Slice of Life on 63rd Street / by Preston Thomas

A SLICE OF LIFE ON EAST 63RD STREET | © PRESTON LEWIS THOMAS

A SLICE OF LIFE ON EAST 63RD STREET | © PRESTON LEWIS THOMAS

They hang out on the corner of 63rd and Drexel next to an abandoned lot, waiting. The gas station across the street has an automated car wash, and they’re hoping that some of the customers will want their vehicles properly dried, and maybe a little tire dressing.

I get it.
It’s the Hustle.
They’re livin’ for the city.

In fact, I notice several cars parked diagonally in front of the lot and a mix of brothers and sisters tending to these vehicles. There isn’t a set price. There’s no service menu. Customers pretty much pay what they want.

One lady tells me, “When they come out the car wash, they cars still be wet. They have they own towels and Armor All and stuff. I mean, at least we ain’t out here tryin’ to rob or shoot nobody…”

Another adds, “I usually ask for three or four dollars, but you know, I’ll take whatever…”

I do know.
Sometimes, I’ll take “whatever”.

The conversation quickly pivots to what kind of photographer I am and one of the ladies asks whether or not I’ve ever photographed a naked woman on a couch.

I find the last part of that oddly specific, but I answer:
“Freelance”
“Yes.”

A slice of life.