19 November 2018

Not In Hamilton's Backyard!

Nobody likes seeing broken-down cars or trucks rusting away in someone's front yard.  Part of the reason, of course, is that it's unsightly and can be a health hazard.  But I think it also has to do with the perception that anyone who keeps the rotting hulks of motor vehicles next to his or her house is low-class.  Some people, I'm sure, associate decaying station wagons and vans with trailers rather than solid middle-class homes.

I think most people would be even more surprised to see such waste next to a brownstone in a fashionable part of the city.  Certainly, almost nobody expects to see something like this:

in front of a landmarked brownstone in a designated historic district.  But I saw that pile of bikes and parts in front of such a house in Hamilton Heights, just two blocks away from the house once owned by the man for whom the district--and a popular Broadway musical--are named.

I would love to know the story of how all of those bikes and parts ended up there.  


  1. Over the years I've done a lot of bike wrenching for my friend Eddie, a developmentally disabled fellow who rides his bikes around downtown and fancies himself as a bit of a crime fighter. He doesn't drink, but he has a habit of stealing liquor from people who he finds sleeping in the street. He is often seen carrying a police scanner and frequently arrives first on the scene of wrecks, fights and general mayhem. Eddie buys lots of bikes, usually at pawn shops. Sometimes he stashes a few around downtown in case he needs a backup. You can always tell where Eddie lives because big piles of bikes and spare parts are heaped outside his apartment. Eddie seldom pays me in cash for my bike work, but I have managed to scrounge a few usable parts, like a couple of nice Araya 26-inch rims that I put to use in a vintage bike restoration.

  2. MT--Hmm. Could Hamilton Heights have its own version of Eddie?

  3. In my mind, Eddie is one of a kind. But I'm sure there are plenty of folks who exhibit similar behavior.