The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Miniseries #2:
An Evening's Diversion in the Neon Wilderness

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13 comments :

Vanwall said...

Now that fuckin' rocks! Some great visuals, and love the marquees! Except that last one, come to think of it - much too familiar, tho I can't quite say why. ;-)

shahn said...

beautiful. i like the long, slow zoom-in effect.

SomeNYGuy said...

Great stuff. Thanks for this.

Mr DeBakey said...

Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light
Or just another lost angel...City of Night
City of Night, City of Night, City of Night, woah, c'mon


I don't remember "Trader Hornee"
Who was in it?

Love the city at night

swac said...

L.A. Woman?

Having just been there in August, I like this version MUCH better.

Excellent use of images, Tom. Bravo!

Larry Aydlette said...

Great photos. Tom, do you know who shot them?

Tom Sutpen said...

Thanks and much love, friends and neighbors (and coming from you, shahn, I consider it a true compliment).

The images are from a variety of sources, dating from about 1950 to 1972 (them what's got sharp eyes can spot a specific year that predominates). I had 40 of them to start with, many of them daytime shots and quite good, but I went with the lightless hours instead.

I'd intended to accompany this with a smattering of text about why 42nd St. and Times Square has always fascinated me (a question whose answer is not entirely known to me), but in the end I figured it wouldn't have been worth the fallout so I decided to just go wit' the images instead.

I'm going to be doing a lot of these miniseries in the near future (in fact, I've got two more already uploaded). I don't know why I didn't think of them until recently. Ever since the format of this blog materialized I constantly came up with ideas for various series', but always despaired because I didn't have the material to keep them going ad infinitum. This seems to have been a too-obvious solution to that problem.

And when you gots the material . . . they're worth doing.

Lex10 said...

Bonds (under the Haig & Haig sign) saw the Clash play there & Allen Ginsberg came out & sang.....

Tom Sutpen said...

Egads. Ginsberg was a great poet . . . but he sang like a flippin' hinge!

Still, I would have loved to see that show. Damn.

Brent McKee said...

As a general observation, there is a beauty to large scale neon signage that is truly only apparent now that the form has almost entirely disappeared.

Tom Sutpen said...

Could not agree more. At the time it probably seemed garish and vulgar to some eyes, but when you look at Times Square today, with its fake-Tokyo sensory overload signage, the neon glares of yesterday have almost a delicate beauty by comparison.

I'm not, I think, a champion of nostalgia-for-its-own-sake, but so much of that which replaces what is now lost just . . . isn't as compelling.

Tom Sutpen said...

I see I didn't answer Larry's specific question and I apologize for that.

I don;t know who shot all of them, and I'm a bit reticent to say what I know publicly as it might tend to reveal where I stol . . . where I obtained them.

If you really want to know, I'll email you off-blog if you'd like.

mike said...

beautiful series of shots - nice work