Readers of this web log will know that I am constantly praising city life. Well, one of the things that makes life in the city interesting is the raw human emotion — not always positive — that living and working in close quarters with huge numbers of strangers can provoke.
As seen here, and here, I have a particular fascination with people who are so worked up by something that they post handwritten signs on buildings or in windows. Uptown in far East Harlem, I spotted a number of handwritten signs that illustrate the potential problems of living on the ground floor. Apparently, apartments are available in the building at left above. One hopes that the one on the ground floor with all the signs in the windows isn’t one of them. All the photographs in this post were taken by the artist futurebird.
Quoting in full, Sign 1: “Pity the teenage drug dealers drug users who ‘hang’ on the stoop and in front of my windows day and night. They have assaulted, robbed, burglarized and harrassed me. Their parents failed to teach them how to be members of the human race. These teens are unfit and shouldn’t be around normal people! PITY THEM”
Quoting in full, Sign 2: “In order to facilitate the removal of drug dealers + gun dealers from this street to jail, all conversations from 291 stoop to 293 stoop are recorded. Often photos are taken. If you don’t want to be recorded or photographed, move somewhere else!” Lower down, in a larger font: “To those who are knocking on my windows at all hours of the day + night — the drug dealers live next door —> And will the drug dealers friend, the gun dealer, — go sell your illegal guns somewhere else!”
The lower left window has been broken. A piece of foam has been pressed up against an unrepaired hole for insulation.
Quoting in full, Sign 3: “An old prostitute (with a cellulite ass) is holding drug parties in the basement, again! Some of her ‘visitors’ are cops, so the police don’t do anything. The owner doesn’t do anything because … ??? 2/14/05 ID.” Sign 4: “For the last two nights between 1:30 am + 5 am, the old prostitute (with the cellulite ass) has been using the basement as a beauty salon and been unkinking her + her family’s hair. The smell is horrendous! OR For the last two nights between 1:30 am + 5 am, the old prostitute (with the cellulite ass) has been using the basement + forgot to douche. The smell is horrendous! 3/14/05 ID.”
Phew! Drug dealers, gun dealers, foul noises and smells, accusations of robbery, assault, prostitution and even cellulite: It seems like there’s some bad blood there on the block. I’m not sure that posting these signs will help solve any of the problems they mention, however. In fact, it’s easy to see how they might make the problems worse.