union square |

union square is the center of the world: new york city is a miniature version of the world, 14th street is the major (non-touristy) nexus of new york, and union square sits centrally in 14th street. thus, union square is the center of the world.

with a craft market to satisfy creative needs, a farmers market to provide organics (over 250,000 customers a day), and a plethora of stores offering commonplace items like food, books, shoes, lotion and bicycle seats, where else would you go to fulfill the commercial mundanities of everyday life?

home to children, students, professionals, musicians, artists, farmers, skate-boarders, tourists, squirrels, dogs, and pigeons, this patch of open space brings together the best of the city. should you happen to visit, perhaps while running errands, you may discover musicians spreading their sound, chess players feigning focus, film students working on their latest assignments, wendel (the homeless fashion designer) yelling at people, skaters making narrow dodges, artists designing with chalk, protesters using megaphones, performance artists using megaphones, advertisers spinning signs, tourists photographing the ghandi statue, locals sharing hot chocolate, squirrels facing off with pigeons, or even the world’s largest pillow fight.

union square has historically been a meeting place for the city, with many mass-movements starting or ending there. many friends and couples follow this theme and the square’s steps are the perfect place for some meditation while you wait for the other’s arrival. there are always people filling these stairs, so while you wait, you are in the presence of so many different stories. you can fully enjoy the magic which brings the world to union square.

this is my favorite place in new york city

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| backslide

the website title refers to a day in which some friends and i asked 10 obliging strangers to help us with a video project (no we weren’t film students). we filmed them holding signs and walking backwards. in this way, we could reverse the video and view them walking forwards while the background cars, busses and people moved backwards. (it’s quite hard to make this look natural - try for yourself). it was a fun moment and i often reflect on how wonderful it is to bring strangers together for a single purpose (no matter how mundane or important that purpose may be). i quite enjoy that simple connection - a meeting of eyes, a warm smile, a nodded greeting, or an offered hello. in new york, i’ve found you often need an excuse to talk to people beyond hello, and thus the birth of the journal project, tell me one thing about yourself

digression 1: i put great stock into chance encounter’s which suck you up and spit you out on a new path. i’m intrigued by the nature of coincidence and it’s effect on your life and your relationships. in this sense, i feel that you are forever confronted by random happenstance, convenient opportunities and inconvenient responsibilities, and it’s up to you to make meaning from such things. free will is simply your reaction to chance and opportunity. yes or no. and i find this simplicity quite comforting.

digression 2: my traditional toast (before drinking) is to monkeys’ uncles. this is both a homage to uncle scar and a reference to the notion that you currently hold a completely different opinion and understanding of your friends than when you first met… can you remember your first encounter? can you remember what you knew about them way back when? now that you are good friends, can you imagine not being so? here’s to those random strangers who miraculously evolve into inseparable friends. here’s to monkeys’ uncles.

with this in mind, why would you miss a chance to meet new people?

so that’s the union square backslide: meeting new people, wrapping them in your plots and being enfolded into theirs.