I used to drink in a bar in the village called Lion’s Head. It was full of newspaper people. The Village Voice was around the corner, and a lot of guys from the papers would come and drink. It was a great bar full of great bullshitters. I knew a fireman that drank there occasionally and he had done a book. I thought, “Wow. That could be a really good story, about firemen.” I was so against that frigging war and I thought, what’s the opposite of a soldier going and killing people they don’t know? A fireman saving people they don’t know. I got permission, and finally ended up with a rescue team that covered all of the Bronx and Harlem.
Bronx has a bad reputation between new yorkers and known as dangerous and criminal area.
That`s all because of scary stories and legends which people retelling each other until present days.
However, it concerns just a small part of this district – a South Bronx. The rest parts of this New York`s borough are interesting historical places and can bring a lot of pleasure for a curious people.
I was shooting some kids building a clubhouse in a vacant lot on the Lower Eastside and a guy started yelling at me to go away. So I got in my car and he came running up and motioned for me to roll down the window. I saw that he had a knife so I refused but before I could start the car and drive away, he kicked in the window. This was in the 70’s while I was working on the series of photos I published in Street.
I photographed in a spirit of historic preservation. I thought that graffiti was a phenomenon unique to New York City that would disappear and I would have a record of it. I never predicted that New York style graffiti would spread worldwide. Of course I also hoped that I would be able to publish stories about graffiti that would help me reach my primary goal of becoming a solvent freelance photographer.
Harlem is far from being the worst ghetto in New York. In the South Bronx, where European movie companies now shoot their footage on the destruction of Germany after WW II, there are districts where nine out of ten people die an unnatural death — from murder, hunger, overdose, rat bites, etc. Sometimes it seems new york was finished. We loosing war with drugs, we loosing people!
People on Wall Street had no idea what was going on in Bronx.