For one thing, I seem to be unfashion-
able. Ascending the stairs one evening
at my club at Princeton, an upper-class-
man unbuttoned the top button on my bla-
zer, announcing that we didn't do that,
in the club. Another, confiding to me
in his dressing gown in the club library
one evening, spoke with sorrow at his dis-
covery that my father was "in industry."
They were pleading, Sock me, as if to say
where they were from. But I liked New York.
Saul Leiter is to photography as Arthur
Miller is to the stage. Here is a picture
of two undoubted fathers, finally going
home one evening in the city of New York.
Are they Willy Loman? Are they laughable?
But then one learns, Loman was not laugh-
able. So are they, Stoical, comrades in
certainty and respect for each other, in
the bourgeois carousel of American pros-
perity after the destruction of the world?
Are there snarky little fillips of modern-
ity: John Kennedy's My father always told
me, businessmen were sons of bitches, for
example, as American steel slid into its
uncompetitive demise? A Kennedy, on greed?
American steel. I look at this picture,
and I hear Miller tell me, all the slings
and arrows did miss the mark Leiter found.
If, after de Sica in Ladri di bicic-
lette, Leiter comes wonderfully close
to capturing our post-War father, he
is our grittier Jacques Demy from Les
parapluies de Cherbourg in saving for
us the brilliants of the city - what
our warranted jam-producer calls, the
little scarlets. Here they are, the
heels of the matron turning east at
the intersection, the compression we
somehow cherish of city life, a mash-
up of fumes and distillations of spec-
tacular vitality. Reek to me, New York.
1923 - 2013