It is has taken me time to write this blog and I have named it Juxtaposition. It has been described in the dictionary as following
“An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”
Late last year my wife and I went on holiday for a week with our friends to New York. It had been planned for some time and we were all eager to enjoy our holiday. We were advised New York was a fantastic place and that we would need to plan in advance to enjoy the city to its greatest effect. My wife and her mate planned the event weeks in advance in an hour by hour day by day schedule to ensure all activities would be under taken. This included booking trips in the UK.
We got to New York on a very wet and windy day. We left the airport building and called a taxi. The driver was just like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch and drove a large American 4×4. The weather was still extremely wet and Huggy took us on a journey I will never forget. He dodged in and out of the traffic and whooshed through large floods on the highways.
We eventually arrived at our hotel and checked in. We dropped our bags in the hotel room and headed out into the New York as it was the early afternoon.
The rain continued all day but our spirits were not dampened and decided to call for a beer at a local bar. It was extremely busy and we gathered up for chairs to sit at the table together. Immediately the bar man told us to replace the chairs from where we got them and he brought over chairs for us and reprimanded us in polite way and then took our order,he then very efficiently brought the beers straightaway. We went out for a further walk and as it was becoming time for food we headed to the restaurant area around Times Square.
As it was Saturday night all restaurants were fully booked and if we wanted a table it would be nearer 10 o’clock before we could sit down and eat, eventually restaurant had a table available so we sat down and ordered. The food took some time to be delivered and when it came it was far from satisfactory, two plates had to go back to be warmed which seem to take an eternity. Anyway not to worry we were fed watered and decided to head back to the hotel for the night.
The rain was still pouring.
The next morning we woke up and noted that the rain had passed and that our anticipated trip around the harbour of Manhattan Island would be in cold winter sunshine. The trip around Manhattan was bitterly cold but hugely enjoyable passing skyscrapers Statue of Liberty and under Brooklyn Bridge.
On Sunday night we found a delightful restaurant and talked amongst ourselves about our first impressions of New York. My impressions were of the noise continual sounding of car horns and continual sirens of police and emergency services. I also noted the power of the Atlantic Ocean as it hit the harbour walls.
I also noted the city didn’t appear to sleep, all the signage and illumination in Time Square and the huge amount of traffic on the streets, so it is true what they say. I have been to London many times but New York to me is much louder and consumer focused than London itself.
Monday arrived and the obligatory trip to Tiffanys was undertaken, budgets for an item of jewellery had already been set in the UK and the selected necklace was purchased. The service in Tiffanys was, to be honest, world class. The lady that served us was immaculately groomed and clearly had been trained to an extremely high standard in customer service.There was even an attendant in the lift, who greeted everybody on the way into the lift and as they left. Outside we took the tourists photographs of eating muffins with our Tiffany bags just like Audrey Hepburn in the famous film.
I’m still amazed with how busy the streets were and the noise created from the traffic and emergency Services. Trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were completed and more excellent quality food and drink consumed that evening.
The following day the ladies wanted to enjoy a trip to Macys, so my good mate and I decided to go and photograph the Flat Iron building and then make our way to the photographers Gallery to view the current exhibition.
The exhibition was displaying Sebastio Salgados Genesis project.
On entering the exhibition we sat and watched the intro video of the photographers view and reason for his work.His work showed the world’s indigenous people in remote areas of the world, and also the existing environment in parts of the world that had not been touched on spoiled by human activity. The Work was breathless, the images huge in size and completely awe-inspiring. The video clearly set out in my opinion photographers view of the world and his wish that the beauty of the world should be maintained in its current state in remote areas and its native people.
So this is where we come to juxtaposition, a fabulous exhibition of images of our world in its native State, being exhibited in a city and country known for its consumerism, use of natural resources and creator of greenhouse gases at an alarming rate.
I will admit to being a consumer, the liker of high-end products quality food and wine. So what can we do to protect our world, I think that we could all do what we can to make a difference no matter how large or small. Recycle as much as you can, turn the heating down, switch off electrical appliances that are not in use and encourage the use of renewable energy sources.
I do hope that all who visit the exhibition that I would imagine will be mainly Americans and that they take on the underlying aim of the exhibition and perhaps reflect on their activities.