1/400th at F7.1, ISO 400 (28mm).
This one looks better large when you can see all the details.
It's been awhile since I put up any East Village interviews, so here are a few people who's stories were fascinating.
Kathy Von Hartz, Teacher (Click here for full interview.)
"My husband and I moved to the neighborhood 48 years ago after we were married. We lived on 6th Street between C and D for eight years. Affordability brought us here and once we had our first child, we found lots of room on East 6th Street...
Eventually we bought the building behind me. We could afford it on our teacher’s salary because nobody wanted to buy anything here. The building had been for sale for five years and nobody wanted it. It cost $64,000 for 10 one-bedroom apartments. But everybody still thought we were crazy. We could just make the mortgage payments and we renovated each apartment as it slowly turned over. We made do...
Then the drug situation became intolerable. We didn’t notice it when we first moved in, in 1973, but after a few years we did. They used to make their escape through the park. They’d line up for the drugs along 2nd Street in two phases. The money would be passed in one line and then you could go in another line and when the drugs came you got out of there. There would be someone on the corner with a whistle and when they whistled the guys with the drugs would just disappear through the park and get away from the police.
My husband would confront the dealers in a very respectful way and they would actually listen to him and move off the street. He would go up and tell them, “Please move; there are children on this block; there are old people on this block; we can’t have this.” They would say, “Yeah man, I understand” and go away.
So they moved down between Avenue A and B. But then we noticed this pattern where people with New Jersey plates would find parking on this nice wide street and then they’d walk down to Avenue A to get their drugs. We’d see it out the window from our house, so I had these stickers that stuck like crazy ... we’d write on them, “We know why you’re here. No drugs on this block. Keep away” and put it across their windshield.
They would come back to their car and we’d pull the shades down in our living room and with a bullhorn we’d say, “We know why you’re here. Stay away from this block. This is a drug free block.” And they’d take off, first trying to get this sticker off, but they couldn’t get it off. We did that for a couple months and eventually it pretty much went away.
Now the Housing Authority is short on cash and they want to get rid of the whole park and all 31 enormous trees. They want to put a 12-story building in its place. It’s called the Infill Plan." Read full interview.
Angel “Petroleum” Luis Roman, Security, Construction. (Click here for full interview.)
"I’ve been here since 1952. I was 12 years old when I came to the neighborhood from Puerto Rico with just my mother. It was a big change. Rent used to be $17 a month.
I graduated from Seward Park High School in 1958. I retired last year from security. I used to work in construction for awhile. I worked as a security guard and I worked in the stock market from 1986 till 1994. I used to be what you call a messenger.
One of the oldest places around here is Katz's Delicatessen. I worked for them for awhile. I used to wash dishes for them — making a living, you know. I also occasionally work at Moishe’s for the Jewish holidays sometimes. Sometimes they need me to work for one week. I like working with people.
I saw this neighborhood grow up. It was a poor neighborhood. Years ago people used to play dominoes in the streets, getting fresh with the ladies, throwing beer bottles on the street. Now you don’t see that. To tell you the truth, there were a lot of gangs, a lot of racketeering, but it was better than it was now — 100% percent better. Give me the old neighborhood and I would take it anytime. I liked the Dominican places, the Puerto Rican places, but I don’t eat in restaurants so I’d go there to drink my beer and that’s it.
For fun, I’ll have a few drinks with my friends — enjoy myself. You can ask anybody around here, you know Petroleum? They will know me. They call me that because I can outdrink them. I also used to go to the skating rink. I used to be a good ice skater. I’d go up to 57th Street.
The old people that used to live here, the Puerto Rican, the Jewish, whatever it is, they moved to New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Miami. A lot of people moved to Florida. I like to live right here. I’ll tell you one thing, I love New York, but I don’t recommend nobody to come here. It’s tough. The good thing about New York is that it is one of the safest places to live now. You go to Puerto Rico, Miami — it’s much more dangerous. Here I am not afraid. New York is one of the safest places.
I have my wife and my daughters. They are doing good. One is 41 and one is 37. They’re doing better than I did. They have houses with pools in New Jersey." Read full interview.
1/320th at F13, ISO 800 (28mm).
Is there a larger shopping mall in the world?
While the cast-iron architecture in SoHo may seem grand and elegant, the reality about them is much darker. Here is some history from Blue Guide NY.
"During the decade between 1860 and 1890, most of the cast-iron architecture so admired today was constructed, the buildings serving as factories or warehouses, often with shopfronts on the ground floor. Appealing as they may seem now with their Corinthian columns, Palladian windows, or French Second Empire dormers, many functioned as sweatshops where immigrants from southern and eastern Europe endured 12 or more hours a day of tedious labor."