Since moving to New York City, I have found myself fascinated with how people live inside their apartments. Residential buildings line nearly every street, and the view inside a window offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of our neighbors. I often stroll with an upward gaze, curious as to what I may see. I love catching a peak into big beautiful windows that reveal towering ceilings, chandeliers, fine art, grand staircases or a library full of books. At the same time I find myself as curious about less glamorous spaces revealing disheveled old furniture, stacks of paper and clutter, or overgrown houseplants. I smile while watching a family sit down for dinner, a child play with toys, or seeing people sit around watching TV. In this dense city, we have an interesting opportunity to view into the private lives of those that live around us. Just as I enjoy peering in, I equally am charmed by my ability to watch others from inside. This often unintentional voyeurism fosters a connection that certainly plays a role into the fabric of living in this city.
Artist Matteo Pericoli just published “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York,” a book of drawings based on well-known New Yorkers descriptions on what they see from their windows. The article about this book in today’s New York Times, “Window Watchers in a City of Strangers” reminded me that I’m not alone in my practice of gazing up and in.
left to right:
Mario Batali: “Out our window the view toward Washington Square is the entire history of mid-20th-century pop culture.”
David Byrne: “I think of my view as pretty typical for a New Yorker. We look out our windows at other windows. That, in a way, mirrors our lives here — we are constantly looking at each other, millions of us, on the streets and elsewhere.”
Philip Glass: “Water tanks, air-conditioning and exhaust pipes. The infrastructure of New York in plain view. I love it!”
(drawings and quotes via Personal Views of the City slide show)