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New York has always loomed large in my imagination: Superman flying over the Empire State Building, visiting New York and Manhattan twice with my parents and siblings in the late fifties and early sixties (and going to the top of the Empire State Building), recording my own compositions in a studio in Brooklyn when I was fifteen, and lamenting about not living in Manhattan when I was thirteen and had successfully auditioned for the Broadway run of the British musical, Oliver. Then there are all the comics (Spiderman, Batman), the films, the TV, the art galleries, photographers, painters and philanthropists that make that city a living kaleidoscope, and of course the working class New Yorkers with their surviving dialects and regional accents.

About ten years ago, I lived in Manhattan for three years, working for the Alan Lomax Archive. Every day I rode my bike from my apartment near St John the Divine Cathedral, down the bike path beside the Hudson and across to my office on West 41st street. I visited Central Park every weekend, walking and biking. I patronized my local diner and pizzeria and spoke simple Spanish with the Mexican women who ran the nearby laundromat. For those three years I lived, breathed, walked, talked and worked "America." My colleagues all assumed I was an American living in New York and I did not contradict them until one day I gave directions in kilometres.

I processed my experience and imaginings during that time in a series of doodles that I call Yankee Doodles. 

I hope you enjoy them.


Geoffrey Clarfield

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