It’s all a matter of perspective.
Unlike my pal Mitch Waxman of the Newtown Pentacle, I’m not a professional photographer, and don’t use a high-end camera with plenty of settings; and I do not carry a tripod—if the camera shakes, it shakes. Even so, I have taken thousands of photos over the past 25 years or so, when I first began doing it in earnest and for every photo you see in Forgotten New York, there are two or three I don’t use either because they’re poor photos or they don’t fit my narrative. Perhaps I should take online photography courses! Even before the Great Infection, I haven’t really been permitted into the United States economy because I am a copy editor/copywriter/proofreader over the age of fifty. Way over, in fact, by now.
Here’s a photo of Coney Island Avenue looking north from the Belt Parkway, snapped during an April 2014 visit. The Manhattan skyline has undoubtedly changed — a lot — since then but the Chrysler Building can be clearly seen, and if you glance to the left, the Empire State, King of All Buildings, lords it over all.
Since I used an 18x zoom setting, as far as my Panasonic Lumix would go — the road looks impossibly clogged with traffic, swamped, it seems. Yet, it was only a moderately busy traffic day. It’s easy to fool people into believing things are jam packed with a zoom lens. Remember that the next time somebody on the internet wants to scare you with people not “social distancing.” Chances are, they are.
I’m in the market, perhaps, for a new camera. My old Panasonic Lumix crapped out and my repair shop of choice, Photo Tech at West 36th and 8th Avenue, won’t touch it. I bought a used one, but I can’t get it to focus on zoom. The booklet doesn’t say what to do in that case, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know in Comments.
Otherwise, I might have to cough up a couple hundred for a new make, maybe one manufactured this decade.