February 25, 2021
‘If you’re standing still on a New York street, you’re either lost or crazy. But on the shores of this lake, I saw real stillness for the first time’
I thought I knew Prospect Park. Living in Brooklyn, I had visited many times. It was always nice there but I never thought much about it, nor was it so interesting to me photographically. Then, one early summer evening in 2011, a friend invited me to join her on a boat ride on the lake for her birthday. I had no idea there was a lake, and I remember being disoriented and getting lost trying to find it. Finally on that boat, floating slowly through the dusk, what I saw was so good I had to pinch myself.
In New York, if you’re standing still on the street, you’re either lost or crazy. Maybe you’re waiting for someone, but even then you’re pacing. On that lake was the first time I’d seen real stillness in New York. It felt as if someone had stopped the clock. I realised the Long Meadow area of the park where I’d always gone was just one section – the homogenous, wealthier corner. But here at the lake was the world. On the shores was every kind of person – a patchwork of cultures, ethnicities and religions. All these different people were there, all perfectly equal, all perfectly at ease.