Saturday, November 15, 2008

East 1st Street

Here are two views looking down East 1st Street, from Bowery. One was taken in 2003 with a borrowed Nikon and the other was taken several weeks ago with my cell phone camera (I don't think I need to point out which picture was taken when). It used to be that homeless folks could pretty much set up camp anywhere near or on Bowery. With nothing on that block but old, abandoned buildings and empty parking lots, East 1st Street was pretty much anybody's for the taking. Same with Chrystie between Houston and Stanton, where there was an old refrigerator box that somebody slept in for what seemed like months.

There's a famous bumper sticker I've seen several places that proclaims "I Miss the Old New York." The first time I read that I'm sure I thought it was an arrogant, ignorant statement. But the longer I live in New York the more sense it's begun to make. I'm not so hardened a New Yorker that I can just walk past a beggar or somebody sleeping on the sidewalk and not have it affect me. Yet, anymore, I bet I'd be hard-pressed to find a homeless person anywhere along Bowery other than the breadline outside the Bowery Mission. Nowadays it seems there's nothing but limousines, people smoking outside bars and talking on their phones about how drunk they got two nights ago.

1 Comments:

Blogger Walter Wlodarczyk said...

Cary,

That's a great juxtaposition. When I moved to the city I was struck by that block on 1st Street between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery. It was a spot that seemed forgotten by time. The block had such a great spirit and mystery to it, and I loved to walk it. It's a shame that a historic (and infamous) place like McGurk's Suicide Hall was replaced by the Avalon development, which feels so uninviting and apart from the neighborhood.

November 22, 2008 at 2:11 PM  

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