Thursday, February 19, 2009

110th St between Amsterdam Ave and Morningside Drive is where New York meets New New York. And cue the sound of broken glass and hoodlums running away from your car.

Often found roaming around uptown between 96th Street and 145th, I like to stop by the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam between 110th and 111th—in business now for 35+ years, during times when the current owners will tell you that broken car windows were the least of your worries. Things have changed quite a bit since then. Students from Columbia walk around naively with their trapping of affluence adorning their bodies and bulging out of their backpacks. People with more money than you are purchasing new condominiums on Morningside and 110th, at the newly built gleaming tower, Avalon Morningside Park.

But some things stay the same, namely nightfall on 110th between Morningside Drive and Amsterdam Ave, where both east and west side of the streets are absent much activity in the evening. It is here on the north side of 110th that without exception, every time I stroll past, I witness the aftermath of numerous vehicular b&e’s. Piles of broken of glass can be found littering the sidewalk directly adjacent to the unsuspecting drivers who must be newcomers or absolutely clueless about urban life, parking their vehicles overnight on a street that sees cars broken into on an almost nightly basis. It is not uncommon in the morning to see six, seven, eight cars having been handled this way. Slightly awed and perplexed that dozens of cars meet this fate every week on one side of block, I've started photographing the aftermath.

It is here on 110th between Amsterdam and Morningside that New New York meets New York for the first time. It’s a cheap, easy lesson to learn.
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