced with added street sounds of car horns, horses, and police whistles to give us a sense of the environment back then.
- Notice all the people wearing hats
- The streets look a bit empty compared to today’s zoo
- Cable powered trolleys
- The kids go nuts when the camera is on them. Nothing’s changed!
What’s your favorite scene?
There’s the dream. And then there’s the reality.
The dream is that you can survive the concrete jungles of New York. The reality is that you’re another part of the rat pack, rushing from Brooklyn and New Jersey to midtown.
The rat race never ends.
Even those who start as far away as New Haven begin a jam into different species. Everyone is a stranger.
The quiet car contains opposites. It goads the loudest minds.
Stepping off into Grand Central Terminal is the great equalizer. You have no choice but to join the frenzy.
Strolling faster than anyone else, you’d think you’re getting ahead. But only for a spare moment. Someone else has clipped your wings. Who do you think you are, anyway?
Spare some change, sink at the moment. Time alludes you. The day is one big drop, a flash drive of memories.
Into the City and back out again, only to do it all over tomorrow.
Banksy is back in New York, the first time since his month-long residency back in 2013.
The iconic street artist kicked off his visit with a mural dedicated to the imprisonment of Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, who’s watercolor painting protests the continued destruction of Kurdish territory by the Turkish military.
The black hash marks represent each of the days since Dogan has been in jail. Turkish authorities incarcerated her last March.
“I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence,” Banksy told the New York Times.
Fresh off The Walled Off Hotel project in Bethlehem where he also teamed up with producer Danny Boyl to put together a film called ‘The Alternativity’, it appears that Banksy is making the Big Apple his canvass again.
“New York calls to graffiti writers like a dirty old lighthouse. We all want to prove ourselves here. I chose it for the high foot traffic and the amount of hiding places. Maybe I should be somewhere more relevant, like Beijing or Moscow, but the pizza isn’t as good.”
Be sure to follow Banksy to keep up with the rat race in New York.
Mural images via the Houston Bowery Wall
“Outside New York, a high place where with one glance you take in the houses where eight million human beings live.”
— Tomas Tranströmer, “Schubertiana”
The weathered we address: What kind of weathered is it?
It contains multitudes.
….Retrofitted and restored
All photos by Wells Baum
Standing in Grand Central Station reminds us of the temporariness of life, that what’s here now can be gone in a flash.
Here now, gone in an instant
Better to find our feet in the urban wilderness rather than orbit around a flock of sheep. In the hierarchy of happiness, stillness plays the long game by persisting through noisy places.
All photos by Wells Baum
As someone who’s lived and worked in both New York and Los Angeles — this article sounds strangely familiar.
“Once, I walked nine miles through the streets of Los Angeles, tiptoed through the hobo village under a 101 overpass, got briefly trapped on a crosswalk-less median, and then stood on line behind waiting cars to enter the Warner Bros. lot. Because I’m not a Hollywood wuss. I’m from New York. I don’t drive. I don’t know how to drive. I don’t know how to do something that teen-agers can do, and I’m proud of it. That’s how much of a New Yorker I am.”
In LA, we wait to tell each other stories in order to impress while New Yorkers tell you how it is right then and there. There is no real outside in LA; there is only real inside a cold New York. Both cities thrive in their own eclectic touch, ridden with signals, smoke and mirrors.
Paul tried to make every one of eighty-plus daily phone pickups count. The more he shot, the more photos he had to play with. The only challenge in photographing New York was the bombardment of sensory stimulation; stories oozed with opportunity in every open corner and alleyway, yet nothing, not even Broadway, felt staged. The city thrived off chaos, and it worked like a pre-programmed video game. Those who ignored the beauty of its complexity were the most aloof rats in the cage. The City struck all the right neurological notes, but you had to learn how to see to catch the profound silence in between the disorder.
Parking signs are intentionally confusing, especially in the cities. Take a close look at the rules and exceptions on the parking signs, and you’ll see things like:
- Zone 2 permit holders only
- Express pick-up: 15 minutes only
- Monday-Friday: 2:30PM – 4PM & 6:30PM – 10PM
First, you have to squint and read the sign and check for the exceptions; then you have to interpret the day and the time. Sometimes signs on top of signs: one for the 3-hour parking, one for 2-hour parking, and one for all day parking. Sometimes signs are fifty feet down the block, and you miss it. Holy shit. So you ultimately take your chances and risk getting towed.
In New York, parking is a tax. On top of that, the signs are ubiquitous and ambiguous, so people fear to park at all. Residents and visitors walk and take public transportation instead.
Cities don’t want people driving. Thankfully, self-driving cars are on the way to eliminate the self-doubt. Once cars start talking to other cars and pay machines, the madness will go away. But for now, parking sucks. And on top of that, some cities don’t want you there in the first place.
Author and acclaimed New Yorker Fran Lebowitz can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t stand watching television, nor does she like social media, yet she’s still on top of them all or at least, well-informed in her sardonic complaints about them. Below are some highlights from her interview with W Magazine:
On sleeping and watching television
Zero. I never sleep, I probably haven’t slept since you were born — I don’t know how old you are, but you’re not so old that I could have slept since you were born. So, years ago, I decided reading in bed is too stimulating. Watch TV. It’s boring. You’ll fall asleep.
On listening to music
Questlove did an album of it that he gave to me, and I’ve listened to that. I will say this: It’s not that I don’t like music, I just never think to listen to it. I am an endless seeker of silence.
On a potential Trump presidency
Everyone I know is very worried about it. I am very worried, but not about that, and no one would accuse me of being a cockeyed optimist. And I know there are a lot of morons in this country, I just don’t think there are enough.
I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Facebook page — it really sounds an awful lot like the junior high school you never get out of. It sounds awful to me. And of course there are at any given time millions of people in junior high school, so it’s bad enough they have to be in junior high school before this even existed.