Thursday, August 14, 2008

Street scenes

1. A tree lying at the curb on E. 29th Street, felled and dismembered by a sidewalk project, its leaves perky, green, unaware.

2. A slim college-age guy in tight black jeans, standing in front of Muji on W. 40th Street, doing a crossword puzzle, cigarette idle between his fingers.

3. A twentyish woman, busty and tanned in a tight low-cut plaid dress, crossing E. 17th Street with an overweight, fiftyish man, and both climbing into a shiny black Lexus.

4. An older man with white hair in a blue seersucker suit, looking like a summery character from F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the subway platform at Union Square.

5. A teen-aged boy on the 4 train, wearing a t-shirt that says “Thank God for beer, women and football,” with an older woman who can only be his mother.

6. A teen-aged boy on Park Avenue, pulling down the waistband of his saggy jeans and boxers to show a teen-aged girl his tattoo, an illegible word over his pelvic bone. “That must have hurt,” the girl says.

(Photo: Grand Street, Lower East Side, July 2008)


  1. I like your observations! I could see your people.

  2. These gave me a sense of NYC as compelling as any set of pictures. It was interesting to mentally draw each image you described. As you went on to the next, I found myself wanting to ask questions about the one before. I also wanted to pull that carseat out of the trash can, having recently paid good money for a used one to give to my little Guatemalan friend. Great post!

  3. Yes, your descriptions were vivid. I was at first surprised to see only one photograph, but was glad you had described rather than shown.

  4. Fantastic word portraits. So New York, too. Fabulous!!

    I think you forgot one, though: A tall, athletic man, simply dressed. Even though he's wearing sunglasses, his face is open, curious and very handsome. He's walking briskly all over NYC, stopping now and again to photograph street art.

  5. This is an awesome post and picture - I could actually mentally reconstruct the scenes in my mind. Cool.

  6. some day a real rain will fall and wash all the scum off the street.

  7. Thanks, everybody. I saw all of these yesterday, with the exception of #5, which I saw Sunday.

    Reya: I don't think I know that guy. :P

    Spider: Ha!! Channeling Travis Bickle, are we?

  8. great diversion from your regular format. "cigarette idle between his fingers" was one of my favorite images. simple words, but they add a distinct feeling to the description.

  9. Dennis is reminded of the Velveteen Rabbit story when he read your first description-- the tree unaware like the fir tree in the story. Dennis loves having that story read to him.

  10. I ride my bike to work on occasion which gives you time to see a lot of sights on a fairly regular basis.
    One of my regulars is the little old lady that comes out to move her sprinkler in her bathriobe....
    lets just say I wish she would wear something...

  11. brilliant post steve.