Ode to Richmond

I’m finally back in New York.

I’ve lived in a few places, from the Philippines, to the Bronx, to Richmond, Va., to smaller cities in Virginia for internships, to a quick stint abroad and most recently Fredericksburg, Va. The one place I always identified with was New York. After leaving the metro area at 13, I’d stayed connected to the city by keeping in touch with friends, visiting and reading New York papers.

I moved unexpectedly or belatedly, depending on how you look at it. It certainly didn’t happen in the circumstances I’d envisioned (though there were many versions in my head). But hardly anything does.

Before I left Richmond, I took a friend and a camera downtown to capture it in pictures.

Just in case I miss it.

ByrdThe Byrd Theatre for $2 movies.

DSC_0066Everyone needs some green in their lives.

Soul IceSoul Ice. It was unusually hot that day, but no one was buying.
“You want some?”
“No, but can I take your picture?”
“Ok.”

DSC_0043A lively part of town.

bang onGuy with guitar marches on. Lots of musicians in Carytown.

DSC_0071He settled on a spot beside the theater. I tipped him afterward.

DSC_0107The State Capitol. Lots of suits dining outside.

The Philippine ‘Katrina’

It had been years since I’d been to the Philippines. I barely remembered it. I was nearly 8 when my family immigrated to the U.S. to live with my mother, who had worked as a nurse in the States for several years. Last year, we visited for the first time as a family (except for my brother), and I was struck by what I saw.

I knew of the poverty in the Philippines, but I didn’t realize how visible it was. In other places I’d been, impoverished areas were restricted to sites only talked about, not seen. They were places you’re warned to stay away from. In Manila, there was no such buffer. People lived in shacks on the same street as affluent houses.

I can only imagine what the recovery will be like post-typhoon (although another is said to be approaching this weekend) and what kind of Manila will surface from the rubble. If New Orleans is any indication, things are going to get ugly. Just days after the typhoon hit, people already started pointing fingers.

If you want to help, you can find donation centers here.