Our usual route through the city starts at World Trade Center. The stop is a short walk to Chinatown where we usually stop for Dim Sum and some bakery hopping. From there we usually make our way uptown making numerous stops on the way towards the Union Square area where we eventually catch a PATH train home. Making pit stops at Columbus Park (Chinatown) Washington Square Park (The Village) and Union Square (W. Village, Gramercy, Chelsea borders) always serve to nourish and refuel both body and spirit. A visit to any and all of the beautiful parks New York City and its outer boroughs have to offer is a guaranteed free entry to what is still one of the most vibrant and artful cities in the world. I’ve always said, “If you’re ever lacking motivation or inspiration in you work. Go for a walk in the city.” Try it. It might just do you some good.
During a recent meeting with my consultant Louisa, she suggested I use my down time to do things that keep me inspired when I’m not actually working. Whether it be working on a show, book or a trip to the printer, remain in an artistic state. Well, for me personally, I get inspiration from the city and it’s many parks. No matter the time or place, there’s always something brewing and something worthy of training my lens and putting the world in focus. This past Thursday, with no sessions planned until the late afternoon I head to the city for some extra inspiration. As I made my way through Washington Square Park, I came across a group of poets assembling by the west end of the fountain. What began as a quick stop quickly turned into an extended stay as one passionate voice after another recited personal works. The group known as P.U.P. (Poets in Unexpected Places) were all the expression and inspiration I needed to get through the early part of my day. I often wish I was brave enough to raise my voice without fear. Maybe someday I’ll learn to speak with more than my camera. Until then.
Washington Square Park has always been a place with so much energy and inspiration. Be it be musicians, the colorful characters, the fountain, arch or maybe even the drug dealers. There’s something for everyone. If you enter on the West side of the park you’ll surely find inspiration from the chess tables. There you’ll see people from of all walks of life gathering for one reason….. The Game. Last week as I entered the park an older gentleman asked if I’d like to play. I smiled and in passing replied “I’m sorry, I never learned.” to which he smiled and replied “I’ll teach you.” If not for my being in a rush I would have taken him up on his offer. The exchange took place in a matter of seconds but it stuck with me. So when I walked into the park today I looked for that gentleman to perhaps take him up on his offer. Almost immediately I spotted him. There he was smiling and teaching this young kid the game. He leaned forward and in a sweet and deliberate voice explained each move to the child. It made me smile and think how we all have it in us to teach and make a difference in people’s lives.It can just take a moment. Whether it be a loved one or a complete stranger. It’s in all of us.