12.23.2009

Manhattan Christmas Eve (xii)

We walked back north along Church Street then onto Chambers by which time we decided to take the subway again, back to Penn Station. We would then walk to B&H. Sue was sure we could visit the store and still make a 1:15 train back to Long Island.

When we walked into B&H a little before noon and the place was humming. Every piece of photographic equipment from the most basic point-and-click to the state of the art professional stuff is there along with video and audio and lighting and all the accessories. Lots of hands-on encouraged by lots of clerks. Seemed to be a one clerk for every customer.

Its low ceiling is made even more so by the conveyor belt running continuously ferrying bright green boxes filled with just purchased merchandise, making its way from the floors above or below to the front counter where it will be matched with the buyer who has just paid for the item at one counter and steps to the next, hands over the receipt and is out the door. Next!

Lee knew what he wanted, things he could have purchased through the B&H’s catalog as he had done after extensive shopping for a new camera earlier in the year. He’s a big fan of B&H, perhaps because of the depth of its inventory, or its no-nonsense straight forward delivery of product, or just that its total offering is so very cool, accentuated by the caliber of its customers. Taking a little time to visit the actual store on Christmas Eve was on Lee’s to-do-when-in-Manhattan list. He needed a lens cap and a camera bag. He had both and we were back on the street by 12:30, having had a taste of the-day-before shopping and we now on our way out of the city.

[an essay in 13 parts from Pablo Notes, 2001]

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