A photo essay on some of my initial impression on the lifestyle of New Yorkers.
Unless otherwise noted in the description, photographs are taken with FujiFilm X-S10 & XF27mm.
New Yorker, New York. Sep 2021.
The Seattle Freeze
This summer, I moved again, after settling in Seattle for four years.
Before going to college, I spent four years in Los Angeles. And the first thing I heard about Seattle was… the Seattle freeze. Namely, people are not as outgoing and welcoming to strangers as some of the Californians, and I can really feel that in my daily life when I was there. Nonetheless, I made many friends, and people were pretty nice after they got familiar with me. “Seattle Freeze”, rather than interpreting as xenophobia, was more of people’s common personality.
Pike Market, Seattle. Sept 2017. (iPhone 6S)
New Yorker, as I expected, will have a very different vibe than people of Seattle, for sure. So what is different?
One of the best way to observe the New Yorkers, is in the public transit.
The first class I took in my undergraduate studies was a travel writing class, taught by one of my favorite professor Shawn Wong. Prof. Wong is a legend on his own, and he encouraged me to go out and do people watching. “People watching is fun, and it tells you a lot about the city and its people”.
Many of my colleagues hated New York’s subway. Which is understandable. Public transit in New York is indeed, very disgusting. But I enjoyed looking at different kinds of people in the subway, although most of them nowadays just look at their phone.
People on Phones, New York. Aug 2021. (Fuji X-S10 & Canon FD50mm)
So I hop onto the subway, it takes me to new places every time, which is always something to look forward to.
The subway is a chaotic place, all kinds of unexpected things happen in the subway. One day, there was a man who simply walked into the subway and held on the pole and danced for an entire trip’s worth of time. Literally everyone except me did not even look up to figure out what was going on, as if someone pole dancing in a subway train was normal.
There were also beggars that go train to train to beg for money, musicians who perform randomly, and jugglers who show off their fascinating skill. Well, if one is curious, one can always look up @subwaycreatures and find out how many strange things happen in New York’s subway. Strangely, few people ever look up, and most people only mind their own business.
Masked Woman, New York. Aug 2021.
Walking outside of the subway station and hop onto the tram that takes me back to Roosevelt Island, I could see a line of cars jammed in the traffic extending all the way to horizon.
Tram Reflection, New York. Sept 2021.
Looking at myself in the reflection of glass, I quietly asked myself.
Am I slowly blending into this environment and thus, turning myself into a New Yorker?
People At Hard Work
It is difficult to ignore, that not everyone in New York has equal living conditions. In fact, I see a huge separation in class, and the gap between rich and poor is relatively high.
Woman with Cardboard, New York. Sept 2021.
Yet, everyone tries hard for their living, and I have my utmost respect for every single person in New York.
Man with trash bag, New York. Aug 2021.
“Airpods, pepper sprays, tasers!”
Not the usual kind of advertisement we hear day to day, but this woman was certainly selling something special. New York has a law that prohibits the shipping of pepper spray or tasers into the state, thus although legal, they require some effort to purchase.
Elementary economics, if there is demand, well, someone’s got supply.
Woman with Airpods, New York. Sept 2021.
It was the aftermath of the giant rain fall in the Central Park. A record high rainfall that broke the record that was set a couple days ago, and Manhattan was flooded.
I had a brief conversation with this man, who was in hard work cleaning up the rail for the subway. He was an extremely friendly person, and I was appreciative of his work.
I happened to bought a couple bottles of coconut water before I got into the subway, so I shared a bottle with him. We had a great time, then he placed the bottle of remaining coconut water into one of his gloves on his waist, what a clever way for storage!
My train arrived and we had to say good bye, but we all made our lives a little bit shiner than before.
Man with Besom, New York. Sept 2021.
“Street Photography” usually is done in a public place such as a street, sidewalk or park involving candid images of people going about their daily lives. This type of photography is permitted in the U.S. under the legal premise established by the Supreme Court that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. (Osterreicher)
However, if you are one of the subjects and my article makes you uncomfortable and would like me to take your picture down, please kindly let me know.
If you want to quickly say hi, just shoot me a message using the contact portal.
Osterreicher, Attorney Mickey H. “Street Photography and the Law: What You Need to Know.” PDN Online, 27 Dec. 2018.