when we were strangers

I shot a lot of photos of surfing in 2016, and nearly none the year after. I’ve been trying to edit down the set, but I wasn’t feeling it, so here’s a full 82 photo set in 3 sections. I felt like it should all be together.  If it’s too long for you, I recommend viewing one part at a time and then coming back to the next later.

 

Part 1 – Bungalow Surf Camp

 

Tori was surf coach.

 

Annelise was head counselor.

 

Imperfect bumpy waters are another kind of perfect.

 

 

Lucas was camp heartthrob.

 

This is Vinnie on a mellow summer ride. I see him out a lot on bigger waves.

 

 

 

I asked Josh what kind of camper he was, I was thinking something like camp jokester, or most enthusiastic, but he said “extraterrestrial liaison and regional cryptohistorian. No no! Cryptozoologist, marine cryptozoologist”

 

Lucas again.

 

Josh took this photo of me. I almost never light leak my film but because Josh touched my camera, it was destined to happen. You should see how boring the non-light leaked photos I took this night are.

 

 

Justin was always there for the sunset session, like the sunset session MVP of 2016. Josh and I were like, WHO IS THIS GUY? Then the next year he was gone, we thought we’d never see him again.

 

Kevin was like the veteran, relative to us newbies.

 

In 2015 I discovered the synchronizing of the full moon rising passed the rock jetty during sunset, and have since been keeping track of the 3 times a year it happens, hoping there are waves that also line up. It’s a lot of nature to hope to line up.

 

 

That’s Russ Dungan. I only know that because of Andreea Waters’ Surf NYC book. These next few are from the Gaston storm swell in late August, which in retrospect wasn’t that big, but was intimidating for me at the time.

 

 

 

 

I think I plagiarized this photo from one of Josh’s.

 

We didn’t know until he saved a drunk drowning swimmer in 2017, but I guess that makes Danny camp lifeguard.

 

 

 

They were like, you sure you won’t want to shoot towards the neon pink sunset? I was like, no, this is beautiful right here.

 

I kept trying to take a photo of myself  and lost my balance and went to switch stance.

 

 

 

 

Part 2 – Hermine

Hermine was the Labor Day weekend storm that prompted NYC to close the beaches, and some surfers got tickets, but tons more were out. It was quite a scene.

 

 

 

 

 

In my mind you had to be pretty gnarly to be out there.

 

 

Somehow Paul synchronized a V form with this seagull.

 

Ray shreds a longboard.

 

Paul is also a popular surfboard maker in Rockaway. I don’t even know how so many people are buying surfboards constantly but his company Paul Surf seems busy as hell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was feeling super broke in 2016, so I shot some digital, maybe like 20-25% of this series.

 

 

 

 

 

Another natural phenomenon I tried to line up with waves and people surfing them was rainbows.

 

 

 

 

 

This and the next couple are from the day after Labor Day, Tuesdsay, in Long Beach, NY.

 

 

 

I met Buddy at Max Fish, and he works at the Patagonia Bowery store, which has to be one of the most environmentally conscious companies of that size.

 

 

 

Buddy and Tee.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3 – Harvest Moon to Election Day

The September full moon harvest moon was a super moon and brought some choppy waves. Paul gets noserides all the time.

 

I named this blog post after the song Harvest Moon by Neil Young. There’s a new cover by a band I like called Sunflower Bean that is nice with female vocals.

 

 

 

The air was getting cooler but there’s this really nice hot outdoor shower, it’s like a New York City hot spring.

 

 

 

 

 

These next few are from the Matthew storm swell in October, this is Ray shredding.

 

I’ve always heard New York surfers are much more chill about dropping in on each other, compared to places that people take their surfing really seriously. I mean it’s still not that chill but relatively speaking… When there’s a storm swell though, stakes are a little higher, as well as safety concerns. My favorite was when I heard someone a few months ago yell, “Don’t fucking do it!” to a guy considering going for the same wave.

 

 

I love when rainbows form in the ocean spray, and disappear and reappear repeatedly as the spray settles and the next wave crashes.

 

 

 

 

 

Election Day 2016 was a big day for a some people. Vote and surf seems like a nice ritual that I was lucky enough to follow again in 2017.

