Life in New York: Dispatches from Occupy Wall Street and the NYC Subway

Posted on
Oct 13, 2011

Today’s guest post is from my friend John Doherty. Rand and I met John last spring in Boston – right before he was about to move to New York. Since then, I’ve been keeping up with his life through his twitter stream and updates to Google Plus. His insights and observations are always interesting, but it’s his photos that really fascinate me. In an era where every kid with a Canon SLR thinks they’re a photographer, John is creating art with his camera phone. You gotta respect that.


I am a fairly new New Yorker, having moved here in the middle of June from Philadelphia, and before that I was living in Switzerland for a while. Having grown up in small-city Virginia, I have been used to fairly homogeneous surroundings (I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m saying that’s what it is). Since I’ve moved to New York though, I’ve become enthralled with the variety of people around! I started this Instagram pictures series a few months ago on Google+, and Geraldine loved them so much that she asked me to write this guest post for her.

Some of the subway photos may come across as creepy, but I think they give us an interesting view into the world of New York City. The shots of the protesters at Occupy Wall Street will hopefully help put a face to the people that you see on the news.

Occupy Wall Street

The protesters down in Liberty Square were peaceful when I went down there on the afternoon of October 8th. Shouts were rising from back in the square and music was playing, but everyone was calm and peaceful. Here are a few shots of what I saw.

The American Dream is the American Plight

"The American Dream is the American Plight."

And that government, of the people …

"... And that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." - Abraham Lincoln

“Everyone pays their tax” March

"Everyone pays their tax, everyone but Goldman Sachs" was their cry.

Who would Jesus foreclose on?

Protesters and NYPD marched alongside each other. The sign says "Who would Jesus foreclose on?"


Life on the NYC Subway

The Reading Girl

I saw this girl reading in the subway late on evening. She was first standing by the door with her book in her hand, looking around sheepishly in between times of being engrossed in her book. Then she sat down and I noticed that she was actually sounding out the words to herself as she was reading. I was quickly overcome with how beautiful of a scene it was, so I had to take a photo. Living in New York, it can sometimes become easy for me to be disillusioned with a lot of the world I see around me, but this girl restored my faith in humanity. Read on, girl!

The Suit Reading

I’m often overcome with curiousity about the vast differences between so many of the people I sit across from. When I start my journey in Union Square I usually get a very homogenous crowd, with guys like this dressed in suits reading the newspaper. When I get down to where I live, it is a predominately black crowd, which I love.

The diversity keeps the city beautiful.

The Elderly Gentleman With the Hat

I frequently hear about the death of the newspaper, and how the newspaper is increasingly going online. On the New York subways, however, I frequently see people reading the newspaper on their way into work. I happened to catch this gentleman reading his newspaper on the way into Manhattan in the morning. But people of all styles read the newspapers in the city in the morning. As much as life changes, life stays the same.

The End of an Error

This poor chap slept, leaning on the rail, with his bag tucked under his arm. The bag’s message, which is hard to decipher in the photo, contained a picture of George W. Bush and stated “The End of an Error”.

Are you kidding me? That’s hilarious. Only in New York.

“Mommy, when’s Mothers Day and Father’s Day?

These two were rather rambunctious on the subway, which normally annoys me, but the little guy stole the show when he turned to his exhausted mother and said “Mommy, when’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?” She replied, “Not till next year”, sounding absolutely exhausted. “Ok”, said the little guy, “I’ll make you a card next year then.”



That’s it! I hope this has given you a different look into the people and happenings of New York City. If you want, you can follow me on Instagram (dohertyjf) and keep updated on them as I post!

Leave a Comment

  • This is great, I love your Subway series!

    • Thanks Bekka! I’m glad you enjoy it!

  • This made me miss NYC so much!!
    Love all of the pictures and captions

    • Thanks Kizzle! You should come back and visit!

  • Amazing stuff John. So glad you posted these for the rest of us to enjoy.

    • Thanks Rand. It’s such a great city to live and work in. See you guys here soon!

  • Favorite one is learning-to-read girl. Did you talk to anyone at OWS BTW?

    • Thanks Senor Sexbrows (I love your name btw). I did talk to a couple people at OWS and also a police officer standing guard. It was interesting to hear both perspectives.

  • NYCSubwayGirl

    wonderful photo journalism. These are the people I see every day.

    • They are beautiful, right? It truly is the diversity that keeps the city beautiful.

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