Saturday, October 4, 2014

Duane Street, you delight!

from a photographer's notebook...

Duane Street, in the special sunshine of a Tribeca afternoon...

I wrote earlier about some of the delights of discovering Tribeca in June of 2013.

This section of Lower Manhattan proved rich in all manner of photographic motifs, both color and black and white.

Whether in architectural detail, the human element, or some wonderful patterns of light, Tribeca was a feast for the senses – and most certainly the cameras, including the two film SLRs in my pack.

When discovering new areas, especially when they are as motif-rich as Tribeca, I often prefer to concentrate on small slices. It gives me the chance to relax, visualize, and drink in the ambiance. 

Even the pigeons cast long shadows in the Tribeca late afternoon sunshine

One such “small slice” was the two block stretch of Duane Street that runs from Greenwich Street on the west to Hudson Street on the east. Just two blocks, but lots of visual inspiration. 

The Duane Park Patisserie occupies the ground floor of this Duane Street loft building  ©Steve Ember

Loft buildings, five and six stories tall with lots of ornate details, festooned with fire escapes and adorned by ironwork fronts, calling forth a history of Lower Manhattan commerce, a trattoria, a patisserie, a sushi bar, and a variety of shops and neighborhood joints, all creating this inviting mélange of textures, shapes, patterns, and long shadows in the late afternoon sun.

But, also, as New York seems to do so well in unexpected settings, a delightful little triangle of green where the street bifurcates, called Duane Park.

Oh, yes, and pigeons. Lots of pigeons

Laurie is a composer of modern music living in one of the loft buildings. She loves pigeons…and they love her right back.

Other residents smile at the photographer balancing three cameras and a tripod in the middle of the street. Some stop to chat on their way home with groceries, or a baguette tucked under an arm. Residents meet…chat…walk their dogs...ride their bikes.

Along Duane Street, Roberta Roller Rabbit brings a smile to a visiting photographer, while Mondo Cane evokes a favorite movie theme

A boutique called Roberta Roller Rabbit brings a smile as I can’t help but conjure up bunnies on roller skates traversing this mini canyon of old brick and cobblestones. And a neighboring shop, called Mondo Cane, predictably sets the needle in the ol’ Gray Matter Gramophone down on Riz Ortolani’s sensuous “More” theme from that 1963 film, as I luxuriate in the sun of this glorious June afternoon, fifty years later.

"Staple Street, Tribeca" ©2014 Steve Ember
There's a narrow canyon formed by Staple Street, which intersects with Duane, and it provides a bounty of interlocking forms and textures, including a little detail I’d not even been aware of until a year later, when I had some large exhibit prints made of my “Staple Street, Tribeca.” If you look carefully, up in the scaffolding, there’s a solitary construction worker in a hard hat at work behind a plastic sheet. (*) Guess his mates had already called it a day…

I love the quality of the late afternoon sunlight that New York provides photographers, and anyone else with eyes and sensibilities to take it in and celebrate it…the long shadows, the strong shafts of sunlight filtering through the architectural canyons that alternately delineate forms or bathe them in a luminescent glow.

It created some lovely motifs, especially for the roll of “old look” Adox CHS 50 ART I’d loaded in one of the film cameras. It’s a great afternoon for walking in the low humidity sunshine of this last day of spring. Even the little guy in the illuminated “Walk” sign along Greenwich Street seems to have a “spring” in his step.

Detail from "Duane Street Afternoon" (Adox CHS-50 ART film)

It's a great time for enjoying the warm sun, while sitting, as well, as the diners in the outdoor café at Restaurant ROC would attest. That same spot would find my appetite-stoked self just a bit later for an aperitif and some tasty pasta, before heading downtown to take the PATH train from World Trade Center over to Jersey City to savor the Lower Manhattan skyline at twilight from the promenade at Exchange Place.

(*) OK, if you couldn’t find him…look above the bridge between the two buildings .

More of my photos of Tribeca, as well as other NYC motifs, can be viewed here.

©2014 Steve Ember 

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home