The New York Knitter

My sister Rachael has lived in New York City for the past few years, and I’ve had many opportunities to visit her and other friends there. NYC can be overwhelming for me, but I like the city and the many fascinating things that can be observed going on in the street if you pay attention. It is a dream for the street photographer, which is what we were supposed to be trying to be in my documentary photo class.

I went to NYC twice this April, once to see my sister, and once with my class to see two photo exhibits (Henri Cartier Bresson at MOMA and Eugene Richards at Lincoln Center). The class trip was a whirlwind and way too much time on a bus for one day, but really fun. The personal trip was excellent, as always.

One of Rachael’s and my activities during my visit was standing in Time Square at the TKTS booth where they sell discount tickets for Broadway shows, hoping to see something that evening. The line was long and the sky threatened rain; it was unusually cold for April. I pressed one ear against Rach’s shoulder and covered the other with my hand, they were getting so cold (and I am so wimpy in the face of a slight chill), until I saw this lady in line with us:

Let’s call her the New York Knitter, shall we?

I was drawn to her not just because she was knitting in line, but also because of the giant men on either side of her, and her utter concentration in her work. I managed to get a few shots without anyone being the wiser.

It is characters like the New York Knitter that make me appreciate NYC so much. I am much more interested in Woody Allen’s and Liz Lemon’s New York (what, you don’t think that Woody Allen and 30 Rock have anything in common? Look a little closer and think again … there are many similarities!!!) than I am in the nightclub New York of many of my peers. I’ll take the slightly weird, neurotic, and awkward over the glamorous, sleek, and chic any day.

I also liked my New York Knitter because I’m a knitter myself. Or at least, I was; I’ve taken a hiatus that has lasted almost four years now. But, back in my knitting days, I made everything from beanies and scarves to my most impressive achievements, gloves and a sweater for Tyler. That sweater was challenging! I wanted it to be a surprise, so I measured Tyler while he was asleep one night, then knit in my free time in a supply closet in our dorm so that he wouldn’t accidentally walk in on me and catch on that I was making him a birthday present. Now that I’m writing about it, perhaps I’ll go back to knitting again soon … it’s nice to have something to do with your hands while watching a movie at home.

Anyway, Rachael and I got tickets to “Hair” that day (I don’t know what the New York Knitter ended up seeing), and may I just say that when a show promises shocking nudity, I expect a lot more than about 90 seconds of nakedness in a half-dark purple glow before fading to pitch black. I was neither shocked nor appalled as I had hoped to be. Just saying …

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Filed under New York, Personal, Photo Assignment

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