Thursday, May 7, 2009

What are the colors of your city?

Have you ever noticed that cities seem to have a palette? Recently, my wife laughed at me when I insisted that we buy a stylish trench coat for our four-year-old daughter because, I said, "It will look so great with the colors of Paris." But I think she laughed because she knows what I mean (or at least that's what I decided to believe). And I'm not talking about fashion trends, but about walls, streets, parks, etc.

In New Orleans, I love the many colors (often pastels) of the French Quarter. If I lived there, my location book would be full in no time. In Paris, I love the ubiquitous warm stone. And although not everyone thinks about buying coats for their children with the local stone in mind, I know I am not alone in my colorlust. In fact, the world is so infatuated with "Paris Stone" that its limestone quarries may soon be depleted. In Seattle, I love the grays, the blues, and the greens (it's easy to miss even the constant rainclouds when you haven't lived there in ten years). In New York....well, you get the picture.

I took the photo above on an empty street in New Orleans, where I saw an abandoned building covered in wonderfully anthropomorphic graffiti of cassette tapes. Dead media for a dead building. I have always loved graffiti, provided that it beautify an otherwise characterless and neglected structure—don't get me started on people who tag and vandalize indiscriminately. The photo may not represent the post-card palette of the French Quarter, but I like how the bright yellow challenges the more common blue.

What is the palette of your city? What about your favorite cities? Another thing to think about when experimenting with color this month.