So, right. To Uncle Sam.
After junketing through Europe, I flitted across the Atlantic to Gotham. The first city on my US jaunt.
New York may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I absolutely love it in the city. Unpretentious, vibrant and doesn’t give a rat’s ass (which is ironic, given the huge number of rats in the city). New York wasn’t created for tourists; tourists were created for New York. In Gotham, everyone has places to be and things to do, and if you get in their way, well, you’re gonna know about it.
Whereas my jaunt through Europe had been about history – an ignominious history at that- I was coming to America to eat, sleep and take pictures. It’s been nine months since I was bitten by a radioactive photo bug and I’ve been honing my photography powers. I’m seeing improvements. A lot of my compositions are still rushed and middling and I’m still way behind with post processing/editing. But I’ll get there. You will hear of me!
Oh, wait. You already heard of me!
My US jaunt encompassed New York, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and the Big Easy – New Orleans. With the exception of New York, I was visiting the other cities for the first time. I was particularly looking forward to going to NOLA – New Orleans, baby! The food! Jambalaya. Gumbo. Po-Boy! Lord, keep me alive till I get to NOLA!
I booked an AirBnB in Brooklyn. Bed-Stuy. I like it in Brooklyn. It is close to Manhattan and the sites I wanted to photograph. But more than that, Brooklyn is gritty, real and doesn’t care about your presence. You might as well not have been there. You get the sense that real people people live in Brooklyn. And well, I like the rowhouses. Makes Brooklyn look distinct.
What I don’t get about New York are the old, raucous and rickety trains! Come on! This is the 31st century!
But the New York subway is iconic and you meet very interesting people on it. The hustle is hyper real in New York. Check out the dudes dancing below. And the cool ‘Sioux African American’ in the featured image above. I met him at Broadway Junction. He was kind enough to let me click his picture. For some dollars!
Outside of Rome, New York probably has the best pizzas on the planet. See, I have a bone to pick with folks who malign good food like pizza, burgers and hotdogs and label them junk food. How can food that gives you joy be junk? How can bacon and extra large lemonade be evil? I’ll tell you what’s junk food! It’s broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, lettuce and brussel sprouts! That’s what’s responsible for all the unhappiness in the world. Companies like Shake Shack are spreading more joy around the world than the Salvation Army. They need a tax break!
Having not eaten some ‘pepper’ since I left Nigeria two weeks earlier, I thought it might be nice to have some Naija food. So, on the recommendation of my wife – who’s been to New York way more and longer than me – I hit Festac Grill off Atlantic Avenue. To-go order of white rice with ofada sauce and plantain. Stiffed out of $20. Why, I could have made the meal myself! But no point quarreling with food you paid for. And how did Chinua Achebe say it, “he who brings food brings life”?
To my pictures. What do you all think? Decent pictures?
This shot I really like! Because of the stress involved in taking it. I took the shot from the Manhattan Bridge, through a hole in the wire fence. Amidst the loud and annoying vibrations of the trains that threatened to topple my tripod! There was so much vibration, I didn’t think the tripod was any use. But by perseverance the snail reached the ark!
DUMBO here is a must-have in the portfolio of any photographer who visits New York. It is always teeming with photographers. On this day, I had to wake up early to hopefully have DUMBO to myself. I got there at 6 am. I met three photographers! We were considerate to one another.
Nothing special about my visits to Atlanta, Houston and Dallas though. Just a couple of owambes and Naija food. I was visiting friends. They had to go to work and I was pretty much left to my own devices. I did discover a wicked milk shake joint in Houston though. Right under my nose! I punished myself appropriately by visiting it everyday for not discovering it sooner.
So on to New Orleans then. NOLA, here I come!