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Category Archive for 'Subways'

The Great Roy DeCarava

Tree and subway entrance, 1979

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There was morning gray in the sky as the sedan crossed Brooklyn Bridge. There was some pale blue in the sky as Vanning parked the car off Canal Street. He used the subway to get back to the Village, and upon entering his room the first direct move he made was to start packing his things. […]

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Sands Street runs through lower Brooklyn like a varicose vein. It leads from the main gate of the Navy Yard to the subway stations. It is a tough, knotted street of saloons, laundries, tattoo parlors, dry cleaners, groceries, Coffee Pots, and lodgings. Its stores sell clothes, trinkets, watches, photographs, and anything else to snatch a […]

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When I was child, Brownsville existed in a large enclave, the outer borders of which I was only dimly aware. Surrounded by the Negro violence of the Bedford-Stuyvesant district, the Nazi “gemutchlichkeit” of Ridgewood, the Slavic solemnity of East New York, the middle-class gentility of East Flatbush and the garbage dumps of Canarsie, Brownsville was […]

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Yugoslav Steward knocks on my door, says “You stay on the ship? Okay?” and goes off into Brooklyn to get drunk with the crew— Alyce and I are waking up, at one A.M., arm in arm in a dreadsome ship, agh— Only one watchman alone on the walk— Everybody drinking in bars of New York. […]

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Three things about Empire Boulevard (there are more)*: First, what’s beef? In 1989, graffiti writer JA wilding on SONI’s house as recounted in Jim Dwyer’s excellent book Subway Lives (1991): JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA JA. And so on. This really happened and it didn’t end […]

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“What Richard Abneg had carried forward, always, anyhow, was a certain sense of his own crucial place in the island’s life. He’d never copped out. And the beard, that too was uncompromised, continuous. He grew it when he was fifteen and reading Howard Zinn and Charles Bukowski and Emmett Grogan. I soaked up Harriet’s description […]

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Emptying. Airmail: the garbage parts flutter and glide and plummet, thrown out in a sweet, athletic arc. They drop through morning sunlight into shade. The bag pulls its ripcord: disintegrates. Cans’ flat bottoms wink sun back, flash-flash, end over end: C and C Cola, Cerveza Rheingold, Raid (do not incinerate), Café Bustelo and Spam. One […]

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As soon as they got in the door the guy grabbed her ass. Goddamnit, cant youwait, pushing him away. She staggered and leaned against the wall, the guy leaning over her kissing her neck as she yanked open a closet door looking for a bottle, then slammed it shut when no bottle could be found. […]

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Such are the compensations of poverty to see— like an electric fungus sprung from its own effulgence of intercircled jewelry reflected on the pavement like a reliquary sedan-chair, out of a legend, dumped there, before a ten-cent cinema, a sugar-coated box office enjail a Goddess aglitter, in her runt of a tower with a ritual […]

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