@thehundreds @van_styles 13thwitness
July 23rd 2014, New York City
Ok, ok, I admit it. The main reason I wanted to go to Steet Meet NY was to meet Van Styles and 13th Witness. When I first heard Van Styles and The Hundreds were hosting another street meet, this time on the East Coast and within my grasp in NYC, I knew I was going before I could hit the tiny like button on Van’s Instagram feed. When 13th Witness confirmed on his feed that he was definitely going, in my head I mentally checked out from the rest of life, in my head I was already there…
Cut out of work early to head to NYC. Meet Van, 13th, and a large group of creative like-minded individuals, I could deal with that. In life you get limited opportunities, and when something like this comes your way YOU GO because it might not happen again. I knew of Van Styles before Instagram, but he and 13th were the first 2 photographers I followed on IG and have been a source of tremendous inspiration, so I knew this was going to be a special treat.
The day of the meet I left work, hitched a ride to Union, got on the train and headed toward that place where everything seems possible, New York City. When I stepped out of Grand Central it was hot. That piercing, stagnant heat that only a city of New York’s magnitude can provide. It didn’t phase me though, I had other things on my mind. By the time I made it to The Hundreds store on Grand in SoHo I was literally soaked, dripping with sweat, but I barely noticed as soon as I rounded the corner and saw 30-40 kids already outside the shop. That feeling of excitement that is so hard for me to capture these days was creeping up.
All ages, races, genders, rich, poor, everyone was represented. I’m guessing we ended up with a group close to 100. From young kids decked out in all the latest streetwear, to older guys in collared polos, all with every type of camera imaginable. Film, DSLR, GoPros, iPhones, everyone already had them out and were snapping feverishly. Van Styles was behind the counter in The Hundreds store talking lenses with some kid who looked so excited he could have been talking to Jesus himself. Everyone surrounded the front of the store to take a group photo, not even 10 minutes in we were already completely blocking traffic. It was going to be a good day. Everyone waits for 13th to arrive…
13th Witness arrives. Oooohs and aaaaahs from the crowd, a kid in a Supreme tshirt slowly lifts his jaw off the hot sidewalk. More group photos, then we form like Voltron with Van and 13th at the head, and head out towards Broadway. We literally shut down traffic on Broadway. Pause. We shut down traffic on Broadway. Kids are snapping photos throughout the street and on both sides of the sidewalk. Tourists are stopping and asking me whats going on. Everyone’s heads turn as our massive entourage rumbles through the city. All the while everyone shooting photos from every conceivable angle of every object and every human or animal that has the luck or misfortune of crossing our path. By the time we reach Chinatown and I see 13th Witness reach into a bucket and pull out a frog the size of a guinea pig for a photo opp, my head is about to explode from over-stimulation. We roll on, photo after photo, block after block, hour after hour. From Chinatown all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. No drama, no bickering, no fighting, everyone just there to do what they love. Take pictures.
Van Styles and 13th Witness were amazing, posing for thousands of photos, as well as taking I’m sure close to that many as well. The whole time I felt we were all in one large group, not a group with a Van and 13th sub-group. I had the opportunity to speak with both of them briefly and it was just like talking to the homies. No arrogance whatsoever, and I could tell both of them were having just as much fun as we were! It was a sight to behold, photographers completely overrunning the streets of New York City. I would like to personally thank The Hundreds, Van Styles, and 13th Witness for hosting such a special day, and bringing the photographic community together like that. Without you guys an event like that wouldn’t have been possible. I had a blast, see y’all at the next meet!