Photo Notebook #1 - 3/14-15/22
In this post, I am introducing a new format that may eventually be for paid subscribers. I will be sharing more casual notes from my photo walks in New York. There will also be a series of photographs with each post.
Tom Starkweather is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
If you prefer to listen, there is an audio version of this post narrated by me:
The last couple of days brought more favorable conditions for a Manhattan photo walk that I had taken many times up until March, 2020. Suddenly, there is more sunlight in the day thanks to our twice-annual time measuring manipulation. I find people more engaging overall when it's warmer. The colder temperatures tend to make human behavior more frigid.
My takeaway from these walks was seeing the energy of the city that was so alluring in the past returning to a degree. There are background details that linger from the pandemic as well as the addition of more politically motivated graffiti. Testing and vaccination sites remain. And there seem to be more dogs (and dog shit) and people doing things with pets in general.
The Covid testing tents are a persistent sight but I did not see any of the holiday era long lines. Most had no one waiting for a test. One in particular on Eighth Avenue with a couple of large Dunkin’ Donut boxes on the signup table had me wondering again how much of this is about health.
On the subway, there is still a vaccination campaign underway. There's one specifically advertising Moderna boosters and PCR tests at train stations. There is also a superhero style one for kids.
Overall I saw a wide range of emotions and beyond the general drudgery seen on the faces of people presumably leaving work, there are some that look very happy and often on a phone conversation.
Beyond the more visible and frequent use of marijuana, people seem affected by some substance other than booze or weed. As I walked by the Penn Station entrance yesterday there was a man on the ground surrounded by Amtrak Police. I had already made some pictures before I saw the man on the ground because there was a lot of commotion. Then I heard what sounded like a defibrillator being used a couple of times. It was shocking to hear that sound in a place other than a television drama. It announced the gravity of the situation unfolding as many casually carried on unaware.
Thanks for bearing with my wordiness on this first post in a new format. I look forward to sharing more from the next walk.