Union Square- A heart beat

May 27, 2009 § 31 Comments

If you have been to the Big Apple, you have trouped over to Union Square without doubt. If you live here, you know that this is where the city’s heart beats, where the chess masters hobnob with street vendors, farmers sprout every Saturday, skateboarders fly unabashedly and hipsters collide with an endless stream of tourists.

Well, I will be saving the historical details and the current eccentricities of this place for another post! For now my dear friends, I have a remarkable treat: A sociopolitical event I covered here just yesterday, and I must admit, it was a feast to behold and a joy to be a part of.

Union Square was playing host to the members and supporters of  MENY (Marriage Equality New York) on 26th May, 2009.

And boy, was it an evening! The gay, the straight, the young and the old were here, together, on one pavilion. As I clicked along with fury, passionate speeches were rendered; the crowds heaved, sighed, screamed and laughed.

And all along, I could detect a faint yet an underlying sense of humor. “California, we feel your pain,” “Jesus had two dads,” and indeed “Gay is the new Black!” Need I say more?

I threaded through the milling numbers, clicking, grinning and sometimes even joining in the chanting. But mostly, clicking :)

Here is a closer look at what the the Big Apple had to say, loud and clear:

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 66mm ISO400 1/50s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 66mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO400 1/50s F/5

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 48mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 42mm ISO400 1/25s F/4.8

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 45mm ISO400 1/15s F/4.8

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 26mm ISO400 1/15s F/4

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 28mm ISO400 1/15s F/4

And amidst the congregation, slices of love:

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 40mm ISO400 1/15s F/5

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 28mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 42mm ISO400 1/25s F/5

And oh, the crowd! How many people shunned their mundane chores and gathered for the cause?

More than a handful, I dare say:

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 70mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 105mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 105mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6. Capturing the street lights and the balloons blurred.

In all crowds, there are a few who stand out, catch your eye, leave an impression.

Here are some moments I could not resist:

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 105mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 25mm ISO400 1/25s F/4

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 25mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6. Could not miss the eye contact.

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 105mm ISO400 1/25s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO400 1/25s F/3.5

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 38mm ISO400 1/10s F/5. Leslie- with knotted white ribbons that signify the wedding knot.

As the day drew to an end,  a few lingering shots of a much quieter park.

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 22mm ISO400 1/10s F/5.6. Somehow this looks like a studio.

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 42mm ISO400 1/10s F/5.6

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO400 1/10s F/5.6. Sam- the friendly face. Sam- the lady with the rainbow leggings

And who would’ve thunk? I ran into a poet whose elegant recitation formed a perfect closing to this eventful evening. Seamas Navarro has been traveling throughout the country for the last 39 months, spreading his lyrical words across the land.

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO400 1/10s F/5

“Sand…counter of Time

Yet uncounted.

Thirsty from ceaseless pounding

Of the sea,

Pillows my head

Under the stars

And in Mother Nature’s love

I find reprieve.”

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 25mm ISO640 1/10s F/5. The poet- Seamas Navarro. Tinted in the Street lamps.

That was probably the last I saw of Seamas. I wish him well on his journey.

As for me, I left Union Square and the soldiers of MENY, with that familiar contentment of a day well spent.

A parting shot for you, from this cityscape:

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NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO640 1/10s F/5. My last shot. But it isn't a goodbye.


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§ 31 Responses to Union Square- A heart beat

  • Yashasvi says:

    LOVELY LOVELY Piece Shipra!
    *Hugs*
    I quite enjoyed it.. and loved the crowd shots.. :)

  • Awesome start! Liked several shots – there’re so many it’d take me an age to point out which ones:D
    Btw, did you know it’s supposedly illegal to click police personnel in London? There’s a huge debate around public photography rights going on in London for the last few months? You can be questioned by the police for simply carrying a camera in public, for pointing your camera at a police-person, at a tube station, or whatever else they might choose to get offended by…even detained/arrested. It’s outrageous!

    Also, your post brings out a stark cultural difference between London and New York. In London, 9 times out of 10, you try clicking a person in public, you’ll be frowned upon – people will stiffen, walk out of the frame if they can, glare, scowl. I have to be careful of these sensibilities while I click – and delete shots when I feel I’ve captured a person who didn’t want to be shot. Such gregariousness would only be found in the US, I guess!

    • The Juicer says:

      Yay! You like the pics! Thank you!

      That London sentimentality you pointed out…ouch! that would really affect artists!
      I won’t say the people here are always amicable about being clicked. But it varies, and is definitely not the same as having a ‘cultural’ streak like you encountered.
      I always ask before clicking, although going by the law, I don’t need to, in most public places. But hey, some people have refused or scuttled away! :D
      Some public places are restricted, like inside the subway…but not very many!

      You can’t click the police? What do the reporters do then?
      Anyway, I actually asked those policemen still, just so they weren’t uncomfortable:)

  • Isha says:

    Hey…I loved the photographs…You are a natural…

  • surfaraz says:

    woohoo.. truly enjoyed the pics… my favorite one is the guy holding the flag with “who else is looking for the love?”… such a big contrast in two personalities or expression but still deliver the same message…

    • The Juicer says:

      Surfaraz-
      That is an interesting picture! The expressions are quite starkly opposite. A slight posing was involved, but at a very subconscious level. These two boys were still so innocently spontaneous in that very sense.

