[little apple in Big Apple]
Although I am very find of ordinariness, there is nothing like a big helping of extraordinariness to help me compare and contrast. (Before I go any further, though, I have to say I have a bit of a thing about the word 'extraordinary' as I cannot bring myself to say out loud. I think this is because I hear it so often in discussions and on the radio when it is articulated in a very theatrical way as 'extrorrrrrdinary' and is so over-used in some quarters that it often means the opposite.)
[old reflected in new, Park Avenue]
Anyway, something that is absolutely, truly, magnificently extraordinary with as many rs as you care to insert, is the architecture in Manhattan. Arriving in NYC is one of the most exciting experiences imaginable; all those sky-scrapers laid out on the long trestle table of Manhattan, looking like every film made in the city that you've ever seen. It is so cinematic that it has an air of unreality about it, as though it couldn't possibly have been build by ordinary humans.
But, of course, the architects and builders of Manhattan were, and are, both ordinary people and quite extraordinary visionaries, and on my recent visit I started to consider for the first time the types of personalities that commission, design and build these phenomenal structures.
[needle-thin apartment block near Madison Square Garden]
These are huge, imposing, revolutionary, exciting, awe-inspiring structures.
[Empire State Building]
And I am beginning to suspect that it requires a gigantic ego not only to conceive of such scale, but to convince others it must be built, and then see the project through to the very end.
[The Standard Hotel]
My guides to the huge buildings and massive egos were Eric P. Nash and the MAS book which are excellent. The former gives the the history, characters and battles, the latter ensures you never miss a good skyscraper when walking past it (shockingly easy to do after a while when you start to take it all for granted).
[attempts to humanise the Trump Tower]
My photos were all taken on an iPhone because I wasn't on my own and stops for photography weren't easy. But in fact it turned out that NY is the ideal subject for Hipstamatic fun and games; I have seen so many old/grainy/filmy/wierdly lit/cartoon/atmospheric films and photos of the city that it was interesting to see how the app captures so many recognisable effects.
[brand new, near Bryant Park]
['Atlas', Rockefeller Center]
And here, to conclude on the subject of extraordinary visions and egos, is a list of my favourite Manhattan films, each with its very own visual style:
An Affair to Remember, Laura, Holiday, The Big Clock, Rear Window, The Thin Man, When Harry Met Sally, Manhattan, Easter Parade, North by Northwest, Barefoot in the Park, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Pickup on South Street, Annie Hall.