I took this photo from a plane window as I was about to land in Newark, NJ, last year, and had it on my desktop at work for a few weeks. While I view it as majestic, most of the comments I received were lukewarm and inquisitive as to why I would bother to display it at all. To each their own.
For me, the image speaks to my earliest memories of rumbling west on the NJ Turnpike on the way to my grandparent’s house in Jersey City, my dad behind the wheel and my mother chain-smoking Viceroys. It was about a 10 mile trip through a still industrial wonderland, or it seemed like a wonderland to me as I sat squished between my sisters in the back of the Comet station wagon.
I’m probably not explaining my perspective very well, so I’ll let the poet Carl Sandburg help me out.
Prayers of Steel
Lay me on an anvil, O God. Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar. Let me pry loose old walls. Let me lift and loosen old foundations. Lay me on an anvil, O God. Beat me and hammer me into a steel spike. Drive me into the girders that hold a skyscraper together. Take red-hot rivets and fasten me into the central girders. Let me be the great nail holding a skyscraper through blue nights into white stars.