Many businesses seemed to remain open solely to give their owners shelter from the elements. How often did a dollar cross the counter of the plastic-lettering concern, or the prosthetic-limb showroom, or the place that ostensibly traded in office furniture but displayed in its window a Chinese typewriter and a stuffed two-headed calf? Outside under an awning on a hot afternoon would be a card table, textured like an old suitcase with four metal corners, and around it four guys playing dominoes. Maybe they’d have a little TV set, up on a milk crate, plugged into the base of a streetlight, issuing baseball. On every corner was a storefront that advertised Optimo or Te-Amo or Romeo y Julieta, and besides cigars they sold smut and soda pop and rubbers and candy and glassine envelopes and sometimes police equipment.
A beautiful, elegiac essay on living in NYC in the 70s and 80s, while much of it was gently sliding into wasteland.