You can see “Part 1” here.
I forgot to add that before we got on the train to Central Park, once over the Brooklyn Bridge we were in Manhattan. My dad grew up in Brooklyn and I remember as a kid, him often mentioning this part of the city. So in a lot of ways it was cool to see where he grew up.
There was something serene and different about this part of our walk. The sun was dampened a bit by the tall buildings, but large pockets of light still managed to pop in, along with a constant light breeze. The buildings were all around us at this point, but there were still brief moments of reprieve from the tall structures like this little picnic area and water fountain above!
Fast forward back to just after our train ride to Central Park. The anticipation was building inside of me. ”What if we ran into the ‘Humans of New York’ guy?” I told my wife. “That would be NUTS!” she exclaimed!
Along with my Father’s childhood stories, movies like “Home Alone” and “Big Daddy” showing comical adventures through the park were whirling around in my mind. Not to mention all the stories of my personal hero, Brandon Stanton of “Humans of New York” who has documented countless interviews of locals in Central Park and all around the city.
”It feels surreal.” I said to my wife. “So much of my childhood and adult life I saw films and read stories about this place. It feels cheesy to say, but in a lot of ways its like I’ve been waiting my whole life to see Central Park”. I thought about if it had met my expectations for how great the park would be. It did I think, but its hard to build an exact expectation of what you’re getting into when you’ve never physically experienced something for yourself.
We spent about an hour or so walking all around the area. We climbed the hills, walked through rows and rows of benches, people watched, and took more photos. Eventually we wanted coffee and found a Blue Bottle Coffee about a 20 minute walk way. Blue Bottle has always been a second home to me when traveling along the west coast, so it was fun to see something familiar.
Before and during the trip we talked a lot about the possibility of seeing some of the multitude of different museums in New York. We originally weren’t sure if we would have time and decided it would be more fun to see Central Park. Coincidentally MOMA was placed just up the street from our coffee break and with a quick google search I found some discounted tickets on Travel Zoo! BOOM.
The museum had a beautiful exhibit on “The Value of Good Design”. But what excited me even more were the huge Van Gogh and Rothko paintings. In college I took an art history class where Van Gogh repeatedly popped up in our curriculum. Around the same time period an English teacher I had took his students to see “Red” - a phenomenal play that explores the studio and work ethic of famed painter, Mark Rothko. To this day it is still one of my favorite plays.
To top it all off, I found out about a new to me photographer and artist named Lee Friedlander. There was a whole entire room with a small portion of his “Letters From The People” exhibit that was originally on display in museum in the early 1990’s. It was a collection of letters, numbers, and words that he had randomly found in his travels. I found myself in awe of the strangeness of real life that he captured. The way letters and numbers mysteriously and humorously found their way into Friedlander’s day to day life and work was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
I left feeling inspired. I wanted to capture things the way he had- the simple and overly overt oddities of life that we seem to almost miss, but are right in front of us on a day to day basis. Thus the following images: a sleeping man in the museum, graffiti on a wall, and the reflection of the Statue of Liberty in a shop window.
I want everyone to experience New York. I want it to wrap its warm, but somewhat unsure arms around you and make you feel at home with endless opportunity and wonder. I’ll leave with this quote from Quoted Magazine, “Every Time I return home to New York, I step into the stream of energy thats here. It never stops. It doesn't miss me when I’m gone, but it also doesn’t begrudge that I’ve been away. I’m right back in it and it’s never going anywhere.”
While this was my first time to the city I can see how the place continuously and lovingly draws you back in after you’ve been gone. I’m excited for this place to always be another home.