New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anywhere You Want



Sometimes you get what you want, and on rare occasion, doubled. For a long time, I have waited for an opportunity to photograph members of the New York Fire Department on one of their supermarket shopping trips.

At a neighborhood supermarket, Morton Williams on LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, I had noticed that one company drove and parked a full size firetruck outside the store on a regular basis, did their shopping as a group, and drove back to their station. The first time I sighted a group of firemen with their uniforms in the aisles, it was quite startling - everything about them seemed so large and imposing. The men are big, further enhanced by the bulky, protective clothing.

Post 9/11, photography is a much more delicate issue, so, rather than try a clandestine approach, I gave out a few cards and asked them directly about taking photos. They were very accommodating and told me that there were two companies shopping, not just one. I had really hit the jackpot.
There was a lot of joking and jibing between companies, particularly when I asked about the firefighter wearing a red helmet and whether it was standard gear. I'm not sure if I got a straight answer - there was a lot of inside humor that I was not privy to.

Firehouse dinners are an international tradition. Long shifts and lots of down time between calls has resulted in many unique rituals. However, like any tradition, there are rules and protocols - who shops, who cooks, who pays, what to cook, etc., with variations depending on the particular firehouse.

With a job providing such a vital service, there comes a few privileges. For the FDNY, it's a nice home cooked dinner and easy parking. Where do you park a full size hook and ladder in Manhattan? When you're the FDNY, the answer is - anywhere you want :)

12 comments:

Frau said...

Great pictures love that you were able to get 2 for the price of 1!

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful images. Great text. Thank you for all the bits of NY you share with us.

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing such a priceless piece of Americana with us. And God bless the men/women who do such a might service like this. You are awesome and start my day off so well. Thank you!

Naomid said...

What were they buying? In my mind is ingredients for chili and lasagna.

Beth in NYC said...

Firefighters like to shop at the Fairway at 133rd Street, too. I see them fairly frequently during my lunch hour.

Leif Hagen said...

Nice collage of firefighting heros!

losangelessuburbiadailyphoto said...

What fantastic images, each one, on their own.

Thanks for sharing these beauties of American heroes.

Mirela said...

Great photos!

Could you explain why photographing them is a delicate issue after 9/11? If anything people understand better and are fully aware of the every day risks these men and women take...

Brian Dubé said...

Frau, Luis, Lisa - Thanks.
Naomid - didnt notice their food items. Too caught up in conversation with them and the short time I had with them at checkout.
Beth - Fairway is a great place. Perfect for them.
Leif - thanks. Some prefer the impact of one photo. However, I am never sure readers will take the time to look at linked galleries, so often I opt for a collage.
losangel... Tx
Mirela - Everyone is concerned with security. Even though there is often no rational reason, people are often suspect as to the motivation for taking photos like this. A building makes more sense but generally there is suspicion if the situation is a relatively common occurrence and you don't appear to be a tourist.

Kristina said...

Excellent photos!

I'm always in awe and admiration of firefighters and the FDNY has such an air of prestige surrounding it.

Thanks again for all wonderful photos and posts!

Shelle said...

this is just too cute...i got caught photographing the tolls on the bridges...wasn't even thinking.

Austin said...

I'm a retired English firefighter and our senior officers stopped us going shopping in a fire engine because they thought the public wouldn't be happy seeing such a sight lol