I’ve been on countless destination-less excursions around NYC with my beloved Farmboyz, during which my camera is drawn to historic or inelegant architecture and Father Tony’s to eccentric characters. But Tony’s husband is usually a block behind us, crouched with his camera over the pattern in a sewer grate, or climbing onto a pile of rubble to get that perfect shot of a rusted steam pipe. He loves the mayhem and strange beauty in urban decay and today posts an eloquent tribute to such on Queer New York* under the name Baad Lamb. An excerpt:
It is often stated that you can’t appreciate beauty without knowing what ugly is. Elevating annoyance to the superlative transforms it into fascination. In New York, the stimulation is constant. Beauty and filth, color and chaos, serenity and sensationalism, insight and impact, dark corners and bright lights. Attention must be paid, demands the urban landscape, in Helvetica Extra Bold and underlined. I love the electricity buzzing through the sidewalks, the buildings shedding their skin, falling down, and sprouting up like weeds, sometimes even exploding, all quite literally. You could easily spend a lifetime – maybe two, attempting to categorize, quantify, critique, or just contain what New York presents, and to many it would be more than enough.
But then there are the details – the cracks and crevasses, the blotches and blobs, pipes, conduits, rust and remnants that decorate the city. An architectural patina of man-made and organic entropy catching the eye of the contrary (those looking down when everyone else is pointing up), or the explorer on the fringe, hoping to find, in that totally forgotten back alley, architectural ruin or industrial wasteland, a decaying mechanical device of unrecognizable purpose or a concrete Ozymandias, silently guarding the secrets of one or many generations of laborers and immigrants, those who began the palimpsest we call New York.
Read Baad Lamb’s’ entire essay. Below is the accompanying video of his piece, set to his original music. Fantastic stuff, you’ll agree.
*Queer New York is a brand new group blog populated by folks that should be familiar to many of you (Father Tony, Eric Leven, Little David, etc). Check it out.