As someone who lives and walks this city daily…my blog is all about delving a little deeper, seeing what it has to offer, and capturing the true essence of New York City. Whether you live in Gotham, or just visiting…feel free to look around my blog. Bet you might find something new to do!
Keep in mind this isn't a blog about what is coming up...but what is experienced on a day to day basis.
P.S. As of the end of April 2013 my more personal postings will now be at The Next Few Years.
CopyrightAll images and content on this site are copyright ©GothamGirl 2009 - 2013, unless stated otherwise. If you'd like to use one of my photos, please give proper credit and link back to this blog.
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Category Archives: People
The area of Alameda Central in Mexico City has received a multimillion dollar facelift providing families an area to congregate and visit. What was once a seedy metro hub…it now rivals Times Square and Central Park and provides a perfect place for amor!
…an oasis where families frolic and children (of all ages!) run through spurts of water…
…an area to celebrate…
…an opportunity to enhance your entrepreneurial skills…well maybe…
…an area that provides a photographer a never ending chance of some fun captures!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I enjoyed taking them!
Helen captured my heart from the moment I saw her. Several months ago while exploring an area in midtown Manhattan, a woman with red horns on her head and multiple suitcases in a wide open basketball court immediately got my attention. Her clothes and open suitcases were spread out as if she was taking inventory. And of course, I immediately wanted to photograph her. Walking around the basketball court, trying to determine the best approach, all it took was for our eyes to meet. Assuming she was a woman of the streets, I wanted to take my time to make sure she felt comfortable with me. Once we made eye contact and several photographs had been captured of nothing around the court, I eased my way towards her. As they say…the rest was history. She immediately trusted me unconditionally.
Meet Helen…only I quickly nicknamed her Horny Helen within five minutes of chatting …the name fit her perfectly. It took no time to realize that perhaps there was a touch of instability involved. But she was clean and without odor which was a welcome relief and very rare in comparison to others I’ve encountered. She was funny, often hilarious, yet gentle and oh so full of conversation. Only a few times did her voice fluctuate into rants, but even then it was only momentarily until her “inside” voice came back in control. I found her fascinating.
We chatted about careers and she was intrigued when she learned I was raised on a farm in Virginia. (I really do think that was the final clincher for her trusting me and sharing so much.) Anyway, she talked about her life as a daughter, a mother, a professor, an owner of a realty company in Florida…pulling out various identifications to support her claims. I found her photos on her I.D. cards to be even more fascinating. Her hero? Homer Simpson. Stickers everywhere…on her papers, suitcases, you name it.
But her main topic of conversation was being a lover. Some of the conversation I understood and some I didn’t. There had been a man involved…that much I understood. Perhaps that was her demise? Don’t know. I didn’t ask many questions, just let her talk and she loved that I was there to listen. Preparing to leave I will never ever forget her saying as she rambled on about her love life…“Honey, I grew up when a tampon was an erotic instrument.” Cracking up, I went on my way…hoping for another encounter one day. I have returned to the area a couple of times with no sign of Horny Helen…but I’ll keep looking and hoping that our paths will cross again one day.
p.s. Yes, I’m still in Arizona…just needed a little down time to learn how to compose triptychs! Yeah! Success!
p.s.s. If you happen to be some creep out there…before you even try to enlarge Helen’s identification cards for her personal information…know that I’ve already blurred out anything of importance!
I had the pleasure of meeting and being inspired by Bob Votruba this past summer here in NYC as he continued his journey in spreading kindness throughout the country. His story is amazing…he quit his job, sold everything, and travels the country speaking at schools about acts of kindness, school and cyber bullying and adolescent suicide. You can learn more about him and his mission at One Million Acts of Kindness.
This year his mission is to ride the Kindness Bus and his Kindness Bicycle around the perimeter of the United States to honor three students that were killed in his own hometown in Ohio as well as three young adults who also took their lives. He estimates it will take a year and plans to return to NYC in October of 2013 where this particular ride started. His mission? To save kids lives.
One million acts of kindness? Surely, we can each reach for 26.
My most favorite part of traveling is interacting with the local people. This could be just a connection made through a smile or a nod, but the best is through a brief conversation even with a language barrier. For me, it’s pure bliss to gain a feeling of understanding and belonging in their country and walking away with a story! And Buenos Aires did not disappoint.
This gentleman was sitting outside of the Recoleta Cemetery drinking his mate. I first noticed his Yankees cap and of course I was immediately drawn to him. I pointed at his hat and then to my camera. He didn’t hesitate to allow me to photograph him. Through hand gestures, I tried to explain that I lived in New York and loved that he was wearing his Yankees cap while drinking his mate. It wasn’t until we were discussing this man later did I realize he was wearing prosthetics on both of his legs. He was so sweet. (More on the Recoleta Cemetery in a later post!)
Roaming the streets one afternoon in San Telmo, an old vacant building behind an iron gate caught our attention. Appearing closer, we could see an old tank type vehicle filled with books. What the heck? Taking photos caught the attention of the owner so he approached the fence as curious of us as we were of him. Seeing our interest he fired up this contraption to move it so we could have a better look. His name was Raul and we learned he built his tank in Bolivia in response to President Bush’s hunt for “weapons of mass destruction” resulting in the naming of his tank the “weapons of mass instruction.” His mission in life? To provide books to people who don’t have access and to bring peace to the world. He wasn’t keen on having his photograph taken though, so I didn’t press my luck!
