NYC Street Portraits

New York City is one of the most photographed cities in the world. If you were to Google “New York images” you would find a countless sea of images to view.

We recently took a trip to NYC and one of my goals was to document some of my experience with the people there. New Yorkers get such a bad rep and I wanted to find out the truth myself.

What I discovered was a rather positive experience:

  • As a photographer, I noticed that people were very receptive to having their photograph taken by a stranger. I met several people on the street and felt comfortable enough to just ask if I could take their photograph. More than not, they would graciously accept my strange offer.
  • As a traveler, I learned that people were genuinely helpful. No matter where we wanted to go or how little we understood the subway system, people were very open to helping us find the fastest and safest route to our destination.
  • As lost travelers, we met a very helpful couple. We were lost one evening at dark in a mostly safe part of town with no immediate return route home. The closest subway was almost 3 miles away and no taxis seemed to be picking up in that part of town. We asked a random couple for directions and they offered to drive us to the closest subway. Of course we were a little skeptical getting into a strangers car, but felt very safe in our interactions with them. We hoped in and were at our destination in a matter of minutes.
  • As a Southerner, I was surprised by all the genuine kindness that was given. Here in the South, “yankees” are talked about with such negative tones. Many are made out to be raving lunatics that are rude, obnoxious, and down right mean spirited. BUT this in not the the “yankees” that I encountered on our trip. What I learned are people are just people. What I mean is image living in a city as large as New York, you’d have to adapt rather quickly (we did). I found myself being rather quick and to the point in conversations. Having to say what I mean not beat around the bush trying to be tender for feelings. To be honest, it was quiet refreshing! Overall, people are the same “up North,” you’ve got nice people that smile at you, you’ve got busy people that pass you on the street quickly, you’ve got the crazy people that ride the subway, etc… The only difference between here and there is the quantity of people. There’s simply more of them.

The number of “Sketchy” moments that we experienced was only 3: An “almost fight” on the subway between two homeless men, getting over charged by a hotdog vendor, and having two separate cab drivers pad their fare knowing I was a newbie to the city.

Overall, I had a great experience and was throughly surprised that all the negative comments that I’ve heard growing up in the South about “Northerners” didn’t hold there wait against what I experienced. So I can confidently say, NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world. Now, I’m looking forward to a return visit!

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