Guilty as charged. I use my camera to talk to people on the street and elsewhere as well. I point it in their face and wait for a response. I shake their hand and when they’re up for it, I chat with them a little. Right around Christmas, when it got really warm, I endlessly walked the streets of Ridgewood and Bushwick trying to talk to anyone who seemed nice enough in that moment when we crossed paths. It may seem like a random activity- and it kind of is- but it also isn’t. It’s funny, but I- like many others- really had to try to walk absent-mindedly in the streets. I read a book recently, The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle, that made it seem more acute than ever to stay in the present moment and connected to the people and things around me. And honestly, doing just that feels really good; one can experience and learn so many things. So I talked to these people, and here is what our interactions were like.
“You are beautiful! God bless you!”
This man was walking to the church on St. Nicholas. He kissed my hand in a very gentleman-like manner, and asked if he can take a picture of me.
Just a quick look and back to work.
I heard that back in the days, German ladies used to sweep the streets of Ridgewood every morning. This one wasn’t really German, and nor was she up for any talking (she was too busy), but she made me think of old-timey Ridgewood and all the nostalgia that comes with it.
I had to take a photo of these ladies who in their age ranged from 10 to 45. There was so much sunshine and niceness around them as they gladly posed in front of a small deli on St. Nicholas.
“Have you seen this? She took a photo of me!” he proudly said to his friends.
“Yeah, yeah…” his friends responded, maybe a little jealous. I felt like a major validator of coolness for this guy. In case there’s any doubt, I confirm, you are cool!
Can you believe it was this warm…?
In the midst of The Polar Vortex, it’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, it was warm were enough for this man to wash his car outside wearing only a t-shirt! If it were this week, the water and the man would be frozen within minutes… Anyhow, I tried to get him to pose a little, but he wasn’t really into it.
“I go to this church!”
This lady told me, and pointed at a church on the corner of Knickerbocker and Meserole. She was so genuinely thankful that I had photographed her.
“Would you like to buy a Polaroid for $30?”
They asked me, and although I didn’t buy it, I did enjoy meeting this couple. They told me they had just moved to the neighborhood and they love it so far.
“Which direction is Williamsburg Bridge?”
This tourist (who had the most amazing neon tights ever) asked me. I told her she should take the M train, but she insisted she was up for a very long walk. I hope she enjoyed it.
He told me absolutely nothing, just smiled and nodded when…
I asked him if he was doing his laundry. I confessed that I desperately needed to do mine as well.
And this is William. You know him from our previous article about mysterious trees on Troutman St.
He hangs the old toys on the trees “just because he likes to do it.” He asked me to tell you to stop knocking them down.
There was a girl with these guys. But she refused to be in the photo with them.
She said she didn’t want people to see her with them… Fishy!
He does have nice hair!
And ladies walking their doggies…
But I didn’t stay around long enough to chat…
Hey, Bushwick, let’s keep on randomly connecting with each other! It’s the best!