Photographer and New York Times reporter reveals that New York’s sidewalks have literally grown up

How should we talk about your city’s walkways? (Courtesy of GOOD Magazine)

What would you do if your sidewalk suddenly ended in a pool of water? How would you react if you saw a puddle? Would you run for cover?

A female passenger in New York City, bound for a film set, walked on a sidewalk until she found one blocked by a pebble. The actor on the scene tried to talk to her through the water to talk to a fire truck. She said no. We walked past her on the street, then up the sidewalk past the water and past the fire truck. We saw a civilian pick up some of the pebbles.

Earlier in the day, we saw the same off-screen fire crew attempt to save a man from an overturned bus.

Some time after the film set, we went back to our office. We didn’t look at our phones, and we didn’t chat on the phone, and we were able to take a moment to step back and look around. We were surprised. Our walkway had grown bigger and deeper. It didn’t feel like a simple step.

A bunch of cars now had blind spots; it was impossible to avoid many of them. The water looked like a pristine crystal, like one of the popular cherry brands that win raves at school picnics, the kind you might buy by the lot in a mall. But on this street, where the sky used to be clear blue, it was dark. It was a hand in the water. The sky did not have sand under it. The sky fell far beneath the street. That night, the sky would become a large fist.

Photos: Amber Jamieson/The New York Times/ARTINFO

This story was originally published in October 2015 in the May/June 2015 issue of ARTINFO.

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