2.1 Writing as “Recording”: Watching People Interact

For this assignment, you’re invited to think of writing as a form of recording—sort of like a substitute video camera for capturing the real world as you see it, hear it, smell it, etc.

Over the weekend, I want you to go sit in a public place—the cafeteria, the Atrium, a park, a busy street—and I want you to watch people.  Specifically, I want you to watch how people interact with each other and the space they’re in.  What’s the space look like?  How crowded is it? How fast do people move?  Do they sit, stand, crouch, walk, talk, stare?  How much do they interact with each other?  How do they interact with the built environment (sidewalks, curbs, doors, benches, etc.)?  What’s the weirdest thing you notice people doing?  What’s the most common thing you notice?

Take close notes and post them here by next Monday night.

15 thoughts on “2.1 Writing as “Recording”: Watching People Interact”

  1. My observations from Grand Central train station: Grand central terminal is huge, and I’ve gotten lost a couple of times. The atmosphere was very busy and somewhat overcrowded. Little if any social interaction. Some people holding phone conversations, some in a sort of rush, seemingly late for school or work, some tourists that are expectedly taking photos of the wall art, and lots of police. If you’re in no rush to get anywhere, your best bet would be not to stand in the way. One thing I found to be weird was the amount of eye contact people made with me. Some were smiling, some weren’t. Sitting on the bench, I started ‘fake’ texting on my phone to avoid having to talk to or look at people, as I started to get a weird and awkward vibe from all the loud silence. Before I left, i saw some Instagram girls but I didn’t say hi, because one of them probably had a boyfriend.

  2. Date – September 3 ,Sunday
    Time – 1:05pm
    Location: Deli on ********** street and ******** ave
    Notes: subjects have been moving in and out of the store consist, spending the minimum of 2 minutes and max of 18 minutes inside. One of the most common traits the test subject share is browsing the shelves for a few minutes. I could guess on why they choose to do it base on personal experience but I’m going to choose not to for additional space. Followed by that they would bring the item to the counter by either waiting or not until they get to the front and pay for their item. Some of the subjects order food right away once they enter the store and would wait till it was done to pay for it at the counter. Some of the subjects came in groups that seem familiar with one and the other and proceeded to interact with one and other on line or just near the shelves. Most of the subjects on line pull out their phone until they get to the front. One particular subject started a conversation with another on line. They were discussing the hurricane that has been going on about. This is most of the data that I obtain in the deli for the 30 minutes I was in it. I didn’t want to disturb the owner so I left.

  3. September 4, 2017 I attended Labor Day at Eastern Parkway for the first time. My cousin and my brother attended with me and I could see the excitement in their face. I was a bit nervous and skeptical about going but I decided that there was nothing to do and plus there was a place near by that served the best jerk chicken and rice. As soon as we got there it was like a burst of energy and the aura of the placed was uplifting and euphoric. People dancing some singing and others observing like I was. The way they represent their culture is inspiring and I felt like I was apart of it. As I walked around and monitored everyone they seemed happy, smiles on everyones faces and no one seeking trouble they just wanted to have a good time. People would walk by and smile at you as if they know who you are.. and in a sort of way i felt comfortable to be there as if it was one big family. I enjoyed my time and I could honestly say everyone there did too.

  4. On Sunday I went to Seaview Park witness something well I will say beautiful. Friends and families from different nationalities having BBQ inside the park. Everyone had there country flag because of the fact Labor Day is on Monday. When I walked inside the park the smell of Jerk Chicken and burgers came to my senses came first. Also with loud noise of Soca music playing. When I sat down on the park bench my attention went to watching this one area of the park. Where kids are playing soccer, women dancing to music and laughing, old men playing a serious game of dominos, and teenager taking pictures with there phones. I found what i viewed at the park beautiful because many families of different nationalities came together in one places to celebrate there country.

  5. Times Square, 42nd street on Sunday at 11pm seemed pretty busy. I specifically went to go pick someone up from work but then decided to do my homework assignment. I sat down on the red steps and I noticed that no matter what time in the day it is, times square will always be rush hour. I watched people move back and fourth, in and out stores, and others who sat on the steps to take a moment to realize how beautiful the city really is. I’ve heard the saying “the city that never sleeps” but sitting on the crowded red steps made me believe in that saying and wonder, why? Why is everyone downtown active even when its late out. Truth is that 42nd street is filled with tourist and the best time to realize how stunning the city lights look is late at night. One thing that was very weird were the people shopping at the stores so late. I used to think that all shopping stores close by 9pm but times square proved that wrong. People are always interacting with each other downtown, whether it’s taking a picture of a random family or just asking for directions. People are always going to interact with each other. The most coming thing I noticed were people taking pictures. Overall what I saw downtown was beautiful and very inspiring and I would recommend anyone who hasn’t taken a moment to view that part of the city to check it out.

