In grad school in August, I had to produce a photo essay. I chose to photograph one person I came across on each street from 1st Street to 10th Street in Manhattan. I also included a number of things I have in common with each person depending on the street number.
East 1st Street
Noman Tara is currently taking a liberal studies program. His goal is to become a cop because, as he said, “I want to protect people.”
1. Enjoyed the original “Spiderman” (2002) movie more than this year’s reboot.
East 2nd Street
Kirk Sterling studied acting in school and now works as a banker and writer.
1. Dislike black licorice.
2. Prefer shirts as opposed to T-shirts.
East 3rd Street
Nina Tiari studied fashion and is currently working on completing her fashion design collection.
1. Moved to New York City for grad school.
2. Haven’t watched any 2012 Summer Olympics coverage.
3. Had or currently have a permanent retainer; she recently took hers off.
East 4th Street
Gretchen Vonbrun’s friends call her “Ms. New York” because of how well she knows the city. The writer and sketcher says she considers herself a punk rocker, and she has the background to boast about it. She used to work at the doors of venues that hosted the B-52s, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Clash. This longtime New Yorker is pictured with her dog Lucy.
4. Unable to handle hot peppers well.
*Her words, not mine.
East 5th Street
Ancela Nastasi, a lawyer, was trying to hail down a cab when we met. I should have asked her why she was holding so many bouquets.
1. Ivy Leaguers.
2. Have astrological fire signs.
3. Dog people.
4. Of European ancestry.
5. Prefer Italian food over other kinds.
East 6th Street
Mona, who didn’t want to give her last name, had a stroke six years ago. It paralyzed the right side of her body, requiring her to use a wheelchair. Still, that hasn’t stopped her from going on walks, which she does often with the help of a cane. Unfortunately, the apartment she has lived in for decades does not have an elevator, so she has to climb down four flights of stairs. It’s the opening of the door, however, that prevents her from true independence, she said, though she has friends to help her with that.
1. Visited Spain.
2. Enjoy country and classical music.
3. Able to speak “un peu” of French.
4. The youngest sibling.
5. Consider Brooklyn our favourite outer borough.
6. Enjoy Quentin Tarantino movies.
East 7th Street
Alex Poindexter works at a pet foods store. That may no longer be the case by the beginning of 2016. He said he plans to attach a trailer to his bicycle, then ride to his native San Francisco. Is it to raise increase awareness of a cause? Raise money for medical research? No. The man just wants to do it.
1. Hide our phone screens and put the volume low enough on the subway so others don’t know what we’re listening to.
2. Owned at least one pet frog at some point in our lives; his was “a big bullfrog named Kermit.”
3. Had at least two family cats.
4. Failed at least one high school course.
5. Lost a Game Boy and never got it back. He lent his to a friend who never returned it. My Game Boy Advance most likely lost on a bus during a field trip in Grade 6 to Centre Island in Toronto on the last day of school.
6. Became licensed drivers at age 16.
7. Consider Pokemon had the better video game while Digimon had the better TV show.
East 8th Street/St. Mark’s Place
For whichever reasons (I blame it on TV police dramas), tourists love to get pictures taken with a member or cruiser of the NYPD. Keith Larick knows that quite well, having been a New York City cop for decades and subsequently the star of many tourists’ photos. In his spare time, the 42-year-old enjoys watching sci-fi movies and probably many other things I neglected to ask about. He is also a big Spiderman fan. Did you know that Spiderman may have, technically, been the Gwen Stacy’s killer? I didn’t. But he did. And he has the original comic to prove it.
1. Didn’t enjoy “Alien: Resurrection” as much as the previous movies.
2. Hate mushrooms.
3. Have O+ blood and donate blood regularly.
4. Attended high school summer school at least once (English was his tricky subject; mine was math).
5. Have no tattoos.
6. Don’t wear leather unless absolutely necessary (he has to wear his leather utility belt for work).
7. Been a vegetarian for at least 3 months and then stopped (I went one and a half years).
8. Not superstitious about numbers.
East 9th Street
Joyce Wadler has been with the New York Times since before I finished elementary school. She says she wishes, at times, she become a TV news writer. She was two minutes from being late to a meeting when I asked her to be part of this project. It took well over three minutes.
1. Saw “Mamma Mia” on stage.
2. Prefer window seats.
3. Wearing green at the time (I think mine was more of a teal colour, but no harm done).
4. Have an iPhone.
5. Wearing soft-soled shoes at the time.
6. Enjoyed “Some Like It Hot” (1959).
7. Don’t care for astrology.
8. Experience deadline nerves.
9. Like rain.
East 10th Street
Even following two bouts with cancer, Helen Luchars doesn’t have a bucket list. “I enjoy the things I have, and experience things as they come,” she said. Luchars said she embraces the fact that life plans never work out the way originally envisioned. Her cancer is in remission, she said.
1. Had friends warn against cutting off a dramatic amount of hair only to hear them say they liked it post-cut.
2. Watch “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” if time warrants.
3. Visited Mississippi but didn’t go on the Elvis tour.
4. Love celery.
5. Have one sister.
6. Save seeds from avocados to plant them.
7. Never broke a bone.
8. Return carts to the front of grocery stores when done with them.
9. Haven’t walked the George Washington bridge.
10. Never experienced acupuncture.