Friday, April 25, 2008

Contest #1: How do you choose only one?

I chose this painting "New York, Night," as a favorite because it reminds me of the years I spent living in mid-town Manhattan. Despite the fact that Georgia O'Keefe was there in the early part of the 1900s and I lived there sixty years later, this image captures the essence of evenings spent on my Hell's Kitchen rooftop. My then-boyfriend (now my husband) and I would go to the roof for the breeze, for privacy from the roommates who shared my tiny apartment, and for the view. The taillights of cars heading north on 10th avenue, the sound of honking taxi horns, the day's stored heat rising up from the tar paper roof, and the imagined lives being led within each lighted high rise window, all are captured here whether the year is 1929 or 1989.

New York is very different now than it was in the early '90s. Where once there were peep shows and adult bookstores, now there are Starbucks and Disney musicals. Times Square's wattage has increased ten-fold in those nearly 20 years. It may be cleaner, but in many ways it is stranger, somehow less like itself and more like Tokyo meets The Mall of America. But the biggest change of all is that the view I had from that rooftop. The two buildings that towered over the skyline to the south are gone. Still given all of the changes, and certainly there have been significant ones since 1929, this painting couldn't be anywhere but New York.

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