  6. Place : On 7 train headed toward my stop, Junction Blvd
    Time: Late night (8:30 P.M)
    Date: Aug 31

    The first thing that I always notice when I’m in the train is that the atmosphere always feel very heavy, and full of stress. The train car is almost filled to the brim with agitated construction workers, and exhausted people just looking to get home after a long day of work (or in my case, college). One reason why I dread being on the train compared to the bus is since there are more seats on the train, there will obviously be more people on it leading on me having to deal with even more emotions emanating from everyone. A lot of the times it’s really hard to be to be on the train during rush hour because there’s a lot of negativity and tension in the air, and I can feel all of it because I’m good at reading people’s emotions. Most of the people on the train are sitting down, and the lucky ones who have to awkwardly stand for god know how long (like me) sluggishly move throughout the space pushing without regard whenever the door opens at the next stop. Most people on the train were staring intensely into their phone, or zoned out listening to music. Sometimes, I find those unique few who are actually reading a book but those type of people are rare, especially at this time. The weirdest thing I have to say that I saw when I took my photo is that there’s a slim man in the middle, wearing sweatpants with a cigarette in his mouth (that he had just taken out). Seeing how he can’t wait to savor the ashes from all that nicotine “goodness” shows how smoking can take control of your life. This poor man couldn’t even wait to get out of the train to destroy his lungs, and health but instead chose to do it anyway. Thankfully, he didn’t light it.

  7. Posting for Saniel Ramirez:

    When you look at the busy street of Fordham located in the Bronx , you see a lot of people , and I mean a lot of people. It is a very busy street with a lot of different stores that fit your interest . Such as fast food or clothes , etc. That’s why a lot of people go to Fordham. Mostly there are people walking at a normal pace but during the day like around 1-4pm is where it gets really crowded. This is because once again , all of the stores that are a available for people to shop. It is sort of like downtown at sometimes. The most common thing I notice is a lot of people are on their phones and talking on the phone . There is also a lot of people sitting down because on Fordham there are a lot of bus stops and some train stations. It’s packed and people have to walk in groups sometimes . Traffic is heavy during the day so sometimes the bus takes a little bit longer to get to the stop. I notice there is a lot of honking and road rage. No one really interacts with each other unless they know each other , everyone goes on with their day.

  8. Posting for Wayne:

    9/3/17, Walking in the park, in an in habituated land filled with cellular nomads going to and fro. Watching people laugh, cry, argue, curse and talk about random topics and ideas, seeing their imagination work while listening to their voices caught me and set me on a cloud and it was as if I was above everything, everybody aimlessly looking into their brains seeing life saving ideas being created, and boyfriends being broke up with and thoughts of murder because why is this weird guy looking at me and thoughts of not being good enough. Wishful thinking I asume. And off the cloud I came to realize how similar we are I our differences and different we are in our similarities. We’re all the same just in different shades of clay.

  9. Posting for Katrine:

    Today, Monday, September 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm I went to go sit at a park right across the street from Yankee Stadium. The park was not really crowded. It had a few people walking around, working out, eating on the benches, talking, and different groups of men playing soccer. I must admit that the park was very clean, especially where I was sitting ( on the bleachers). This park has the track lines where the people who are working out are running around it and it also has a small space in the back where people who want to do push ups on bars and stuff can do that. Everywhere I looked there were people interacting with each other. Whether it was on the phone or it was with the environment. The built environment was being used in a very common way. For instance, the soccer players were playing on the field ( which is at the center of the park) and they would spit on the grass countless times. There were sprinklers on so most of the people that I saw working out used that as a point of contact to give their bodies some sort of hydration. To be honest the most common thing I noticed here was the people working out because I usually see that even on the street or when I’m on the bus and someone is having their morning run right next to it. The weirdest thing I could say I saw was a guy who was using his bike to run on the tracks. I couldn’t really wrap my head around why he would use the tracks as a place to ride his bike if people were running on it but I guess it’s something normal to him. Oh, a lot of people had headphones on as well, even the ones who were working out.

