Wait, where are we?

Timing is everything-8035I was standing among the endless array of graffiti art that envelopes the Queens block known as Five Pointz. Moving somewhat awkwardly from spot to spot taking pictures while juggling my camera bag and the cache of Hip Hop records I had scored that day in Greenpoint Brooklyn. I had recently read that a wrecking ball will soon meet the legendary graffiti mecca and the corner bar where many scenes from the brilliant, yet short lived show “The Black Donnely’s” were filmed. The unique space will soon be home to a soulless, unaffordable high rise condo building. Knowing full well of the ticking clock I figured it would be a good idea to stop over before transferring to the Manhattan bound E Train.

As the train cars rattled above me I noticed a couple slowly approaching hand in hand. Acknowledgement and some small talk followed and I recall sharing how bummed I was about the soon to come demolition. 5Pointz-8031That’s when I realized  that this lovely couple were not from these parts. “I’m losing my tourdar.” I thought. I can usually smell a tourist from a mile away. The male counterpart began asking me about graffiti and hip hop. (I know what your thinking. Typical racial and age profiling on their part) 5PointzII-8017Any self respecting 30+ white guy can tell the story of how and where the now now celebrated art form started. He asked where the best places to view graffiti were and where he could explore the roots of Hip Hop. “It all started here.” He asked in an inquisitive manner. I thought for a second before referring to KRS-1’s “The Bridge is Over”. 5PointzIV-8085Suddenly and very quickly the moment froze. He looked at me puzzled and then “We’re in the Bronx now, right?” There was a sudden pause. Seconds that felt like hours, days, weeks. I took a deep breath, one usually reserved for the sex talk a father gives his thirteen year old daughter. A look reserved for 5PointzIII-8043the first time your son comes home drunk out of his mind with piss stains on his jeans. With  a certain quickness I regained my composure and began pointing in the direction of Manhattan, The Bronx and Los Angeles. He asked if the Bronx was safe and if they could walk to Chinatown from where we were standing.  I assured him that taking the nearby E to Canal street would be a faster route than walking and gave him  a few other ways to get uptown from Canal. As for his question about the Bronx. I  just told him to just use basic common sense. Hopefully my directions did them justice.

Better late than never is never a good excuse.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I worked fro a talent agency doing print ads and working on movies. While signing up with the woman told me the importance of being on time. “If you have a 3:00 appointment make sure you are there and fully prepared to start work by 2:45. It was a simple rule that made sense and it stuck with me. All my life I always made a point of not only being on time. But getting there early just in case.

Somewhere down the road I wish everyone got that same memo because people just don’t seem to have any understanding about what it means to show up on time. I used to hold a management position with one of the museums in New York City and had a staff of about five to seven people to work with. Two of the girls on my staff were showing up late on a daily basis. When I took them aside to note and remedy the situation one girl responded “I’m from the Bronx.” It was a term I was familiar with having heard it many times regarding various issues. Her point, dumb as it may seem, was that she came to work from a far away land where time hadn’t been invented yet. I suggested that if she was late everyday by about fifteen minutes she should set her alarm a half an hour earlier. This seemed to make no sense to her whatsoever. “Yeah, but I travel with my friend.” Her friend just happened to be the other girl who was constantly late for work. By that time I had convinced myself that there was a force field around the Bronx that kept people from being responsible and basically “Knowing shit”. Sometimes if you hear something enough times you tend to start believing it to be true. Hearing the term “I don’t know dat shit. I’m from the Bronx.” made me believe it was true.

This week I got to experience that feeling again. I met Antoinette while working at the gallery last week. We had talked on line and she mentioned she would stop by to say hello and talk further about our upcoming session. The day she came by we talked and talked for what seemed to be hours about everything from art to philosophy and the belief theory of good and evil. We set up an appointment and continued to talk online in the days that followed. The day before our shoot I confirmed for 2:00 p.m. which she agreed. I even spoke to her online the next morning in which she told me “I’m jumping in the shower and then heading out.”  2:00 p.m. came and went. As did three and four. At 5:00 p.m. I get a call. “I’m here”. I was and still am without words. Yesterday we were scheduled to shoot at the downtown gallery where we first met. Same time different place. I got a text telling me she’s on the train and will be a little late. Okay, bad but not too bad. That was until she called me and asked. “I’m here on 23rd Street. How do I get there?” I was without words. The gallery which she had just visited less than a week ago had not mysteriously moved from Tribeca to Chelsea while you were sleeping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Let me just say that Antoinette is/was a sweet, beautiful and sincerely apologetic girl. She even sat through both of my tirades where I basically tore her apart. But you have got to be fucking kidding me. I am often amazed at how some people manage to get through life, hold jobs, have families and even operate heavy machinery with absolutely no clue as to what is happening around them. In coming to a close I just want to say that I’m not dissing the Bronx or it’s residents. I’m sure KRS-1 was never late for an MC battle. I know for a fact that millions of people from the Bronx make it to work on time every day and actually “Know shit.”. I just had to get some things off my chest. Antoinette as mentioned before was a complete sweetheart who I enjoyed working with. I just don’t think I could ever go through that again. Plan ahead, know where you’re going and for Christ sake…… Get there on time.