Viewfinder | Sarah Tung

Sarah Tung on finding compelling images in the East Village.


“As a sketch artist, I often see the world in cropped focus. Interesting people, shapes and colors most often catch my eye because my hand itches to record their essence on a thick sheet of drawing or water color paper. But in a fast-paced city like New York, I simply don’t have time to sit and draw for hours or days on end. Luckily, digital photography has been my savior.
And the East Village never ceases to amaze me.”


“In a city known for some of the world’s most beautiful skyscrapers, it would seem logical for everyone to walk around with their heads tilted back. There’s so much going on above our heads! I took this photo outside Flower Power on Ninth Street and First Avenue.”

Free to the People

“Inevitably, I find that I leave the East Village with more questions than answers. Who painted that mural? How did someone manage to graffiti that hard-to-reach wall? When I snapped this particular photo, I wondered: Why did someone abandon his clothes on a bench in Tompkins Square Park? I will never know…”


“I love faces. There’s a story behind every expression, line, wrinkle or scar. The face says it all. During a walk through the East Village one afternoon, I happened to see this man standing on a street corner. He was waiting to finish his cigarette so he could hop into a cab. I asked if I could take his picture, and much to my surprise, he let me.”

EV Kids 8

“People-watching is a great hobby of mine because I love to observe group dynamics. There’s so much going on in this picture! Each child’s expression is so amazing and animated; I can almost hear them laughing when I look at it. I took this outside the Boys’ Club on East 10th Street as kids were walking home from school.”

Sherbert Colored Face
Yin Yang

“Loud, neon colors — sometimes the very colors people find ugly or obnoxious—are my favorite. The world would be so dull and bland without them! There are no rules or limitations for art in the East Village. A sliding door, a wall, a light post are all suitable canvases.”

EV Socializing 1

“I walked past this group of teenagers by the Astor Place Starbucks on a Saturday night. The young men and women were talking, laughing and flirting with each other.”


“On my way to meet friends at a café, I happened to see a young woman — about my age — unlocking a bike. People who walked past her glanced back to stare at her leg. I remember admiring her not only for wearing a pair of shorts on a cold day, but also braving the stares of passersby. Before I could talk to her, she hopped on her bicycle and pedaled away.”

Sarah Tung is a third-semester student in the Reporting New York graduate concentration at NYU Journalism.