This is part of my NYC Tet Travelogue.
Unlike the previous entries, this one was written a week after the events, but it covers events from 14 Feb 2010.
For this trip, I had only three goals ahead of time. (Actually, three is pretty ambitious considering the amount of time we had plus the tet celebrations) I wanted to hit up the Lomography shop, go to MOMA, and take some photos at Brighton Beach. With the first two crossed off my list, I was ready to hit up Brighton Beach that Monday morning. I wanted to do some seagull photography and some street photography style shots of the hundreds of people that take their morning walk on the boardwalk. Danielle’s parents often walk the boardwalk in the morning so I opted to join them. When I got there, it turned out that the beach and boardwalk were still covered in snow and ice from the previous week’s snow storm. Danielle and her mother gave up and went back home. I decided to stay and get some gull photography. The boardwalk was too icy to walk without risking a fall, but it was no big deal to walk on the snowy beach.
So I set about walking around the beach photographing seagulls. I also happened to see an enterprising woman taking advantage of this rare occasion to go cross country skiing across the beach.
I decided to go to Coney Island to take photos of the rids covered in snow. On the way over there, I continued taking photos of seagulls.
It was very odd to be walking on what I knew was a beach, surrounded by seagulls and yet have the earth beneath me covered in snow. Beaches are synonymous with Florida for me and I refused to call the ocean-front sand in Oregon a real beach since the water was too cold to enter. So as I walked through the beach, I wondered if this was what it felt like to live in Alaska. After all, those who leave near the coast in Alaska are used to beaches having snow through the winter.
My quest to photograph Coney Island turned out to be very fortuitous because it led to me seeing someone using a large format camera. As I was nearing Coney Island, I saw a guy with a tripod and a huge box on top that had to either be a pinhole camera or a large format camera. Either way I figured it would be pretty neat to talk to him. I quickened my pace and caught up with him as he was setting up for a shot of the ocean. I asked if I could take a photo of him and he agreed upon the condition that he could take a portrait of me. I was excited to be photographed by such a camera so I quickly agreed. Also, he would be spending quite a bit of money for that film and to develop it (compared to a 35mm camera or a digital camera) so I felt honored. The photographer is named Jon Feinstein and he’s the co-founder and curatorial director of the Humble Arts Foundation.
Coney Island actually ended up being a bit of a disappointment because it was so fenced up that I couldn’t get a good shot.
Our Lunar New Year celebration was best expressed by what we did at the end of the day. We went to one of Danielle’s aunts’ house and played traditional new year games: Vietnamese poker and Bau Cua, a game similar to the roulette wheel (without the wheel). All the kids from the next generation were also there running around and it was a general jubilant chaos.
Thus ended my trip and also my first real attempt at a travelogue.