Jazzed Up NYC Skyline

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

The skyline of the city frames smooth toe-tapping jazz

With blue notes high and low in syncopated beat

The Freedom Tower’s solo is a complex rhythmic call

For all surrounding scrapers to respond in varied styles

But a cruise ship passes by like a strident brassy blast

And eclipses big band’s swing and its riffing bebop sounds

Till disappearing past, the river’s ceaseless current flow

Muffles the final coda as jazz notes melt away


While some view the skyscrapers in the New York City skyline as familiar and identifiable structures, I imagine something different — random musical notes peeling off from the irregular heights of buildings with their ubiquitous indoor cubicles.

From Hoboken, NJ, the view of the city across the Hudson River has a storybook magical quality. The buildings with spires and rooftops—flat and conical, square and round—rising from the riverbank amaze with their forms. A crane or two punctuate the sky, signs of ongoing constructions that will redefine the ever-changing skyline. Overhead, helicopters fly, and fronting the buildings, an enormous cruise ship, a massive floating hotel with luxury amenities, travels past on its pleasure voyage to ports of call.

Using a zoom lens with different focal ranges, I was able to capture diverse ways of seeing the skyline, from up-close huge to miniature toy story.

Reviewing the images on my computer brought to mind a jazz ensemble with its stylish contrapuntal rhythms interrupted abruptly by the unexpected Regent cruise ship dominating the scene on its northward route like a trumpet or saxophone with its swelling sound.

All images were shot with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 Pro; The up close NY skyline at 75mm, 1/200 at f/11, ISO 400; the cruise ship at 44mm, 1/200 at f/11, ISO 400; the distant skyline at 28mm, 1/200 at f/11, ISO 400.


Mildred’s books Winter Garden and Seedhead and St. Agnes Public Library Exhibit are available from MagCloud in print or digital form at most affordable prices.