“Up against the wall mutha fukka” 1990

When I took this picture in Riverside park they had finally painted the handball court’s wall. It had been covered with vintage graffiti by the local legends Barbara & Eva 62 who I’m guessing came from the Amsterdam projects just a few blocks away. There had even been a few Sharks & Jets tags from the 1960’s which were paying homage to the movie “West Side Story” Oh well…

Then I met this guy Frank, who was Irish and had bright Orange hair. He hung around the 79th Street boat basin with a couple of old-timers. They were gay and Frank was 66 years old. I always do the math in my head to know how old someone was in 1945 in order to surmise whether or not they might have served in World War II. I asked him where and what he did during the war. He said he was on the USS Missouri which fought in the Pacific. He had to load the sixteen inch guns and described handling these giant cartridges of gunpowder, knowing that if there ever was a problem, he’d be dead before he knew what hit him. When I heard he had died of AIDS soon thereafter, there was something very unsettling about a guy who’d risked everything for our country just withering away prematurely…

All Photos © Matt Weber