Digital diva Cera Zittlow and I were in New York City to shoot an architectural assignment during the last week of October 2012. There was a lot going on: the annual Photo Plus Expo, a dozen dinners and parties (the Sony party rocked), the American Photographic Artists board meeting, Shoot NYC to name just a few of our obligations and distractions. We had an opportunity to to catch up with some old friends (Michael Grecco, Theresa Raffetto, Christian Peacock) and make a few new ones – Hurricane Sandy among them. We were sitting in the bar at the Crosby Hotel when the biggest hurricane to ever hit the eastern seaboard arrived – the lights went out and that was that: Lower Manhattan went back in time a hundred and fifty years. No water, power, no cell coverage. The bridges closed, the subways stopped and all air traffic was canceled. You couldn’t leave the enchanted isle of Manhattan by any means. The night before Sandy arrived, I shot this three frame image while waiting for a train at the Prince Street station at Broadway near where we were encamped. The original 1917 tile mosaics and dedicated alphabetical friezes have been lovingly maintained. I was shooting Kodak P3200 – a super high-speed B&W negative film – now discontinued. It’s grainy, contrasty and imprecise – in other words: perfect.
Marooned On An Enchanted Isle
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– Cera prefers to be called a digital maharishi but there may be gender issues with this term.
I’m not one to pick nits, but someone has to uphold Durant honor. Biggest hurricane in American history? By what criteria, diameter of the cloud cover? Maybe the Galveston hurricane in 1900, where over 6,000 died and the city was leveled? Or Katrina, way back in 2005, where over 1,500 died and much of New Orleans drowned? Sure, the Daily News reported it as the biggest hurricane in history, but sensationalism sells newspapers.
And as far as Sandy sending lower Manhattan back in time 100 years? Well, in 1912 electrical power, light, gas, water, telephones, and subways were abundant on the enchanted isle. Not so much cell coverage or airport activity back then, so it may have felt antediluvian.
Did you venture out in the storm and get pix as the water rose and the subways filled? Or did you decide that it wasn’t worth getting impaled by a flying stop sign? And thanks for the shot of the subway mosaic – an art form nearly as ancient as cave paintings that is my second favorite medium after woodblock prints. Welcome home.
– walking east on Prince Street an hour after the storm made land I was picked up and put down three or four feet up the street. After that I stopped going outside.