 

These last 2 were Paul again. I don’t know how I ended up with so many photos of him, I barely even saw him in 2017, but that’s the beauty of something like surfing in NYC, you go and unintentionally see people, like how Max Fish or Tompkins Square Park used to be, and get to know each other in little bits without using electronic screens.

what’s the point

I find myself wondering about these photos. Why should I share them? Why do we bombard the world with our nonsense? Why should anyone look at these random snapshots? I don’t know, but my friends say one day it will all be over. They might be right, but I don’t like to admit it.

 

This is a photo from 2015, of a summer night bike ride. Everything else below is from 2016.

 

Glynis and Nazar outside Market Hotel.

 

If you go sledding down these stairs, be careful of the low wall at the bottom of the last set, it’s sometimes hidden behind snow. One of our friends got knocked out and went to the hospital that night.

 

Kevin and Danilo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went bowling for Josh’s 30th birthday.

 

 

 

 

There are a handful of interesting celebrations in the Hasidic neighborhoods. These kids were roaming around in costume for Purim, in March, collecting cash. I happened to drive by them as they were in the middle of a busy intersection without their parents or any adults. Maybe they were old enough for that, but at the time I didn’t think so.

 

 

This is the elder compost lady of LES ecology center at their Union Square food scraps collection table. You can buy back the compost that is made.

 

The great double rainbow of NYC, June 5, 2016.

 

Danny Weiss narrowly escaped death in a freak motorcycle accident. At first he was recovering at Burke Rehabilitation Center, which is in the neighborhood I grew up in, in White Plains.

 

We met at the food co-op. I complimented her sweater, and she asked me about my Bernie 2016 pin. It was kind of love at first sight, if that exists. It didn’t last, and she has nearly zero internet presence, which is one of many great qualities.

 

Josh made a rare appearance in North Brooklyn.

 

A young couple at Knockdown Center.

 

There’s this big mural in the LES that I really like seeing from the bridge. I thought it was being taken down because 2 giant panels are missing, but over a year later, I think it’s still in that state.

 

 

 

 

Italian and American Flags on Lorimer St.

 

Nazar makes shirts that say skim milk.

 

 

 

 

 

Ihab from Oasis was taking a break, and told me my car was “the greatest car ever”, and that they used to be taxis that held 7 passengers.

 

Danny Weiss, a few months after his motorcycle accident, at Tompkins Square Park. Danny just had a really nice series of portraits he shot of Tompkins youth published in the New York Times.

 

 

I’ve seen plenty of photos of people doing wheelies, and I see guys doing it down the block from time to time, so I snapped one while I was unloading my car one day. They’re not that easy to catch unintentionally.

 

Jin and Dana are a photo duo called Jin and Dana.

 

 

 

jig of life, part 2

Summer 2016.

 

We moved this slide across the creek and set it at a precarious angle, I don’t think I slid it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When authorities kicked us out of our favorite spot, we explored new territory.

 

 

 

Whitey didn’t stake his tent, so when wind picked up it started tumbling in towards this pond, he chased it and barely caught it in time!

 

Whitey carrying his tent back to camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goggles turned out to be handy when cooking over a smokey campfire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jig of life, part 1

Summer 2016.

 

This is how it starts.

 

 

 

 

Dawn.

 

 

Nemo vs Willy, the race is on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knuckleheads.

 

 

 

Local kid.

 

 

 

 

Josh hates this spot cause it’s all damp and full of creepy crawlies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to swim up to these waterfalls.

 

 

 

There’s a dam slide in the river that was like the local water park. It wasn’t technically legal, but there was freedom. Shortly after this summer, it was reportedly shut down by authorities, and has been since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow puppets making their way back home.

 

Stay tuned for jig of life, part 2.

today is today

Today is today
Today is it
Today it is
Today is always

– Pati Mera

Pati text messaged this to me last year when we were making plans for one of these beach days. I thought it was a beautiful poem and had jotted it down. A year later, with our busy city lives, growing into various interests, it’s become gradually harder to make these beach days happen, and sadly this sort of mantra can feel out of reach.

 

This was December 2015, an annual winter night dip. The next December I was sick and couldn’t make it.

 

 

 

Surfing has taught me the beach is great year round, or that summer never really ends.

 

 

 

 

People always say it’s so crazy to get in the ocean and surf when it’s freezing and snowing. Well, a year later I got a winter suit, and well, by the time I got it, it was late March, the end of winter, but it didn’t seem that crazy. You put on a winter coat, boots and gloves to walk outside, you put on a winter suit and booties and gloves to surf, it seems pretty normal.

 

And a little frisbee sesh in the snow can be normal too.

