Friday, February 27, 2009

Photodump

Some pictures from a recent jaunt to the quieting evening streets of Northampton...



It was about 10 o'clock, and the town was just winding down, with auto and foot traffic getting steadily lighter in the hour or so I was there. Northampton is the latest valley town to debate instituting a Business Improvement District to improve retail commerce...for my two cents, Northampton is perhaps the last town that needs a BID project...



Show up and check out the foot traffic pretty much any weekend or warm weekday or weeknight, and you'll see what I mean. The sidewalks are usually brimming over with people; a scene unlike any in the valley except maybe Amherst. If there is indeed a slowdown as some business owners are worried about it can only be attributed to the nation-wide economic nosedive; and a clean safe Northampton should be able to weather it as good or better than any valley town. Handing over the upkeep of the public spaces of downtown Northampton to private business can only result in something resembling an outdoor mall...

About 10 o'clock on a moderate February evening, the streets had begun to wind down for the night.



I parked near Starbucks, grabbed a coffee and broke out the tripod for a couple of night shots...



As I strolled around late at night looking for stuff to shoot, with a semi-expensive (to me) camera and tripod in my hand, I had hardly a care about getting mugged or abused in any way, shape or form. Though it might not seem like that big a deal, it is actually a rare situation, and a major reason Northampton is such a special place to be. Few if any town centers nowadays allow a person to walk about at night while remaining so unguarded. It's why I make the trip so often...



A quick loop through Pulaski Park and I was back at the car before the coffee got cold.



Right before packing up my stuff, I asked the guy parked next to me if I could get a shot of him and his car. He said absolutely, no problem.



Afterwards he introduced himself as Jeff Tobis, local painter, musician, and peace activist. Here's his website with some of his work, including paintings that will make his car suddenly make a lot more sense to you...

As I was taking that picture, Tobis pointed over to the street where a drummer was struggling to get his drum kit across. I slew the camera around for a what I thought would be a certain cool picture. The drummer even saw me trying to take the picture and paused for a minute, but as I was fumbling with the settings, he finally had to get moving out of the road before he got whacked by a passing car. So unfortunately though I wanted to get his face in the picture, the camera settings weren't right, and I ended up getting this ghost drummer image:



His name by the way was Mike Sully, who was playing at the Bistro restaurant earlier. Sorry Mike, maybe I'll have it set up right next time...

4 comments:

Mary E.Carey said...

Another classic post. A fine tribute to Northampton and I'm glad Amherst got a little mention too. Love the traveling drum shot.

CBL said...

Good stuff. It's hard to imagine the Valley taking any kind of hit economically, but I guess nothing is exempt. I know that a lot of kids at UMass found it hard to get financial aid from the state this past fall.

Jim Neill said...

Great shot!

Tony said...

Thanks guys. CBL, one person I talked to recently made a good point that we've already lost most of our manufacturing jobs a long time ago, so we're probably not feeling the economic pinch as hard as the mid-west and southern states, yet...