Street Corner Theater - Indeed!
It happened though I wasn't watching. Or should I say I saw it but it I wasn't watching for it. I saw it through the viewfinder. Had I put the camera up to my face a moment earlier, I might've caught the phone falling out of her hand, in mid-air. She recovered quickly - these photos were shot over a period of five seconds - that's right - five seconds. The light is red. She's waiting to cross the street. The person walking in front of her is crossing Madison Ave. He is oblivious. The person behind her is looking at oncoming traffic - she's unwitting. The unknown, anonymous woman stoops, picks up the phone and it's case - an iPhone perhaps, and it probably is because she's too stylish and hip looking to have some geekier smart phone. She glances at it - a hint of a smile so it probably didn't break and then the light changes, she crosses and she's gone.
I doubt anyone else noticed. If I hadn't taken the pictures, I wouldn't have, and had I, I would've forgotten because I didn't recall the event even after I found the photos while reviewing some I shot last summer. I,m sure she replaced the case and afterwards . . . ? I wonder if she remembers that she dropped the phone on the corner of Madison Avenue and E. 41st Street. at 6:38PM on September 16, 2011.
A final note: while I was writing the above, I noticed in the photo that the phone in the woman's hand had a headphone jack on the top, and nothing else. I asked one of the people seated near me on the train to show me her iPhone. It had a jack and a switch. Then the woman sitting next to her said "that's an iPhone4. Mine's a three and it only has a jack." She showed me, and violá, instant crowdsourcing!