 

 

 

 

 

Last winter I really wanted to learn how to double dutch.

 

Then it was late Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then it was Summer.

 

 

 

This is Pati.

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey can you keep your dirty sandals off my old dashboard? the wood pops off sometimes ;)”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

skater kids

The more time you’re alive, the more time there is to develop a variety of hobbies. Eventually skate events can seem “ABD” as we call it in skateboarding – “already been done”, or feel nostalgic, and every now and then still feel new and exciting. These are some photos from a few different skate events in 2016.

 

Stoops Magazine issue 03 photo show.

 

The Stoops party was in a sort of open office space.

 

To me it’s funny to see nicely dressed ladies at an event full of skater kid, but i guess that’s normal now.

 

Ryan Garshell at his GX1000 video premiere, at Sunshine Cinema.

 

Word on the streets is this was the last skate video premiere at Sunshine, not because everyone smokes weed and drinks beer at them, but because Sunshine was coming under new ownership, and/or there was some tagging done that night.

 

 

Whole Bitch video premiere pregame, Kevin Graver.

 

These guys hung out here so much, they call it the couch and made a skate video themed around it.

 

 

 

Whole Bitch video premiere

 

 

And the after party was back at the couch.

 

 

 

 

Colin Read at his Spirit Quest premiere at SVA Theater. This video was such a hit, his next project was a music video for the band Radiohead.

 

Alex Fogt with his Spirit Quest posters. The animals are made of a collage of wood block prints, where the wood blocks were scarred used skateboard decks.

 

Skater kids love sitting around on the ground, I used to too.

 

Giovanni Reda at his slideshow at the new Diamond Store. Reda was the older established NYC skate photographer when I arrived from the suburbs. He’s a great talker, which made his slideshow extra fascinating.

 

Danny Supa, Anthony Correa, and RB Umali were some of the defining NYC skaters and filmer when I was a young skater kid. In the early 2000s and prior, it didn’t seem like there were that many crews of skateboarders in NYC. The scene felt somewhat centralized. Now, as is somewhat exemplified in this post, but only cracking the surface of, there are a variety of crews in the expanded local scene.

 

Dave Ortiz and Vinny Raffa, all these guys have so much character.

 

These are some of what you might call the “younger generation” that came out to Reda’s slideshow of the “older generation”.

 

 

 

 

sidewalk safari

I took the title of this blog post from a song I like by Chairlift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it was the best of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This blog post is about various political events over the last 1-2 years. I would take phone pics or video more than shoot photos, or sometimes none of the above, so this is just what I caught on camera.

The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of any one else on this group blog.

 

This is where it started for me, January 10, 2015, a rally to stand in solidarity with the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, an attack on freedom of press, speech, and expression. I felt compelled to join. It was freezing and my feet went numb.
Edit: I guess this wasn’t where it started, I forgot about the protest against the pipeline going under the Rockaways.

 

But this is when it really started, Bernie Sanders, undeniably a movement to be reckoned with. January 30, 2016, I joined the march from around Union Square to Zuccotti Park. Before this, it was just internet hype for me, and I wasn’t sure how much a town like New York City was paying attention.

 

Eventually I started seeing Bernie all around town, stickers, graffiti tags, murals, pins, shirts, hats… It was an amazing movement, it was the best of times.

 

 

 

Then it got really real. Bernie’s first NYC rally was up in the Bronx, March 31, 2016. I didn’t know if it was going to be his only NYC rally or not. The line wrapped around for blocks and we couldn’t get in. There was a massive overflow field with a jumbo screen, but then off to the side we noticed they gated out a little area and were making a makeshift podium, so we got right up on those gates, and got front row standing room to see Bernie speak.

 

 

 

After that overflow speech, they let some more people in the main venue, and I got in just in time.

 

In retrospect, it seems a little crazy how much we idolized Bernie. So many people, from teenagers to seniors, were really freaking out about just being able to see, hear, or touch him. Like him or not, it happened, and it still makes sense to me in so many ways.

 

April 4, 2016, the folks of Spring/Break Art Fair put together a party they called Bern NY Bern. There was a variety of art, posters, shirts and accessories available, and a cover band playing songs with the word burn in it, with lyrics changed to be about the movement.

 

Susan Sarandon gave a heartfelt speech.

