All I Know³
Information, transmission, modulation, and noise – 3rd Edition

Forty Years Later…

 I took this photo in October, 1970. I’d moved to Berkeley two years earlier, but came back for a visit. At that point I was unsure if I would be staying in California. I missed New York to some extent. I didn’t miss Winter, or Summer. Berkeley seemed an eternal Spring. But it lacked the intensity of New York… something I eventually learned to live without. Intensity is bad for the arteries.

Anyway, this image has become somewhat iconic. It’s been reproduced on a number of “New York in the 60′s and 70′s” websites, and I’ve sold quite a number of prints thru my “agent” in New York. But a few weeks ago I got one of those emails that sets you back a few feet.   Lisa wrote to tell me that she knew some of the people in that photo, and that they were all talking about it on Facebook!

pb2-23-10-closeup.jpg

Yes, those people in the picture all have names. A couple of them were friends, on their way somewhere, talking about something important, or not, and just then I snapped a shutter and this quite random moment was captured, but long forgotten by them all. Until recently when the image resurfaced in the webosphere. And now those people in the picture are talking to each other about this quite random moment.

I was standing on one of my favorite corners in the Village. Village Cigars was where I bought my, GauloisesGitanes and Schimmelpennincks. And behind me would have been The Paperback Gallery, a great bookstore long gone. This was the entrance to the “West Village” with it’s cobblestone streets (long gone) and narrow early 19thC four-storey walkups.

I, of course, know none of these people. At least not yet. Now, some forty years later, I might just learn their names, and find out what they were doing on that corner on a cloudy afternoon in October. Still, it’s pretty amazing to think about, and so much has happened since. And now we’re all old people!

(PS: It’s also been pointed out that if you look really closely in the far distance above the roofs, you can just barely make out the construction of the first World Trade Center tower. )



5 Responses to “Forty Years Later…”

  1. Jim Grisanzio Says:

    Cool story. And I just love the styles in the image. Since the photo is famous on Facebook, it would be interesting to shoot the same image from the same location as it looks right now.

  2. rchrd Says:

    Actually, someone has. Take a look here:
    http://www.rchrd.com/blog/2007/10/visual_discord.html

  3. Jim Grisanzio Says:

    Oh, that’s great. I like the old streets better! :)

  4. Schylar E. Wynor Says:

    Hello, Mr. Friedman,

    I am really impressed by the way you take your photos! I have to say I really love your NYC photos from the 60s and 70s! Whish I could have been there! (But I wasn’t even alive in the 60s or 70s… ;))
    Thanks for having an eye for the right moments!

    Schylar E. Wynor

  5. rchrd Says:

    Thanks, I just wish I had taken more back then.

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Richard Friedman lives in Oakland, CA, is a freelance tech writer/editor, web designer, photographer, is a Director of Other Minds, wrote his first computer program in 1962 for the IBM 650. It played dice. He is also a ham radio (AG6RF) operator, and he also takes a lot of photographs, composes music, and does a weekly radio program on KALW called Music From Other Minds.
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