Look Up! Monday’s New York Interview

Monday, September 29, 2008
Okay, I’m getting serious about my daily interviews.  Now I want my camera, note pad and I’m thinking I want to bring a tape recorder too.  The things people do and say are so beautiful.  I’m finding that people truly light up when I stop to talk to them.
The day started kind of so-so.  I went to my café on Jane Street and it was packed, so I went to swim, but the pool was too crowded too (I have this thing where I really need a lane of my own or I won’t swim).  Finally I ended up eating a sandwich and opening my computer for all of five minutes at Doma, a little writer’s café on the corner of Perry Waverly and Seventh. Out of the window, beyond the Jade plants I see colors, streams of gorgeous blues and reds on a canvas. Next I’m outside taking pictures and asking questions.  The man with three brushes in his hand, who didn’t have a website or business card, but would like to sell his painting is John.  John lit up when I asked him about his painting and it made my day too.  Today John changed the way I saw the world. I looked up.  I don’t think I’ll ever look at New York the same way again.


Who:  John Van Ren
Where: Perry and 7th Avenue
Occupation: Painter
To me the corner of Perry and 7th is an intersection, but apparently to this painter it’s magnificent.  Oddly enough it’s right here on this corner that I watched Tower One crumble to the ground 7 years ago.  It was all death and horror on that day and not something I’ll ever forget, but today I’m finding life and re-birth, despite the economic crisis.

“Look up!” John tells me when I have walked over with my camera asking about his painting.
“Why this corner?” I ask.
“It’s the volume I think,” he says with intensity.
“Do you see how complex those buildings are?”
I don’t see it as he does, but I’m starting to.  There’s beauty in this city, it’s just a matter of where you find it.
“Do you see that little red door, the way it just pops out?” 
I look up and to the right and I see it – a building, then another and one that is red and a little door jets out of the top. I never would have looked and thought about the city the way he is right now if he hadn’t pointed it out to me.  So, I’m thankful, very thankful.
I spent the rest of the day feeling a surge of love for this city that I haven’t felt for a long, long time.  Dark clouds began to engulf the west village and as the light faded, I snapped some shots.  Enjoy.

One response to “Look Up! Monday’s New York Interview

  1. Laura,
    I finally looked at your blog today(November 15) and got a big kick out of how you spoke of our conversation and how it made you look at the city newly. I also checked out some of your other observations and enjoy them very much–you have a wonderful spirit! Go Obama!
    John the painter

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