The Word On The Street: Special Bloomblight Edition

As is frequently the case, the story behind taking the above photo is as interesting— probably more so— than the image itself. Thus I will share it here and now. Enjoy!

Shortly after noting this rather piquant observation a man from a car called out to me. I could not make out what he was saying, so I walked over.

Are you shooting this for magazine?

He inquired. To wit I answered:

In a manner of speaking, yes. I am going to post it on my web site.

This construction fence appears to have become an evolving art-installation”, I added, “and this is probably the only thing this site has going for it. I’d wager if you looked behind that fence you’d be up to your ears in rats.

I opined. My new friend concurred, stepped out of his car (so as to better view said art— liking it, he took a photograph), and introduced himself. His name was Juan and as serendipity would have it, he happens to work for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He was sent to this piece of Bloomblight (my terminology, not his) because they have received complaints about rats. I assured him any and all complaints were quite well-founded. Then a third party joined our party: a chap driving a rather large sport utility vehicle.

Do you know of a hotel around here?

he asked.

Which one?

I replied.

There is more than one hotel here?

He asked incredulously.

Of course there is! Didn’t you know (pointing at the Pulaski Bridge) that THIS is the new Gold Coast?

My new friend looked at me like I am insane. This may very well be true— but so is the fact that North ‘Point is home to no less than two hotels (albeit targeting vastly different demographics). Nonetheless, I felt compelled to clarify anyway:

That was sarcasm. I’m guessing you mean our new luxury hotel. (pointing to 77 Box Street) This can be found right over there.

Are you serious?

He sputtered.

Most assuredly. If you look to left of the front door you will find a sign reading “Box House Hotel“.

At this point he is once again speechless, so I continued:

The hotel proper is located on top of said building. It has some rather stunning views of the Pulaski Bridge.

Having regained his composure, he thanked me and went on his way. I turned to Juan and said:

People used to reside in those apartments above 77 Box Street. Then the landlord raised the rent, got them out and opened a “hotel”. I shit you not their penthouse “suite” goes for $5,000 a month.

At this point it was Juan’s turn to be incredulous and time for me to go on my merry way. Approximately 30 minutes later I bumped into Juan again on West Street.

Still on rat patrol?

I inquired. Juan answered to the affirmative and added he was checking all the abandoned/stalled construction sites on this thoroughfare for evidence of rats. I commented that there was plenty to give him busy on here. We proceeded to review various sites and compare their varying states of decay/neglect. Upon the conclusion of this discussion I told Juan (once again) it was pleasure meeting him and “good luck”. And with a smile, he drove to his next “assignment”.

It just goes to show that Bloomberg and his grand scheme for this city has, in fact, resulted in job creation.

For individuals whose specialty is inspecting derelict construction sites for detritus and rats, that is.

This one’s for you, Juan. You are an absolute prince. Keep up the good work!

 

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