I have come to believe that in New York City people like to dress up. And an opportunity to strut is an irresistible calling. What I wonder is that folks seem to pay no mind that their outfits must look pretty outrageous as they travel about on mass transit getting to the venue. And the tourists, what do they make of a world seemingly gone mad. I remember one Halloween when a couple of tourists were cowering in their seats peering cautiously over the top of their map at all the outlandish costumed riders that clambered onto the subway car.
Easter festivities are on Fifth Avenue near St Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Made famous from movie and song, everyone’s mission is to wear a hat and parade your stuff. There is no form and the crowd is ‘come as you like.’ So from about 11AM until dusk anyone can wander up or down Fifth Avenue. Come early, most of the photographers are there and you can be assured of being photographed into internet immortality. The headdress varied from simple bunny ears to virtual gardens atop some of the more ambitious participants. There are no rules.
Some old standbys appear. It seems that several people make it a habit to be in every parade gathering. Same costume, same shtick, it’s familiar but beginning to get worn – different day same person.
At all parades - see Chinese New Year
No themes and no organizers so there is little in the way of coherence. Some folks were really decked out. One thing I noticed this year, there were a lot of period costumes from the turn of the century. And for some reason it is attractive as a great venue for gays to be able to parade in front of St Patrick’s. There were many transvestites. Be sure to watch closely as it’s hard to tell some of them. Others were too obvious. Because you are virtually ‘eyeball to eyeball,’ a wide angle lens and close cropping were needed to isolate people. This year’s crowd was larger than I remember, perhaps because of the good weather. It was great entertainment and rich with photo ops.
The avenues are wide and the traffic lights are staggered to turn green in the direction of traffic flow. Walking ‘cross-town’ in New York City is often faster than driving. The intersections are filled with pedestrians crossing against the light. There are double-parked vehicles loading and unloading. There are cars stopped for no reason. Well, you get the picture.
When dealing with a government agency, it’s best to steel yourself for several visits. You’ll never have all the right papers on the first try. But New York is also wonderful because just about any business can be found and transacted here. No mailing and waiting for a reply. So last week, I trudged ‘cross-town’ four, count ’em, four times in order to get a single bureaucratic task accomplished. That is – four round trips. And wouldn’t you know it, it was westside to eastside almost completely – tenth avenue to second avenue. There’s only first and eleventh left. Avenue blocks are longer than streets by far.
With that background, walking was best – the subway, bus, cab, or car would all have been slower. I took along the point and shoot camera to ward off boredom. One of the first things I came across was a construction site. The crew was framing a series of peaked roofs. And, later they finished them with standard roof tiles like the suburbs. I puzzled and wondered whether the walls would be erected. Nope. It’s art!
It seemed that almost every trip had some element of rain. This worked out with more saturated leaf color and nice reflections from the pavement. This year in NY it was all yellow. There were some red leaves. But the predominant color was yellow. I mistook the 5th Avenue store to be a $5 store not a dollar store. Come to think of it, there were lots of items on sale for more than a dollar but less than five.
Buenos Aires, Argentina. There’s a book devoted to BA street art. In walking around the suburbs, street art is quite acceptable. Without too much effort one can see artists at work. One woman in this series of images was working right in front of a school. I saw another artist spraying clear varnish to protect his work from the weather. Others worked in plain sight within a playground. I don’t know the rules for who decides where an artist may work. Much of what you see is in the neighborhood of Palermo, a wealthy suburb not too far from the main city center. My son was working nearby and living in a building with a pool and hot tub on the roof. He also had a great view and great sunsets.