We often make the mistake of judging the city by the peripheral things that are in and around it. It’s not the brick, mortar, and steel that’s in it. It’s not even the things that you can do or the sights that you can see within it. It’s the people that give the city its life and character that makes it what it is. Without the people, all you have are the things.
We see it in how we are greeted in the public square, we see it in how we help one another through a door, with a package with directions. It’s in how we give a hand to the homeless and underprivileged. It’s in how we let a seemly stranger know that there are eyes watching them when our neighbor is not home. We see it in how we rejoice in our team when we win a title or lost a close one. We hear it in our voices when we share the same dialect and we let someone know that you are one of us.
That is when we know, that we are home.
Go on a journey with me as we go through town and share the urban experience.
The last time I saw a city from a distance like this there was Dorothy, the Scare Crow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion running and singing towards the Emerald City. The journey was difficult but when they got there they learned that the juice was worth the squeeze. They got themselves cleaned up and they got to see the wizard at the same time. When you see a city from a distance there is absolutely nothing of significance that you can know about the city itself other than its architecture. We are looking for the souls that give it life.
The sun starts to break through the clouds in the very early morning for everyone in the city. Those who have a reason to rise along with the sun do.
BLUE MONDAY: “Get up…time to make the …!”
You are looking mid-way up a very long and lonely block, which means it’s just as long the other way behind the photographer. There are only a few homes on the other side of the street. What makes this street photo interesting at all is how people act when they are walking up or down it no matter what time of the day or night. On this side, there is a train yard and it takes up the entire block. There is no industrial noise there and very little traffic. It is a very quiet block. One gets the feeling as though you are walking down a deserted alley all alone. Most people walk as quickly as they can on this path especially if there is someone behind you even though they are usually innocent and innocuous trying to get somewhere themselves but nevertheless, it causes women to hold on tighter to their purses and cause the men to walk with their hands inside of their pockets. Everyone makes sure that they turn around to make eye contact with whoever is behind them while gauging distance in their minds. I would imagine that every big city has at least one street similar to this one, a street that makes it’s pedestrians feel alone and unsafe. The fear may be more or less in our minds but…
This photo was taken inside of the El train right after the big morning rush. What catches my attention is that with thousands upon thousands of people that ride the same trains and buses each day going to and from…they really don’t notice each other. Of course they know they’re there but everyone has some place to go and something to do so they don’t notice each other. Except those homeless souls that ride all day and night because they have no where to go…they usually have a seat all by themselves. So in other words, the loneliest time in the world can be Monday through Friday going and coming to and fro.
The work day starts for those in the big city. This is a professional district.
Quite often I notice even the little things. I used to say that I can meet someone or a couple and within five minutes I can tell you what’s going on with you and in your home. Well, maybe not everything in five minutes but you get my drift. As I’ve stated, I often noticed the little things, it may be a part of one’s survival instincts but I do make a point to notice things about a person and how they are presenting themselves to the world because how they dress, talk, eye contact etc. will usually tell you what they’re feeling at the moment. I noticed this couple walking ahead of me and I took their picture. Most (not all guys) aren’t too keen on PDA (Public display of Affection). We’ll hug you up in private and walk with our hands in our pockets when we’re walking with you in public, that is just our DNA I guess. Unless she’s really hot then we will walk with our arm around your waist. Most (not all gals) who feel like holding hands in public will quite often reach out and grab his. Then you can see how he feels about it by the proximity of where “his” hand is holding hers. So the question then becomes, “Whose holding whose hand and what do you think he feels about it?”
About a hundred miles away on the same morning in another urban city, the sun comes up over the ocean. However, this urban city that is known for its beaches and casinos.
While a number of the residents go out into the open ocean to make the “D-nuts” there are a larger number of the residents going inland to do the same.
At the end of the work day…we go home to our little place within the universe.
In some cities that never sleep, the casinos are open and the drinks are pouring all night long. The night shift reports and the fun continues for vacationers.
However, even in these cities there’s a schism so to speak. Meaning that we can see those who are the poor (and the working poor) that we see in the foreground while the city lights of beast that is the money maker for the rich and well to do in the background.
While in the big city a hundred miles away, we see the city as it turns in for the night… everyone except for the criminal element and the law enforcement officers that protect and serve the populous from the criminal elements. Once we’re in for the night, we are ready to get up and go the first thing the next morning.