Schwarz & Weiß

I spent my last memories of 2015 back in the country I spent majority of my childhood in. Going back to Germany always brings back both a euphoric & melancholy feeling. Seeing my family and coming to together as one large family always brings a sense of content and joy, and this year we had a +1. We also took a trip back to a lot of our old homes and schools and hurt to see it being abandon and tore down. Aylin, my sister, is making a beautiful composition of that very topic in which i'll provide a link for (I had the honor to take the photos for the journal). 

This is a trip that never gets old for me the older I get. The pictures I took meant more than just walking in a foreign country and taking pictures. I'm taking pictures of my past time, the places I grew up and learned what life is all about.

Germany, I thank you.

The Death Strip

The strip that split families.

The strip that divided a country and deciding its fate.

The strip that caused turmoil and political tension.

The strip that people have died on trying to cross.

The strip that was eventually destroyed...but never forgotten

For 28 years, the Berlin Wall, also known as the "Death Strip", was built separating the city and the effects of it can still be seen until this very day. West & East Germany can simply be compared to the phrase "Life & Death" for its literal and conceptual sense. Even until this day, East Germany has many of its traits still left behind and the feeling can still be felt in the infrastructure, buildings, roads, everything you can name. After WWII, West Germany was occupied by the Americans and the East side occupied by the Soviet Union. When the wall went up in 1961, one could simply not go from East to West Germany trying to return home. You would be gunned down even stepping near the initial gates of the Wall, coining the name the "Death Strip." Walking from West to East, no problem. Walking from East to West, you were trapped in a dead-end. It was the epitome of "one way in, no way out"

The feeling of being out near the wall brought a feeling I've never felt before. Not only did it bring out 28 years of suppression on the other side, but the history of why the Wall was built lives through the cement that kept it up. All the way back to 1939 is the reason why the crumbing of an infamous wall came down in 1989. Touching the remains of the wall and the replacements feels as if I'm touching over 80 years of mix emotion; pain, torture, relief and anger.

The feel of everything about why this wall was up can make you rethink the concept of "the grass is greener on the other side" because it just might be that for cases like this.

Berlin, I thank you.

Mean Streets

 

There is this unexplainable nostalgic, 1970's, Mean Streets aura that the city of New York has that really cant be seen in any other city. As you talk to a lot of old heads, the city has changed so much in the past 30 years, it is basically unrecognizable. If you are walking around the Lower East Side and look at the scene at eye level, it looks like a new born city. Once you tilt your eyes upward towards the sky and look at the architecture, the history of NYC still stands deep in those walls of the buildings.

I started off on 11th street and made my way down to the Lower East Side later on into the night. There was this billiard bar on 11th street that I always used to pass my first summer in NYC and loved the ambience and the way the lights looked at night.

And of course, the infamous Va$htie DJ spot on Thursday nights and the only reason why I know what Webster Hall is. 

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I started to drift deeper into the lower numbers, ran into a chicken wings spot for a quick pit stop. I'm sure if you've made your way around this region, you can name a lot of these places. The famous Katz's Delicatessen, Goodfellas Pizza joint, etc.

LES, I thank you.

The Warriors

 

This is one of the first Thanksgiving's by myself in a new city and no family members close by. It felt bittersweet but their was a good deep feeling I had about it. 61 degrees, sun was out, one of those days where you could hear every bird in the city while the streets were clear. The city empties out around the holidays and feels a bit liberating. 

Next thing I knew, I was on the Q train heading to Coney Island. And I started off on the beach.

It has been about 6 months since I've seen any type of nature (water, grass, sand, anything). It felt amazing to get away from the concrete jungle for a little. 

I made my way back to the deck near the park and started to imagine all the laughter and great times this park has brought since 1903. I began to think about all the families and memories this park holds for millions across the country and the world.

One of the greatest days of my New York experience and I will be heading back there soon once the snow does it's magic this winter.

Coney, I thank you.

 

 

Uptown

The extension of Manhattan that holds the most culture that these buildings walls could ever have seen. From the Renaissance to the riots, so much history of this area can never be told in a short blog post. I lived on 143rd and broadway when I first officially moved up to New York City, and there is something about it I miss everyday. Legends call Harlem home and its a part of the city that people have seen the most change. You'll always hear that "Harlem is not like it used to be, it's changed so much." Some say it is for the bad, some say it's for the good; but in all, hopefully it can be a place I call home again. 

Harlem, I thank you.

You Got My Back, I Got Yours

This was one of the first nights that I grabbed my new camera and took it out for a test. I headed to the "First Saturday's" at the Brooklyn Museum with my good friend Chidi. It is free admission and they bring in live performing artist from the NYC area to showcase their music. The feel an aura I got from the vibe presented itself in a very monochromatic way so it was only right that I went B&W. It was the first time I seen the famous KAWS statues but it gave a different feel then the cliche "take a picture in front of the KAWS statues." I saw a deeper sign then what is really shown to the eye.

The museum showcases a lot of beautiful art and the feel for them truly comes out of the artwork. Enjoy.

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