the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: NYC (Page 1 of 2)

The Oculus at the World Trade Center

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub’s concourse will ultimately connect visitors to 11 different subway lines; the PATH rail system; the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal; the National September 11 Memorial & Museum; World Trade Center Towers 1, 2, 3, and 4; and Brookfield Place (formerly known as the World Financial Center), which houses the Winter Garden. It represents the most integrated network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City.

The “Oculus” serves as the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, incorporating 78,000 square feet of multi level state-of-the-art retail and dining. The concourses emanating from the Oculus link the entirety of the site above and below grade. With an additional 290,000 square feet of exciting, multi-level retail and dining space, the World Trade Center site is the focal point of Lower Manhattan.   (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey site)









Fictional Characters of New York #47


It’s a decent gig playing guitar on Rector Street. Although the Wall Street guys downtown are born assholes, programmed to crush their competition, they tip well, especially when the NASDAQ is up. Music is universal, no matter your income. During two years of standing on this corner, music has covered my rent and helped me pay back some debt I incurred at Julliard. The street has also been good for my soul. The constant chaos of lower Manhattan has softened the pain of losing Gina’s soft skin next to another man at night. A year later, there was still a hole in my heart. I had loved her more than all the music in the world.

The market fell a hundred points today, so I started to pack it up early, at 6PM.

“Don’t leave yet,” he said, approaching me from around the corner. He was one of my regulars. I nicknamed him “GQ” because he was always dressed in an imported Italian suit, pressed shirt, and fine leather shoes. His eyes that were the color of thousand dollar bills.

“Play it for me,” he said to me. “Play me the song.”

“I’m already packing up,” I replied, not wanting to go through this game again.

“Play it for me. Like only you can.”

“I don’t think it is a good idea to…”

GQ opened his wallet, drew out several hundred bills, and shoved it into my hands. My body was repulsed, wanting to return it, but my mind reminded me of my financial need.

I grabbed my guitar and strummed the opening chords to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”

“Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they’re not shining
Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday.”

As I sang the song, I thought about GQ’s cruelty. “Just the Way You Are,” was OUR song. It was playing on the radio on the night I met Gina. And he knew that.   Winning Gina wasn’t enough for him.  He would pay me to sing to the victor, the ultimate humiliation, because on Wall Street, you are programmed to crush your competition.

Favorite NYC Instagram Photos – Nov. 2011

November in NYC was balmy this year. I wore a t-shirt just two weeks ago, walking down Broadway. And then the tree went up in Rockefeller Center, the Christmas shoppers arrived, and winter finally arrived.  I like how the photos show a passage of time.

December is a month were we traditionally think about our plans for the upcoming year.   I have a ticket to return to Los Angeles on December 18th, which means, at least for the month of January, a return to the bright palette and frequently superficial lights of the West Coast.

Politically Correct Instagram Photography

“Hello, would you mind if I take a photo of you walking across the street in that sexy polka dot dress so I can put it on Istagram, a photo sharing app on the internet, so thousands of strangers can view it under the title “NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag?”

“Sure. Sounds like an interesting project. And I am a patron of the arts. I even subscribe to the New Yorker.”

“Great. I just need for you to initial this contract on the dotted lines.  Please be aware that I reserve all rights to change the color of the photo, including the ability to transform the image into black and white purely for dramatic effect. But let me assure you that making this color choice is purely a creative decision, and has no bearing on whether YOU are black or white, because I do not base my “NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag” photos on skin color, ethnicity, or native language.”

“Thank you for being so open to different cultures.”

“I believe it is my duty as an artist.  Now please put your initials here, allowing me to have exclusive rights to both the digital and print versions of your image as you walk across the street in your sexy polka dot dress, and the ability to reproduce this photo in various sizes. And by size, I mean the resolution of the image, and not YOUR size, because I strongly believe that a “NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag” can be beautiful in any size from thin to curvy girl.”

“I wish there were more men like you who understood that women can be sexy in all shapes and sizes.”

“I believe it is artistic temperment that allows me to see beyond the cultural mores of the day.”

“You are terrific!”

“Thank you. Your support means a lot to me.  Now please check this box here, acknowledging to those viewing the photo that this image is completely spontaneous, and that you in no way changed your natural appearance or demeanor as you crossed the street as a “”NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag,” despite you first signing a permission form, or accepting the one or two slight recommendations that were offered to you, such as the suggestion that you open up a second button on your blouse, a matter solely related to artistic effect, with little bearing on the true authenticity of the photograph.”

“Absolutely. Authenticity in artistic expression is soooo important to me. So, just two buttons?  I just wish I had wore a bra today!”

“Don’t worry about that.  I appreciate the authenticity.”

“Thank you!   I love the way you are approaching me with this photo you are about to take titled “NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag.”  So many other men would take the photo secretly without even asking permission.  How rude and arrogant!”

“Perverts! Peeping Toms, I call them. Now, I just need your signature at the bottom of the contract, and then we can proceed with me taking your photo of you crossing the street in the polka dot dress as the “”NYC Woman I Wish I Could Shag.” But please note, that when I ask for your signature, any type of text-based symbol would suffice, because I aware that many in modern society have reading disorders or dyslexia, so I wouldn’t want to embarrass you or cause you discomfort by asking for your full signature.

“You are such a doll!  So considerate.   I wish all street photographers were like this!  Let’s take that photo and put it online!”

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