On Gansevoort Street, 3
I spent part of an afternoon searching for remnants of the old meat market, knowing beforehand how little would remain of the area I remembered. Back in the 70s I had been fascinated by the scale of activity down here....the butcher shop to the grandest of cities. I remember the noise of the huge trucks, their grumblings reverberating off the sides of the buildings. I remember the movements of men, carrying boxes and bags, swinging carcasses, hosing down docks. I remember the acrid smells in summer and the drafts of chilled air breathed out from the open bays. I remember the men looking up only briefly as I skirted pools of water in the streets, their hours and days and years absorbed by the most elemental of tasks.
On this weekday afternoon, more than 30 years later, this part of the city was very quiet. I wandered without seeing anyone for whole blocks at a time then found this man looking at this building. I took some pictures of the building, of him, and we talked for only a moment. He seemed to need to explain what he was doing...he knew the owner of the previous restaurant....or the new one.....or someone else. I said I just liked the old buildings and left it at that. No matter, really. I suspect we both came down here to find something - a piece of the past, a piece of ourselves, or something to help us accept what is gone.