Internet Party | iyrie!
New York is a funny old place. We know it so well, so intimately before we have ever even been there. It’s woven into our memories and culture through films and music and fashion and art. The first time you go there you have a strong feeling of deja vu. Steam coming out of the street – just like on TV. A fat man eating a hot dog waving his arms wildly and shouting at the traffic “I’m walking here!” just like in the films. A skyline that looks a bit weird without type running across it announcing the end credits. Having spent a fair old amount of time visiting and living in New York over the years, it’s doubly familiar and from a photographers point of view that can present a challenge. It’s easy to go to far off exotic places and capture those moments that stand out as extraordinary, unusual or vibrant. We see the clues straight away – it’s all the things that are different from what we are used to. Everything is a photo opportunity – from the road signs to the way people dress to the intensity of the sunlight. But what of those places we know so much better, that we are more familiar with and don’t come with their own attention grabbing headlines? The places we know well, where we live and frequent, where we have a routine and where we don’t look out so much for the unusual as we coast along on autopilot like the rest of the crowd, steeped in the day to day? These are the places where it is more difficult to capture images that will feel special or have meaning – you need to get in between the cracks. These photographs are a selection of over 20 years of trying to do that, with the city changing and reinventing itself throughout that time. Mostly it’s Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Coney Island – my favourite areas that have changed so much over the years. Many of these things just aren’t there anymore. Gentrification is seen as a bit of a dirty word – certainly Williamsburg and the Lower East Side are not the edgy outlands they once were. Like London, New York becomes increasingly a city with an international feel, with the quirks expunged and idiosyncrasies ironed out as the cool crowd move in. As things get cleaner and less sketchy and more expensive, the price you pay is the personality and character that attracted people in the first place diminishes.
Coney Island. There’s no where as cold as Coney Island on a winter’s day.
The Crack Bike – used by local Brooklyn dealers to transport their wares.
Williamsburg before the gentrification. We used to go and sit out on a derelict pier on the river here.
Coney Island. Snow not sand.
Williamsburg, late 90s.
Brooklyn. Rory’s window.
The Old At&T Building, Church Street
The Bowery. The only thing here used to be industrial catering outlets.
The Moondance Diner 6th Avenue (RIP)
Chinatown. Do you have crabs?
View from my window, 2001
Ben’s Pizza, Spring Street, post 911
The Bowery, post 911