  • Radha says:

    hey…nice work..just discovered u have an awesome talent..u r good at clicking snaps and they r so natural..it seems i’ve been to the event..really appreciate your work..all the very best!!!

    • The Juicer says:

      Radha-
      I am so glad you enjoyed the coverage of the event! You are right in a different sense too- I just stuck to using pictures right out of the camera. As straight from the box, as it comes :) No digital tweaking at all. Not even a crop! Which gives these pics a raw feeling I guess. Just a sort of experimentation so to speak. And might continue to do that…
      Thank you for the positive feedback!

  • Sam says:

    hey shipra!! this is the rainbow legging girl :)

    thanks for posting the photos. i’ll have to take ’em of the website.

    nice photos from the rally!

    take care,
    Sam

    • The Juicer says:

      Sam- you are so very welcome!! :) What a surprise…!
      I am mailing you the pics tonight! No need to download.
      The rainbow leggings were perfect for this post- if you think of the colors of the flag. I am guessing you wore them specifically for this event?

  • Sean says:

    Awesome pics. Keep up the good work!

  • Sugato Bose says:

    Interesting and visually brilliant-way to go!!

    • The Juicer says:

      Thanks Sugato, glad you found this post interesting! I hope to keep your interest piqued … always:)

  • David says:

    Nice coverage – I get a very positive and friendly ‘in among the people – one of the people who were there’ feeling from the shots and the words.

    Flaneurbanite: There’s a debate on at the moment in the UK about exactly how the police should interpret Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 that makes it an offence to photograph certain people (policemen, soldiers..) without ‘reasonable excuse’.

    Because of the opposition to the law, the matter has been debated in Parliament and the Police Federation and the counter-terrorism minister has written to one high-profile MP/photographer stating that the Home Office is to issue a circular clearing up just when and where the law is to be applied. See:

    http://www.nomorepencils.com/2009/04/photographing-in-public-and-the-preservation-of-democracy/

    and

    http://www.nomorepencils.com/2009/05/photographers-in-public-places-the-latest-developments/

    • The Juicer says:

      David, many thanks for visiting and for your comments and observations.
      Regarding this post- you are right, this was a very welcoming group of people. I was able to share their experience, and capture it as it was, just by the virtue of their benign attitude towards me. When photographing people or groups of people, I keep getting reminded, again and again, about the importance of gaining trust. It is so essential that the subject being photographed trusts the photographer, is at ease and open to be seen through the photographer’s eyes.

      Appreciate the information you provided on the British amateur photography scene- actually your note really helps filter the issues quite a bit!
      The biggest concern is not that public in general might be averse to being photographed on the street. Or other similar challenges one encounters in Street Photography. That comes as a part and parcel of this Art, and a photographer learns to tackle the subject or territory s/he aims to capture.
      But learning about this legislation (Section 58A), makes me cringe at how far a government would go to impinge on individual rights in the name of Counter Terrorism. It is fitting that this amendment is meeting much resistance, and being challenged by the photographer community. Making it an offense to photograph policemen or armed forces, who are already in a public place is just ridiculous. Such parochial protectionism would only stifle a community, not help them! I totally agree with Flaneurbanite’s frustrations regarding this!

      I am sure Flaneurbanite will have more inputs to share on this specific issue…

  • Thanks for transporting me to MENY event. Your photos and text drew me in and made me feel the vibe of the activities. Nice work.

    • The Juicer says:

      Raul-
      Thanks for visiting. The pleasure is all mine! The event/rally garnered strong support, I will be keeping an eye out for any developments. We might have witnessed a real change to come:)

  • Abdullah Khan says:

    Great Stuff!!

  • Kevin says:

    I’ve always liked Union Square….always full of energy and it has a good vibe….and interesting people….nice photos on Union Square and Times Square….

    • The Juicer says:

      Thanks Kevin! Union Square is actually my favorite haunt in town! I can spend many meaningful hours here, just experiencing the vibe you so well pointed out.
      I am so glad you like the pics…appreciate your visiting!

  • Nishank says:

    So firstly im pleasantly surprised by the content of your blog…I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect ‘juice’ on nyc and its happenings J when I say pleasantly surprised I mean the ‘soft’ activist / journalistic role that you are playing with your blog…coz its ur views combined with events taking place in the city. I (selfishly) wish you were doing a similar piece on bombay ;)

    And I quite like the profile- I know there is a certain restlessness in you to make a change in your surroundings.

    cheers and all the best buddy!

    • The Juicer says:

      Thanks Nishank! Insightful feedback, as always. A pleasant surprise is a good surprise :)
      Yes, I will cover events that catch my fancy, that reflect the current cultural flow, or the undercurrents of NYC, if I may say so. I like how you put it- “a soft journalistic role”. And I agree. This blog is not solely about images, it’s about experiencing the constant movement in this city.

  • I love the first para. So wonderfully descriptive!

    And hey, nice candid images too.

    • The Juicer says:

      Joy- thanks!! Your comment is doubly delicious :)
      (psst..i wrote the copy on this post in 15 minutes. Posted this just before I left home for work, had clicked the images the night before!)

  • Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your blog posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

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