Subway Portraits

All Portraits by Nancy Rodrigo

subway portrait 1
Football Fan

subway portrait 2Brooklyn College Professor

subway portrait 3
Feminist Incognito 

Subway portrait 4Steampunk Sophisticate

New York-born artist Nancy Rodrigo uses her life experiences as a medium. “The media and content have changed and evolve to reflect my experiences. I see art as a means of expression and a therapeutic process.” She began her art career in 1981 under the name Nancy Weinstock, exhibiting in the East Village, Soho, Chelsea and Brooklyn. Her recent work of rich, colorful biomorphic paintings‒with vaginal imagery‒influenced by the Feminist Art Movement, including initiators Judy Chicago, Nancy Spero and Miriam Schapiro. In the 90’s she  did a series of works on canvas and mixed media constructions, the “Collective Memory Series.” These intricate pieces are constructed from found objects, organic and synthetic materials, paints and old photographs. Another project she is working on is the “Subway Series” hundreds of pen and ink portraits of people riding the NYC subways, all done without the rider’s knowledge and capturing most of the portrait in under 10 minutes.  This project has been a love letter to my city and her amazing people. Rodrigo’s work is diverse, expressive, and she is very prolific.




By Annette Guarrasi

I am blue today. Pinkish/red and beige on the outside, blue on the inside, like us all (we’re all blue-blooded, are we not?) but damn if I cannot seem to get out of my non-pj’s (what I slept in) and wash and get on with my ONE AND ONLY LIFE today. It is Saturday, Summertime…what the eff am I doing? Ok, I’m relaxing; taking ME time seriously, but I am an extrovert so these moments of alone-time and indoor activity make me feel heavy and wasteful. I am, however, grateful to have found your blog, lovely lady.

I grew up in the ‘burbs, so wealthy – a house with a top floor, main floor and basement (all furnished); a front and back yard; food whenever I wanted it and fresh enough water that I am still alive, although sometimes unsavory findings are reported on the news about LI water in my hometown.

I am predominantly a city or, more appropriately, borough gal, but have lived in Westchester for 11 years.  It’s meh. Could be worse; commute’s not bad, I have a roof over and a community around me. I am blessed. So wealthy, still.

It is just shy of 2 p.m. and I feel like a loser for not DOING and MOVING FORWARD while BEING today, but I will forgive myself…maybe tomorrow.

Annette Guarrasi began her acting career performing improv and sketch comedy in NYC, predominantly with Gotham City Improv. After her sarcasm muscles began to ache, she challenged herself with Shakespeare and was fortunate to study for a summer at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (R.A.D.A.) in London. Eventually, she found that her love for writing character monologues led her to a Solo Performance Workshop with Kirsten Ames, where she created her first solo show, “Never Show the Ugly.” She took those skills learned there to write “It Ain’t Pretty” which is being performed at Stage Left Studio on 9/18/14 and 9/21/14 at 7:30 p.m. in NYC.

The House

By L.E. Swenson

Yippeee! We are homeowners. We have our own little swath of dirt. The country’s forefathers would now allow us to vote. Two renters who now have walls and roof and appliances and Furnace and Hot Water Heater and Central Air unit and stop me before I puke. And no one to call when something breaks except the “repair man.” Unless you have a service contract but that is a whole other discussion.

Our own patch of dirt. When I was in college, I used to say that I never wanted to own property. I would say, “The Native Americans have it right! You can’t own the earth, you can only borrow it!!” Oh how wrong I was. After paying rent to a New York slum lord for 10 years a piece, sweetie and I were ready to have our own little piece of the American Dream. Now, I say, our own patch of dirt, but the most important thing all you house owners and future house owners should be aware of is that it is not about the dirt. When you move to the suburbs, it is about the lawn! But that is another blog entirely.

You don’t know it when you buy it, but the House is a living organism. When you buy one, you enter into a symbiotic, parasitic relationship with this entity. It eats–energy and natural gas. It excretes through the sewage pipes and it even has exhausts for the dryer, furnace and even the sewage pipes to let unwanted gasses out. The house breathes; it expands and contracts with the weather and exchanges air through every unsealed crack and crevasse. The only thing the house does not do is heal. That is where we symbiotes come in. In trade for the comfort of coolness on hot days, heat on cold days, shelter from the rain and safety from wild animals, we get to keep the house in good repair and healed. I am not talking about beauty and interior design here: I am referring to the bare minimum of what makes the house a modern shelter.

In our first six months, we had to replace the roof, the siding, 1 bathroom. We had 2 radiator leaks and the furnace nearly burned down the HOUSE. But we helpful parasites went about our business of repair to our living, breathing HOUSE. Our first instinct was to call the superintendent. Oh crap! We are the superintendent. Fortunately, there are armies of tradesmen and corporate contractors dying to lend us money to make our repairs. I have come to accept that I cannot hammer a straight nail and that it is not high on my priority list to improve my carpentry skills, so in the end, the tradesmen get the call, the debts rise and the blood pressure spikes. Not to worry, it is all in service of the HOUSE!


L.E. Swenson received his bachelor’s degree in English from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo. He went on to study Theater at the New School for Social Research and received his Masters of Fine Arts in 1999. He has performed in regional theater at Buffalo’s Irish Classical Theater and Shakespeare in Delaware Park. He has written, acted, coached and stage managed in the New York area and continues to write and work in New York.