No Standing in New York City

An unfriendly place

 There are times and places that you feel utterly unwelcome.  

I’ve had my share of unwelcome. Hint: Don’t ever walk into a women’s bathroom as a junior high school student. Even if it’s accidental.  

What does it mean to be welcome? What a strange word – welcome – welcome – welcome –  

People welcome people who they recruit. Everyone loves the new recruit. Lots of folks are always trying to recruit new people into their schemes. I know their beckoning calls…  

Join us. Our computer is a new religion.  

Wear these amazing new pants. They’re cool. I’m wearing them.  

You should sell these things. Everyone agrees you should. Even us.  

Don’t you agree with my opinion? If not you don’t think correctly.  

Think this. It’s smart. We’re smart.  

Actually, most people don’t welcome new ideas very easily. For example there was a new restaurant in downtown Boise called “Square”. They served square crepes. They were tasty. Sam and I went there often. I met the owner one Wednesday afternoon. It was my old elementary school friend, Russell. He was a fun kid, lively and exciting. As a kid he had a tall head of thick, blond curly hair. In the 28 years that had elapsed between our meetings he had gone bald. As we chatted about nothing I imagined his hair bouncing on his head. Too bad.   

We were on the same baseball team. I was the kid on the team that no matter what was going in the game I wanted to hit a home run. He was the guy that was a team player. He hit base hits and was good at it too. I never understood why he wanted to get base hits when a home run was in every pitch. He was smarter than me.  

Square went out of business in a year. No one in the fair city of Boise could accept the new idea of eating crepes. They were delicious! They were inexpensive! They were different.  

He opened a pizza place called “The Pie Hole”. It’s as busy as a walmart bathroom.  

Until my trip to New York, I had never seen a sign that read “NO STANDING ANY TIME”. I thought it actually meant that you couldn’t physically stand there – that you had to keep moving. I felt that the sign was too strong. Too harsh. It wasn’t until a few years after I made this photograph that I realized that standing meant parking.  

It was somewhere near the financial district. That’s what I remember about this location. I spent five days wandering around New York City with my Leica M6 in September of 1999.  

I welcome the idea of doing that again.


  1. this is a very UNwelcome alley indeed…one of thousands in NYC i’m sure! If you go to walk around NYC and take photos…take me with you…sounds fun!

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