I find people fascinating. We all have different passions, experiences, dreams, challenges, weaknesses, stories. We pass each other everyday on the sidewalk and, for the most part, don’t know how connected we all are. That’s why I chose to discover these people through a photo essay for school in August.
I realize the title is a bit ambiguous, so let me explain: I photographed one person on each street from 1st Street to 10th Street in Manhattan and found a number of things I have in common with him/her depending on the street number (1st Street, one thing we have in common; 5th street, five things we have in common). I also tried to get a little information about the person (job, age, etc.).
I think I’m a decent photographer — on a technical level, at least. One thing I want to improve is capturing emotion, that ‘I can see inside your soul’ shot, and using the environment to make my photos more interesting.
I love the burrough for its people. It seems like everyone is willing to chat; I think only two or three people declined being part of my project. I hope to continue this essay in the future.
E 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/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 likes of 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.
*Her words, not mine.
East 5th Street
Ancela Nastasi was trying to hail down a cab when we met. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn too much about her other than she’s a lawyer. I’m not sure why I didn’t ask why she was holding so many bouquets.
1. Ivy Leaguers.
2. 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 reveal 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 and 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 has friends to help her out.
1. Visited Spain.
2. Enjoy country and classical music.
3. Able to speak “un peu” of French.
4. Youngest sibling.
5. Consider Brooklyn 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 plans to attach a twin-sized trailor to his bicycle and ride all the way down 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. Some dreams are as simple that.
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 for the last day of school.
6. Became licensed drivers at age 16.
7. Consider Pokemon had the better game while Digimon had the better TV show.
East 8th Street/Saint Mark’s Place
Call it the ‘cop show effect.’ For whichever reason, 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 1.5 years; I win!).
8. Not superstitious about numbers.
East 9th Street
There are few people that get me starstruck. Celebrities don’t usually do it; journalists do. So, of course, I happen upon one during this project. Joyce Wadler has been with the New York Times before I even 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 with 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. She says she embraces the fact that life plans never work out the way you envision. Luchars’ cancer is in remission.
1. Friends said not to cut off a dramatic amount of hair only for them to like it afterwards.
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 and 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.