The Beacon

28 08 2009

While recently browsing the wall of retired cameras that came with our apartment, I stumbled across one humble looking fellow who looked as if he might still work.

the fantastic plastic 50s Beacon

the fantastic plastic 50s Beacon

A little digging around  online confirmed this vintage snapper as a Beacon 225 – a stylish Bakelite plastic creation from the 50s, and still in perfect working order. Sweet!

Not only is it a med-format point-n-shoot (crazy in itself..),  you also have to pull the ‘lens’ out from the body before shooting. Ha!

After a bit of work with a pocketknife I was able to wrangle a roll of ‘modern’ medium-format film into the beast’s innards, and I set off for NYC, confident the muggers there would not bother stabbing me for anything less than a digital Nikon D90.

The pics weren’t bad,  I double-exposed a bunch on purpose and a bunch more because I am a moron, but that’s the fun of it, right?

New Bedford house and ...Brooklyn bridge. whoops.

New Bedford house and ...Brooklyn bridge. whoops.

nyc upview

NYC

croquet is so stupid. lawn bowls, now there's a sport.

croquet is so stupid. lawn bowls, now there's a sport.

this one was intentional.

this one was intentional.

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United States of Strange. Part 1: Notes on a Big City.

6 08 2009
times square busy busy busy

times square busy busy busy

Growing tired of increasingly weird New Bedford, I took a midweek trip to New York city with fellow foreigner, Joaŏ, an engineer who hails from Portugal.

After a few hours chugging south on the bus, we stepped out into the bustling heat of Chinatown, NYC, on a steamy midafternoon.

Cheap eats abound here, but not cheap accommodation. Hmph.

Organised as ever, we had nothing booked, so we called around to find many places full, before settling on an overpriced double room in Chelsea, the Big Apple’s Big Gay Heart.

Did anyone else know about this den of same-sex love?

Anyway, it wasn’t so bad once you got used to the men in leather chaps asking if you’d like to step into their blacked-out bar and we quickly discovered an upside.

Stepping out for an evening beer on our first summery night in Chelsea we picked a curbside bar to watch the parade of well-groomed man-couples walking tiny dogs.

Our handsome waiter however, wasted no time plying us with free beers after the first round.

We tipped him well and walked away confused as to what was expected of us.

It probably didn’t help we were two blokes wandering round together, occasionally hand-in-hand, but only when we were scared…

central park

central park

foggy skyline from the 25th floor

foggy skyline from the 25th floor

The rest of the city was a blast to explore and easy too, linked by a devastatingly effective, clean, subway system.

It’s even air-conditioned – take note, London transport people.

Highlights included bumbling along through Central Park on a sunny afternoon, tearing through peak-hour traffic on rented cycles and standing in line for 45 minutes at some unnamed nightclub before realising the prick on the door was only letting women and his mates in.

times square again

times square again

NYC itself was kind of groovy, but suffers from that affliction common to so many big cities which sees numerous inhabitants just trying a bit too hard.

The other interesting thing was the mix of cultures. Or rather, the lack of mixing.

The joint is home to sooo many different folks of different strokes, but there is really little or no interaction.

Black guys hang on the corner talking to black guys. Indian cab drivers talk Hindi to their colleagues. The sound of Mandarin echoes through every Chinese bbq. Jewish deli owners serve mainly Jewish clients. Mexican cleaners work alongside Mexican cleaners.

A melting pot it ain’t. People just swirl around the Manhattan salad bowl while staying strangely apart from their fellows.

brooklyn mural

brooklyn mural