Budinoff Photography

creative images since 1965

A 1981 Spring Afternoon In and Around Washington Square Park

When I was serving on active duty in the United States Air Force in the spring of 1981 I traveled back home to New York on leave from Omaha Nebraska. I spent a day with two great friends in the city and a few hours in and around Washington Square Park. There were 36 exposures of Plus-X Kodak film (125 ASA) in my Nikon FTN (50mm) then and it is still my favorite single roll of film exposures to date. I’ll not include all, only 18 of my favorites in chronological order with a comment for each. Many of the photos are of a street performer named Tony Vera. Tony moved to Los Angeles long ago and has a web page. To learn about Tony’s life check out his “About” page at http://tonyvera.com/sample-page-2/

001 – A street view showing autos, pedestrians, and store fronts.

 

004 – Ice Cream Shop display window.

 

006 – Dog dressed up as Pete the Pup from Little Rascals with two other characters.

 

010 – Tony Vera’s curious gathering crowd with the World Trade Center towers in the background.

 

015 – Tony had balancing skills too and was safety conscious, see the fire extinguisher?

 

020 – The fire commences, note posture and flame on the stick balanced on Tony’s nose.

 

022 – Tony also had a friends in the crowd to create conflict, see the guy starting to get in his face and his friend restraining?

 

028 – Chug-a-lug some lighter fluid, aim it at your flame, triangulate to your co-worker and blow like hell. It was photographic magic for me!

 

034 – That was enough of Washington Square Park, this is me thinking it was time to find a place to eat.

002 – People at and walking by the Rivera Café, 225 West 4th Street.

 

005 - Elders and others basking in spring sunshine in Washington Square Park.

 

007 – Jazz performers playing to a distracted crowd.

 

011 – Tony preparing his pyrotechnics from rope and cans of Ronsonol lighter fluid.

 

018 – A young girl from the crowd is invited to be part of Tony’s act which includes an ice cream sandwich as the crowd grows!

 

021 – Tony posing for my intrusive camera, he had it all going on that day!

 

024 – Time for some flaming blowing, he is a half a second from letting it blow! Note the expressions on the people watching and twin towers in the background.

 

030 – A last staged fight with Tony’s co-workers and it was over. A great show by Tony Vera!

 

035 – Bread and cheese sounded good.

It took some time for me to identify Tony as the street performer but this post helped much: https://pavementperformers.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/tony-vera-washington-square-park-legend/

Based on Tony’s website he moved to LA and continued his street performer act on Venice Beach. He currently is a video journalist in LA. Check out his web page at http://tonyvera.com/

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