First visit to NYC: 24 September 1999

Hmm. How to explain all this?
Arrived this morning in New York.
This is an odd land.

Mixed chemistry for processing this Saturday’s shoot (Which will be nearby on the Hudson River. I think my job will be canoe wrangler. I hope they give me a set of waders. It will either be that or operating the artificial bird.)

This afternoon I went out with Mr. Smith to the hardware store and the supermarket. It sounds like a cheezy Kodak prize campaign. “If you win you can spend a day shopping at SaveMore with one of America’s top photographers. . .” One notice, he pays no mind to red lights—kind of a “O they’ll stop, I’m sure they can see me” driving faith. We ran two today.

We had dinner (Smith, His Daughter, The Nanny, The Lady of the House Cleaning, Judy {the lady I’m staying with}, and myself) at a Chinese restaurant with a Jewish name in a place that looks like a soda joint. Had a milkshake with my rice. On the way to dinner we drove over the George Washington Bridge at sunset. I’ve never really seen NYC. It is a breathtaking cityscape at first sight—especially through all the evening smog.

I’m staying with Judy, a good friend of Mr. Smith’s. She’s a sprightly older lady in this rustic (what style this house is I don’t know—it has wide plank floors and post and beam ceilings.) Her husband was an art critic for The New Yorker magazine for many years. I would like her to tell me a story. She has that “sit down and let me tell you a story” persona mixed with an (she actually said this) “I’m the oldest person left in (this city), the strongest, and I’ve lived the most places” crustyness

We walked into her living/dining room and I nearly fainted. My favorite favorite print ad of all time was shot downstairs. It’s an ad for Waterford crystal with a woman sitting at a table with a crystal vase in the middle. The copy reads “You’re never alone in a room with a thing of beauty”. I didn’t know that Smith shot that picture. It was excessively creepy.

This is a sketchy report. Will fill you all in more after some digestion.
I won’t be able to mail this till morning.

P.S. In the far distance I can hear the tugboats sounding. Judy says the only true way to first see NY (or presumably America) for the first time is to arrive via the harbor on a ship.