Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Early Sunday Morning", a la Astoria

I've mentioned before my love of Edward Hopper's paintings. His brilliant insight into classic scenes of Americana transport you instantly to another place and time. I suppose it's too why I love walking this city and coming across these old signs. Strolling to the grocery store the other evening I passed the "Sparkle Plenty" Laundromat amidst the hubbub of the evening rush. Delivery drivers were dropping the last of their loads in a fury while motors idled, the machismo men of my neighborhood in their fancy import cars nearly running down little old ladies with their pushcarts full of veggies from the local market, everyone rushing like hell but ultimately for no real reason. We're all still going to get where we need to go. The work day will end and we'll all be free, just like any other day. I made sure to stop and appreciate this wonderfully campy sign and it's nod to a simpler place and time, before the advent of the internet and the cell phone, before we all got stuck on this idea that everything has to be so damn instant. A woman rushing by looked at me taking this photograph and scowled with perplexity, clearly not understanding what I was doing or why I was taking the time. She could have taken the time too, though, the three layers of plastic surrounding her meats and cheeses preventing them from spoiling, even in this heat. Some years from now these signs are going to be gone, these links to that older, more sane sense of community and neighborhood. I stood and enjoyed the pause, clicked a couple snaps, and continued on my stroll, seeing if I could walk a little slower than before to make sure I didn't miss anything else.

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