NYC 1986

Old image of the city which seemed to be on the verge of disaster. The city of today is different yet also makes me feel nervous. You have all the wealthy people who not only survived the ’80s but thrived, and in the past two years, a whole new population of people holding empty coffee cups trying to “Live” in one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods. Watching happy dads and their kids walking by the homeless with $200 Christmas trees, has always left me feeling terrible…Same as it ever was.

All Photos © Matt Weber

“Not Just Another Suit” 2010

Here’s a fellow who has definitely arrived and wants to make sure you know. He might be a tough guy who has had some success on Wall Street. Then again considering he got on the train a couple of blocks from police headquarters, he might have a gold shield to go with his gold watch and chain…He didn’t like me very much…I can’t blame him.

All Photos © Matt Weber

NYC 1989

The Amsterdam projects were among NYC’s first. I’m pretty sure Robert Moses had a hand in their coming about. Built in 1947 they were a partial answer to all the troops that had come home after the war and needed affordable housing. I think they may have been better off leaving the tenements alone, because the projects eventually became isolated neighborhoods within a neighborhood. To this day, you have people who barely leave the projects to shop and it creates a weird type of personality disorder. Just knowing that your entire existence is based on government handouts could make the people feel a bit depressed as the affluent flutter about the perimeter. Rich people walking their kids to private school, pass the projects full of welfare recipients and crack dealers, who glare back unhappily. I know that some people will use the cheap rent to launch a better life for themselves, but most will spend all their days in these experiments from the laboratory of Moses and his minions…

One last gripe about NYC’s housing projects…If they had just put in larger windows, these buildings wouldn’t resemble the virtual prisons which they are. A little more light could have made a difference…

All Photos © Matt Weber

Subway Panhandler “Broadway Local” 2004

This recession or depression is starting to affect almost everyone I know. Even my friend the eye doctor has noticed that his customers are starting to resort to a little duct tape or crazy glue, as they try to fix their own glasses.

Over the past years I have lamented the fact that I sold my taxi medallion and now, it’s starting to creep up into the back of my mind again. There’s an old movie (The Roaring Twenties) where Humphrey Bogart, who owns a fleet of taxi cabs, gives a single medallion to James Cagney and tells him “One day you’ll be glad you have this” Cagney, who was playing a big shot in the movie laughed and dismissed the idea that he would ever have to push a hack. Fast forward a few minutes in the film and lo and behold, Cagney’s wearing his hack license ( a badge in the old days) on his cap. He then stops his cab and picks up the love of his life. She of course recognizes Cagney and after some pleasant words gives him a nice tip…

The point is, I sure wish I still had that one lousy fucking medallion…

Septemeber 15th 2001

It was only four days since the massacre and at first I was appalled and wanted to give some him some lip, but I also understand the fear of not being able to provide for one’s family. Tough call whether or not to give him a pass, while all the bodies were still burning…

All Photos © Matt Weber

“The Chaser” 1987

Back in the ’70s & ’80s there was a certain group of tow truck drivers that were known as chasers. This was a sick lot of crazy hot-rodders with souped up trucks that screamed around New York at over 100 mph! The first to get to a wrecked car, would claim the wreck for his body shop. Since a totaled Mercedes might be upwards of $10K to repair, the chasers would take almost any risk to get to the accident first. Red lights rarely slowed them down, and eventually it became obvious that these psychos were causing almost as many accidents as they were collecting. Finally the city figured out a way to control the chasers and I guess that’s a good thing.

They were a bunch of badass mother f*ckers though…

All Photos © Matt Weber

“Turbo Yuppies” 1988

I am using twenty year old titles because they had some relevance when I titled them and I suppose that the original impetus to title an image still has some significance, when looking at it many years later. After all, everything changes in New York, and the last yuppie was seen on September 10th 2001…After that we all became just New Yorkers again…

Right? Or is that just wishful thinking?

All Photos © Matt Weber