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My Trip To New York: A Photo Essay

New York

A couple of months ago I was whisked away to New York for a sneak peek at a brand new show on truTV called Impractical Jokers. I wrote up a kind of micro-review of the show — which you can find here — as a part of a larger article. To sum up, it’s a hidden camera prank show that’s surprisingly funny, especially considering that it’s A) a hidden camera prank show, and B) only the pilot episode.

The show airs this Thursday, December 15th, at 10 PM on truTV. Watch it if you want and judge for yourself. Maybe I’m totally wrong and it sucks, but I found it funny, for whatever my opinion is worth, which isn’t much because I have low self-esteem and I yell at myself when I look in the mirror.

The trip to New York was great. I was born there many years ago, circa the year I was born. I had only been back to New York once since and it was for a measly two days for a wedding. But I finally got my chance to go back; my chance to see all the things I never got the see the first time; my chance to really soak in the intangible essence of New York City.

And then I found out I was only going to be there for two days and a half days.

Sonofabitch!

It seems every 5 to 8 years I earn one extra half day in New York. It’s like a really bad frequent flyer miles program in which every so often I get nice but ultimately kind of useless rewards for continuing to live.

As tourists like me tend to do, I had my camera out and ready the entire time, waiting to capture a few pictures as keepsakes. I snapped a bunch of pictures…aaaaand then just kind of forgot about them. They’ve been sitting in my camera ever since I got back and I haven’t showed them to anyone.

This morning I scanned through the photos for the first time and it was this morning that I realized how truly awful I am at taking pictures, and that I am piss-poor excuse for a photojournalist – not that I ever thought that I was one to begin with.

As it turns out, I can’t even take even a half-decent set of vacation-style pictures without them feeling lifeless and boring. I’m so bad. It sucks. Hard. Apparently, it’s immensely difficult for me to point a thing at a thing and push a button that puts an image of the second thing on the first thing.

With all that being said, let’s take a trip through New York City from my point of view – my shitty, awful, and boring point of view.

Cab

This was the first picture I took when I got to New York. It’s the inside of a cab.

What the f*ck is wrong with me? Why would I – why would anyone – take a picture this dull? Did I really think this was interesting? Did I really want to remember the North Shore Crane company and their website, just in case I ever need a crane when I’m in the New York City area?

I rarely require cranes.

Katz's Deli

This is a picture of the sign in front of Katz’s Deli. It’s a New York institution. It’s the place where the famous orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed. It’s a big touristy spot, so you’d think the sandwiches would be awful. They were not. They were wonderful. The best pastrami on rye I’ve ever had. If you would like to see a picture of the wonderful pastrami on rye that I ate, I kindly suggest you go to your browser’s address bar, type in “Google.com”, and in the search bar type “Katz’s Dieli+pastrami+happy” to get a picture of a person smiling as they eat one of Katz’s delicious sandwiches, because it never occurred to me that I should take a picture of the food, or even the inside of the restaurant.

If I somehow BS’ed my way up the ladder of life and became a nature photographer for National Geographic, I would return from my trips to Africa with plenty of tales of dangerous encounters with wild animals and about four blurry pictures of grass to back it all up with, along with a pic of the “Welcome to Africa” sign that I’m certain Africa has placed along the main road that leads you in to Africa. The continent.

shower Curtian

This is a shower curtain. Because I’m that f*cking boring. And it’s chain mail, because my shower slays dragons.

Toilet

This was my toilet. It’s a prison toilet. And, yeah, I took a picture of my toilet. I know. I just…I’m sorry. I’m wasting everybody’s time and money.

But, as an upside, this is what happens when I have the toilet seat down…

Toilet

…my toilet turns in to the T-1000. It’s a Mimetic poly-alloy from the future that you poop in.

Room

And this is a picture of the entire room. I took this picture on the second day of my trip. The bathroom pics were taken mere minutes after I first stepped in to my room on day one. That means I took a picture of a toilet before I took a picture of a bedroom. Neither is of great importance, but the fact that I thought a toilet was so deeply fascinating that I needed to capture the memory of it immediately speaks volumes about how pathetic I am.

Bush

This is a bush. Because I’m an idiot. Here’s what makes it even worse: I was raised in a family of photographers. Photographers from New York. That last part shouldn’t even factor in to my inability to use a camera in any way…but doesn’t feel like one of those things that further highlights how bad I am at this?

Empire State Building

This is the Empire State building as it vibrates out of existence.

Menu 1

This is a blurry picture of the drink menu from my hotel room’s minibar. WHY THE F*CK DID I TAKE THIS PICTURE?!

And I took it two more times to get it right…

Menu 2

Nope, still can’t get a good view of all them words!

Menu 3

There you go! Genuine New York words – words like Voss Still Water $10. You can’t get words like that anywhere else! Except for Duluth, Minnesota. They’ve got some nice words over in Duluth. Really photogenic words. But they aren’t as photogenic as the words in good’old NYC!

While going through the pictures I noticed something peculiar: every once in a while I would find photographic evidence of what I was really thinking about the entire time I was in this wonderful, and very real, land called New York…

skyrim Poster

Skyrim Bus poster

…I wanted to be in a fake land called Skyrim. Every time I wanted to take a picture of a historical New York landmark, or something of some kind of cultural significance, a bus or a cab with a Skyrim poster would pass by and my camera would focus directly on to it, like when Neo gets distracted by the Woman In The Red Dress but way sadder.

Big LipsAnd then there was this. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I hate myself.

I walked through central park. I took a picture of a tree because those things aren’t everywhere.

Central Park_Tree

While in Central Park, I took the following picture…

central Park skyline

…because I thought it looked like the establishing shot of Dana’s apartment from Ghostbusters. You know, this one…

Dana_Barrett_Apartment_01

…turns out the skyline over Central Park in the movie was a matte painting, which means none of it was real. Somehow I even manage to f*ck that up. I should just retire from doing things that are fun. Clearly I have no idea how to do it.

I took a few more pictures, but the last one on my memory card is this…

New York_CVS

It’s a picture of a CVS. A CVS pharmacy. I didn’t take it because I’ve never seen a CVS and wanted to forever keep the memory of seeing one. On the contrary, I have two CVS stores within walking distance of my home. TWO! And I went to New York and I took a picture of a CVS because, hey, doesn’t it look kind of silly for a CVS?! It’s like it was a prestigious court house that was converted in to a place that sells condoms, wine coolers, and honey buns to crackheads at 3 AM.  To me, this CVS was so goddamn exhilarating that I felt I needed physical evidence of it to show off to the nobody that I’ve showed these pictures to since my return home. To me, this CVS was as thrilling as spotting bigfoot, and the picture quality is about on-par with photographic evidence of bigfoot. Is that bigfoot walking out of that CVS? Maybe! Who knows! It’s not like you can f*cking see anything, so why not?

And that was my trip to New York as told through the wonderful storytelling medium of photography.

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