New York. July Fourth, Immigration and a Wedding

Traveling is an addiction. The routine of getting ready to go, packing up the bags with outfits, toiletries, cables and the rest is exhilarating. Deciding how to get to the airport, whether with a UBER, park there, or having someone drop you off. And the check-in process, being greeted by friendly and non-friendly agents waiting to throw your bag on the conveyor belt in the back. You get the boarding pass, the luggage receipt and you head to the metal detector. Sometimes, luckily, through the quick lines, other times not. But who cares, the plane is waiting ready to fly you to some other destination.

The plane takes off. Flies, fortunately. And lands.

New York. We, my wife and I, are here once again. We are headed to The Hamptons for a wedding – ya, the Hamptons. Fancy.

And although in this case we are not “Going back to Cali”, I can’t think of a better song than Notorious BIG’s classic.

We land and the light is perfect.

La Guardia, New York, June 2018

And head to get our Avis rental. The sun’s daily light is about to expire, but not before filling the scenery with some beautiful colors.

La Guardia, New York, June 2018

We turn on Google Maps and are off. Headed to a beautiful home we booked via AirBnB. We cut through Long Island and before reaching Brookhaven, we stop for pizza. We looked for open restaurants and it was interesting to find only pizza and Italian joints. Tony’s Pizzeria, Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, Mama Lisa’, etc. We chose one. I don’t remember the name. But I remember the foreign employees, almost all Southern American, working in the back of the pizza display.

Dinner’s over and another 30 minutes ahead of us. We get to our beautiful shelter.

This is what it looked like the next morning.

AirBnB in Brookhaven, Long Island, New York, June 2018

And we have some hours to spare before having to get ready for the wedding. So we take a walk on the beach. We admire the houses and what the, generally,  if not exclusively, white population does. Surf, play with the perfectly groomed labradors, enjoy each other’s company and everything you and I can imagine from imagination alone, or from watching movies.

The Hamptons, New York, June 2018

But don’t go fishing, because the fish may be contaminated. Rather, go have some fresh oysters served to your table, or have a $20+ lobster roll, or both. I mean, it is The Hamptons.

The Hamptons, New York, June 2018

Lunch was delicious. A beer to go with it, and then back to ‘our place’. We rest a bit and get ready for the wedding.

Adam and Allison are getting married today, June 30th. The venue is a beautiful vineyard and after a memorable ceremony, where Adam couldn’t hold back his tears from the joy, we all moved in to have a spectacular dinner and dance to the energizing music.

Although I clearly wasn’t the wedding photographer everyone knows I’ll always have my Fujfifilm X100F with me, and so I snapped away a few frames. One of my favorites is this one, where Adam dances with his mother, all the while singing to the song he had specifically chosen for the occasion.

Adam and Allison’s Wedding, The Hamptons, New York, June 2018

And this one, where my wife, who I had left alone for a good half-hour thinking she was socializing. From the look this was either before I had committed the awful crime, or I had made her laugh enough to forgive me. She’s even giving me a grin. This Greencard holder grinnin’ model.

My wife at Adam and Allison’s Wedding, The Hamptons, New York, June 2018

The next day’s light wasn’t half as warm as it was when we arrived, or the day of the wedding. We decide to go see some large lavender field almost at the tip of the Long Island, Lavender by the Bay.

Chinese tourists take pictures. South American workers, again, bent over plucking away at the purple plants.

Lavender By the Bay, The Hamptons, New York, June 2018

Lunch with friend and off to our next stop, Coney Island. It was Sunday so we knew there was going to be hordes of people. But we had no idea how many. It felt like being in a city again, a European coastal city, where finding a parking spot is like winning the jackpot. You end up asking people if they are leaving at such a fast pace that you don’t even say ‘thank you’, because you are too busy scouting the next person to ask.

Coney Island, New York, July 2018

We of course end up parking and Coney Island unfolds in front of me. I think that there is way too much to photograph. Characters, compositions, juxtapositions. I start looking, observing. I have my camera set to f8, 1/250th, and Auto ISO.

Coney Island, New York, July 2018
Coney Island, New York, July 2018

I can’t help think of the people going to Coney Island and to The Hamptons. All in search of some quality time with themselves, with their loved ones, or like me, with their cameras.

Coney Island, New York, July 2018

Ya, I saw many of ‘our like’ at Coney Island. Some with some incredibly large lenses, some with Leicas and some other with film cameras. A couple of hours go by and it time to move on.

We drop our rental back at the Avis location and jump in a UBER that takes us to the city. And this view never gets old.

Driving to Manhattan, New York, July 2018

Check in at the hotel, quick shower, and back on the road looking to have dinner. The humidity was out of control. That’s why the Chinese folks hung out inside rather than outside the closed Chinese restaurant.

Manhattan, New York, July 2018

But Pizza places are always open, and again, the South American workers are there.

Manhattan, New York, July 2018

The night goes by and the next day we just walk around, between the colors of the city, and some less colorful moments.

Color – Manhattan, New York, July 2018
Colorless – Manhattan, New York, July 2018

Was it coincidence that this post is evolving into something related to immigrants? And, if, I say if, my memory recalls, it was around the time that some children were being held up in cages?

So the next day we to go Ellis Island to see another aspect of immigration. A touchy subject nowadays. Maybe not if you leave politics and the gut-feeling out of it. So I chose the next four photos to represent what I saw as immigration. What it can bring, what the arriving and what the receiving parties feel, what each one can give each other.

Ellis Island, New York, July 2018
Ellis Island, New York, July 2018
Ellis Island, New York, July 2018
Ellis Island, New York, July 2018

It’s almost ironic how in the photo below, taken at Ellis Island Museum, in Italian it says “L’unione fa la forza”, translated as ‘Strength in Unity’. And it looks like the other language is Hebrew.

Ellis Island, New York, July 2018

Back on the subway. Did someone get injured?

Manhattan, New York, July 2018

The next day? Ground Zero.

Ground Zero, Manhattan, New York, July 2018

And China Town. If Italy has managed to make a brand image from Made in Italy and a have few Little Italy’s left here and there, Chinatown, no matter which city, is always Chinatown. Only the food, the roasting ducks all hanging in restaurants windows are a marvel alone.

Chinatown, Manhattan, New York, July 2018

But if you want to travel to China, without getting a passport or a visa, just keep walking. You’ll find Chinese musicians, terrible I have to say, and Chinese people playings cards, Mah Jong, and chain smoking about 35 cigarettes per hour.

I imagine two people speaking.

“Smoking is bad, it’s a bad influence on our values. Mah Jong is not Sunday Football, it should be banned”, says one guy trying to make an argument.

“But what about Chinese food? It’s great. We couldn’t live without it” answers the other.

The first person agrees.

Who knows, maybe they’ll once have Hot Dogs and Fried Rice at the next July 4th party.

Chinatown, Manhattan, New York, July 2018
Chinatown, Manhattan, New York, July 2018
Chinatown, Manhattan, New York, July 2018

Until Next Time,

Gio

PS