New York For Me

CHARVI SHRIMALI

THE SUMMER before moving to New York City, Charvi Shrimali recovered photographs taken by her father during a work trip in the mid-nineties. In a project that acquires sweeping scale, she presents her experience of the city alongside his, cutting between and across space, time and feeling.

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On the day of Hurricane Ida, I had been walking on Fifth Avenue when I turned to find the road dazzling in reflections.

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As I stepped out into Manhattan from the underground trains, I was stunned by the light falling on buildings that lengthened upwards until it became impossible to see the sky. 

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I keep finding the Empire State Building wherever I go. Why are you following me?

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As I walk, I watch the old, lovingly detailed potpourri of buildings that is New York. My favourite ones look like they are just about to come crumbling down. 

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Tucked under the iconic Empire State is a Chipotle, and everywhere alongside the gilded, a little bit of the new. It still amazes me to find running hot water when I turn the taps.

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There are flower shops at every corner, plotted like pharmacies. 

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I spotted the Statue of Liberty from a hill in a cemetery that stretches through hundreds of acres of Brooklyn, dotted with mausoleums and berried, fruit-heavy trees. It was on this day that I noticed the first signs of fall.

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This is one of my favourite photographs of Papa’s. On my hardest and happiest days, I always want to go to water – to hear, smell and taste the wind at the shore. Here in the bustle of Manhattan, I only see the river in accidental glimpses.

Charvi Shrimali is an interdisciplinary designer with a keen interest in gardening, noodles and skincare. She is currently pursuing her MFA Products of Design at School of Visual Arts, New York.