New York: Day Three

New York
We walked around with big plans for how much ground we wanted to cover, but after stepping into Times Square and promptly deciding this was not the place for me, we scuttled off to investigate some less touristy locations. 
First up was the Hells Kitchen Flea Market, which we discovered by accident. After looking at everything, and deciding that I couldn’t really justify shipping gigantic metal cat statues back to Belgium, I limited my purchases to a smoothie and a golden necklace with an origami crane stamped on. 
The next stop was B and H Photo Video, a camera shop run by Hasidic jews, which Ben had mentioned to me before our trip. Fascinated by the place, and amazed by the choice, we picked up a new rucksack for camera storage (while a little small to fit our laptop in when travelling, my iPad will squeeze nicely into it’s own special section), and a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, for all my instant photography gratification requirements. 
The ordering process was fascinating. We took our stuff up to a counter surrounding the camera section, where Ismael took my details, added me to the database and discussed the pros and cons of life and weather in Brussels, Brighton and New York. By the time the order had been entered, he’d reached under his desk where a packaged version of the bag had appeared, stuck that and the camera into a bag and sent them down to the collection point. Everything seems to be sent around the store in green boxes on miles upon miles of conveyor belts. I was sent off to pay elsewhere, and then took my proof of payment to the collection spot to be reunited with my purchases. 
The evening brought with it some Thai food from Tuk Tuk, an experience to be repeated later as we were all a little tired to eat and ended up with doggy bags. Thankfully it was only a short walk back to the apartment and bed. 

Praktica L

In 1974, When my dad turned 21, he was given a second hand Praktica L camera. Growing up, I’ve seen so many images which this camera took that I was thrilled when it was passed on to me this Christmas. For the past 20 years or so, it’s only really been used occasionally – I received a compact camera sometime around my eighth birthday, and we used that from then on. It was easier to load, and less bulky to take out with us. I’m really looking forward to getting it out of retirement!
This model was produced in Dresden, East Germany between 1969 and 1975, although the final camera in the L series was produced in 1989. It really feels like you’re holding a piece of history in your hands when you pick this up – it’s blocky and heavy and just feels old.
The film is now loaded, I’ve worked out how to use the analogue light meter which my mum tracked down in a second hand camera shop in Brighton, and I think I’m ready to go. I’m trying really hard not to take a whole roll of my cat, so this weekend I’m going to head out into the city and see what takes my fancy. I haven’t used a non-digital camera for years, so I hope I’m not too out of practice. I’m looking forward to the challenge of just taking one shot of something and making it count.
Aside from anything else, I’m looking forward to being able to carry on this camera’s story within my family. It has really strong links in my memory with my mum, but its also great to have something which gives me a link to my dad, who I don’t see very often, a souvenir of sorts.