Throughout my stay I’d been keeping an eye out for a good photographic opportunity to capture workers firing up their grills on the street for a quick break to grab lunch. Walking through Palermo Soho provided that opportunity. The smell of grilled peppers, chicken, steak and sausage on an open grill…imagine. As I approached the grill, the man tending it immediately started talking to me. I pointed at my camera and he says ten dollars. Ten dollars? No way…I started to walk away. But he was only kidding and he took great interest in me wanting to take his photo.
Not only did I get a few shots, but a bite of delicious grilled meat AND a drink of his wine straight from his wine bottle. A priceless encounter!
There will be a future post on the San Telmo Market, but this particular stall owner was more than happy for me to photograph her. She was so photogenic, but unfortunately for me (fortunate for her) she had customers about the time I was really getting into it! She was the perfect model! So willing, so generous, so nice!
Fun encounters with wonderful people!
Next up? One of my absolute favorites in Buenos Aires…the Recoleta Cemetery!
I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects.
But I make them for myself first and foremost – that is important.
There really are no words to describe the feelings of attending a candlelight vigil for two small children murdered by their nanny here in my neighborhood.
Even though I didn’t know the family, I just wanted to join others in showing that our community cares and in some small way give support that will hopefully provide strength they’ll need for the months and years to come.
Then the child opened its eyes, and looked up into the angel’s beautiful face,
which beamed with happiness, and at the same moment they were in heaven, where joy and bliss reigned.
The child received wings like the other angel, and they flew about together, hand in hand.
Hans Christian Andersen
(This week Bella’s 52 Photos prompt is “holding…” I couldn’t think of a better way to show how a community comes together to “hold” each other…during a candlelight vigil.)
Once again a travel interruption to bring you this very important update:
Today I volunteered at the non-profit Meals on Wheels to deliver food to the needy. I mean really? How time consuming could that be? And I really needed to give back since I’m fortunate enough to have electricity, an internet connection and stores that are open in my neighborhood.
Well let’s start by getting to Meals on Wheels’ headquarters from my neighborhood. Needing the exercise, I walked. One hour and 15 minutes later I arrived promptly at 11:00 a.m, expecting to have responsibility for delivering several meals.
“Ms. Craig, you have a meal to deliver to Jay Street and Greenwich Ave. Thank you for helping.”
One meal? Really? Hmm…well I am in midtown and that location is near Battery Park. Which equates to FAR.
Continuing down Lexington Avenue (turning into Lafayette) I came upon a ton of people waiting at a bus stop. Yeah! Most buses were traveling to Brooklyn, but finally after about 20 minutes of waiting a local Manhattan bus arrived. Yeah! However, after traveling about ten blocks (which took about 30 minutes) an announcement was made. That was the last stop for this route.
Back to walking…
One hour and 15 minutes later, I arrived at Jay and Greenwich.
“Oh, yes, Ms. O is on the eleventh floor. As you know there’s no electricity here. Do you have a flashlight?”
“Well here you go, borrow this one. Down the hall and up the stairs to the eleventh floor.”
Eleven very dark and creepy floors later, I knocked on Ms. O’s door.
Hello Ms. O…I’m here to deliver your meal from Meals on Wheels.
“Is it kosher?”
Ms. O was a trip! Loved her!
(Let’s just say I got home around 3:30 p.m…I mean really? How time consuming could it be to deliver one meal?)
Heading back to the real Holland! Stay tuned!
Death and Destruction in New York City
As my travels continue and take me to the real Holland where I’ll share about my time with new fabulous friends and their beautiful country…there are a couple of updates…
Regardless of where you are in the world, you’ve heard about the horrific destruction and devastation Hurricane Sandy has brought to the Northeast of the United States.
This morning I ventured out to assess the damage and found my neighborhood to have fared extremely well in comparison to Lower Manhattan, the remaining boroughs of New York City, New Jersey and other Eastern States. The parks in the Upper West Side of Manhattan where I live were the hardest hit due to high winds.
Central Park and Riverside Park (my front and backyard) will require major cleanup and replanting to bring it back to the beauty that all New York residents enjoy and love, as well as tourists from all over the world. But, that’s small in comparison to what others have encountered and will continue to experience as weeks and months go by. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted by the wind and water damage.
But this week my heart is heavy for a very different reason. We can rebuild from the hurricane. We can replant trees, reopen businesses, clean up the mess over a period of time, but nothing will bring back the two little children brutally murdered (allegedly) by their nanny a few days ago.
This unimaginable horror occurred on the same street where I live and passing the growing memorial at the entry of their apartment building is beyond heart wrenching. People continue to pay their respects with flowers, candles, cards, stuffed animals, Halloween candy, and little pumpkins. A loss I can’t even shake, so imagine what these parents are experiencing. The death of someone close is always a devastating experience, but don’t you know the deaths of these two children have turned that family’s world completely upside down while trying to have some normalcy (if there is such a thing) for their one remaining child.
As I’ve walked my neighborhood these past couple of days, I’ve sensed families holding their children’s hand just a little tighter as they’ve been reminded that anything is possible.
Leaving Central Park on Sunday I noticed the parents photographing their two little ones in the autumn leaves. Both children had an uncanny resemblance to the two children murdered. Smiling, laughing and probably knowing the costumes their children will wear for Halloween, where the family will gather for Thanksgiving and perhaps ideas for gifts for the upcoming holidays. But the family with the horrific loss? Just putting one foot in front of the other each day will be an undertaking. My heart aches for them.