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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 25-watt bulb that sizzles like a small maraca. Eggshells, crusts, fat-absorbent Bounty towels: all orts of breakfast. Bill-less, an old Mets cap brakes its fall, the vacant cranium taking in air. Garbage hits the historic roof below, bonging off the original hand-hewn shingles, circa 1640. Things round roll, faking yawn noises with their hollowness, down/into an aluminum gutter, circa 1976. Con Ed bills, second-language homework, sheets of La Prensa descend in pendulum jerks, tick-tock, tick-tock. Then, persuaded by a breeze, they flock southeast, away from the roof of Van Lynxx Manor, over the rose garden, over the cemetery, over the thickset, grouchy chapel, over the disheveled orchard, toward Hollis and Forest Hills. Tap-tap: garbage can edge on twelfth-floor balcony rail. An afterthought of brown apple gets pitched from the low-rent altitude, fine arm action and follow-through, hooking leftward, sharp slider. It hits the ancient chimney, bounces, bursts to mouthfuls, which bounce, burst, and are gone.
—D. Keith Mano Take Five (1982)


hands up!… Before this came the relatively carefree days peddling Brooklyn dime bags to wimpy jazz musicians in the Village for $15. They were afraid to go into Bed-Stuy and Fort Greene or, God forbid, East New York. I wasn’t. Hell, I’d been living in those places two years earlier; those neighborhoods never gave me much trouble. There were stores all over Brooklyn—former bodegas or shoe-repair places, their windows papered over with cereal or Pampers boxes—selling stuff right in the open. You’d go in, stick your money through a slot in the boarded-up wall where a counter had once been, and tell the nice man what you wanted.

Those days in Brooklyn take on a genuine rose-tinted glow now. After another wretched day ofwork I’d hop offthe A train at Jay Street/Borough Hall rather than transfer to the GG, which would let me offat Clinton/Washington, which was closer to my pad at Steuben and Myrtle. I would plod up Myrtle—the locals had started calling it Murder Avenue, and me and my girlfriend were two of the very few honkies in the neighborhood—buying my drugs and sampling the local eateries and groceries and purveyors of goods of questionable origin.

coney island boundThose treks up Myrtle sometimes took forever as I was loading up on all that good shit the neighborhood had to offer: grass, plantains, Cafe Bustelo, various hot peppers, chorizo, fake opium, those ubiquitous incense bundles, pizza, occasionally some coke. It was 1983, and between Jay Street and the end of the line at Myrtle and Steuben, I might have heard Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” a dozen times: Freeze! Rock! —Paul Kopasz, from “Going Uptown (On A Downtain Train), from New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg


Toni Schlesinger Barge Deep In Swank

Tony Roberts?

Kenny Wisdom voted for Swope.

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