City peeping (v): to be in a city while observing curious subjects from curious angles.
St. Petersburg, you should know, is a very peepable city. Not people-peepable, though, which explains the lack of people portraits. It’s a problem I’m actively working to fix. Petersburg is peepable in a different way.
People peeping at the Peter and Paul Fortress!! There are these nuts who go swimming in the Neva in sub-zero temperatures. And then they sat in the sun and dried off, despite the fact that it was freezing with wind-chill and my cheeks were getting that tingling-numb sensation. Nuts, I say!!
Window peeping!! A modest view from my bedroom.
Landmark peeping!! So, like, there’s this church here. Not many people have heard of it.
Car window peeping!! Sometimes it’s nice to car peep. This particular rain was icy rain, which usually results in crystals forming on my eyelashes. And then they fall into my eyes and it hurts but I can’t catch the culprit because they melt too fast. #PeterProblems.
Balcony peeping!! This is my backyard. Occasionally, a gust of wind will send some stench from the dumpsters below. Or there’ll be drunk Russian men fighting about something hilariously inconsequential, like why one of them bought Baltika 7 beer instead of Baltika 8 (they both suck). I like to go on the balcony and watch these tiffs while drinking tea. And if I’m feeling bold, I’ll throw frozen peas at them.
Person peeping!! No comment here, although I will say I dig her trench coat.
Ploshad (Площадь) peeping!! Sennaya Square owns the dead center of the city. Some words about it: Sennaya plays a big role in Crime and Punishment, where Raskolnikov would run and weave and turn in circles, motions which reflected his inner turmoils. The place today has the same role it had in Dostoevsky’s time. It is (and was) the city’s dirtiest, cheapest place: cheapest goods, cheapest alcohol, cheapest prostitutes. Peep here at night, and you’ll be peeping on large quantities of Peter’s homeless. I go here for the cheap markets and mind-bogglingly delicious shwarma.
Bus peeping!! Back of the bus is where it’s at, mostly because the BO of other passengers can come from only one direction instead of all directions.
Concert peeping!! Or French musician peeping!! I randomly attended a Yann Tiersen concert with some Russian friends. Previously, I hadn’t given Yann Tiersen a single thought, aside from his work for Amelie and Goodbye, Lenin! Judging the size of the lines and the crowds, I assumed he was big in Russia. Nope. Many Russian just go to these concerts because it was the very first show of this new club and it’s in fashion to be seen there!
Imperial Petersburg reenaction peeping!! I have this fantasy that the chubster in the middle plays the tuba. Don’t ruin this for me.
Peter Peeping!! This statue of Peter the Great bears the hands of my nightmares.
Jenga peeping!! While I should have been teaching English, we played Jenga instead. Shit got way intense.
Random street fashion show peeping!! No more Sartorialist-esque shots from here, though. I got bored very quickly and waddled my way to Carl’s Jr. (pictured) for a satisfying American-Russian fast food hamburger.
Proof peeping!! All burgers are fantastic celestial creations.
Leaf peeping!! Rather than being a New Yorker traveling to the Northeast to annoyingly peep on autumn foliage, I’m a New Jerseyan walking to the Summer Gardens to leaf peep, a good decision indeed. The colors!!
Raskolnikov memorial peeping!! This is where one has to pour some kvas for one’s literary homies.
Neva peeping!! There are many places to peep on the Neva, but this one is my favorite. The smoke stacks, classic architecture, and Trinity Cathedral (where Dostoevsky married his stenographer) in the distance makes for a very Petersburgian panorama. Some people go to the river and gaze deeply into the sunset, regretting terrible decisions and wondering how a certain problem in their lives came to be. I go to the river, gaze deeply into the distant sunset, and wonder how in the world I came to be so awesome.
Graffiti peeping!! I urge everyone to explore St. Pete courtyards. They often have surprising things: the best restaurants, the best bars, the best clubs, the best playgrounds, and the best street art.
Quintessential Russia peeping!! I leave you, dear readers, with this image of a toddler pointing a machine gun at her legless, Russian-coat clad father.