When we first visited the town of Anacortes, it was just a pit stop for breakfast at Dad’s Diner on our way to an area called Deception Pass.
Considering our breakfast outweighed that of our time navigating the rather touristy cliffs that followed. We made a promise to revisit the dinner and explore it’s town one day — this Saturday, with no other plans or intentions. We filled our coffee mugs and embarked on a two-hour journey that would reward us with generous plates of bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and mouthwatering biscuits. Wait, I failed to mention the copious amounts of coffee. After loading up on cholesterol, calories, and tasty goodies, we braved the cold to explore a town that’s rich in history and character. While we were able to explore many of the shops, Pelican Bay books were by far the most memorable. We were having grown up and lived most of my life in the city, probably led to my love and appreciation for smaller towns, neighborhoods, and their downtown hubs. Each has its personality, character, and unique history. And while it might be a while before we return. My wife and I look forward to exploring the area in warmer temperatures.
Everybody has a story to tell. Rich or poor. Young or old. Black or White. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have lived different lives. Yes, we’re all related to this earth and one another to a certain degree and share a common bond, but in so many other ways, we are unique. As I get older, I’ve tried to become less of a talker and more of a listener. Though it’s taken a lifetime, I’ve come to understand and embrace that the only time we learn is when we listen. So, after years of talking, I look forward to the hopes I can become a better listener.
I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.
As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.
I was only seven years old when I wandered onto my first construction site in Jackson Heights, Queens and just weeks after that I watched a close friend fall to his death at the same site. Though tragic in every way, it never deterred me from hopping a fence or overlooking any signs that bore the words “NO TRESPASSING!” As an adult, I discovered a passion for photography and though that passion consumed me. My love and appreciation for things like construction sites, junk yards, factories and the numerous locations that are often deemed “Off Limits.” Having a camera and a desire to document my surroundings led me to many destinations. A few years ago, I attended a Q&A in downtown NYC where the author of a book whose title escapes me would speak about his experiences shooting his factory themed images for his book. Imagine how disappointed I was when he talked about getting permission and a time frame to capture the images for his project. “What a jip!” I thought. This guy got an all access pass and chose to shoot from the cushy balcony. Where was the rush of adrenaline coming from? Where was the risk? Undaunted, I returned to my passion and that rush that comes from not knowing what will happen next. That feeling you get when the hairs on your neck stand on end and tingle. While I’m too old and too sick to climb fences, outrun police or feel the breath of an angry guard dog on the chase,. I’m still holding out that there’s a gallery exhibit or even a book in the future. And while I’ve begun to gather and post pictures on my social media page, I know I still have a long way to go. Here’s a link to some of the images I’ve come across. Left Behind
If you’re not into garbage strewn streets and unkempt property. My usual route home from the train is dull city. S0 0ver time I’ve devised different ways to not only get home, but to explore areas that I’ve yet to really crack. One of those routes lies just across the railroad tracks, about a block or two from the main area called Little India. One one of this winters nicer days I found one that suits me well and doesn’t have me taking the long route to the short cut. As I turned on to “I forget the name” street. My ears were filled with the sounds of children loudly enjoying their recess. Luckily, the almost ear piercing sound had zero effect on my eyes, as I walked right in to a car that looked as if it predated the Castro regime. It’s happened a lot over the years. There was a classic hunk of classic green junk parked in the lot behind Hoboken’s Monroe Center for centuries. So boldly occupying its space. It seemed immovable by current technology. There’s yet another parked within site of the route I take home almost daily. (I need to spend some time getting to know it one day.)
For me personally, the draw is the history, stories and uniqueness that captivates my attention. These monuments to the past surely have some tales to tell. Getting closer to get a good look and to take a few pictures guarantees that years after it’s gone. It will still be remembered.
My passion for finding and photographing industrial articles is pretty insane. Many is the time I’ve gone to factories and industrial parks to find those pieces that peak my interest and curiosity. One of my dreams in life is to buy an industrial loft somewhere in Brooklyn. Not one of those completely converted ones they advertise with such glee. Something raw and bare that has character. A raw canvas craving for a creative and twisted makeover. A few years back I presented a portfolio entitled “Left Behind.” to SOHO Photo Gallery. They fully understood the message I was trying to convey and granted me admission to the COOP. Since then I’ve worked hard to find pieces to update and refresh that port. Often being chased out of construction sites, being questioned/detained by Police or both. But for me, the reward outweighs the hassle. I didn’t get into any such shenanigans capturing the ones below. But I enjoyed taking them just the same.