New Eyes on New York

By Susan Sherman
Teacher at International High School

We have often referred to New York City as a melting pot, because of the wonderful diversity of cultures that reach into all five boroughs.  As an immigrant to New York City, what must it feel like to enter this bustling metropolis, with unfamiliar sites, sounds and languages?   How can one truly observe and absorb all the new information that surrounds us each day?  Well one group of immigrant students is learning how to engage on a new level- by looking through the lens of a camera.  With the generosity of Rehabilitation Through Photography, and the amazing volunteer photographer, Marla Mossman, some students from the International High School, Union Square are participating each week in lessons that open their eyes to a new New York City.  These students have learned to see motion, by standing still in one spot of Union Square.  Instead of running from the cars, bicycles, taxis, buses, etc., these students learned how to capture the beauty of such hustle and bustle.

With Marla’s guidance, they are also learning that taking a picture tells a story.  With  a bit of research,they have spent several  afternoons truly “looking at” the history of Irving Place: Pete’s Tavern, J  James C. Clinch 1866 home, the plague of Washington Irving, and some beautiful architectural details that grace the area around Gramercy Park.  On most days, students leave their homes in darkness and then return with a book bag of assignments, without pausing to see what is in their path during the round trip.  RTP has enabled these high school students to pause and place their eye on the sites of their new home.  All photos here are by students in the class.

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