The color is autumn

Sommer, she’s i’passin’ oot,

All sing g’bye.

Autumn he’s i’cumin’ in,

All sing “Haloo!”

 

Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic paradigm meaning intentionally flawed beauty…referring to the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It’s not the kind of thing that sits well with our Western standards of beauty. It’s not young and fresh and energetic with big boobs or biceps or a Mercedes to die for. For me, wabi sabi is Autumn, and here I’d like you to look for a moment into your gut. It’s the feelings that accompany the movement of the seasons at this time of year that I’m carrying on about. Not talking about value judgments, mind you. Talking ’bout feelings–and I’m not going to suggest anything. This is about you. Those of you who are fortunate enough to be blessed with life in a climate hosting Autumn you know what Autumn is: cooler temps, clearer light, sharper shadows, brighter colors, cooler temps, faster moving air. Autumn is life recharged, ready or not.

 

For me as a photographer–There! I’ve called myself that! After decades of resisting the label, I’m right now in your presence, admitting to taking a portion of my identity from my pretty-much favorite activity–Autumn is the sublime expression of colors and the great burst of life preceding the quiet gray of winter. Autumn is wabi-sabi at its natural best.

So here come a dozen photos, all but the last actually made over the summer, yet all advertising the colors of Autumn. I say “advertising,” because that’s what I’m selling. Many are indoors made. A lot down in the subway, only theoretically distanced from the impact of seasonality. Lots involve looking up. The first one, the window with the rusted metal gate: after I took the snap, a woman approached me to ask what I was doing. My head overwhelmed by the reality of wabi-sabi, however I answered didn’t much matter. She didn’t call the cops and I got the snap.

These folks were involved each in their own worlds on the way to the beach. Their colors were those of joy.

 

And artwork from who knows how long ago as Pennsylvania Station continues moving west.

 

And the entrance to Coppola’s on West 79th Street, where for decades–yes, decades--Bobbie and I have shared a Ceasar salad and Grandpa Salvatore’s pizza and a couple of glasses of wine.

 

Canal Street’s #1 local station captures wabi sabi brilliantly when you’re ready to see it. What a gift when that happens. You overhear people complaining about it, that it’s not clean and shiny and so forth, and it reminds you of folks who’d like ice cream much better if it weren’t so damned cold.

 

 

I climb up out of the subway at 19th Street on my way to the Chelsea art galleries and I climb through and into the art of my city!

 

Right now there’s a whole load of folks who devote their waking hours to hating my city’s newest architecture. Their loss.

 

This remarkable interlacing of bamboo and steel lives in the Lower East Side on Essex Street. Behind it, in the midst of centuries of squalor, lives a little park. Check it out!

 

 

Sometimes, as it happened for me in this instance, you’re lucky enough to be hearing the music that’s just right for you. You You relax. Your eyes drift out a window and oooh, you discover that the perfectly ordinary is oddly magical.

 

My city is filled with windows which create magic no matter what they reflect.

 

And the coldest metal and cement become alive with–vu den?--life!

 

Finally, Snap # 12, taken through the window of a Metro-North commuter train from New York gliding along the Long Island Sound through southern Connecticut to New Haven. Autumn, real Autumn, is i’cummin’in.”

 

What’s Autumn to you? Inquiring minds want to know, and there’s a comments section below. Feel free to use it.

Published in: on October 3, 2022 at 8:18 pm  Comments (18)  
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Nine Snaps and Then Three More

The first 8–all recent–photos were thrown up in random order by forces ruling technology. I thought of protesting, of diligently rearranging them according to some structure of chronology or location then decided that was just the voice of my New England schooling and it’s incessant demand for order. The last three though, I made sure to arrange so as to support my little bit of narration. Richie and I were both 23 in 1965 when I, mourning the death of my dad, dropped out of grad school and moved to New York to become a starving poet. Richie owned half a bar, a joint called The Annex on Avenue B between 10th and 11th, which was annexed to nothing beyond the whole incredible ethos of the East Village as it emerged from the Lower East Side.

When I checked “The Annex” in my blog look up, it produced four more entries:

Whatever, here’s some brief respite from concerns of pandemic, race, religious, political and gender hatreds.

Enjoy!

 

 

Outside MoMA

 

Under 103rd and Broadway

 

Amsterdam & 79th

 

Viewing the Alice Neel show at the Met Museum

 

Broadway at 125th

 

125th west of Broadway

 

125th west of Broadway

 

The Highline crossing 10th Avenue around 30th Street

 

Grafitto on the A train platform under 8th & 34th subway

*   *   *

And now the “Three More.” Think of these as a short story and, having done so, feel free to create your own plot. Should you actually do so, please continue feeling free and submit your creation as a comment. Rest assured it will be printed.

RSG, who in 1965 lived across East 11th Street, remarkably near Avenue B, from the Free Public Baths of the City of New York.

The very baths referenced in the caption above.

 

Richie V, the man who in 1965 gave the man who lived across from those

Baths his very first job in New York City and who now lives in the

self-same building occupied in 1965 by  the (I love this word!) self-same RSG.

Seven Snaps!

Themes of light, of color, of cacophony, of harmony. Always love of my city. Be well.

 

                                         42nd and 8th

 

Weill Cornell Medical

 

Columbus and 76th after a rain

 

 Mark DiSuvero statue at 10th and 25th

 

14th Street after a rain

 

Times Square

 

                                                   Times Square

 

 

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 8:22 pm  Comments (8)