When Patrick van Rosendaal arrived in the USA, he could not have imagined how drastically his life would change. It’s a common story in New York: People go through unexpected phases in their life, but choose not to give up their love for the Big Apple.
To appreciate the true New York, Patrick had to jump through some hoops. His current professional and personal lives are in no way related to the dreams that brought him here. He moved here to get married and start a succesful career in NYC. The marriage didn’t last that long, and Patrick had to decide to stay or to go back.
Patrick stayed, and that decision led him to become a true New Yorker. People he met on that transforming journey are the actors in his new book, “Be New York”. In the book, Patrick takes the reader by the hand and introduces him to his remarkable connections in the city. This journey reveals insights into city life and glimpses of what Patrick lived through to be here. In fact, the real main actor in the book is the city itself, which put a spell on Patrick many years ago. As a tour guide, Patrick makes sure that with each introduction, we discover the city a bit more.
New York has a strange effect on people’s lives. It is an amplifier of any mood. When things go well, New York carries you on a cloud. But when bad times arrive, New York seems to make them harder than ever. Even if you’re a frequent visitor, but not based here permanently, this phenomenon is hard to understand fully.
Be NY – the agency!
Be New York is not only a book title, it’s the promise of the tour agency Patrick runs today. He selected a few Belgians who share his passion and knowledge about New York to work alongside him. I’m happy to be one of these! We inspire Belgian tourists with our love and experience of the city. “From Tourist to New Yorker” is the mission we all take to heart. The book aims to extend that mission to anyone who has been here or dreams of visiting in the future.
Robert Caplin (a photographer I admire a lot) provided the superb portrait images in the book. I also felt proud to be asked to provide some of the supporting images for these fascinating stories!
Working on demand for a book publisher was a different experience than working on my own projects or for news agencies. The work is more precise, because the publisher already knows where they need supporting images. Patrick and I spent the better part of a weekend collecting these images as a team all around the city. If you ever hear a story of two camera-carrying guys having too much fun on a Vespa while speeding through New York neighborhoods, it may not be a paparazzi story, but yours truly being driven around by Patrick.
Be New York is published by Lannoo in Belgium in Dutch and French. Although not available from the usual booksellers here in the USA, in Belgium, you can get it at the bookstore or from Lannoo.