Word and Image

Night Shot

Literally. I’ve lived in midtown west for about 30 years now. The neighborhood is best known as Hell’s Kitchen, now called Clinton. It was rough and tumble and the ‘Westies’ were known here. The neighborhood was already better when we moved here. There was low level crime, some drug sales and prostitution.

One time, a guy who lived in the neighborhood robbed my car on Thanksgiving night. I had just brought my kids upstairs and returned to find him rifling my glove compartment. He had a weapon (knife) but I only chased him from my car. Later he had a stolen car radio and was sitting in the park. So I called in the theft to the police. He later complained to me that I was making things hard for him. I asked him to return the things from my glove compartment and he offered to sell them to me. Weird.

Prostitution was another issue. When we first lived here, you could see girls and women of all sizes and shapes standing on the block. And one night as I had to go over to the ER on a call, there was a jeep rocking. On the driver’s and passenger’s side of the vehicle were two couples… well you can imagine. The girls were just leaning into the windows.

Back to my point, in all the years that I have lived here, I have never heard a live round of gunfire. I know it is described as a fire cracker going off. It is definitely unlike the movies. So three shots rang out Sunday (Easter) night. There was some shouting but not too much. I immediately thought gunshots, but then dismissed it. The street was completely quiet. My son never noticed a thing.

Several minutes later I heard sirens. They approached but seemed to pass on the avenue and no sirens came down my block. Five minutes later I looked out the window to see two parked police cars facing the wrong way on our one way street. Another vehicle with flashing lights was at the head of the block. Flashlights were scouring the street presumably for evidence. Indeed there had been a shooting. No body or at least no ambulance was in attendance.

What’s noticeable is that the police turned down our block silently. The goal was to surprise and possibly capture the perpetrators. Usually there is the blare of sirens and flashing lights whenever anything happens. Perhaps it’s just the fire department. In a city this size I doubt I will find out what the shooting was about. And as I stood looking from my window, there was really no one I could see peering from their window to see what/who was shot. A mystery.

8 responses

  1. Excellent shot and a fascinating account of events. Really interesting, Victor.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:08 am

  2. It is for me the most fascinating of cities, and to live there one accepts it in its entirety. This piece today defines what ‘photobackstory’ is–a glimpse into your personal world — a larger than life place that is both visual and verbal, and fully human in all manner of ways.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

  3. Wonderful capture Victor and interesting recounting. That looks a little bit like the Batmobile!

    April 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

  4. I used to live on the LES (Henry St.) and have heard gunfire (multiple shots in a row & retaliation shots) quite a few times. It’s really never something you can ever get used to. Good ol’ NYC, at the end of the day though it’s still one of the best cities.

    April 12, 2012 at 3:25 am

    • With all the violence in the Middle East, it’s hard to imagine the daily danger that the civilian population faces. Here in NYC, one is complacent. It could never happen in my neighborhood on my block… until it does.

      April 12, 2012 at 6:40 am

  5. I used to live in CT and took the train into NY on occasion. Radio City, the Village jazz joints, Coney Island, the Latin Quarter – all part of the deliciousness that was NY in that day. NY will always beat CA in the restaurant and entertainment department. Not sure if Disney has made it better, what do you think, Victor? Now, can we talk weather?

    For those who have never been to that Landmark – Coney Island

    April 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    • Great video. Where did you find that? It remains a city of great neighborhoods. You tend to get into a rut and stay in a certain zip code. Lately I have made an attempt to get around more. But there are still so many differences. One great story is about a patient admitted for elective surgery in Brooklyn. She told me just before the operation that she had never been off Staten Island until I asked her to come to Brooklyn. She had never been over the bridge to Brooklyn and had never visited Manhattan. This was simply amazing to me that someone in visual sight of the Manhattan skyline and landmarks had never visited any of them.

      April 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      • Just Googled Coney Island – Youtube. Love the narration – how about that beach, body to body . . . a little cramped for my style.

        April 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

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