New York

“Hey!  I’m walkin’ here.”  The line ad libbed by Dustin Hoffman in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), when he was about to be run down by a taxi, has become synonymous with New York.   Matthew and I quoted it to one another during our recent stay in that great city…especially when attempting to cross roads!  I’d like to share some of my NY images with you.  To see images enlarged, just click on them.

View from my pillow.

View from my pillow.

We stayed at the Nolitan Hotel in an area called Nolita (which means North of Little Italy) in Lower Manhattan.   I sought out a room with a view.  Two iconic landmarks are in my view; Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.  I didn’t even have to get out of bed for this cityscape!

Billboard with water towers.

Billboard with water towers.

The ubiquitous water towers reminded me that I was in New York and made me think of Edward Hopper paintings.  I like the juxtaposition between the slick model and the dingy towers in “Billboard with water towers”.  The model is all curves while her surroundings are straight lines; well, except for the water towers.

This image reminds me of Anne Bancroft's character in 'The Graduate' (1967).

This image reminds me of Anne Bancroft’s ‘seductress’ character in “The Graduate”(1967).  Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson…

Art exhibit at MoMA or paste-up with mindless graffiti?  Guess.

Art exhibit at MoMA or paste-up with mindless graffiti? Guess.

Fame is OK.  I think I'm going insane.

Fame is OK. I think I’m going insane.

I am always searching for street art and graffiti…especially with a feminine or intimate slant.  (Being a woman, I empathize with ‘the feminine’ in the environment.)  I found surprisingly little of it.  I liked the above images and might make drawings of them in the future.

No Standing Anytime....or ... Portrait of Matthew.

No Standing Anytime….or … Portrait of Matthew.

In the spirit of Jeffrey Smart’s portrait of Clive James, here is my portrait of Matthew.  He was standing on The High Line.

In Soho.  Skateboarding by with a pair of legs.

In Soho. Skateboarding holding a pair of legs…as one does.

The New Yorker.

The New Yorker.

I asked the subject of “The New Yorker” if I could photograph him.  I explained that I liked the way his black and white shirt ‘talked’ to the black and white jacket of the paste-up lady behind him.  I also liked his poodle.  He was happy to be photographed.  I would never go up to a stranger in Australia like that.  New York must have made me bold.  I was pleased to be somewhere, for once, where English was spoken – meaning I COULD easily approach people.   Maybe he was an artist too.  He nodded in understanding when I explained my thoughts about his shirt and the wall behind him.

This is odd.

This is odd.

Pride goes before a fall.

Pride goes before a fall.

The two photos above are examples of my neighborhood walks, shooting whatever took my eye in the streets.  I like the touches of hot pink in both the photos above as well as the words within the scenes.

Squirrel in Washington Square Gardens.

Squirrel in Washington Square Gardens.

People from many parts of the world won’t understand my fascination with squirrels.  You see, there are no squirrels in Australia or New Zealand.  I am always delighted, therefore, to come across squirrels in countries which have them.  I could watch squirrels for hours.  In the photo “Squirrel in Washington Square Gardens” I am struck by the gravity of the message on the rock in contrast with the squirrel who sits atop indifferently eating his nut.  Human tragedy doesn’t concern him as he gets on with enjoying his morsel.

Coney Island

Coney Island

I wanted to see somewhere outside Lower Manhattan or Midtown.  I suggested to Matt that we take the train to Coney Island (on the Brooklyn coast).  I have heard so much about it.  I associate it with the musicians Lou Reed and Woody Guthrie.  Besides, I’ve always had a morbid fascination with fun parks.  They’re kind of creepy.  This one was well past its use-by date.  ‘Bleak’ is the word which comes to mind.  Matthew wasn’t impressed that I dragged him there until I pointed out Mermaid Avenue.  That’s where Woody Guthrie used to live.  We set out to find his old address.  THAT cheered Matthew up.  Now he’s glad we went there.  When I listen to “Coney Island Baby” Lou Reed, I’m glad I went there too.  Besides, the fish and chips we ate on the boardwalk were not bad.

Liberty Island as seen through Battery Park weeds.

