NY Through the Lens - New York City Photography

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New York City: Skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge 

It’s hard for me not to get emotional when I view New York City from certain vantage points. As the child of immigrant to the United States, I have always carried with me the weight of what these views represent.

——

My mother was born in Poland right before the start of World War II. The war hit Poland hard with most of its population sent off to concentration camps. Her family was split up due to a transgression involving my grandfather and a loaf of bread (or a pig, there are a host of different tales surrounding this moment in time). My grandfather ended up in a concentration camp and my grandmother and her two daughters ended up in a labor camp. The family spent a few years enduring torture and horrific circumstances in a variety of camps.

When the war was about to end, my grandfather heard a rumor that his concentration camp would be burned to the ground in a matter of weeks and with what I can only imagine to be no less than steel resolve, he and a couple of the other men in the camp spent a few weeks digging a hole under a fence in the camp to escape the camp.

I have played the tales I was told tearfully throughout the years over and over in my mind and it’s still hard for me to imagine the feeling that my grandfather must have felt when he came across the American Red Cross who must have seemed like a fantastical beacon of hope after years of what he had just endured.

The American Red Cross gave him a bicycle and a rough idea of where the rest of the remaining labor camps were. Severely malnourished and skeletal, he took what little energy he had left and rode that bicycle through the scattered remnants of camps clinging to the hope that he would find my grandmother.

And he did.

What are the chances of something like that?

I don’t know.

But I do know that my grandfather’s next steps were to use his former ties as a merchant marine to secure a way for the family to make it to the United States. It took a lot of negotiation but he was able to move my grandmother, my mother, and her sister to Detroit where many Eastern European war survivors were moving.

And so my mother, malnourished and traumatized at the tender age of 9 years old, started her life over in the United States in a community that did everything in their power to lavish food and love on those who made it out of the horrors of World War II into the open arms of the promised land of mid-twentieth century America.

She spent her teenage years watching Hollywood musicals* and longing for life in the Big Apple where anything seemed possible. And so, after she fell head over heels in love with my father at the tender age of 19 years old, they married and took the paltry amount of money they had and moved to New York City without looking back.

—-

We would visit my Uncle Dan in Brooklyn Heights when I was little. He was an eccentric, larger-than-life figure who painted impressionist-style paintings of the Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfront since he had a near perfect view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

 I would run to the window in his office when we visited, careful to not knock over his easel, and stare at the Brooklyn Bridge with saucer-like eyes.

My mother would come over and hold my hand. Her eyes would well-up with tears and we would stand there silently.

I knew that this view meant the world to her.

And it meant the world to me because I knew that just to be in front of the amalgam of her teenage desires, standing there years after everything she went through during the war, anything was possible for me,

in this city of dreams.

—-

—-

Taken yesterday from the 72nd floor of 4 World Trade Center with the A7. It’s a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan, and Brooklyn from above.

—-

*It’s my mother I have to thank for my steady diet of musicals growing up. In fact, my first passive NYC geography lesson was gleaned from the musical On the Town when Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin sing: ” New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down”, part of a fabulously absurd yet fantastic musical sequence accompanied by great views of 1940s New York City.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it): 

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


—-

View: “New York City - Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge - View from 4 World Trade Center” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge

It’s hard for me not to get emotional when I view New York City from certain vantage points. As the child of immigrant to the United States, I have always carried with me the weight of what these views represent.

——

My mother was born in Poland right before the start of World War II. The war hit Poland hard with most of its population sent off to concentration camps. Her family was split up due to a transgression involving my grandfather and a loaf of bread (or a pig, there are a host of different tales surrounding this moment in time). My grandfather ended up in a concentration camp and my grandmother and her two daughters ended up in a labor camp. The family spent a few years enduring torture and horrific circumstances in a variety of camps.

When the war was about to end, my grandfather heard a rumor that his concentration camp would be burned to the ground in a matter of weeks and with what I can only imagine to be no less than steel resolve, he and a couple of the other men in the camp spent a few weeks digging a hole under a fence in the camp to escape the camp.

I have played the tales I was told tearfully throughout the years over and over in my mind and it’s still hard for me to imagine the feeling that my grandfather must have felt when he came across the American Red Cross who must have seemed like a fantastical beacon of hope after years of what he had just endured.

The American Red Cross gave him a bicycle and a rough idea of where the rest of the remaining labor camps were. Severely malnourished and skeletal, he took what little energy he had left and rode that bicycle through the scattered remnants of camps clinging to the hope that he would find my grandmother.

And he did.

What are the chances of something like that?

I don’t know.

