Photo of the day: EARLY SUNDAY MORNING IN HARLEM – 125th Street, 9am. This church usherette in her nurses uniform ignores the sinful life of late night Harlem night clubbing portrayed by the great Harlem muralist Franco (Gaskin) the Great as she heads to volunteer at her local Baptist church. It has been a long standing tradition to have nurses serve as usherettes in gospel services just in case one of God’s flock feels the spirit to such a height that they may pass out and faint. Many of my European guests have been bemused by the sight of a nurse greeting you at a church’s entrance, kindly and warmly with a smile. “God bless this Sunday morning, right this way..”
“…I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God….” – Psalms 84: l0b
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Benjamin Franklin
Photo of the day: THE HIDDEN ART TREASURES OF TIJUANA, MEXICO – (Part of my new ‘Tijuana Tuesday’ series). Most tourists know Tijuana, Mexico for it’s allure of inexpensive souvenirs, leather goods, bountiful food & drink, the colorful streets and the bargain ready store keepers. Most tourists arrive after the stores officially open at 10 am, which, since it’s Mexico…means 10:30, 10:45, 11:00 in the land of ‘mañana’. Other tourists choose to arrive at sundown just for a night of drinking and partying. But what happens if you arrive early in the morning instead?
Last week on my visit to Tijuana, I decided to visit the main shopping thoroughfare Revolution Avenue (or Avenida Revolución) early, taking advantage of my body clock being three hours ahead on New York time to photograph the colorful buildings. Believe me, they don’t ‘do mornings’ – I was practically the only one on the main street. But, being so early reveals a hidden treasure most tourists don’t get to see – the wonderful murals painted on the steel gates of the closed store fronts! Just as New York’s Harlem 125th Street has painted murals of African history and heritage done by 85 year old artist Franco the Great only to be seen before the stores open at 10am and lift and hide the gates.
The same wonderful hidden treasures are revealed here in Tijuana in the early morning hours too. The art styles on the steel gates range from pop culture references, traditional Mexican folk lore to street graffiti. As I wondered down the sunny avenue in wonderment at all the wonderful colors, old architecture and design, I didn’t even realize I was photographing a recurring theme of the steel gates so I didn’t get to photograph them all, but these are some that just fascinated me. There is such beauty in the rustic old buildings, you never really see their old age, rust or need of care. The imaginative designs, the vintage signs, the brightly colored walls, the charming old cast iron gates and the swaying palm trees create a colorful illusion of charming perfection. How wonderful to see no chain stores and glaring modern electronic billboards, instead just “art”, however you interpret “art” to be – it is all around you. Then as 10:30-ish rolls around, you start to hear the clankering of the metal gates, one by one, being lifted up as the stores keepers prepare their shops for the day, only to reveal more colorful treasures inside!
“Tijuana makes me happy.”