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New Yorkers Gone Wild


I’ve written before about how New York City not only tolerates the unconventional but also embraces, nurtures, and even encourages it. Iconoclasm is celebrated here. I had a high school English teacher who was personally frustrated with the ostracism for thinking differently in a small town. He encouraged us to attend university in a large city and move from the provincial small town environment.

One day, he announced that although it was required to have the local paper in the classroom, we would not be reading it – we would be reading the New York Times. The local paper, he said, would remain stacked in the corner and was suitable for training your cat. A bit harsh and disrespectful of local talent, but it was the Dead Poet Society of my youth. I shared his frustrations, and his advice had an influence on my decision to move to New York City.

I think things have changed much since that time. Electronic media, styles, and popular culture are much more quickly adopted across the globe. However, at a core level, most people really don’t like the offbeat or unusual, excepting for some, perhaps, a period of wild youth and rebellion. Take a look at some of the captures I have gotten in the last three years.

First, we have André. I called this posting Out There, because he really is. In this second photo, Fashion Forward, he poses for me with an unusual dresser. I have subsequently met André on numerous occasions and have learned that he has done quite a bit of fashion work – he has graced the cover of French Vogue and has his own Wikipedia page. Spike is a character who could easily be subject to hostility in another environment. Here, we have a man who travels with an exotic bird, boa, and small alligator .

Women who dress provocatively will always get some looks, but I can’t imagine the reaction in a small town to women dressed like some whom I photographed. Take a look at Narcissism Gone Wild, the Water Sprites, this urban Wood Nymph, topless women in a Dyke March, the bearded lady who founded Circus Amok, and a group of metal fans in Piercing Al Fresco.

I had to hustle to capture the woman in today’s photo. I loved the geometrically designed coat as well as the snakes on her legs, which I assumed were tattoos, not printed hose. I never got a chance to ask her or give her my card – I imagine she likely would have posed as would any New Yorker Gone Wild…

Related Postings:  Spring Madness, The Dance Parade, Twelve Tribes, Penny Farthing, Homeless Art, Superheroes

8 Responses to New Yorkers Gone Wild

  1. A great story, Brian. So many of us have at least one teacher in our lives who have a profound influence on us. And I too love how New York embraces the unconventional.

  2. Nice story and a quintessentially urban photo. Cheers!

  3. blog walking, & just want to say hallo from central Java, Indonesia.

  4. I love the background of the photo. Though it’s full of movement and could be distracting, it still lets you focus on the snakes!

    Also, is that somewhere around Union Square or on 7th Avenue. Looks like one or the other to me.

  5. Brian Dubé says:

    Terry B & Snapper – thanks!

    Guest Jo – Hi

    Katie cat – This was shot on Broadway in Soho around Prince Street.

  6. cat segovia says:

    i was in ny 2 weeks ago for a week for holiday and this post is exactly part of why i love that great city. i live in vancouver so it too is a progressive city but there is nothing quite like ny. out of curiousity i searched around on line and i found those very snake stockings! they are just too perfect. http://www.howcool.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=63105

    i visit your blog everyday and really enjoy your photos but even more so your stories.

  7. Believe me there are still some towns that have very small minded newspapers! I know! I visit one quite regularly.

    One of their favorites: There was an accident at the cnr of such and such and such and such streets. NO-ONE WAS INJURED !!!!

    or the world section is no more than a page!

  8. I live for the eccentricities of this world, that's why I love NYC….

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