- New York
Photographer and videographer Amon Focus is a student of New York City.
He’s at work on volume three of his project “New York Said,” recording the city’s voices as expressed through graffiti, signs and more. “Every day, I head out with no preconceived notions to listen to what the streets are telling me – and to capture those thoughts on camera,” says Focus.
Listening to New York City
Growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, Amon Focus developed an insatiable curiosity about New York City, encouraged by his mom. These days, as he works on his latest project, he walks the city’s streets looking for inspiration.
“Every day, I head out with no preconceived notions to listen to what the streets are telling me and capture those thoughts on camera. I walk up to 25 kilometers a day in search of its most intimate thoughts and undiscovered corners.
“I often wander from Times Square to Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and the Lower East Side, across the Williamsburg Bridge or Brooklyn Bridge. I look for hidden gems – the city is full of them. I love talking to people and learning about their neighborhood favorites or just looking for small, tucked-away places where people are waiting to get in.”
Amon Focus, New York City-based photographer
Favorite Discoveries (So Far)
“My favorite store to check out is Story – it’s so dynamic, you never know what you’ll find,” Focus says. “It’s across from the High Line, and its theme changes every six weeks. One time the theme was color – everything in the store was organized by color. Another time the theme was illustration – an artist drew an illustration of everyone who walked in the door.”
Food for Thought
A favorite stop for food is the Gotham Market in Hell’s Kitchen. “I love to get the sushi burrito from Uma Temakeria, coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee, ice cream from Brooklyn-based Ample Hills Creamery or ramen from Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop.” The outdoor seating, including tables and benches, makes it a great place to grab a bite.
At Little Rascal’s, a Turkish café at the edge of Little Italy, “I always order the lentil soup (it’s made according to a family recipe) with a salad and a glass of wine. On a nice day, the breeze coming in the open windows adds to the enjoyment.”
For choices far beyond your basic dessert, Amon heads to Spot Dessert Bar on St. Marks Place in the East Village. There, according to the website, “traditional confections are re-imagined and spiked with a healthy dose of Asian flair.” His favorite? Green Tea-Ramisu, one of many seasonal dessert tapas that are best shared.
Ever-Growing Art Scene
Less than five years old, the Bushwick Collective is a vast and growing collection of 50-plus street-art murals that Amon discovered during one of his walks through Brooklyn. This outdoor gallery with a range of styles has helped change the dynamic in Bushwick, a once-rough neighborhood. The collective is featured in the recent documentary “No Free Walls.” When Amon was exploring the gallery, he ended up connecting with a street artist, about whom he is now creating a documentary.