  10. So on Friday I had went to a 24hr Mc Donald’s early in the morning around 4 and decided to observe around. I notice the only kind of people who comes to mc Donald’s around that time are people who choose to hangout until the next day/ under the influence/ or just hungry and wants a bite to eat. As i look around the place is not as packed for obvious reasons being that its so early. The people in the restaurant was to busy eating and not really paying attention to anything around them and when they was done they left. Most of the workers seem to not like being there around that time which is understandable but pull through because its a job that they want to get done. So the place was pretty dull and quiet which is the opposite from how it is in the mornings and afternoons

  11. After being dismissed from this class, I headed towards the train station to go back home. Once I reach my stop, I then take the Q47. In line I waited a good few 10 minutes for my bus to arrive and thankfully I was the 6th person in line. It was horrid to see how much people have to take the Q47 the moment I turned around to check the line length, it was massively long. Once my bus arrived I chose to sit in a spot near the door exit because I knew I did not want to struggle to get through a crowded bus the moment I have to get out. For me, being in a crowded public transportation makes me feel awkward. I worry about how to act and I don’t know what to do with myself so I just choose to be on my phone the entire ride to save myself. Halfway through my journey home, I got tired of looking through my phone a lot so I faced my fears for a moment to look up and observe the people around me. The first thing I saw the moment I looked up was a dog in a book bag being carried by its owner. It got me by surprise since you barely ever see a pet in public transportation. The owner seemed to be relaxed with herself as she was standing the entire ride in a crowded bus. Just seeing the dog there brought so much joy and comfort to me, it really eased up the mood. I then saw that some older lady, who was next to the owner, petting the dog. The owner didn’t seem to care and allowed the lady to pet her dog because she was aware her dog was being touched. I then wondered if this lady was with the girl with the dog since this older lady had enough confidence to be petting this dog. I put my head down again and spent some time to text my friends back. After that I got tired of my phone again and choose to look up again. The girl with the dog in her book bag was still here, but the lady petting who was petting the dog, wasn’t. I guess it was just a random stranger that found this dog adorable and wanted to pet it.

  12. sitting on some random steps on 5th Ave with two of my friends who sat beside me, it was like around three in the afternoon, you could imagine the people just swooshing by you. People coming out of high rise buildings with their shopping bags, thanking those who hold the door and those who don’t. I notice people who are on their phones having conversations and can hear their voice growing loud as they pass by me, then fade, others who are bickering their life away with the ones who are keeping them company walking up the street. I look at my friends and they’re just laughing their asses off while their laugh blends in with the loudness of the honking from the taxi and cars going off, which is nonstop btw. Then the weirdest thing I noticed is that moment when people make eye contact with each other, like they keep staring and seem like they want to take action but usually don’t, and not only once but many times it happened while I just sat there. Then time flew and we ended getting up off the steps to walk around some more after a long day of supply shopping.

  13. I had stayed up late to record temporary notes of this assignment before actually forming a paragraph. I am currently watching a man cat calling young women,he has catcalled 3 so far women each with a different skin tone and build. I infer that he either likes a different variety of women but I cannot be sure. A women with a child walks nearby and I think that there is no way he would have the indecency to catcall a women with a child, I was wrong he attempted to flirt with her but she said no politely and kept walking. I am worried for what will happen to the women in this neighborhood if he is allowed to keep catcalling like this and I am worried about what he will do when he gets tired of being rejected. He then starts talking to himself he spots me because I am a few meters away trying to look less suspicious and failing. I walked away immediately I definitely have no interest and interarcting with him.

  14. (accidentally put this in splitself1)
    On Tuesdays, I have an hour long break period before this class, so I’ve decided to grab something to eat then I sat down in the park to watch a couple of basketball games. While watching I had an incredible urge to play due to how bad everyone on the court was. Besides that, I’ve noticed how people interact with each other on a basketball court, and how the interactions can have an effect on the outcome of the game. Some team-mates encourage a players efforts and decision making on the court, even if a couple mistakes are made. they’ll say things like “don’t worry, just keep shooting!”, or “good try”. Then there the other type of teammates that’ll degrade a players’ efforts by saying “Don’t call for the the ball anymore” or asking for a sub (which is very disrespectful in a pickup game). These different interactions can have an impact on a players emotion, future game decision making, and can (in some cases) have an impact on the outcome of the game. The team that developed good chemistry through constructive criticism and good and encouraging communication won two of the games I’ve watched before I went to class. To conclude, I’ve observed that positive interactions can lead to positive outcomes.

  15. As i was walking along the train station I interpreted that many people are not aware of their surroundings, and are really focused on their smartphones. They also were really careless on what other people were doing, in my opinion they should be more aware in case of a threat orvan emergency situation. For example me, I notice every little movement a person around me does, if i find it as a threat i just walk away.

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