New York City

In late August, when it was still warm in the northern hemisphere, I spent a glorious few days in New York City on my way to a conference in Chicago. I flew direct from Geneva, which was an efficient way to go. I always love to follow the plane’s progress on the entertainment system map. On this flight, I particularly enjoyed the “context” map that showed no more information than the main one. I also noticed that the sites of famous shipwrecks were marked. Showing the location of the Titanic disaster strikes me as a particularly unlikely thing to think might be of interest to passengers who are, just for example, currently crossing the Atlantic.

So much context.
Nice patterns, just before landing at JFK.

I landed at JFK mid-afternoon on a sunny day, took the train to Penn Station, and stepped out into bustling Manhattan. I love New York City. Its energy is contagious. I hadn’t been there since 2006 and found that, happily, my memory of how awesome it is was accurate. In Union Square Park there were buskers of all types, dancers and bike riders, old people playing against young people at backgammon and chess, skaters, hippies, a guy practicing electric guitar. In Times Square one of the giant screens was advertising Switzerland’s peace and quiet. I wandered the West Village to see where Bob Dylan once hung out. Every neighbourhood has a story that’s still unfolding. I did a lot of walking: covered the High Line from end to end, explored the East and West Villages, saw squirrels in Central Park, walked through SoHo and Chinatown, crossed the financial district, wandered mid-town, and visited the hipsters in Williamsburg.

Window washers.
In another time and season, this was where the cover photo for
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was taken.
The PATH train station at the World Trade Center.
Lower Manhattan seen from the New Museum.

I visited MoMa, the New Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which I found particularly powerful. At the Whitney there was an exhibition of Calder mobiles, which were breathtakingly gorgeous. At certain points during the day an attendant emerged to make these sculptures move, as per their original intent. The museum called this process “activating” them; I called it “poking them with a stick”. As well as the galleries, New York is of course filled with great public art and street art.

Tristan Eaton’s mural Liberty, Little Italy.
Tiger by Sonny.
214 Lafayette, Manhattan.
Yaaas Hillz! Williamsburg.
Street art in Williamsburg.
Spiderman by Space Invader! St Mark’s Place, East Village.
East Village.

I visited the Ground Zero Memorial and went to the viewing deck in the new One World Trade Center. The view was fantastic.

One World Trade Center.
Looking over to Brooklyn.
Sun and shadow.

One evening I went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park to get a view of the Manhattan skyline at sunset. Helicopters hovered above and there were hundreds of photographers with tripods. I ran the battery out on my iPhone taking panoramas.

Sunset over Lower Manhattan.

I walked back to Manhattan across Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge has a cycle way and pedestrian path next to each other, and the cries of frustrated cyclists yelling at misplaced walkers punctuated the night. One guy was reduced to letting out repeated high-pitched screams; to his credit it did work to clear the path a bit. The view of the city was so great by night that I walked the Brooklyn Bridge again the next day to see it during the daytime.

Brooklyn Bridge views.
Brooklyn Bridge.

It was a quick visit to New York, but a great one. I believe people when they say there is no other city like it. The energy, the food, the mix of cultures, the skyscrapers, the music — what a fantastic city!

Flying to Chicago. Bye for now, NYC.
October 29, 2017


  1. One of the things I love about your photography (and there are many!) is that when you share photos of things I’ve seen and places I’ve been, I feel like my own memories are richer.

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