April 13, 2011

Alone in a Crowd

For six years I took the bus to work - first the 42 from Adam's Morgan to Federal Triangle and later the dirty-thirty to 18th & H. There was something therapeutic about the routine. It got me reading. I loved the isolation and the proximity to my fellow passenger. Not to romanticize the whole effort, mind you: at times that proximity was closer than cozy… at times so close it would make a Japanese man blush. The vagaries of the insane were the worst. Then of course the scourges of society… men who refused to yield their seat to women. And waiting, in the rain, for the bus that never came.

But the commute provided a welcomed anonymity… a way of being alone in a crowd. Solitary moments in the midst of the morning chaos, barreling down Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues papers shuffling headphones in eyes forward corners too fast and brakes too strong and grateful for the early spring breeze coming through the open windows.

For some reason this was on my mind a couple weeks back. I was on the 6 train heading from 51st Street toward Canal to meet a buddy for drinks at Tribeca Grill. Hordes of folks – in the subway, on the street, at the bar – doing their thing, each one with a story. And two days later, at the Nasher in Dallas, these exhibits captured the sentiment well.

George Segal
Rush Hour, 1983

Magdalena Abakanowicz
Bronze Crowd, 1990-91 

2001 Flora Street
Dallas, TX 75201

Photos via: Newman Photography.

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