If a Snow Flake Falls….

06/01/11 12:11 AM

If a snowflake falls in Manhattan, will anyone notice?

Yes. Definitely,  yes.

The following is a stream-of-consciousness post based on a photographic adventure in Manhattan during “The Blizzard of 2010.” These are fast fleeting impressions of New York City and Stamford, Connecticut. USA.


Three people are conversing about John Lennon while walking on East 46th Street. My ears pick up the conversation. We pass quickly.  What if………

Three children are laughing, catching snowflakes. Mouths wide open. The scene occurs outside The Museum of Modern Art. Parents are busy  hailing a yellow cab. They fail to  notice what I see.

Shooting photographs out the window of a moving  public bus. 5th Avenue. Lots of red. An ocean of yellow taxi cabs. Christmas lights in store windows. Photogenic.

Matzo ball soup.  Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes with gravy on the side. Steamed vegetables. Cheesecake for dessert. I’m at Juniors in Times Square.  Convivial diners seated to the right and left of me. A lady dining  to my left is named Dorothy. She is from Kansas. Toto stolen away, riding in a wicker bicycle basket crosses my mind. Movie scenes stick like gum to one’s shoe.

Standing in the middle of Times Square at 1:00 PM. The world’s most famous intersection is closing to traffic. Impending New Years Eve celebration. I leave Dodge City as rowdy cowboys head into town.  The end of the trail. One big drunk about to go down. I snap pictures. Scurry.  

Employing Germ-lish (German mixed with English).  Instructing an Austrian family how to procure 1/2 price Broadway theater tickets.

The NYPD patrolling an intersection near Madison Avenue. Semi automatic machine guns swinging at their side. They stand tall. Imposing. Crisp blue uniforms. Combat helmets. I feel safe. What happened to my pre 9/11 world?

An eclectic conversation with a young art student/museum guard at the Guggenheim. We  dream up a new fashion trend after looking at a Dutch Master painting. We discuss our target market. Laughter. He wants me to see a band. Chase the dragon. Tired. Pass the offers.

Changing camera lenses on the street. Snug tight to a snowbank. An art and a science. Do not drop. Do not block the sidewalk narrowed to a footpath due to blizzard. Do not. Do not.

Meeting a husband  and wife photographer team at the MOMA.  Taking a group portrait. Great light. Eclectic buildings create a stunning backdrop. Say fromage!

A bicycle buried in snow. Handlebars.  A basket. The seat exposed. That’s it. Who owns it? Where are they?

Discovering a neighborhood pizza shop near 7th Avenue. 14 tables. Television broadcasts news of the storm. Uber hype. Sounds like we are all going to die. Pizza crust not burned. Amen.  Soft crust. Snow still falls. The earth is still in motion.

Being the only passenger on a bus traveling down 5thAvenue.  Chatting with the driver. I’m in the front passenger seat. I lean forward. She is happy. I am happy. Happy is a good place to be. She’s a native New Yorker. We inch along in stall-and-crawl traffic. Snow  falling rapidly. Windshield wipers have difficulty keeping pace. I offer a tip. She refuses. Ethics. Ethical. We will never meet again.

Oops. Ran out of business cards. A  print shop on 5th Avenue. My cards are are ready the next day. Outstanding service. New York aims to please. I say thank you.   

Chase. Professional employees.  Service with a smile, and a business suit.

Non-butterfly bow ties sold at J-Press on Madison Avenue. Preppy. Laser beam power shopping. A wool scarf with school colors. A blue and green bow tie. James. Deep greens and blues are the colors I also choose.

The Edward Hopper exhibition at the Whitney Museum. I see a banner from a bus. Hit the STOP buzzer.  Hopper’s filling station painting. The only thing left from this Truro, Massachusetts, Cape Cod scene is the pole from the gas station. I pass this pole daily in summer. I think of a solitary Mr. Hopper, laconic, in a corner, looking at the floor as a summer party hops.

NY City youth enjoying their city. I jump  into their  conversation like double dutch. Sbarro on 574 5th Avenue. They bantering about a camera.  We let a  2010 phrase rip…”Don’t touch my junk” in the context of messing with camera equipment.  Laughter. Content of one’s character. MLK.

