Thursday, May 3, 2012

Street Corner Theater - Picture of the Day


People, strangers mostly, though not stranger than me, and people who because they see me on the train, or walking around the neighborhoods where I like to take pictures, look meaningfully at the camera in my hand and ask me if I'm a photographer. What I say depends on my mood. I wonder if my interrogator wants me to take his photo, or if she's afraid that I might.

That said, I take pictures and I guess I give them away, sort of, don't I? Doesn't everybody want something for free? Well, here it is, a totally free picture, my picture, a Picture of the Day - is this my first Picture of the Day? I can't remember? Am I getting old? Am I having a senior moment: I'm sure I've been thinking of a Picture of the Day but I can't remember if I've done it or not. Anyway, here's a picture of the day, even if it wasn't taken today.

Well, I did say everybody wants something for free, right? I know I did, it's right there at the beginning of the previous paragraph. I can see it. And that's the subject of my picture of the day: people getting something for free.

The location was the corner of Vanderbilt and E. 42nd St., right outside the entrance to Grand Central Terminal - not station, Terminal, get it? It's the end of the line, or the beginning if you're heading out. And though it's a station, it's also a terminal, which is what it's name is. But enough about that.

That corner is a popular place for the free samples. One day last week somebody stuck a small plastic bottle of a seriously foul tasting energy beverage in my hand. I've been given basketball schedules, yogurt, organic cat food, miniature folding subway maps - Manhattan only, and other useful and useless things. I tend to either toss them in the trash or give them to somebody else.

So it was no surprise to see three young, probably underemployed folks wearing branded shirts and caps handing out something to the eager throng. They guy stuck two sticks of Piña Colada flavored Mentos in my hand. Did I scorn him or the Mentos and hand them back? Of course not. I'm just like everybody else when it comes to getting something for free. I took them, even if I didn't end up eating them. I mean, Piña Colada flavored Mentos? Give me a break.

Anyway, there's the eagerly accepting happy crowd, and I've got to be there too, because if I wasn't I wouldn't have gotten the picture, would I? And if I didn't have the camera, I wouldn't be able to get the photo.
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