New Year's Eve will be upon us in just two days. To me, New Year's Eve recalls two things: the countdown in Times Square, and fireworks. And just like the "Grand Finale" that closes out so many fireworks displays, I thought I'd close out 2014 with its own Grand Finale of images of the place where that celebratory countdown takes place: Times Square. As a result, I'm abandoning the usual format to present to you these images in the order in which I secured them, each one progressively better than the next, while telling the story behind it.
As my weekly slide feature started to coalesce into one in which the features were roughly aligned with the seasons and holidays, I knew that I'd love to have a photo of Times Square fully aglow in a blaze of neon during heyday as the feature for this year ending issue. Armed with a couple dollars and not a lot of patience, I started hitting ebay in July to secure a shot.
Problem was, others were looking for original slides as well, and while I'm quirky, I can also be quite cheap, and when the bidding for a single shot would start to creep past $10 and approach $20, I'd let the slide go and look out for another. This trend would only repeat itself again and again over a couple of weeks. Eventually, I locked sights onto one 1956 vintage night time Kodachrome slide in particular, and was determined to bring it home, finally securing it for the princely sum of $17.50. Alas, my mission had been accomplished! End of story.
Or maybe not. Before my slide had even been delivered, I was looking through my ebay watch list, only to notice that a "backup" 1956 night time slide I had placed on the list was still pretty cheap as the auction was approaching its close. It was an original 127 format slide, which intrigued me in and of itself, so I put in a modest bid in on it, and came back later to discover that I had indeed won it, and for only $5.20. I surmised the unusual format helped me to win it, as well as it being taken on a less stable film stock than Kodachrome. In any event, I had gone from having no Times Square images to having two original images in less than a week. End of story.
Or maybe not. A month or so elapses, and amid a little spell of boredom, I do another ebay search on "Times Square Slide" and spot an amazing looking night time 1965 vintage Ektachrome beckoning me. It is shot from a farther back perspective than the 1956 shot, and shows less fading than my 127 "bargain shot." A stroke of determination sweeps over me, and I battle it out, finally coming away with this mid-sixties beauty for more than the first two shots combined, spending $23.37. Ouch! Okay, at least now I have the shot I really want (even if it is Ektachrome), and I can finally put the matter to rest, keeping my long standing mantra that "fortune comes in threes." At long last, end of story.
Or maybe not. One of my favorite sellers on ebay, from whom I've just purchased an absolutely STUNNING shot that would become Kodachrome Classic Monday 25, puts the piece de resistance up for sale, an incredibly exposed Kodachrome of 1958 Times Square at dusk that is literally screaming at me to snap it up. I expect that I may be in for a real dog fight, but I put in a proxy bid of over $27 for the item, holding on, and hoping for the best. When the gavel falls, I walk away with this incredible image for an amazing $9.40! I claim my victory and elect to retire from Times Square slide collecting while I'm ahead, feeling confident that I'll never get a better slide than this, and happy to have the other great examples to round out the selection. Finally... END OF STORY!
Or maybe not?!?