 

4 days later, April 8, 2016, Bernie held 2 smaller rallies in Brooklyn, one near his high school, James Madison High School, in Midwood/Flatbush in south Brooklyn, one up north at Transmitter Park in Greenpoint, picture above. I’ll never forget the newsprint poster I saw at the park, showing a young Bernie getting arrested with the word Real in bold. I tried my best to get a poster from the artist, Ryder Ripp, but never got one.

A couple weeks later the traveling art show titled The Art of a Political Revolution came to the Hole gallery. With the work being created alongside what seemed like a mass paradigm shift, it felt like quite a renaissance.

 

April 19, 2016, the night of the New York primaries was also the night of the GX1000 premiere at Sunshine. That night skateboarding kept it real while democracy did not. Fellow New York skateboard photographer Pep Kim made this shirt.

Around this time when many heated divisive arguments started between friends, it was the worst of times.

 

A month later at a The Nude Party show at Baby’s All Right.

 

When the DNC fully stole the candidacy from Bernie, as they have now admitted to in court, I went to back to being Green. Anxious to see Jill Stein speak, I went to a rally where she was just on a screen.

 

October 12, 2016, there was an official Green Party Rally at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. Robin Laverne Wilson was running for NY State Senator.

 

Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, victim of police brutality in Staten Island, spoke.

 

Ajamu Baraka, a veteran grassroots organizer of many movements, was Jill Stein’s running mate, a very eloquent speaker in my opinion.

 

 

Jill Stein

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2016, The Standing Rock movement was spreading around the world, protesting against pipelines, excessive force by militarized police, imperial exploitation, systematic racism, and for clean drinking water. I joined the march from 14th st. to 96th st. that started at the Native American Museum, at the bottom of Manna-hata, and ended at the native caves at the northern tip of the island, along the Wickquasgeck Trail, the Lenni-Lenape path that ran the length of the island, now Broadway. This and a number of other protests for Standing Rock throughout the year were also more documented on my phone.

 

November 9, 2016, the day after the general election, massive protests broke out. I caught the end at the Trump International Hotel And Tower by Columbus Circle.

 

 

It felt like much more of a younger student protest, at least towards the midnight hour.

 

January 21, 2017, the Women’s March in Washington DC.

 

Standing Rock was there to represent the large role women were playing in the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 25, 2017, an emergency rally for Muslim and immigrant rights, at Washington Square park, as the new President signed an executive order to ban travel from 7 Muslim majority countries.

 

 

Standing Rock water protectors joined.

 

 

 

The rally marched to Union Square and beyond.

 

Mony Ty is a water protector I met and started seeing at nearly every Standing Rock protest.

 

 

A few days later protests broke out at airports across the country as people were being unconstitutionally detained after arriving on flights, regardless if they were citizens or residents returning home. I couldn’t make it JFK, but I first was hearing about it around noon, and next thing you know it kept going and growing, continuing into the early hours of the morning, and Kevin Hayden told me piping hot pizza was being delivered to the protest at 1am. Without the mass protests and attention, I don’t think there would have been any action to free the unjustly detained.

For a while it seemed like there were protests every day, and now still every week or so. There’s literally one happening right now as i type this. Vote with your feet, vote with in the street. It makes a difference.

 

water is life

Josh and I became kooky surf dorks.

 

 

 

 

I don’t know how these ants were surviving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sfb diiv repeat

So a few years ago Bryan told me I might like DIIV, ’cause they have like a New Order / Cure kind of vibe, which may or may not be true, but I got pretty into them, and even more so after seeing them live.

 

DIIV played a show of only new material from their forthcoming 2nd album at Baby’s All Right. A band I hadn’t heard of, Sunflower Bean, pictured above, opened. It turns out they were shredding super hard, with a Black Sabbath kind of vibe. By the way these descriptions are not necessarily accurate to all listeners, just feelings I remember having.

 

Then DIIV played all new material to a packed, stuffy, hot room, and the album didn’t come out for almost a year after that!

 

A couple months later Sunflower Bean played at Rough Trade and it was sick.

 

 

 

 

 

Then the 2 bands toured together and played at Webster Hall.

 

It was around Halloween time so DIIV played their encore as the Wizard of Oz characters.

 

Sunflower Bean played my birthday at Bowery Ballroom. It was the homecoming show of their US tour for their 2nd album, Human Ceremony. Julia Cumming, the bassist, jumped into the crowd during a song, and it was epic, basically.

 

 

DIIV did a residency at Market Hotel when their 2nd album, Is The Is Are, finally came out.

 

The 2 bands played together again at the House of Vans, and since then I’ve missed all of their local shows :(.