Late Summer Scene: Hunts Point
It’s 4 p.m. on a Wednesday at the corner of 163rd and Southern Boulevard in Hunts Point, and it’s almost impossible to block out the NOISE. There is the bustling of the crowd and honks from the infuriated drivers, the colorful blend of ambulance sirens and music blasting from the cars. The brakes of a Bx19 bus screech as its tires fight the hot concrete. The ice cream truck plays its jingle in search of children, and the 2 train rumbles past in the background.
The official forecast was 82 degrees but it feels like 100. People rush for cover under any little bit of shade they can find.
On the corner of Southern Boulevard there is a male traffic officer who has found his latest victim. Both he and the woman who is getting the ticket lean against the hood of her silver truck as he explains the details. Just a few stores down you can see a restaurant employee wearing a welcome shirt but yelling at a customer to make him understand that the store is no longer open for the day. As the owner closes the gates, he yells “I run shit, you just talk shit.” The customer, an older man in a white shirt and blue jean shorts, mumbles in defeat as he walks away. The owner joins his friends nearby and they speed off in his black Volkswagen Jetta.
A short distance away another debate is in under way. Three teenage boys are walking down the street, playfully arguing over whether or not Jay-Z is the best rapper. As they walk around the corner they pass a young boy who is dancing around a woman having a conversation on her cell phone. After a few minutes of frustration, she slaps his arm and yells “Didn’t I tell you to stop?” He freezes and a teardrop runs down his face.
A few feet away, you can hear a group of men laughing as they greet one another with fist bumps and gather to converse. Just past one of the men—who is wearing gold chains, army fatigues, and a head wrap—you can see a woman pushing a stroller alongside two children. She is greeting a friend. “Hey, how are you?” he says as he hugs her and greets the children.
It is rush hour, and as you walk down the street you can see a glimpse of happiness spread across one woman’s face, possibly at the prospect of boarding the air conditioned train. It’s clear that if you can’t beat the heat, the train is the best way to get out of the boulevard.