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Big Apple Books: This is My Eye: A New York Story

I'm so happy to introduce my latest Big Apple Book selection, This is My Eye: A New York Story, written by my Inwood neighbor Neela Vaswani (a hilarious discovery we made thanks to Instagram)! This children's read-along book is a gift to young readers as well as New York City, which is brought to life from a child's view of the world and her surroundings.

Not only is it entertaining to see New York City through the lens of a child, This is My Eye also serves as a reminder that as adults, we miss so much as we rush around from one activity to another. Seeing the world from a child's point of view reminds us to stop and appreciate the little things in life and beauty in the ordinary, whether it's rain drops that look like polka dots or walls that tell stories. Neela's vibrant photography and text captures this beautifully.

Two of my favorite pages

Neela & I at my favorite local bakery, ChocNYC
So happy to include This is My Eye: A New York Story in my Big Apple Books collection. I highly recommend! Lastly, please find some of Neela's tips for capturing the essence of NYC with little ones in tow:
  • Try to catch the "golden hour" together, when light is warm and magical.  An hour-ish after dawn or before dusk, go outside and really notice the light.  Look towards the tops of the buildings which often glow during these times of day--and glow differently depending on their height and angle and material.  Great way to start thinking about light and how it affects photos.  Take some photos of each other, too, in this light; it's wonderful on faces.    
  • Walk across a bridge.  I'm partial to the Brooklyn Bridge, personally.  Wonderful way to get distance shots and to think about perspective.  Great potential shots of the bridge itself--steel and wires and brick and how they all meet in the air.  Water views, boats, cars, pedestrians, clouds.  Crossing a bridge always feels like an adventure!  
  • Staten Island Ferry.  It's free!  To get a shot of the seagull that's in the book, I took the ferry back and forth eight times (four round trips).  So much to see and photograph--lower Manhattan from a distance or close up.  The hills of Staten Island.  The ferry itself (that bright orange!), all those nautical nooks and crannies.  The Statue of Liberty.  The people.  And, of course, the seagulls that always fly alongside the railings.  
  • New York Botanical Garden.  Free on Wednesdays.  Take a nature walk.  Practice close-ups and juxtapositions of color with flowers and leaves and butterflies and beetles.  Lie on your backs in the grass take photos from that position.    
  • Something you can combine with the bridge, ferry, or Botanical Garden, is taking an elevated subway--maybe a line you don't normally use.  That moment of popping above ground is helpful in "training your eyes" to see potential photographs everywhere.  You can discover or rediscover new parts of the city, too.  Pick a stop together, somewhere you've never been.  Get off the subway and wander around taking photos.      
  • Best tip for taking photos with your kids in NYC: your own block in your own neighborhood.  See it with fresh eyes.  Walk it slowly, east, west, north, south, taking in everything.  Look at things you don't normally find interesting or beautiful (like garbage bags or stoops or buzzers or potholes) and try to appreciate and understand them better.  See what's familiar from different angles.  See deeply. 

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