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 9:18 pm  Comments (18)  
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Reality??? So much more so!!!

RSG On the train

Let’s start here by stating the simple, direct and utterly unmitigated truth:

I love New York City!

Don’t ask me “Why?” or tell me “That’s because…” Just look at the pictures!

 

This morning, having returned swiftly and joyfully by bicycle thru midtown traffic–including a spin around Columbus Circle– from the cardiologist’s with a glowing health report, it occurred to me yet again that my reality far surpasses anything I’m capable of imagining. My waking hours are filled with actually living in the city of my dreams two blocks from the park of those dreams and with the love of better than my dreams. I have an adequate bike and the perfect camera–it even has a phone and a jukebox inside–and I spend my time among the most varied and often delighting and–to be sure challenging–art, architecture and human beings more than imaginable right here in my actual, every day world.

Let me take you on a little tour.

First, in my world “glum” becomes mysterious and foreboding…

…or downright scary.

 

…Or who knows what in the bay of a truck.

Then dead white oaks appear fully grown and in profusion right where Broadway (the famous one) meets 5th Avenue (also the famous one.)

 

 

 

An empty hallway becomes an adventure.

The same for an empty room although, perhaps, a much more peaceful and meditative adventure.

 

An empty loading dock reveals itself as a work of art.

A neighborhood church becomes both a cathedral and an oasis.

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A rich man comes along and builds an island that emerges on cement pillars from the river flowing just two blocks away and turns it into a park and invites me to come enjoy!

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If that’s not enough, restaurants create outdoor shelters that I might celebrate with lobsters even in times of pandemic.

 

Even the Sanitation Department creates fantastical structures housing who-will-ever-know-what to delight my eyes and my fantasies. Of course, there might actually be an enormous dragon in there eating all the trash. As some folks would say, “Hey! You never know.”

The subway, the one everybody’s so busy bitching about, it not only goes wherever I want to go whenever I want to go there, it even ventures outdoors to create new realities in motion.

It even crosses over rivers to give me ever-changing images to pass on–in this case–to you.

There’s a memorial to a dead President that hosts sunsets and since 1964 The Jazzmobile with free real jazz for all of us.

 

And when it rains you can bet your ass it rains!

So, if you wanna to sing, there’s so much more than the tunes you already know:

 

https://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/music/a11360/best-songs-about-new-york/

https://www.pastemagazine.com/music/best-songs/about-new-york-city-nyc/

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/songs-about-new-york#slide-1

Here’s Sinatra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr-cauL052I

And here’s Billy Joel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM4LzEcaTK0

 

Right now this one really gets me. It’s not Frank Sinatra or Billy Joel, but I’m not as old as I used to be.

26 Songs about New York https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TC02VaB1Rw

 

In response to a special request, here’s Alicia Keys singing Empire State of Mind solo with lyrics writ out large. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7h25OBP6U

 

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. What’s yours? There’s a “comments” icon coming up. Click on it and let us know about you and NYC.

Published in: on August 10, 2021 at 6:06 pm  Comments (8)  
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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.