Many more pictures by a Gaijin in New york
I arrived in New York Monday afternoon. Carrying a big bag, I found it a pain in my ass to take out my camera, so it stayed where it was.
Tuesday, I awoke at 3am, which I was happy about because it gave me a couple hours to work on things I was supposed to have finished before I left. By the time daylight rolledaround, I was ready to hit the streets with my camera. Thing is, I was so uncomfortable in this strange environment that the camera never left my pocket. I felt like more of a foreigner here than I ever do in Japan. I go into the grocery and everything is so strange, I walk down the street and everyone is nice. People are polite, people talk and make conversation... the store clerks, the man walking next to me in the park, the people standing next to me at the cross-walk... it's so different than Tokyo.
I guess part of me feels that since, in Tokyo, I am already treated like a freak, and no one makes any effort to treat other people like people, it is so easy to just take pictures without careing about how they feel. Here however, the people make a personal connection... just today as I got off the elevator, the other person on the elevator said something like "Have a good one". Where did that come from? It's amazing to me having lived so long where people do their best to avoid any and all interpersonal contact.
Another reason I didn't take so many photos was that I was actually afraid. Having only been to New York once, when I was eight or nine (ten?), the only thing I know about New York is what the news tells me... it's baaaaddd... baaaddd, baaadd, baaaddd! New Yorkers will kill you and take your camera if you let them see it!
It's not bad. I have only been here three days now, and spent the last two days walking around the city through as many neighborhoods as I can hit, and no one has ever done anything rude or mean to me. I have never had any reason to be scared. What is that crap they talk about on TV?
I do have to admit that yesterday, when I forced myself to keep the camera out all day, and took a few hundred shots, I was approached by some angry sounding construction workers after they saw me take a photo of their truck. "Did you just take picture of the truck?! Why!?". I told them I did but I'll erase it if they want, and explained that I took it because it made an nice contrast, being a bright red truck next to a bright yellow school bus, and that I was an amature photographer. He asked to see the photo, and we got in to a short conversation about photography, since he himself was an amature photographer. If I knew more about photography, the conversation would have probably lasted longer.
Anyway, these photos are all from Wednesday's walk from my friends apartment on E96th Street, across Central Park, down Broadway past Time Square, then back up Lexington Avenue to 96th street. Today I hope to get further down to the financial area, but it's pouring rain. Now that I am over my jet lag, we can had out to Harlem for dinner and some music. Unfortunatly, I doubt I'll even get a chance to make it off of Manhatten, but I'm anxious to see what the Bronx, and Queens are actually like, having heard so much about them on TV and movies.