New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eldridge Street

In my story on January 12, 2009, Small Achievements, I wrote of those small, nagging, unresolved questions, not quite big enough to aggressively pursue, but not quite small enough to completely forget. They raise their head when a particular situation recurs, whereupon, enthused by the moment, you promise yourself that this time you will absolutely put the mystery to rest as soon as you get home. 
Of course, it is either then forgotten or put off to another time, unless you have a photo of the mystery you would like to feature on a website about New York City and, in fairness to your readers, you really must get to the bottom of this. Now you have that added impetus to get the doing done.

One problem, however, with sharing a vista like this one is how you would go about taking a photo while driving in a moving vehicle. It's easy when you return from Brooklyn on a beautiful day, everyone is on the road, and your vehicle is not moving because traffic is at a standstill, briefly interrupted with some inching forward.

The bridges across the East River - Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queensboro - afford spectacular vistas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Roosevelt Island, along with streetscapes, waterscapes, the Statue of Liberty, Governor's Island, and an articulation of buildings of the skyline of New York as far as the eye can see.

Somewhere in all of this, there will be a glorious accident of perfect alignment. So it is with the vista from the western end of the Manhattan Bridge looking north, straight up this narrow one-way street, where you have a classic New York City juxtaposition: an unobstructed view of the Chrysler and Citicorp Buildings, framed by rooftop graffiti and the jingle jangle of the Lower East Side with a spattering of Chinatown. But the question for me has always has been, what street is that, so conveniently aligned?

A little online forensic work identified the mystery thoroughfare, which runs eight blocks from Division Street at the base of the bridge to Houston Street and is wholly contained within the Lower East Side: Eldridge Street.

Note: if you look carefully at the photo, you will notice a church on the right side. This is the Eldridge Street Synagogue, built in 1887 and a national historic landmark. It is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States built by Eastern European Jews. It is also home of the Museum at Eldridge Street, which presents the culture, history, and traditions of the great wave of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side with tours, exhibits, and public and educational programs.


Anonymous said...

Not only does there have to be a glorious accident of perfect alignment, but someone with a perfect eye and enough sense to spot a good thing when he sees it, capture it, and then share it with such glorious results.

Brian said...

designslinger - Since a child, I've always looked for vistas, particularly from high places. New York City has been the perfect place to continue with this passion. Thanks for your comment - it is rather generous of you.

Bonnie said...

When are you going to publish a book? But then, what would you choose to include? It would have to be a series of books, organized by topic, I think. Until then, I'll read your blog every day. I love the way you think -- and your photos are outstanding!

mirae said...

Hi Brian, I love your gorgeous photographs and your your sparkling text.
A little note about the last two, in my fairly large canadian city{I like to remain anonymous} we are also told that it is illegal to panhandle and we are told to contribute to charities instead but somehow the charity organizations are not reaching these people in the streets. I give a bit of money to them when I can afford it and if I am through with a coat I leave it at a bus stop bench in hopes that one of these homeless people will pick it up.
In my canadian city it is a crime against humanity not to have shelters, we have only two and other provinces have a lot more. Living in our kind of affluent society these homeless people existing like this shouldn't exist.

I found your post on the street poet wonderful. Every year during our literary festival I go out on the streets and I busk my poetry. I love the contact and the humanity of it all but it also gives me a charge ha ha. I am living on the streets! ha ha. Now I would like to ask you , I would love to know the poet that you photographed, well did he have to purchase a license?

Thank you for your beautiful work and have a magical day.

Cesc said...

Greatfull!!! Greatings from Catalonia!!!