New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Who See the Red"

Historically, online netiquette has viewed the use of ALL CAPS as shouting and therefore discouraged its use - at least when used for entire sentences or longer - a phrase or word can be used for emphasis.
I find the color red to be a visual analogue. This red Charger, on a bleak, overcast day, really shouted out as I walked by. My first reaction was "wow"! My second was, "is this blog worthy"? My answer was "sure, just figure out how to spin it" After all, we're in an election year, when the art of the spin is at its zenith.
Red is a primary color and is the longest wavelength the eye can see (anything longer is infrared.) Its associations and symbolism are staggering. It has represented energy; emotions including anger, passion; love; courage, sacrifice and blood (which is why so many national flags use red); warning, danger, emergency (e.g. stop signs); sin and lust (e.g. the Scarlet Letter, the red-light districts of prostitution and brothels, Satan's wardrobe); beauty (red roses); the sun and warmth; red ink or being in the red. In various cultures, red plays a prominent role, such as in China where its use and associations are myriad.
A person that owns and drives a red car is certainly making a statement - whatever that statement is, it's not about modesty or discretion. There is a commonly held belief that red cars are involved in more accidents and that drivers of red cars get more speeding tickets. Whether this is an urban myth or not is debated, but the belief certainly speaks to the perception of the red car owner by others.
So, what does this have to do with NYC? I'm surprised that red is not the official color of New York or not used more. After all, what city could better be thought of as one that SHOUTS money, power, biggest and best. According to the patter of the con men playing three-card monte on the street, red can even make you money (good luck trying to win): " Who see the red? You win my game, I don't complain. Red'll put you ahead, black'll set you back. Who see the red?" ...

7 comments:

Lucy said...

I remember reading in Low Life by Luc Sante that the three card monte players have been on the same corners on lower Broadway, with the same patter for about a hundred years.

That red car on a very grey January day, stands out on the street so much. As you know, people with cars like that in NYC generally keep them garaged and out of sight of the rest of us...

Sailor Girl said...

Ahhh... I wish this beauty was bluer... hehehe!!!!

marley said...

Thats a striking car to say the least! I like all your thoughts on the colour RED!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! In the Catholic church Red Vestments are worn on the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Blessed Mother in the form of fiery tongues. They received the Holy Spirt. Red vestments are also worn on the Feasts of martyrs. Red to symbolize the blood they shed for their faith.

Brian said...

Lucy - Three-card monte is a fascinating phenomenon. The players would not appreciate being photographed, however, so this will be a challenge to get for a posting.

marley - thanks.

anonymous - religion is another area where red is used heavily.

Steve said...

Dude, couldn't you just mention the fact that this is a Dodge Charger? :-D

Chuck Pefley said...

Well, for my 40th birthday I bought myself a RED MG sports car. For my 60th birthday I bought myself a RED Vespa GTs250 scooter. Now, seeing the 20 year increments of the past I have to wonder what my 80th year will bring. Also have to wonder why red for those two milestones, yet every other vehicle I've owned has been pretty sedate in gray or white. Hmm...

Great spin you created around the red "Dodge" charger. Thanks!