Regards to Broadway by Aaron Schwartz

20091214_9680 A hundred years ago, George M. Cohan was the man who owned Broadway.  Producer, director, writer, actor, singer, dancer, composer and lyricist, he was the son of two vaudeville performers from Rhode Island. Little George could sing and dance as soon as he could walk and talk. He quickly became an entertainment phenomenon, and changed the face of American show business.

A brash Irish-American kid loaded with talent and ambition, there was nothing he couldn’t talk himself into or out of.   Check out Mr. Cohan’s member tripod page or his musicals 101 page for additional details.

George M. Cohan was the Yankee Doodle Boy whose statue stands in the middle of Times Square, now a Times Square he never knew. This new impossible environment is an ever-changing neverland of lights, sounds, people and pure energy. Not unlike Mr. Cohan.

I lived in New York when I was studying to be an actor and in the first few years of struggling to establish myself as a professional actor. I pounded the pavements looking for an agent, did showcase productions for free, bought the trade papers every week and went to every audition, waited tables and answered phones and sold rug shampoo on the sidewalks to support myself, and with all my youthful drive and excitement, I figured I owned that town just like George M. Cohan.

Now, more than 35 years after I lived there, I go back to NYC as a tourist, with a blazer and comfortable shoes and a camera around my neck and look at Broadway through a different lens. But George M. Cohan has been there all the time.

*****

18 thoughts on “Regards to Broadway by Aaron Schwartz”

  1. A unique and refreshing POV of NYC….I love how you personalized your experience of the city by linking George Cohan to the series. Very special ~ ! Most EXCELLENT.

  2. I love the perspective that comes across so very well in your images, and the way you seem to cling to the city as though it were an undying romance. Wonderful!

  3. The series is so well done with the statue as a constant. I have come to this late but agree with all that has been said and can only add my appreciation.

  4. I could say the same as Jim and hardly will be able to add anything new to all that has been said here: this story sounds like a true american legend, and the photos of big, space-filling american advertising boards with the silouette of the Yankee Doodle Boy in the foreground make it even more legendary… All in all a wonderful post!

  5. I like that you tried to photograph the magnificence of the American Eagle Outfitters’ ads, Mr Schwartz. But you got a lot of stuff in the way there. I think the hand on the crosswalk signal was trying to tell you something. Sorry, I know you didn’t request my critiquing talents on yourself but maybe you should. (BTW I myself have had quite a storied career on Broadway).

  6. Very cool Aaron! I’ve lived in NYC most of my life and I still walk around looking up at this vertical marvel of a city. I take sightseeing busses and wander around and see things from different perspectives; as an old New Yorker awed by the constant change and growth, as a tourist overwhelmed by the energy and life force of the city.

    Congratulations on this essay. I love seeing things through your eyes.

  7. Aaron, what a great series. Beautiful images, and they say it so clearly: George Cohan is always there.

  8. You give new meaning to the “regards” in your title. You regard Broadway, Times Square, George M. Cohan’s statue and all of NYC with your heart and your eyes and your sixth sense for framing and shooting, and the resultant photos are splendid and divine. My regards to you, A.S. Or in the words of Mr Cohan: “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.”

  9. Dude! Groovy pics. Far out man. Hey the dude in the pics, is he holdin’ a guitar? Is the Naked Cowboy auditioning for Mad Men? Man, that would be somethin’.

    The red pics are real rad man. And the ones with the chicks, groovy man. You got some eye there dude.

    Hey man, is the Fillmore East still around?

    Rock on dude and keep the pics comin’.

  10. Aaron..this is such terrific work..what an eye! My favorite image has to be the first one!..and a great story to pull it all together..Bravo!

  11. Incrediable story & fotos…just keep it coming mister Broadway, Hey they luv´s U there. YES a BIG DITTO 2 what Fudgie says….Congrats on getting it out there…

  12. Aaron, the first image is superb, done under measurement. But all those images are really well done and well thought. To repeat the same model with the whole image alteration gives a tremendous sensation of movement, of life. Congrats.

  13. I was so hoping you’d be doing a story on NYC… You’ve not let us down in anyway. This is such a fresh view though. like nothing I was expecting. Captivating! Excellent prose!
    I love image 2. The way the advert model is looking down…. Superb!

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