Liberty Island as seen through Battery Park weeds.

Doomed Youth - or - Matt on Brooklyn Bridge.

Doomed Youth – or – Matt on Brooklyn Bridge.

We walked across Brooklyn Bridge.  Behind Matthew you can see Manhattan Bridge. Matthew, being a civil engineer, loves bridges.  He was in his element.  It was only after I got home that I noticed the ‘doom’d youth’ in the photo.  After that walk and a trip on an East River ferry, we ended up at Battery Park.  We looked out at Liberty Island but didn’t  desire to visit it.  The statue and the island looked so much smaller than I’d expected…perhaps…like seeing “Mona Lisa” for the first time.

Roof with a View 1

Roof with a View 1

Roof with a view 2

Roof with a view 2

To finish off, here are two views from the roof garden of our hotel.   I rested my camera on the shiny surface of the balcony, thereby being able to take long exposures.   View 1 is looking north, view 2 looking south.  Once upon a time The Twin Towers would have been in the second view.

While walking in the streets I kept hearing guys talking to one another about relationships and feelings.  I pointed this out to Matthew.  Over and over again.  Wow.  I never hear such a thing in Australia.  My ears were in overdrive.  (They talk about sport here!)

Every single person we encountered was friendly.  We felt safe at all times, day and night.  We ate well and we loved visiting MoMA, The Guggenheim Museum and Central Park.  Without doubt, our time in New York was the highlight of our North and South American trip.    We only took tiny bites from the gigantic tasting plate which is New York.   For a bigger meal we would have to stay for much longer than we did.  Do we have an appetite for more?  Yes.  We may return one day.  In the meantime, I listen to Lou Reed’s album “New York” and remember.

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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
Image | This entry was posted in art, photo portraits of cities, photography, street art, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to New York

  1. Karen says:

    Glad you had the experience, interesting to read and see your observations! Yes, emotional intelligence is much more highly valued in North America. Being soft-spoken and easygoing-ness more valued here in Australia. (Also nice qualities without a doubt.)

  2. Anna Clements says:

    Cool! Love ’em xx


  3. Steven Abramson says:

    Did you happen to see the John Singer Sargent show in Brooklyn when yo were there? Lucky for me it is moving to Houston,Tx next March. Enjoyed your blog.

  4. Ann Kullberg says:

    Another wonderful post, Julie. Australian men don’t talk about relationships? Thought that was pretty fascinating. Love your eye and your perspective on all things!

  5. Jim Murray says:

    Julie, you’re a talented writer as well an artist. I’m glad you enjoyed New York City.
    I’d have never thought to use the word “creepy” to describe amusement parks, but when I think about it, you’re right. They are kind of creepy places.

    • Jim, fantastic to get your comment on the blog. I must admit I’ve always felt that amusements parks have a dark underbelly. I don’t know if you have ‘laughing clowns’ in the States; disembodied turning heads whose mouths you shove little balls down. They are particularly spooky to me. Don’t get me started on the ghost train…

  6. Great post Julie. I love the pictures!

  7. Corina says:

    Hello Julie,
    i purchased some Holbein products today whilst in NYC at the N Y Comic Con ( huge event here) I bought the water soluble oils, but am now tempted- after finding your blog, very very tempted to return tommorrow to purchase some coloured pencils. I purchased the products from the north american importer , he did mention that Deans Art Supplies in Australia carry their range. I thought i might mention that to you although you have someone who imports the pencils for you. I love the layering of colour is very therapeutic and i find myself using layers of complementary Colours as it makes the colours ‘sing”. I am an Australian living in NYC, and my husband ‘s family are from Perth. Finding your blog – Holbein, colour pencil, NYC, Perth … Is a great way to end a long busy day in NYC. I will keep a look out for your work when we visit home next year.

  8. I love Holbein Artists pencils, Corina, but I am giving my Holbeins a holiday over summer while I do some lightfast testing at home of their colour range. My results will show me which colours are resilient against light and which colours should be avoided completely.
    In the meantime I have switched allegiance to Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 as these have the highest lightfast ratings in the world of colour pencils.

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