Umbrella Symphony in Manhattan

Last week I was caught in a summer downpour in lower Manhattan after I left the office late in the afternoon. I was wet and uncomfortable, and fatigued after attending to patients for most of the day. Like other New Yorkers trying to get home, I was rushing to the subway with my head down and my umbrella dripping.

Suddenly I stopped, lifted my head, and watched the reflections of the taxi headlights in the wet streets and felt the poetry of the City. I remembered how much I love capturing that poetry, but didn’t have my camera. “Should I go back to the office and get it?” I thought.

I remembered how many barriers I have built in my mind to making art. Each barrier, like a stuck door, needs to be jiggled, prodded, and burst open.

Those barriers are stubborn and appear one after the other like the layers of an onion. I’m too tired. I’m too hungry. I don’t have a sketchbook. I don’t have the right camera. The light isn’t right. Some barriers have their origins in fear and uncertainty. It’s much easier to go home, relax, and read the newspaper than risk putting something out there that people might reject or ignore.

All this ran through my mind as the heavy rain pelted my umbrella and began to seep into my shoes. I turned and headed back to the office for my point-and-shoot camera.

For the next half hour as the rain came down and the light dissipated, I photographed the rushing commuters in the New York City streets around the Flatiron Building. Holding my umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other, I played a game trying to get as many interesting compositions I could while the conditions were right. With the constantly moving subjects and a wet lens, many shots came out blurry but it captured the mood.

And so I post the slideshow above, entitled Umbrella Symphony in Manhattan. This post can rightfully be subtitled, Breaking Barriers.

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The Meat Packing District in Black & White
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Comments(4)

  • 07/26/2012, 5:19 pm  Reply

    Brought tears – I found this marriage of thought, text and images very touching. You have gift and it’s with thought, text and images. Thank you,

    Jordan

  • Cliff Feiner
    07/23/2012, 11:05 pm  Reply

    Very interesting… I find I have to push myself against barriers each and evey day but the result is usually rewarding!

  • Conn Foley
    07/23/2012, 9:39 am  Reply

    I feel damp … but colorful !

  • Ron Becker
    07/23/2012, 9:09 am  Reply

    Thanks for the symphony, Jeffrey, with another storm expected today. I too can relate that the journey of an artist is not smooth and easy…the complacency and excuses are a constant battle when a fulltime job and other life duties beckon for our attention. Your victory over the barriers is inspiring and a call to open the paint tubes and put brush to canvas. Putting your work out there is a testament to your talent and fortitude.

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Dr. Jeffrey M. Levine has authored numerous articles on topics related to healthcare of the elderly. These include medical history, prevention and treatment of chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, elder neglect and abuse, and physical restraints. He has also edited a book on legal and regulatory aspects of nursing homes.