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Regarding the wonderful piece by John Rosenthal: I have always been fascinated with SoHo, and Mulberry Street in particular, so his luminous, mysterious photo immediately caught my eye. The poignant essay and other photographs did a beautiful job of capturing the ever-changing Manhattan landscape, and not always as we nostalgically remember it.
As to Rosenthal’s comments about “the Trumps of the world” converting the city into “expensive, unloved space,” I couldn’t agree more, but he ignores the occasional benefits. Certainly, the loss of Pennsylvania Station can never be compensated, but developers like Trump have revitalized some neighborhoods that were in sorry decline. This shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
There are still plenty of colorful neighborhoods in New York City, even as new uses spring up for old buildings. And photographic subjects abound far in excess of anything ever imagined by Ansel Adams.
I’ve never been comfortable being photographed. I know I’ll either be depressed by the sight of all my flaws or, if a photograph does happen to compliment me, upset that this attractiveness is so elusive.
I also don’t like taking photographs. I believe I can see more clearly without a camera lens obstructing my view. And I hesitate to photograph people because it always feels intrusive.
But now, thanks to John Rosenthal’s eloquent explanation of the importance of photographs [“Mulberry Street: The Story of a Photograph,” August 1997], I plan to dust off my old Olympus and get to work. My children and grandchildren deserve to have some reminders of my present in their future.