On the morning of Sept. 11 that thought was gone — New York City had the blues. The New York City issue now became clear to me. I contacted Wendell Holmes and we set up the cover shot for Monday, Oct. 8, at the Fulton Street Pier in Brooklyn Heights so the background would be the dramatic backdrop of Lower Manhattan without the World Trade Center towers. The shoot went off without a hitch.
To complete the New York issue we found ourselves in New York again in November for a group shot with the great skyline behind them like the cover shot with the Holmes Brothers. We got 120 e-mail replies from musicians who would be there on Nov. 12. At 9 a.m. that day, an airplane crashed in Rockaway Beach and New York was shut down, closing all bridges and tunnels. The photo was taken with only the 31 people who were able to get there.
Back home in the Motor City I was besieged by New York musicians who couldn't make the shoot and asked if we could reshoot the photo. They felt and I agreed that New York had more to show than 31 musicians. On Dec. 16, I made my fourth and final 2001 trip to New York; this time the magic happened. Seventy-one people and one dog made the photo, and with the breathtaking skyline behind them my New York story was done.
To see these photos of New York visit www.bigcitybluesmag.com or pick up
a Dec./Jan '02 copy of Big City Blues Magazine or at the Tangent Gallery in Detroit until Jan. 20 (313-875-7302). Robert Jr. Whitall is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Big City Blues