English people in New York, New York

An englishman in new york, Jason Bell. Jamie Niven, Sotheby's

[ .via the Guardian]

Here it’s out in the open. In England there’s more self-deprecation. I grew up with a man who was extremely self-deprecating so I saw that at first hand. You never took yourself seriously, even though to be a movie star who made over a 100 movies you had to be very competitive. I miss the United Kingdom a lot. More than anything I miss the English sense of humour. It’s very different from any other. The funniest times that I spend are watching British comedies on television”

Jamie Niven, chairman of Sotheby’s

New York, Jason Bell, Guy Harrington

“I first came to New York in 1964. I travelled by boat from Southampton. As we neared the East Coast we ran into a tempest. I was okay but many passengers were violently sick. There were piles of vomit all over the deck and offended deckhands would come and say, ‘Is this yours?’ I thought, ‘No, but if it was what am I supposed to do?’

We came through the typhoon to be confronted with that amazing view of the Statue of Liberty as we sailed under the Verrazano Bridge. It was mind-blowingly moving and you felt as if you were the next batch of immigrants. 1964 was the year of the Beatles and wherever you went people would ask, ‘So you must know John?’ I’d say, ‘Of course. Yes, personally.”

Simon Schama, professor of art history, Columbia University

When it came out a month ago, i was reminded of my old enchantment with the Empire state- anyone knowing a bit of New York from the revolution in the 18th C, the jazz- then hippie- years, the buzz of dirty disco and money in the late 80s.. anyone would have caught a bit of its gritty fairy dust.

This time, it was via reflection and nostalgia; David Bell’s portraits of people from away living in New York. Above are my favourite pics (skyscraper and subway- but of course!).

And very nicely, also the quotes i found funniest.


I started with a blank canvas and was amazed by the number of Englishmen and women who have made such a large impact on the cultural life of the city. And amidst all the questions about why people had come here and what they had left behind, I learnt a little bit more about what it means to be English, what it means to be a New Yorker, and where the two intersect.
– David Bell


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