That street was normal to me. It's where folks crashed either from drugs, booze or too much fucking.
It's also where people went to get the drugs, the booze, the fucking from which to crash.
If those buildings were beautiful you couldn't tell because everything was, well, normal which meant real people lived there and there were florescent lights in the hallways and if there was graffiti I didn't notice because graffiti was all over the place so how could you notice anything different?
It was part of the world we owned, from Avenue A all the way to the Nedicks on Sixth Avenue, from Washington Square Park to the youth center on 12th Street, and sometimes 14th Street when the rich merchant marine, who lived with his aunt and had really good pot, was back in town.
This street was our through-way and it's where we sauntered and stomped. It's where, before there was any way to instantly call or write or text to find a friend or a boy or a boyfriend, we had to actually show up, hang out on a favorite stoop and hope to run into whoever it was we were hoping to run into. And sometimes we did and some weeks we just waited.
In this picture on this stoop is my second boyfriend (my first was in 7th grade like years earlier). He was homeless and a runaway and crashing at Gypsy's on 4th Street. He came to New York to become a famous folk song artist. The new Bob Dylan. He was peppy and sweet and voted seriously most ugly. One night he and his best friend (also in the picture) went to Club 82 on 4th street and he thought he was kissing a woman but really it was a man who just knew how to look prettier than any of the girls we knew. He and I were already going out but I didn't care.
Years later I saw him running down our through-way screaming as some drug deal went south.