Monday, March 19, 2012

Photography: Harlem etc

Adam Clayton Powell Jr125th StreetHarlem Mural 4Abandoned 2Shoes in a TreeChurch and Building
Ballroom_ThriftstoreMan and his CartStore FrontsStreet ViewHarlem Mural 3Harlem Mural 2
Burnt Out BuildingBrownstonesBronxAnother Baptist Church 3Another Baptist Church 2Harlem Mural 1
Another Baptist ChurchBowlingCapital One Mural 2Capital One Mural 1House of All FaithsBaptist Church

Harlem etc, a set on Flickr.

When I moved to NYC 7 years ago it was the first time I had ever set foot in the city. After a short-lived sublet on the Lower East Side I found a much more affordable sublet in Spanish Harlem, on First Ave, between 119th and 120th. The first time I was actually living alone, without roommates, my own tiny one bedroom with a little concrete backyard. At the time it was still pretty much affordable, albeit not the safest neighbourhood in the city. I never had a problem though, the guys who were always hanging out on my stoop looked out for me, the deli next door picked up my deliveries and the only time the walk to the subway was a problem was after my first NYC blizzard during the Winter Olympics in 2006.
Needless to say, I ended up moving to a much more expensive tiny box studio in the West Village 10 months later, and never really went back up there to visit. I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather today and made my way up to 125th Street to take some photos...
The place has changed a lot, but is still so similar at the same time... There are new shops, a couple of Starbucks, a Target and a TD Bank; but it's still as loud, interesting and diverse as it used to be. Nowhere else have I seen a car rushing down the street with a guy holding a megaphone and blasting music, making the whole street stop, clap and start dancing. I suppose it's cleaner and safer, but still as energetic and colourful. I wonder how much small one bedroom apartments go for up there now...

I then made my way downtown and took a few shots of the new Occupy Wall St terrain in Union Sq, and my favourite church, Grace Church, on Broadway and 11th St.


Garage Scribbles said...

Its always a wonderful thing to re-visit a place that you were once familiar with and shoot some images. This is a wonderful body of work, and one I think you could add to by say, paying a visit once every year or two years. Great social documentary photography comes from the heart not the head I feel, and these images have from my point of view, been made with affection. Keep going with it. You've made a fantastic start.

Paradox said...

Thank you! It's inspired me to start putting together one on Bushwick, my current neighbourhood. over the 4 years I have been here it has changed significantly and I would like to see how I have captured that!