But I do know that my grandfather’s next steps were to use his former ties as a merchant marine to secure a way for the family to make it to the United States. It took a lot of negotiation but he was able to move my grandmother, my mother, and her sister to Detroit where many Eastern European war survivors were moving.

And so my mother, malnourished and traumatized at the tender age of 9 years old, started her life over in the United States in a community that did everything in their power to lavish food and love on those who made it out of the horrors of World War II into the open arms of the promised land of mid-twentieth century America.

She spent her teenage years watching Hollywood musicals* and longing for life in the Big Apple where anything seemed possible. And so, after she fell head over heels in love with my father at the tender age of 19 years old, they married and took the paltry amount of money they had and moved to New York City without looking back.

—-

We would visit my Uncle Dan in Brooklyn Heights when I was little. He was an eccentric, larger-than-life figure who painted impressionist-style paintings of the Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfront since he had a near perfect view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I would run to the window in his office when we visited, careful to not knock over his easel, and stare at the Brooklyn Bridge with saucer-like eyes.

My mother would come over and hold my hand. Her eyes would well-up with tears and we would stand there silently.

I knew that this view meant the world to her.

And it meant the world to me because I knew that just to be in front of the amalgam of her teenage desires, standing there years after everything she went through during the war, anything was possible for me,

in this city of dreams.

—-

—-

Taken yesterday from the 72nd floor of 4 World Trade Center with the A7. It’s a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan, and Brooklyn from above.

—-

*It’s my mother I have to thank for my steady diet of musicals growing up. In fact, my first passive NYC geography lesson was gleaned from the musical On the Town when Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin sing: ” New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down”, part of a fabulously absurd yet fantastic musical sequence accompanied by great views of 1940s New York City.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

—-

View: “New York City - Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge - View from 4 World Trade Center” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyline and Empire State Building

Late afternoon light is a ghost.

It grazes eyelashes

and pours its stark light

over skyscrapers

like a battle-worn soul

asserting its presence

over the shadows.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it): 

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


—- 

View: “Empire State Building and New York City Skyline - Afternoon” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyline and Empire State Building

Late afternoon light is a ghost.

It grazes eyelashes

and pours its stark light

over skyscrapers

like a battle-worn soul

asserting its presence

over the shadows.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

—-

View: “Empire State Building and New York City Skyline - Afternoon” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City Skyline and Queensboro Bridge at Dusk

There is something so magical about dusk in New York City. 

After the sun sets for the evening, the city is a symphony of lights reaching their crescendo at the same time as the night pulls itself over the rooftops and skyscrapers below. 

And if you squint just a little, 

all of the lights twinkle 

like fireflies in an urban forest. 

—-

This is a 15 second exposure that I took with my Sony A99 while standing on the roof of Z Hotel in Long Island City, Queens. The rooftops of Long Island City sit in the foreground. To the right is the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge, and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge). The skyline of midtown Manhattan including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sit in the distance. 

—- 

View: “New York City Skyline and Long Island City Rooftops
” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City Skyline and Queensboro Bridge at Dusk

There is something so magical about dusk in New York City.

After the sun sets for the evening, the city is a symphony of lights reaching their crescendo at the same time as the night pulls itself over the rooftops and skyscrapers below.

And if you squint just a little,

all of the lights twinkle

like fireflies in an urban forest.

—-

This is a 15 second exposure that I took with my Sony A99 while standing on the roof of Z Hotel in Long Island City, Queens. The rooftops of Long Island City sit in the foreground. To the right is the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge, and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge). The skyline of midtown Manhattan including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sit in the distance.

—-

View: “New York City Skyline and Long Island City Rooftops ” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City  - Skyline and Chrysler Building - Queens View 

—-

Those lights - 

they shine

like stars

that twinkle

into existence

every night

reminding you

of all the times

you wished 

for stars

to populate

the skies

in your dreams

when there was

only darkness

and faint

impressions

of yesterday’s 

light.

But today,

today -

they shine

brightly,

tiny universes

unto themselves

reminding you

that hope

is infinite

and dreams

are limitless.

—-

View: “New York City Skyline and the Chrysler Building - View from Queens” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City - Skyline and Chrysler Building - Queens View

—-

Those lights -

they shine

like stars

that twinkle

into existence

every night

reminding you

of all the times

you wished

for stars

to populate

the skies

in your dreams

when there was

only darkness

and faint

impressions

of yesterday’s

light.

But today,

today -

they shine

brightly,

tiny universes

unto themselves

reminding you

that hope

is infinite

and dreams

are limitless.

—-

View: “New York City Skyline and the Chrysler Building - View from Queens” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.