New York City
New York has always been an inspiration for me. When I lived there in 1969 I loved making pictures around the city. I worked for UPI in those days, and I always tried to take a few snaps before I got into the office at the Daily News Bldg. Growing up in Oregon made it seem even more exotic. There’s so much energy in the place that it always seems on the edge of exploding. This last week was no exception on the photo front. When I arrived in Manhattan, it was already after dark, but the Christmas lights were burning bright, and decorations were everywhere. I chose a spot near Radio City Music Hall to capture some of the spirit. With reflections in the foreground, and giant red ornaments framing the scene, I got an angle that I liked. Unfortunately after shooting I hopped off the ledge I was on and sprained my foot. I’m not sure the pics were worth it, but they will definitely outlive the pain.
To make sure I hadn’t broken anything I had X-rays taken, and the results were negative (so to speak . . .). The doctor who saw me was Jordan Metzl, (http://www.drjordanmetzl.com/ ), a sports medicine expert, author, and one of the best orthopedists in his field””on top of that he’s a world-class triathlete. My guess is that I was not one of his most athletic patients.
The next day I hobbled around Central Park at a snail’s pace, and fittingly, ran into some giant red pulmonate gastropod molluscs at the Rumsey Playground, a place that looked a bit like the middle of Paris. These particular gastropods were sculptures, however, made out of recycled material and placed by the Villa Firenze Foundation and the Galleria CA’ D’ORO to promote better understanding of Italy. A young child was playing near them, and it made for a good shot.
I also stopped by the 1959 JosÃ© de Creeft sculpture dedicated to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” that features an 11-foot-tall Alice who is surrounded by the Mad Hatter and other Carrollian characters. I’m always looking for unusual elements, and I chose her giant hand as my focal point.
The following day I made my way (slowly) down Madison Ave., and was rewarded by a typical steamy NYC scene where city workers were repairing a broken pipe. Only a short distance from there I found some high-end shops to shoot, one a mix of man and mannequins, another with an umbrella with eyes passing by. My favorite pic, however, was combining a terrific black and white Berluti shoe ad of a man jumping high in the air with people walking underneath him with umbrellas.
I then made my way over to 5th Ave. for more storefront action, and was rewarded by seeing some American flags through a rain-dappled taxi window, and a rather astonishing piece of billboard-sized illuminated flying jewelry on the facade of the Bvlgari store.
Later that night I appeared on Al Jazeera America where John Siegenthaler interviewed me. Their set, using a large mosaic of my photos, was impressive, and I’d never seen my pictures used quite that way. I’ll go back there anytime!
After the show I had dinner with my good friend the branding king Alan Siegel at Aretsky’s Patroon (http://aretskyspatroon.com/ ). Ken Aretsky is one of the world’s top restaurateurs, and I’ve known him almost 40 years. I highly recommend his establishment for fabulous food, and some excellent photos on the wall””yes, one of them is mine, taken of the Ali-Frasier “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden, March 8, 1971 . . .
This morning I bid adieu to the big city, but not before photographing The Beresford apartment building on Central Park West where I stayed with the Siegels. It was an impressive sight, made more so by the crisscrossing contrails that drifted above the structure, built in 1929.
As I left New York, I made one last photo as we lifted out of JFK Airport heading west to Los Angeles. It was another great photo safari, and all the photos taken with my iPhone5s.