Saturday, May 23, 2009


Downtown Train

In New York, I spend most of my time above Canal, for one thing or another. Once in a while, though, I love to go to the bottom of the island. It is almost a different city, a European one. Because the southern tip of the island was built up in the 17th century, the streets are locked into ancient patterns-- narrow alleys and byways, barely passable and often filled with pedestrians rather than cars. It's striking that our center of finance is set in such an old-world place, which is so different than the rest of the country. While uptown there are always splashes of green, near Wall Street the palette is grays, which show up wonderfully in the light of morning or late afternoon.

[As always, you can enlarge the images by clicking on them]

The angles of this part of the city are fascinating:

The collections of people, too, are wonderful, as Chinatown bleeds into Wall Street, with statues and schoolchildren:

There is street life, too, in little nooks and crannies in the gray. There will be a noodle shop tucked into an alley, or a patch of cobblestones, places where the sidewalk seamlessly bleeds into the street:

Underground, too, it looks somehow different. I waited for six trains to pass (even though I needed to get somewhere), because I wanted to get these pictures exactly right. I love the way the guy looks up as the train comes in:

It's a world of grays, not black and white. Maybe that really does fit the financial world, that shadow and grayscale are the metaphorical realm in which finance fits best.

Uptown, the beauty can be less stark, even in Bryant Park a half-block off of Fifth Avenue:

Light, shadow, color, love, hate, beauty, life.

I like the one with trenchcoat woman the best.
Are you in Manhattan now? My third home... I do miss my third home on occassion
My first time in NYC, the Missus and I went uptown to see the locale of Spider-Man's "Empire State University." (I told her it was to visit Columbia.) Anyway, we picked the wrong Uptown-bound train and came out in Harlem. We walked up around Morningside Park, sticking out like a sore thumb in an area that seemed a little blighted. We felt so safe when we got over to Columbia that we walked around and enjoyed the strangeness of an Ivy League campus.

Then we got on the 1 train headed downtown and had our scariest moment ever in NYC. I was two steps behind the Missus to go through the turnstile when this skinny red-headed guy shoves me out of the way and jumps the turnstile. Then two beat cops yelled at everybody to stop that guy. They pushed me out of the way and fought through the turnstile. The red-headed guy ran off down the platform and we lost sight of him and New York's finest, but we heard them shouting until the train drowned them out.
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