My love affair with New York City began exactly six days after the start of my love affair with my wife. I lived in Chicago, with no plans of leaving, when I took a colleague out for a drink the night before she was moving back to New York to become the head of sales for Universal Television. One drink turned into all night, and by the time I dropped her off so she could go to the airport, I was in love and could not live without her. I booked passage the next day and flew out to see her the following weekend. We went to Bravo Gianni’s for our official first date, and on the walk back to her place I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I went back to Chicago, packed my bags and never looked in the rearview mirror.
I didn’t take pictures the first time I lived here. I was too busy being in love, working, starting a family, and living the life of a New Yorker. Then in the summer of 2004 everything changed. My wife took a huge job in Chicago and we packed up and moved back. She had her new job, the kids had their new school, and I had nothing but time, which I spent longing for, and wishing to be back in New York. Finally, after two long years my wish came true.
On August 7, 2006 we moved back to New York. Unfortunately on our first weekend home, my wife wanted us to go visit our friends in DC. After two years without an H&H Bagel or a slice of real pizza I couldn’t imagine jumping on a train to Washington. My wife understood and after a day of my whimpering, decided to let me stay behind. I dropped them at Penn Station and headed off, camera in hand, and made my way down to the lower Westside flea markets. It was so incredibly exhilarating. I was used to shooting in Chicago during the day when everyone was at work and the only available subjects were either bums or statues. This was different. This was photographing the life I had been missing for the last two years and I loved it.
I never wanted to forget what it looked like, or how I felt that day, so I built a website and put my pictures online. Since then, I have obsessively amassed on my site over 10,000 pictures that I have taken of New York. I have had millions of visitors and fans from around the planet browsing my site and it has become somewhat of a New York
institution itself. Until now I had never really thought about printing them or making a book for that matter, until one of my teachers at City Tech, Professor Paul D’ Innocenzo, assigned us a book for our final project. This is that book. “Shooting New York in the Raw” is a small collection of what I call people watching pictures. I chose them because I wanted my first book to be pictures of what I love most about New York, not it’s buildings, or museums, or monuments, but its people. So without further ado I present my first book to you.