54 NYC East Wind Over Weehawken

[Hopper's East Wind Over Weehawken]

Back at Sean and Laurie's home across the Hudson River in Weehawken, New Jersey, I interviewed Alex, Laurie's 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Alex is an avid reader and very knowledgeable about art. Earlier, Julia had said about Early Sunday Morning, "I grew up in this place, but I wonder: will the next generation have the same response?" So I asked Alex, part of that next generation, what she thought about Hopper and isolation.

"Americans are probably more isolated than they want to be," she asserted. "A lot of people don't really like being alone. I don't mind. It's a good thing to be able to hang out by yourself and not freak out. A lot of my friends, they won't even go to the bathroom by themselves, much less go to the movies or out to dinner. America is not like how Hopper shows it. The mainstream, they need people: they need the constant stimulation from people, from TV, from radio. I could sit in a room quietly with a book, but I have a friend who'll talk on the Internet, watch TV, listen to the radio, and talk on the phone—all at the same time. Talking with somebody online when they're sitting at home by theirself is way different than going out to eat with somebody or going to the movies because, although you're talking to a person, you're not really 'talking' to a person. You're writing letters: really short ones, with really quick response time, but it's not anywhere near the same thing."

About Hopper, she noted, "You can always recognize his paintings. Some of his paintings, nobody looks happy. But nobody looks glum, or on the verge of doing anything awful. In each painting, the emptiness is always dark, and wherever the person is is always light."

I looked outside our lit room at the early fall night, already pitch black. We were exactly situated as she had just described.

"We might be a Hopper subject right now," I told her, "and we're sitting around the corner from a real one. On the bus ride back from the city, I saw the house along West End Drive that Hopper had painted in East Wind Over Weehawken. That painting is in Philadelphia."

"Will you see that one?" she asked.

"I'll see them all," I answered.

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