Looking North

This shot, was taken from a pedestrian over-crossing outside my apartment complex,  is looking down Hui Xin Xi JIe as it crosses over the North Fourth Ring Road. On the left in the background are three structures that I’ve previously photographed: the abandoned building, the golden potato, and the smokestack.

On the right, is the entrance to an extremely convenient subway station. A bit farther back is a building under construction.

Proof once again that, although we certainly have our days of bad traffic and horrible air pollution (and even days with both), we still have days like Chong Chong’s grandmother remembers from her youth.

The Basement Dwellers

I once lived in a basement apartment. It was in a two-fare zone out of the Flatbush Station on the 2 Line. That is, I needed to pay one fare to take the subway home from work, and then another fare (to bus or black cab) to get to the apartment, which was at 59th and Ralph Ave in Canarsie.

My girlfriend Sonja, who would later become my fiance, and still later my ex-fiance, and I lived there at the beginning of our relationship. It was 1986, and I was in New York City for the first time. I’d joined the US Coast Guard Reserve, was fresh out of boot camp (Cape May, NJ), and based on Governors Island for what was supposed to be six months of Electronics Technician training before returning home to California.

I’d started falling in love with NYC from the moment I got there and meeting Sonja, well, that sealed the deal. Quickly. I didn’t end-up moving back for another six years.

We’d met in Washington Square Park, setup by Missoni, her roommate at the time. Missoni was like no other girl I’d ever dated. She’d only let me kiss her once, a brief peck on the lips, during the time we were together. I guess she sensed that things wouldn’t work-out for us, so she arranged for me to meet Sonja.

Anyway, in time, I moved into the apartment, and Missoni moved out. The apartment had a good-sized living area, a very small kitchenette attached to the living area, and a small bedroom with large pipes running overhead. Two shafts outside the living area brought some very limited light down from the sidewalk. In the hallway, there was a toilet closet and two showers that we shared with the adjoining apartment, which was rented by two guys from Haiti. (The landlord, as was much of the neighborhood, was Haitian.)

Disclaimer… my memory is not the best, and it is 11:33 pm as I post this. Things above might be a bit jumbled. 🙂

Wife, where are you?

When I exited the line 10 subway at the Huixinxijie Nankou station last Thursday on my way home from work, I saw this san lun che (with a not-unexpected crowd around it), parked camped quite conspicuously in the crosswalk of a major intersection.

The characters on the banner translate to, “Wife, where are you?” The character written on the metal plate is for family.

You can see two pictures of what seems to be his wife and him in many of the shots.

From the look of things, I think he’s been on the road for quite awhile. I’d also guess that he was from the countryside, but don’t really know.