This week’s topic for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “Street Life”: a place reveals itself on its streets, from pedestrians strolling during lunch time, to performers entertaining tourists on sidewalks, to the bustle of local markets, and more….
A few years ago, I used to work up in Harlem on 125th Street. It is an area that is very busy, yet, also abandoned. There wasn’t much going on outside of my office building except the big construction pit on the north side of the street, the daytime mugging I once saw, and Bill Murray in a baseball cap standing outside the office. It is a strange intersection of bustling and abandonment, an active ruin. One summer, I decided to take my camera with me. I wanted to document the city streets and the people who pounded the pavement on 125th Street, which is also home to the Cotton Club. It is an area of greys and steel, but also one of bright colors in unexpected places.
**Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a recommended reading list at the bottom. This is a literature blog (I hope!).
Recommended Reading List for Harlem, 125th Street
- Jazz by Toni Morrison; Harlem in the 1920s + jazz music
- Invisible by Paul Auster; about ten blocks south of the Cotton Club, a tragic event takes place to snowball all of the novel’s characters
- Open City by Teju Cole; roaming the streets of Manhattan
- Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney; 1980s hedonistic NYC told in second-person
- The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolffe; racial tensions run high in 1980s NYC
- Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger; we could argue over who the true phony is, but regardless this book captures Manhattan streets of the 194/50s