One of the great things about New York City is its propinquity, the possibilities that exist because disparate people are living within spitting distance of each other. In many ways, that’s why New York is magical; it embodies that idea. Walking the streets of New York one gets the feeling that anything can happen, that it’s possible you could run into anyone.
To give just one small example, last week, as I was leaving one of my lunchtime standbys, I spotted the actor Jeff Goldblum sitting by himself at a nearby table quietly enjoying his lunch. That doesn’t happen just anywhere. Small thrill, perhaps, but that kind of thing doesn’t just happen everywhere.
And then last night, I went out with my camera to photograph the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and, as I was leaving, I literally crossed Orchard Street and wandered into an art gallery opening. These two worlds embodied by these institutions could not have been more different.
The museum is dedicated to documenting the lives of poor immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the art gallery is dedicated to displaying contemporary and provocative art. To state the obvious, the differences between the two spaces was jarring. My senses were alive in the gallery, perhaps much more so because, by crossing the street, I had time traveled away from a place where eight children once slept on couch to this! (I’ll post the photos from the Tenement Museum some other time.)