By Rebecca Benoît
New York is revered for its people watching, but instead of being a passive bystander, Friends of Friends decided to take it one step further. As it turns out, stopping strangers in the street is surprisingly entertaining, and the range of reactions can tell you a lot about all the different characters in one neighborhood. Most are flattered to be photographed for their on-point street style, some jaded, some humbly surprised, but the overall takeaway is that there’s a lot to admire (and attempt to imitate) from the array of anonymous faces we often think ourselves too busy to give a moment of full attention. Presenting People Watching: SoHo Edition. Scroll through to get inspired.
I think this photo captures the exact moment at which our handsome friend—sporting a stylish bob with the jeans to match—realized staring into the sun is simply uncomfortable, and not worth good lighting. His sun-shielding squint really polished off a certain charmingly awkward je ne sais quoi.
Probably a Pro
There’s no way that her shoes and body jewelry match accidentally. This traffic-stopper effortlessly masters the makeup-free, nonchalant style to which we all aspire. It may be hard to imitate her “I woke up like this” aura, but at least we can copy her shoes?
This photo is actually a shot within a shot. I inadvertently stumbled into this fashionista’s video shoot, and apparently my camera-fumbling to get this picture was worth a scene of my own. I’m glad at least somebody found me amusing.
This designer for Noah, the revived line of former Supreme creative director Brendon Babenzien, didn’t seem too keen on having his photo taken at first—he’s probably used to the fashion world behind the scenes. But at the first faint click of camera focus, it was clear he had his pose perfected to a T. You can find the store on the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare, and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll catch him in one of his own shirts (as he’s pictured here).
It took only a split second for this pose to come to fruition. These girls are evidently masters of the art of killin’ it—and they can’t help but know it.
He knew how to pose, and knew I would accommodate. No questions asked, he had a ‘”just work with what I do” ease in front of the lens. It may be hard to believe, but that red wall contrast was happenstance. I’m tempted to think he just hangs out in front of it, ready to fall into that easy lean at any chance encounter.
Thank You for Stopping
“I just ran across the street, so could you pose please?” There’s not much he could have said to that, especially in 90-degree heat. Despite his expression, I’d definitely brand him a nice and smiley guy. Once again, I blame the sun.
A Swell Lady
Some people just radiate kindness, and she was one of those people. She told me her shoes were shipped to her from a friend in Côte D’Ivoire, so good luck getting some of your own, but at least we can appreciate them on someone who pulls them off swimmingly. I honestly wouldn’t have recommended a silver-and-gold color scheme to anyone, but alas, I have been proven so very wrong.
The name says it all. I very much appreciated the synergy happening between his velcroed sneaks and facial expression.
I got this photo mid-“Wha?” I have a feeling that even after having posed, he wasn’t quite sure what was going on. I did like his briefcase and sunglasses though, so I hope he sees this and that it sheds some light on the situation.
Rebecca Benoît grew up in Washington, D.C. and Paris and is currently a student at Brown University.
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