Saturday, November 15, 2008

First impressions

So I'd like to think that first impressions aren't everything, but in reality they are. And with that said allow me to share a few of my first impressions of the Big Apple! 

It must be said that I have been working non-stop since two days after I arrived (those two days were spent unpacking and painting) and so that means I've been stuck doing anything other than what I want to be doing for the last 13 days straight. No complaints, it's work, and as a freelancer I need all the work I can get. But 13 days without so much as a single morning to smack the snooze and a girl can go a little crazy. Today is the final day of this photo shoot and that means that tomorrow will afford me a little sleep time. But I digress… 

For now I'm sitting on set trying to appear busy even though I actually have nothing to do. Nothing to do until the final 30 minutes before we have to vacate the studios, at which time it will be a mad scramble for me to pack up five shots worth of props, slap the proper label on the box or bag and arrange for the appropriate messenger service to come and whisk it away before anyone can rummage through it all and score a sweet little something or other under my nose. All while the client and photographers head off for a $150 a person dinner at some great spot in the city. 

Again I digress… onto my impression…

Editors note: This is a two parter even though it doesn't seem like it! The first part was written on Saturday the 15th and the following was written today the 23rd. I had planned to write it all last Saturday, but promptly after we finished the shoot I came down with an insane cold that holed me up in my cold apartment for five days unable to climb down from my loft let alone write my blog. 

First impression:

I'm amazed at the ability of hundreds of people to squeeze themselves into a tube that hurtles itself through the ground at breakneck speed and yet not look one another in the eye. It's hilarious actually! It's all so anonymous, and in a city were anonymous is not hard to come by considering we normal folk share the streets with actors, musicians and models, it's amazing to me that one can get more anonymous. But the subway affords that easily. Eyes sweep the advertisements that line the space above our heads, then they close and magically reopen focused on the ground. There seems to be this invisible zone that no civilized person would dare allow their gaze to wander - the zone occupied by our bodies. I say civilized because I'm not including the crazies who stare at you and continue to stare even after you have looked them directly in the eye as a sort of challenge. Nope, doesn't work. Not that I should be surprised that one who stares would not be intimidated by a stare down. Those who "sub stare" as I now refer to it in my head, can appear to be totally normal while waiting in the station. And if you saw them on the streets you'd have no idea they enjoy such a depraved hobby as staring at people on the subway. But no, they are not normal - they stare! 

The non-starers may also spend time fascinated by their cell phones despite the fact that they do not work underground. Those with iPhones can do this without looking dumb (in my iPhone owning opinion) because our magical hand held sent from the gods device does much more than relay a voice all over the world. I can pop bubble wrap, listen to music, take notes, organize my calendar, look at pictures, and any infinite number of etceteras, all while not staring at people on the subway. But come on, you pleebs with your flip phones, your not fooling anyone! 

I've grown to love my time underground. There is something soothing about the way the train moves (except when it stops and starts!) and it allows for some wind down time like no hour commute from Alexandria ever could. Luckily my sister lives on the same line as me, the good old L train, so it makes my life easy when traveling to and fro to Williamsburg. Me, myself, I live in Bushwick. Now if you don't live in New York or one of its lovely boroughs, then you do not know Bushwick. Let me say this - living in Bushwick gives me "street cred" as someone pointed out to me on my last photo shoot. It is quite obvious that I am several years ahead of the gentrification curve, no matter how high the prices are at Northeast Kingdom, and that very fact is made quite obvious by the stares I receive each day on my trek to and from the subway. No big deal, I smile my white girl grin each time I think it will keep me from getting shot, and the rest of the time I look down as if to apologize for my whiteness. Note to my neighbors: I did not move here because I am some rich whitey who wants to take over your neighborhood! I mean really, if I had money do you think I would subject myself to the creepy guys that hang around C-Town on the corner of Wyckoff and Hart - I think not. 

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