New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Electrical Outlets, Part 1

I recall a report card as a child where my grade school teacher commented, "Very curious child." Being curious has its pluses and minuses. Like investing in stocks, there is a risk/reward ratio.

I paid handsomely once when, curious about the nature of electrical outlets in the wall of our home, I decided to explore the receptacle with a set of my father's keys. The result was quite shocking. I have been told that I spent some time running around the room fanning my fingers, exclaiming "whew" repeatedly. No additional punishment was necessary - a lesson concerning electrical outlets was learned.

At other times I have been well rewarded for my curiosity - my meeting with Walid Soroor in Jackson Heights is a great example, providing not only a story and photos, but a life experience I will remember and retell.
I have an obsession at times with leaving no stone unturned and pressing myself to the edges or top of a place, uneasy with the thought that in not doing so, something might be missed. At the top of my must-do list were places like Montauk, Cape May, Provincetown, Key West, the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument, the Empire State Building, and the last address on Fifth Avenue.

Avenue D is the easternmost north/south avenue in Manhattan. The next stop going east is the the FDR drive and the East River. That made traveling to Avenue D in the East Village, of course, de rigueur, and my mission was completed soon after moving to New York City.

The 1970s, however, was no time to be exploring Alphabet City. This was truly one of the most dangerous areas of the city, so my initial visit was toe-dipping at best. Risk/reward played a strong hand here. Rents were extraordinarily cheap, and I knew many who sought housing in this neighborhood. Residents, however, found themselves sharing not only the neighborhood but also, almost assuredly, their buildings, with drug addicts. Muggings were not just some abstract statistical risk but something that occurred with regularity to residents, both night and day.

So my true exploration of this area came much more recently. Since the inception of this website, I have uncovered many a gem here, particularly the community gardens. For someone seeking a broad range of eating options, both in food and price, the East Village (and Lower East Side) is hard to beat.

If you have not visited the far East Village, I would heartily recommend it. The area is ripe with nightlife, music, clubs, and bars. There are things of interest even as far east as the streets between Avenue C and D, but as far as Avenue D itself, it is perhaps the least interesting in Alphabet City. There is no need to actually visit Avenue D unless you have a history of exploring electrical outlets with your father's keys :)

Note: Tomorrow, we explore the ultimate in electrical power.


Vivien said...

Thank you for sharing us many good stories and explorations through your great blog.

Brit said...

I love your blog. I write stories set in NYC and your commentary and pictures are very helpful.

Anonymous said...

I love what Walid Soroor said about the man behind the camera. Thanks for writing about my hometown. I grew up in the Village in the 60's and 70's and am only now appreciating from whence I came. Thanks for going after the story.

Brian Dubé said...

Vivien, Brit - I am glad that you enjoy the personal nature of my stories.

Anon - Walid was very complementary. Certainly his assessment is correct, however, modern digital camera equipment, particularly with the ability to see results immediately, is making good imaging within the reach of more people than ever.