20 PHOTOS

New York City, My Cut

Photographer Ian Gittler wandered in search of the unexpected details that add up to the world's greatest city.

10 Yeah, yeah, yeah: long waits, crowds, summer underground temperatures in the 120s, and those incomprehensible public-address speakers.... It's all true, and I say stop your bellyaching. New York's subway system is a feat of vision and human labor, by and for the people who ride it every day. Tip: If you happen to make eye contact with a stranger, may I suggest a smile? Photo

11 What can I say? Gray's Papaya is an institution. I haven't given in to one of its hot dogs in years, but I won't deny it: I experience a serious twinge of temptation every time I pass those "Recession Special" signs and catch a waft of the grill—and that's daily. Photo

12 Madison Avenue. Generations of kids hanging on to their moms' hands have learned about the finer things in life simply by strolling (or being dragged) along the mile between 60th and 80th streets. And generations of moms have had to say no to skimpy $300 bikinis like these. Photo

13 One of New York's classic urban mysteries: Why and how do shoes like these get up there? And who lost them? You'd better double knot your Puma Clydes. Photo

14 An artist photographs an artist looking at art that questions the meaning of art by artists being photographed by artists...or something like that. At this particular Chelsea opening, people were as pleased about a tin basin filled with ice-cold bottles of Budweiser as they were about anything having to do with high culture. Photo

15 There are all kinds of laws prohibiting this kind of thing, but if you can hold a tune, New Yorkers will get behind you in a heartbeat. These guys received applause on an F train, which is pretty darn improbable. Photo

16 I happened upon a late-night emergency crew welding near 12th Avenue as the Empire State Building hovered a universe away. I was struck by the contrast between the glittery surface of New York and the gritty—but in its own way also romantic—reality of its everyday business. Photo

17 I never find the punch lines that readers submit to the New Yorker's weekly cartoon caption contest funny, but when I stumbled across the tail end of this scene, I was convinced there's a joke buried here. Might it have something to do with the letters not being big enough? Photo

18 You'll hear a lot about the city's hustle and bustle, but not so much about the peace and tranquility. It's here, if you're willing to find it or, maybe more important, if you're willing to let it in. Photo

A HELLUVA TOWN

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