Photos: Roving Rube
03 April 1

Helicopters against storm cloud
Helicopters against storm cloud, Hudson River

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Theme: "Skies"

Formerly when the Rube saw a jet appear briefly in the space between two skyscrapers, he thought happily that he was living in the "city of Tomorrow". But since 9-11, aircraft (see Fig. 1 or 10/30/01 NYCJPG) seem much more threatening.

He watched the live cameras trained on Baghdad on the evening of first day of the war -- mostly trained on intersections where a few busses and cars drove by. It reminded him of the shots used when an area is expecting a blizzard or hurricane. Occasionally shapes would move very swiftly in the sky and he at first thought they might be cruise missiles, but later decided they must be birds since no one commented on them.

That night he dreamed he was on the side of his office building which faces the midtown Hudson river. As he watched, the Intrepid (an aircraft carrier which has been converted to a museum) suddenly backed out of its berth, and sped down the river, followed quickly by the neighboring ships. Then a city bus drove out onto the river and sped downstream, overtaking and passing the ships.

At the moment it occurred to him that this behavior came from a desire to get away from something that was about to happen, a swiftly-moving shape came into his view, followed immediately by an enormous mushroom cloud and the Rube waking up...

Fig. 2 shows 666 Fifth Avenue (its "666" sign having recently been replaced with "citi"), and this perspective allows us to consider it as an isolated tower against the sky, rather than the more typical view of in relation to the many other tall towers that are its next-door neighbors. Both this view and Fig. 3 demonstrate that while skies should play a major role in pictures in this series, they can serve to counterpoint the real subject of the photo.

United Nations Museum of Natural History Statues Forced Perspective Tower Tops Fluorescence Fire Escapes Air Conditioners Jet over Upper West Side 666 Fifth Avenue Restore Original Barbed Wire against Sunset Original Fig. 2 Zoom Fig. 3 Zoom