This is the very first picture I took on my first visit to NYC, and the first of many portraits I took of the city’s residents. I was walking around the East Village and came across these two old timers waiting for a bus. I can’t say exactly what drew me to them, but, looking at the image now I do get a feel of an era of street photography that was charming and endearing.
I was not expecting to see a person with slippers on in the middle of a cold fall day. They knew I was going to take a picture and even smiled a bit. I felt kind of awkward because I forgot to ask them if it was ok.
Then I wondered what their story was. Were they born here here? Then I realized that their physical appearance told all the story I needed to know. I could tell they were friends and had known each other for a long time. Those grins were surely a sign of an enjoyable life.
The first day I lived in New York with my permanent address, I was amped with inspiration and excitement and, although my body was tired from the move, I absolutely had to get out into the city and explore. I tried to figure out where to go and I couldn’t imagine anything better than Times Square to kick off my first adventure. That night was filled with fleeting moments and extremely limited friendships.
Upon exiting the subway I was approached by a woman in her late 40s, named Sunny. She was from Bayside, Queens.
Sunny asked me if I wanted to follow her to this hotel bar where her friend was playing the piano. Of course I went along for a while. I had my camera and was ready to document anything I could to remember this monumental occasion.
We stood there for a while listening to the music, which was as drab as I had expected. After a few quick hellos were exchanged between us and him we headed off to the heart of Times Square, where the Ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
There was so much energy flowing in the air from the lights and people swirling around. It was about 10 p.m. What we discovered was that Bon Jovi was doing a concert in conjunction with the MTV music awards, which were happening a few blocks away. A truly awesome time to sink into celebrity and NYC high-energy event fun!
The concert was an awesome free event. It was too loud to talk to Sunny but she kept saying things to me. I took some time to shoot a few crowd shots. Everything felt larger than life. Here I was a photographer in NYC doing what I loved with the world at my finger tips. After a few songs we headed over to Radio City Music Hall, where the awards were taking place. Sunny told me she wanted to get a picture of Michael Jackson coming out of the theater, so we walked over.
At the theater entrance there were a lot of barricades, as expected, but there were not too many people waiting. I felt this could be a great opportunity to see someone. We were about 10 feet from the entrance and had a clear view of the red carpet. And before I knew it, there he was. I only saw him from behind, and it was for maybe one second, but how cool was that?!!
I hung out for about another half hour to see if there might be another celebrity I could get a glimpse of. But that was it. I felt my night was complete and decided to head home. I said good-bye to Sunny. I knew I would never see her again. As I walked off there were these funny guys holding this sign up: “Legalize Masturbation.” I had no idea that was illegal in NYC. I thought, I’m in for an adventure here.