This is the view from one of my windows. I took this photo for this blog after reading "On Exhibition" in The Summer Double Issue of New York magazine (print edition).
Sometimes I'm an intentional voyeur, other times I stumble upon quite a view. I've seen my neighbor on the toilet; opaque or frosted windows only work if you close them. I looked down upon full frontal male hipster nudity; why he stood facing his bedroom window to dry himself off is beyond me, but judging from what I saw, he's got nothing to be ashamed of. I've witnessed fellow nude and semi-nude chefs in the kitchen. I've caught the eye of residents banished to the windows to smoke. One neighbor slept in, their bed right under their open window. I found myself back at my window periodically, checking if they were alive. If I were a basketball fan, I could've watched the entire NBA playoffs on another neighbor's flat screen TV.
The last place I lived, I called the police on a Peeping Tom while another neighbor cursed at him in Creole. Before that I lived in a private house. No secret glimpses into another's abode. All our windows faced the same direction. Before that another apartment building. To this day, I can recall the neighbor kids, about my age, playing with their toys by the window so I could see. They weren't at the window with their toys to show me, but to show-off.
Most times I close my window to spare anyone who may be looking the embarrassment. I'm not ashamed, but they may not be comfortable with nudity. Other times I close my window because I don't feel like being bothered. There's an assumption that they are watching. Who's to say they won't want to talk? So I close my shades.
As I walked through Bed-Stuy earlier this week, I saw a woman in her kitchen. She lived on a street-level first floor, corner apartment. You could reach into her window and take the bay leaves off the spice rack. She had to have known that any and everyone could see into her apartment. Maybe she didn't care. All that mattered was she was home. Behind closed doors, with the windows wide open.
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