As Dim Sum was the order of the day we hopped the PATH train headed to the WTC and headed up to our Mott St. destination. Taking our normal route through City Hall Park to the Court Houses and onto our final destination Mott St. The park, though small always offers something for the eyes and the sense. On this particularly overcast day. It was color. Hungry beyond belief. I could only spare seconds before I would start to gnaw on my own flesh. “Snap, Boom, Pop” and I was off. No time for pleasantries with the tour bus tourists. I plowed my way through to my prized Dim Sum.
As I often see myself wanting to leave my city to the tourists and all the other artless savages. I’m drawn in to it’s art, culture and ever evolving and continuously rewarding cuisine. Like that memorable quote from The Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Well done New York City. Well done Buddha Bodai. Well done indeed. I remain tangled in your web of deliciousness.
In years past each of my trips to the city of Philadelphia involved a number of defined moments and fulfilling ‘must do’ lists. Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks, Pat’s King of Steaks, Gino’s Steaks and The Reading Market. With one particular trip fondly named “The Great Cheesesteak Chase”, where me managed to chow down at each of the three cheesesteak landmarks in one fateful day. All great memories considering the amount of consumption and downright gluttony involved. Becoming a vegetarian some years back served as a change of plans as well as destination.
While I sometimes miss the idea of wrapping my hands around a juicy steak and cheese with flavorful onions. Passing up these long time favorites has allowed me the opportunity to spend that time exploring in order to take home a few worth while images. Not having a belly full of meat to weigh me down has inspired me to walk more and perhaps walk the lesser travelled streets in search of an eye catching image to put on my wall or share on my blog.
I do my best not to block the sidewalk, be intrusive or act like a clueless, self involved tourist. Photographing the things that draw my eye as well as my imagination. Cautiously recalling my last predawn trip to Philly’s Chinatown when, while photographing the alleyways of the area. I was greeted by a naked Chinese man having a smoke in one of the doorways. My goal being to document my travels without turning each one into a documentary. Ultimately, a person can often learn a lot about where he’s going when he can look back where he’s been.
Each year, as the Christmas holiday approaches. The thought of doing something a little different comes to mind. While I have no issues in sitting around a tree watching football and unwrapping gift cards while waiting for the tofurky to roast to perfection. The urge of getting out and doing something a little different often calls.
In recent years, my wife and I have made a habit of trying new things. While recent Christmas holidays have taken us to various exotic locations such as Tokyo, Atlantic City and Harlem. This year had us looking for something as close to home as possible. So with thoughts of vegan dim sum and vegetarian duck serving as our personal GPS. We headed to Chinatown to celebrate and be celebratory. For as long as I can remember having feet. Mott St. has been a favorite spot of mine. And while the area has become a major dumping ground for tourists. I can still respect it’s culture and historic significance. Visiting the buddhist center and spending time in Columbus Park always keep me inspired. While chowing down on vegetarian dim sum at Buddha Bodai is about the best way to enjoy a healthy, yet delicious feat. While I love the draw of family and holiday traditions. I feel a certain sense of reward in creating a few of my own.
As we sat and chatted over Summer Rolls and Rice vermicelli Rosie asked me “What do you want to do?” We had been talking about photography and marketing our work. Something I have forever struggled with. Her question was a good one and hit me like a bullet. I’ve been asked that question countless times since before I can remember. I can recall my Mother relentlessly asking me what I was going to do with the rest of my life since my Freshman year of High School. (Can you imagine the pressure?) Her question, as much as it may have rattled me was a very good one. As much as I want to emerse myself in every aspect of photography. I do need to focus on my strengths. As much as I love the idea of keeping myself busy with weddings, babies, travel and every other thing there is to photograph and inspire me. Portraiture is what I’m best at and what inspires me most. It’s where I feel I am at my very best. That’s not to say I don’t want or won’t do those other things. Just to focus on my strengths. Thanks Rosie. You finally got me to focus. Now if you can only get me to stop talking with my mouth full.
Some people just bring the very best out in you. Rosie is one of them. We first got together for a project I was working on called “Mind, Body, Spirit” and recently got together for inspiration and Vietnamese Sandwiches. Always smiling and quick witted. She’s always got something positive to bring to the conversation. I just linked her blog “This World is too Much with Us.” check it out and send her some love. Here are some pictures we took. Worship these first.