So good they named it twice

I was so happy when this Polaroid developed. It was boiling hot and we were checking out Chinatown, sweatily and slowly; I saw this little girl with her mother and paused for a moment, knowing I had one shot left in my camera. I don’t often take photos of strangers, let alone random people in the street, but there was something i knew i had to catch, and as they walked towards me i quickly pressed the shutter button, with my breath held, trying to not look like i was doing what i was doing. When i see people wielding cameras in the street i generally avoid their lenses; i don’t think the camera steals your soul, but i’d still rather not appear in their holiday snaps. As a rule you should always ask people if you can take their photograph, and that day i understood why street snappers use the zoom lenses they do – all the better to get those candid shots. It’s unlikely that this woman will ever know she is here on my blog, but her Polaroid is my favourite from the 100+ I shot; I wish i’d stopped and thanked her.
Later, we were in the West Village, buying cupcakes and geeking out over Carrie’s house*. Looking like a more chi-chi version of Notting Hill, the West Village seduced me in seconds; I almost embarrassed myself stalking these two women along Bleeker Street, and while i’d have never had the balls to ask to take their picture, this shot perfectly encapsulates that afternoon for me.

My week in New York City can be summed up in eight words: absolutely amazing and i want to live there. I know i come back from every new city wanting to live there, but this time it was different**. I can see why London and New York are so connected; it’s as if they’ve scooped out the juicy flesh of London, plonked it on an island and sprinkled it with razzmatazz. I LOVED it. The first two days i walked around on my own and was in my element – cameras, coffees, a bit of shopping, people watching, chats with strangers, cab hailing (i got it down to a fine art) and plenty of oohs and ahhs as I wandered happily, Polaroid in hand.

This is a love affair that’s only just started. New York, my new love, I’ll be back next year…

* tragic, i know. we tried to play it cool
** I probably say that too.

12 responses
  1. meg manion silliker

    you’re brilliant at getting the slice of life shots that i love. nyc is indeed the best.

  2. Angie B

    I know how you feel!!

    last November I got to spend a day just running around all of NYC and everyday I dream of going back!

    There is such a difference in life there. Fashion is more cutting edge, the history, (major old town lover here) the food, and Times Square at night, what other place could be more magical?!

    I have even went so far as to know what time the train leaves for NYC on the cheapest day and return information as well. It is about a 12 hour ride there. Next time though – I have to go to Coney Island.

  3. hydee ann

    ah, i know that feeling of trying to get the photo, not wanting to ask, attempting discreetness! your snap turned out lovely.

    i never had a desire to visit NY. it seemed too cliche – everyone loves it and raves about it. i was too cool to do so. but then hubby & i got a chance to visit for a quick weekend while spending a summer on the east coast 10 years ago. now i understand! even 6 months pregnant, i couldn’t get enough. and i’m plotting my return although it will probably have to be on my own so i can do just as you did on the first days there: wander & snap to my hearts content with no one else i’m beholden to. it makes for happy daydreaming.

  4. kelly Nolan

    really? you’d rather live in NY than SF?

  5. Thursday

    I’ve done one trip to NY on business and managed to have an afternoon to myself to see as much as I could. For some while afterwards, there was an advert on TV for orange juice, showing New Yorkers having breakfast in various diners and I would actually cry with longing to go back every time I saw it.

  6. susannah

    oh man, that is a hard one…. NYC felt more ‘me’….. i felt more me there. but SF is so gorgeous too, and so different. Can i have an apartment in both cities? :)

  7. susannah

    i know exactly what you mean. x

  8. Angie

    I love that top photo so much too! All those people in the photo but only you and the little girl know it happened… well, and us now! Great focusing too – with everyone moving around. love, love, love it! x

  9. Gina

    NY always gets me and I live so close! It never ceases to amaze me every time I go. There are always new treasures to find. SF is another of my favorites for sure! I’d love to go back and forth between the two. Now if only the lotto would come into play!

  10. Nathalie

    those are lovely, I can’t wait to go there. Hopefully next year, around Spring. You make beautiful trips. x

  11. Jude

    Sigh, love these candid on-the-fly shots (you are making me miss my years in NYC terribly! but in a good way!)

  12. scamp

    I fell in love with New York about 8 years ago when I took my son as a graduation present. Now I go every time I find cheap airfare, can get the time away from work, and there’s a room available at my favorite place to stay.
    I know exactly what you mean–I keep thinking the magic will fade, but the minute I’m off the plane, I am still so in love!

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