When I am in Manhattan, I usually go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday morning, then go to a good deli--Marche on Madison--and get some food to take to the park. Somehow, it seems, I always end up sitting on the same bench. A couple of years ago, as I was finishing lunch, I looked across Central Park and saw a tall building with two towers. "That is where Mia Farrow lives," I thought. I remembered that Woody Allen lived directly across the park and that the two of them would talk on the phone looking at one another through telescopes. "This must be Woody Allen's building that I am sitting in front of," I ruminated as I got up to throw away my trash. And as I stood, I bumped into a small fellow walking on the sidewalk. It was Woody Allen. I am a fan, of course, but I do not like to bother people, so I said simply, "Oh, sorry." He looked at me through those heavy glasses, mouth slightly ajar, moving away without speaking. He was with his daughter/wife, Soon-Yi.
The next day, Sunday afternoon, I was going back to the apartment in which I was staying on the Upper East Side. Manhattan is beautiful then, like a quiet museum, like a movie set without a crew, lonely, deserted. I had crossed Park Avenue and was heading east, and as I turned a corner, I ran into a lone couple. We three were the only people to be seen. It was Wood Allen and Soon-Yi. They remembered me, it seemed, and began moving away like crabs stranded on a beach. A stalker, no doubt. "No, no!" I wanted to shout out, but I only moved along.
I told that story for years. This weekend, it received an update. It was Sunday, and I had just finished a visit to the Met (not Saturday, I know, but this was a holiday weekend), and had just finished lunching in the park. And walking back to my subway stop, I once again ran into Woody and Soon-Yi. I had a Leica M7 slung over my shoulder, and I thought about the F Blog. Still, I do not like to bother people and am not enamored by simple fame. Suddenly, though, I turned and followed to snap some photos as they walked. I felt creepy, like Paparazzi, but it was only from behind, I told myself. As I walked along, however, I had the impulse to photograph them face to face. Just as I caught them at the corner, however, the batteries in my camera went dead. I thought of all the purist who buy only mechanical cameras like the Leica MP. - text and photo ©William Schmidt