Worth Street


Image Source: Elliott Erwitt

Oh yeah, I seen it happen. Poor bastard landed right there onna sidewalk, right in front of Tony’s. Jumped from his own goddamn apartment onna fifth floor. Top left window, right in-line with the C inna Coca Cola sign. BLAM, SPLAT! Ain’t that a bitch?

I heard they was jackin’ up the rent inna buildin’ over there. Guess that may have had somethin’ to do with it? An’ I know he worked at one’a them transistor stores on Cortlandt St., down on Radio Row, an’ there’s all kinds’a rumors about how they’re gonna level that whole neighborhood to build the World Trade Center the Rockefellers keep talkin’ about. Maybe he was scared’a losin’ his job? Who the hell knows?

Y’know, it’s a funny damn thing: I seen the guy onna street every day, an’ I seen him in his window, lookin’ out. Ev’ry mornin’ I see this guy lookin’ out his window. Only this mornin’ I seen him leanin’ out an’ jumpin’, an’ that’s the last I’m gonna see of him. You see a guy like that every day, even if you don’t know him, he kinda becomes part of your life.

Kinda goes to show, you don’t ever really know nobody. I seen the guy every day, likesay, but no way I’d be able to tell you why the poor bastard done it to himself. Seemed like a nice guy, looked like he had it all together, an’ then one day the guy is dead onna sidewalk.

I guess you just don’t ever know, do you?

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18 comments
  1. no you just don’t EVER really know.. do we? Nicely done sir. Enjoyed with my morning java.

    • Coffee is always better with blood and guts onna sidewalk, innit?

      • laughing well i was thinking more about your meaning but blood and guts yes is always good anytime..
        (two more weeks left of our misery as Sox fans..)

      • *wink, nudge* It can’t end soon enough…

  2. You never do know, so don’t waste it. I LOVE this photo and I’m so glad it doesn’t include the body or the chalkline, that would have put a damper on the shot.

    • Incredible photo! That is a New York that is sadly about as extinct as Radio Row and Cortlandt Street.

      And as far as I know there has never been a chalk outline at that spot. ;)

  3. A gripping life said:

    Love the voice. This is such a great slice of New Yawk. Well done.

    • You’re a swell dame, Grips!

  4. Enjoyed that sir. Great photo.

  5. Paula said:

    Makes me think a bit of some of those scarier Simon & Garfunkel songs — “Most Peculiar Man” and “I Am a Rock.” And “Richard Cory,” which was based on a poem of the same name.

    Sometimes even with the people we live and communicate with daily, you never really know.

    Well done!

    • Most Peculiar Man was definitely in my head on this one. You’re on to me!

      My family farm is ten minutes from Gardiner, ME, which was Robinson’s “Tilburytown.” Guess it’s in the blood.

      • Paula said:

        Holy Toledo! Really interesting coincidence.

        I think “I Am a Rock” is one of the most frightening songs S & G ever did. Now that I am older, paying attention to the words, I realize they have somehow managed to summarize my mother, and her way of looking at life. She spent years trying to make me into a carbon copy of her.

        However, I paid more attention to Warren Zevon when he sang, “I’d rather feel bad than not feel anything at all.”

        But those three S & G songs still have the power to terrify me.

      • Correct on all counts.

  6. So many voices in your head. I love they come out, that you share them with us.

    • And so far no voices that require medical monitoring!

  7. Le Clown said:

    Brian,
    As a music fan, have you ever heard of Godspeed You Black Emperor? On Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, there’s an old man talking at the beginning of “Sleep”… That’s where it brought me.
    L’Éric

    • Will have to check it! Good tip, thanks.

      • Le Clown said:

        Brian,
        Beside having a similar narration, it’s probably one of the most influential track of post-rock. A great tune.
        Le Clown

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