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  Field Notes From

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ZipUSA On AssignmentArrows

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From Author

David Rakoff

ZipUSA On Assignment

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From Photographer

Catherine Karnow

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs courtesy David Rakoff (top) and by David Dunai



Field Notes From Author
David Rakoff

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    Trying to absorb an impression of a town for a story in a short amount of time is not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially when you're shy like me. But thank God for photographer Catherine Karnow! She was in Greenwich before I was, so by the time I was ready to start my assignment Catherine had already compiled a fantastic list of contacts for me. She truly is a photojournalist in the best sense of the word. She just knows how to talk to people and has a voracious appetite for information. This story couldn't have happened without her. Everywhere I went and everyone I spoke with could somehow be traced back to Catherine's amazing research.

    Going into such an affluent town, I was all set to experience some degree of snobbery or Marie Antoinette cluelessness. Whenever I'm about to encounter society with a capital "S," the young socialist in me kicks in and the class anger comes out. But that was as bad as it got on this assignment. The people I spoke to were not all wealthy by any means, and those who were rich were cognizant of their privilege and what was going on in their town. I found that very impressive.

    I've lived in New York City for the past 21 years, so for me Greenwich was a glimpse into a kind of America I thought had entirely vanished. It's very beautiful, comfortable, and authentic in a weird kind of way. There were a few times when I was walking along Greenwich Avenue, the main road, and I actually felt like I was trapped in the middle of a John Singer Sargent painting or an Andy Hardy movie. Signs were posted around town for a swap meet, kids were getting their hair cut by a barber, and crossing guards were on the streets.
To be in the presence of so much that represents Americana was somewhat extraordinary.


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