Slush. Crosswalks flooded. Puddles. I want to jump and splash. I fail to do so.

Fur coats. Lots of them.  Let me wear “your” hair. See how it feels. Poor animals. Death attributed to outdated style and vanity.

Grand Central Station.  Thank you Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Carly Simon, and other philantropists  for saving this magnificent structure from the wrecking ball. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I’m asked in a coat check line…………..”Aren’t you ………………….” Amazed.  I tend to blend into mauve walls and hotel lobbies.

Breakfast with Russ and Eugenia. Eggs. The 16th floor private dining room. We linger. Talk. Time moves slow. We are off the Merry-Go-‘Round.

Marriott, Stamford, Connecticut. Comfortable beds. Great driving service. Thanks, Omar.

Photographing WPA murals. Poverty inspires grand art. Sad, yet often true.

Hordes of people photographing  The Starry Night at the MOMA. Glad Vincent did not live to see this bastardization.  Anger. I leave the gallery fuming. Fuming.

The Kiss. A movie by Andy Warhol. Watched it 4 times. Screen tests. A symphony  of visual images. Silent. I view  the video to the left.  Passion. Sex. Head thrown back in ecstasy. Light. Shadows. Black. White. Eyes moving yet not looking. Art. Pure art.

Boots. A hip trend. Boots everywhere. Buckles near the top of boots. Leather boots. Rubber boots. Boots. More boots.

A crappy $12 hamburger. Fries extra. The burger was naked on the plate. I negate the fries. Order a beer. Leave a weak tip.

Billy Elliot, The Musical  on Broadway. Dancer/actor playing the part of Billy talented beyond belief. Cast perfectly for the part. What a dancer! Impeccable lighting. The Swan Lake duet scene. Flawless. The letter scene/song.  Cried.

Train rides to and from Stamford, Ct. People buried in electronic readers/books.  Newspapers are dying a slow, painful death.  I think of father and how he read The Boston Globe to work on the train, the later on a bus. Sadness. 

A bottomless cup of coffee at the cafe on the 5th floor of the MOMA. Waiters dressed in black. Spiffy. Polished. A kind waiter from Austria. A dining manager from California. Motion in motion.

 Engaging conversation with a family from Germany visiting the Guggenheim museum. I sign one of my post cards. They choose Boston Bridges. The gentleman wear a sweater. Snow flake motif. How apropos. Blizzard gear.

What. No  2X  T-shirts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Man does not live on endive, Tick-Tacs,  and water. I will be a size Medium in my next life. Or during my third incarnation.

The Amtrak Acela  has comfortable seats. Curtains too. Choo choo. Love the sound of a mournful train whistle.

Michael. Your artwork for Amtrak is riveting. Bold. Love your work.

 A nirvana moment. Swimming pool at the Marriott all to myself.  A loud, pushy  family enters with plastic toys and balls.  I exit the pool as if  a piece of poo floats on the surface. Tranquility gone. Game over. Back to my room. Read. Edit.

Click. Jump. Turn. Higher. Higher! Click. Work it! ….”I can’t.”…. Work it. “I’m cold!” Work it.  Snap rapid fire. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Jump. extend your legs. Extend your arms. Fingers and wrists. Bread and butter. Play or pay?

I find no apples in The Big Apple.

Chestnuts really smoke up an intersection.Mr. Stinky pants. Street vendor stands are unsanitary. Like William Butler Yeats, I “……..horsemen—pass by.”

Lindy’s  cheesecake. Snow is blowing. Childhood revisited. I banter with the waitstaff. Photograph time. Potato salad is on house. They cook a foot long hot dog me.  Snap. Snap, Click. Click. 

 I love New York. Trite marketing moniker, yet true.

 A wonderful world-class city.

I will return.

Doug and Company, I will see you on Central Park West later this month. Thank your patrons for hosting the upcoming party.

Sing! “New York, New York ….what a wonderful town!” Frank Sinatra’s voice resonated in the air. I glad I heard you sing, before you passed.

Brendan Ben Feeney

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