Late Summer Scene: The Streets of Morrisania


On the corner of 163 and Tinton in  Morrisania a community district of the Bronx. (Latena Hazard/TheNewYorkCityLens)

At the corner of 163rd and Tinton in Morrisania in the Bronx, where the scene is always changing. (Latena Hazard/NY City Lens)

The breeze is shifting as people sit outside the 765 E 163rd street apartments in the Morrisania district of the Bronx watching ambulances wail past, police cars cruising, and listening to the squeaky brakes of the BX6, soaking in sun and enjoying the final days of summer.

Resting on the bright red bench, in a long grey T-shirt and silver flip-flops, is an older Hispanic woman chomping down on gum. She plays with her skirt and scans her surroundings. “No habla ingles” she says as I ask her name.

She gets up and walks into the building. Meanwhile, Daquan, a younger gentleman, breathes heavily as he begins tugging an apple-red chair dolly up a small hill. He wears a black button-down shirt, black pants, and black shoes. Sweat slowly drips down his head, full of short Rastafarian locks, onto his forehead. His 16mm silver gauge earring, with black trim, stretches out the bottom of his left ear.

He makes it up the hurdle, past the small black fire hydrant, and almost to the corner. Then the bags spill off the dolly. “Ssss…Damn that sucks,” he says, as he converts the dolly into a skateboard, and rolls down the hill.

He stops at a green scaffolding about four feet from the front door of the apartment complex and shoots something in Spanish to a group of men standing nearby. He starts his routine again, but this time he is stopped, by charming 49-year old Frances Garcia. She leans on a rusted brown pipe, laughs confidently, and asks “Can I get a ride?” She has short blond hair and caramel skin, somewhat like Eve, the rapper. They both laugh and continue on their way.

As Daquan continues his work, the men he spoke with earlier are still standing around. William, 30,  scratches his head, which is covered by a red Atlanta Hawks hat. He wears a matching red and white baseball shirt, cameo shorts, and Jordan’s, and discusses his rapping career. Quietly standing next to him is 27-year-old Michael, leaning against the red brick wall. His Jordan’s are visible as his right foot is placed underneath him. Unlike William, Michael is supporting the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he wears his hat slightly tilted, his dark black hair braided underneath.

The men talk until it goes quiet, as a short Hispanic woman—in grey pants, red lipstick, and black sunglasses; her hair in a slicked-back bun—walks out. The men look at each other. William calls out her name. She stops, slowly turns. “Hi,” she whispers, and keeps walking. “Woo!” they say, as she continues to walk. The moment passes, another man brings up an event from his birthday two years ago. The beautiful artwork on his arms is displayed as he plays with his Atlanta Braves hat. He walks back and forth, his blue Penny Hardaway’s hitting the concrete, his blue jeans making a “swish” sound. The people come and go yet the laughter never seems to end.