One of the worst living scenarios in New York City is an apartment on a ground floor. I lived for a couple years like this in Chelsea on 23rd Street - there was zero privacy unless you kept your shades drawn. It was like living on stage in the spotlight. I had instances where passersby would try to talk to me. On one occasion, I was propositioned by someone sexually.
I can understand the impulse to peer into the windows of others. It is very difficult to avoid at least a casual glance into an apartment where people and contents are visible from the street. At night, strolling residential streets with illuminated interiors is akin to walking the corridors of a museum, except here, the displays are not of things from times past, but of real people and real lives - a living laboratory.
On April 29, 2009, I wrote a story, Rear Window, inspired by the Hitchcock classic film of the same name. However, I don't have a rear window in my home. I have front windows to the street and I am blessed with park views. I have featured vistas from these windows in various seasons - see White By Design 2, Wood Glass Brass and Trees, Signs of Summer, and Enchanted April. But these windows rarely provide me with photo opportunities other than nature shots. Observing the people and places in the city that are worthy of reading and writing about requires walking the streets, riding the trains, visiting structures, attending festivals and spending time in the parks.
I keep a camera with me at all times with no exceptions. Although a point-and-shoot camera does not always provide the ability to photograph subjects with the best quality under all conditions, I am finding more and more that many of the most interesting captures, particularly with people, are pure happenstance. Serendipity is the operative here, and better to have shot and lost quality than not to have shot at all. I still talk of my regret over some terrific lost opportunities - some because I had no camera, others because I was not decisive enough, considering whether something was worthy or waiting for better conditions.
Regarding today's photo, this was a real shocker to me. I caught this woman sitting behind the window in Starbucks while I was walking on 6th Avenue in the Village. I am at a loss as to the reason for a display of extreme matching: luggage, pants, shoes, jacket and hat. I was not motivated to go in as I might normally be and learn the story behind the wardrobe. This would require that I make her acquaintance, chit chat and get the facts in a diplomatic way without any intended insult. So for today, it's just a look through a Front Window :)