Thursday, September 11, 2003

A 9/11 post that isn't really about 9/11 at all

This too is a little more personal and cheezy than I'd intended to be on here, but whatever.

In October, 2001, I moved to Sunnyside, Queens, a lovely neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. Before then, I never gave much thought to the skyline, having always lived in it. But now, every day, from my elevated subway ride, I get a fabulous view of the skyline. Of course I was conscious of the recently altered part of the skyline to the south, but by then (this was late October) I was much more interested in the Empire State Building. I can also see it as soon as I leave my building, right in the middle of 47th Avenue as if it isn't miles away across a river.

About a month later, I was on 34th Street on a foggy afternoon. I looked up at the building, and the top had disappeared into the clouds. But the sun was setting behind me, and had peeked out beneath the clouds, casting a golden stripe across the building's side. I wished I had a camera, and am still annoyed at myself for not thinking to run into K-Mart and get a disposable.

Thus began my minor obsession with the Empire State Building.

From the way they look on postcards I imagine this is hard to understand for anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time in Manhattan, but as big as they were, some weird quirk of geography made the Twin Towers only visible from a relatively small part of the island. And since I never spent much time downtown, the Empire State has always been my landmark of choice. With its central location, you can see it from Midtown all the way down to SoHo, and get your bearings. The Empire State is a product of its time, just as the World Trade Center was. It may lack the grace of other 30s towers like the Chrysler Building (a close second for my fave), but it has a, I dunno, strength in its art deco lines that I've always found strangely beautiful, day or night. (My clumsiness with adjectives is why I don't usually write stuff like this, but I hope you get my drift.) And that central location on the island also make its observation deck, if not the tallest, the most panoramic.

So that fall, getting to look at it every day, and I suppose thinking about how it might not be there the next day, I started taking pictures of the Empire State Building. Not obsessively, but regularly. As the seasons and the light have changed and it (thankfully) remained a constant, I've kept taking pictures, and kept looking at it every morning on my way into the City.

Here are the best of those photos to date. I am not, by any means, a professional photographer. Of course you've all seen similar or better photos of this overexposed landmark hundreds of times. But these are mine, and I want to share them. Feel free to share yours as well: E-mail pics to me and I'll gladly post them.

A note about Snapfish: If you don't have one already, you'll have to create an account to view these photos. They seem to be pretty good about not spamming, but I understand if anyone's uncomfortable with that, and I apologize, but I just don't have room to host them anywhere else.

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