The other day, I was walking along W. 10th Street toward Greenwich Avenue, thinking about the weekend ahead.
It was one of those Fridays, on the cusp of a long holiday weekend, where everything felt sunnier, the sky was unfathomably bluer, and after what seemed like a winter that lasted for forever, everyone around me had a different pep in their step. A palpable lightness to them.
Just as I was crossing the intersection near a now shuttered Rosemary's Italian restaurant, I happened to look up as a single balloon caught my eye, yellow or gold perhaps in color — floating higher and higher north, carried by an early summer wind. Behind it, more balloons followed, floating along like a lackadaisical group of birds, meandering in a playground of blue. Immediately, I imagined a child crying somewhere, perhaps sad about their lost balloons. Or a shop keeper, cursing the fact he just lost inventory. But then, as I stopped in my tracks, neck craned to see where the balloons were floating off to, I realized how many other people also stopped to see what I was looking at — now suddenly invested in the fate of these balloons. For a fleeting moment, we weren't looking at the ground, speeding ahead or checking our phones for the millionth time that day — no, we were struck, breath simultaneously held, curious where the balloons were off to now.
For anyone else who also grew up in the 90s, you'll recognize and hopefully appreciate the following quote from perhaps an overly saccharine Sandra Bullock movie — Hope Floats. I'm quoting it now because it popped into my head at the moment, at the corner of W. 10th and Greenwich, and it's stuck in my head since, given everything that's happened in the past few months.
"Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it is the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.”
Yes, things look different and frightening right now — beginnings usually are — but I hope we all can give hope a fighting chance to float up.
A note about these photos: If you call last year's Funny Face shoot, Grant actually shot a few frames on film with his Rolleiflex camera. When I saw those balloons floating the other day and the smiles it created around me on W. 10th Street, it made me think back to this day in February when I toted a whole slew of helium filled beauties through Washington Square Park. People sure loved us that day.