My Town, New York, New York – Keith Goldstein

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New York is a big town. It encompasses 5 boroughs and over 7 million people call it home. I moved here in 1977, other then a back and forth for graduate school, I’ve never left. I’ve lived here longer then any other place.

To live and work here, one has to have a love/hate relationship. New York is tempermental. One day she smiles down upon you and the next she throws it all over you forcing you to swim against the tide. It can be an amazing place with so many things to do and see. A true melting pot of the world’s ethnographic make-up. It’s not for the faint of heart as to live, work, and raise a family here. It can really wear one down. It can tax you to the limit navigating the streets with a child in tow. A simple task as visiting a friend downtown or in another borough can be a nightmare if public transportation is not running properly. One can have loud unruly neighbors or an employer prone to vial outbursts. But it is this love/hate that keeps one here. There is truly no other place like it.

For this project, introduction, since the city as a whole can be my neighborhood, I focused on my own little corner of the upper west end of Harlem, Hamilton Heights. I moved to this neighborhood in 2005, just before my wife Nicole and I married. I was a long time East Village resident, and she was a Brooklynite. We needed space that we could afford. This little area was the best compromise at the time. Now, we have a soon to be 6 year old addition to our family, our son Ethan.

Here below is Hamilton Heights as I see it. These images are part of a larger project, “Broadway”,  that I have been working on for the last 10 years.

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8 thoughts on “My Town, New York, New York – Keith Goldstein

  1. Just lovely storytelling Keith!
    I get the impression of a busy and diverse neighbourhood teeming with fast food, personal services and grocery stores all spilling into the streets. Your text gives the impression NYC is very finely diced into discrete neighbourhoods. Every image leaves me wanting to know more…Who is he waiting for? Why is she getting her hair done today? What is being celebrated (great shadow)? Neat storytelling in each image and the set has a collective energy about it. Subtle continuities seems to help that, like the way heads are turned alternate ways in the sequence, the kids linking 9 and 10, the colours linking 10 and 11, etc.. Deliberate or am I reading too much into it?

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  2. Thank you John. NYC is somewhat “diced” into discrete, and not so discrete neighborhoods. One really has to be here for awhile to begin notice the differences as one walks the streets, neighborhood to neighborhood. I did try to sequence somewhat, but in uploading it didn’t turn out that way. I kind of left it up to chance with the selection and editing process of choosing just 12 images. I very much enjoyed your read. After all, that is in some sense what image making is all about. Viewers bring their own sensibilities. Even to the image maker, we tend to learn and see something that we might not have noticed if not for others who bring attention to certain aspects of the viewing process.

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  3. Brilliant work Keith! Do you ever find yourself challenged to take pictures in New York? By this I mean your town is so synonymous with street photography… does it add extra pressure in terms of what shots you consider worthwhile or not?

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    1. Hi Steve, I don’t honestly try to think too much about it. I am so very aware and know how much of the genre is synonymous with NYC. I try just to go about my business through my own personal experience. Hopefully to somewhat extend the historical nature of what has been done before. NYC exists so much differntly now than it has before. I can only do “my NY”, through what is here now. Hopefully I’ll succeed!

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  4. You certainly succeed Keith! I’m a jealous man, NY has always been the place for me, I’ll get there one day, my friend said it had such a familiar feeling, as we’ve all grown up seeing so much of it.

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