It has been two years since my last trip to New York City.
I went to see the “Art Meet Technology” exhibit which featured one of my photos. I was super stoked to say the least. I reached out to friends, former colleagues and high school friends to join me in the event; it was great to see those who showed up.
Seeing everyone got me talking about life as a photographer. I think that this was the first time I actually called myself a photographer. Let me explain…
As I’ve been documenting my life through images I just categorized myself as someone who enjoys taking photos, casually. I never really saw myself as a photographer since I feel I still have so much to learn and there are things that I’d still like to try and do to push my limits; I suppose that goes with anything in life. But what I do know is that something changed for me that night. Seeing my image up on a wall, in the city where I grew up, made things different and official, unlike any other time. It was a combination of people asking me about this whole mobile photography business and what it is that I do, all of them intrigued by how this came about using a mobile phone.
They asked questions which made me think about my role and why I love the scene so much. I’d like to think of myself as a magnet, bringing everyone together under one roof. This is what makes me happy and keeps me going. Meeting people face to face that I’ve “met” online or randomly in person – whether at a coffee shop or event – add to the power of connection.
I was in NYC for one week and did my best to get out and about despite the freezing cold. I felt like such a tourist, in one of the most amazing places on earth – my home away from home.
I felt like a kid in a candy shop, trying to figure out which treat to try first as I planned my week. I was on the subway more times than I could count and probably more times than I ever did in a year when I lived there.
The first thing I wanted to do was take a walk down 5th Avenue. I wanted to be in the midst of all the fashion and glamour and submerge myself with all the visitors while getting lost in the sea of tourists. I noticed many of the same stores and of course, some high tech billboards which were new. But what caught my attention was the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Looking at it made me think of La Sagrada Familia, all caged up under construction. I wondered what was going on so I went inside.
There she was as beautiful as ever even with the metal frames.
People were walking in for the evening mass, taking a seat on the pew, while others prayed and left. It felt so calming and rejuvenating to be in there. It gave me a sense of belonging.
At night I’d stare at the skyscrapers, with their flashing lights as they illuminated the sky. It got me excited and the thrill ran through my veins. I felt like I was twenty again.
And then I was reminded of home…
and started to miss my husband and son dearly. It was the first time I had left them for this long since SuperMax was born and it felt strange. Being in the big city without them made me feel empty even though I was so happy to be home again. This feeling was so new to me so I coped as best as I could and continued to have fun and enjoy the moment.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was so nice to spend a few hours there and really take notice of the people and exhibits around me. I wanted to capture the beauty of the architecture and art, all of which makes the Met so special and grand.
So I stood there for a while as time went by.
As I mentioned it was super cold the week I was there. Snow was still on the ground and the wind chill made it almost unbearable to stay outside. As the sun started to set, people swiftly made their way home and the streets became empty again.
A rare happening in New York City.
On my list left to do before heading back to Seattle was to go see the 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge so I did just that.
It was the first time I walked around ground zero since the attack. I could never face it nor come to grip with how I felt about the Freedom Tower project.
Stepping on sacred ground, where so many people lost their lives made me feel a bit uneasy, as if it were wrong of me to be there. As I looked at all the people gathered around the memorial sites, a darkness came over me, and seeing the names of those lost was heavy on my soul.
Having gone through such an experience and seeing our city rebuild itself makes me try to process it all. I will never recover from such a horrible event but what I do know is that no one can take away the love I have for the place I grew up in.
I continued my quest til the very last minute. The morning of my flight I made it down to the Brooklyn Bridge, recounting my week as I mentally said goodbye to my home away from home. Not knowing when I’d be back again, I wanted to get a good look at my beautiful city.
As I admired the architecture all I could think of was how proud I am to be a native New Yorker.
All the images were taken with a Lumia 1020 as part of the Windows Challenge.