Last week it seemed like Skanska, the company leading the Second Avenue subway construction, couldn’t work any closer to the buildings along the west side of the blocks affected by the digging. I was wrong. With vibration meters set up along each of the facades, the narrow aisle that leads into the residences and stores keeps you one unbalanced step from becoming part of the crew, or back fill. I repeat my concern for the businesses along the sidewalks that get rerouted every other minute, especially the bodegas and grocers. The number of police cars, EMT buses and fire trucks that would pull up along M&N or Key Food on any given day to gather lunch, dinner or their grocery list is cut off by the stockade like fences that prohibit anyone from entering except by the linear maze that each and every person seems to get trapped in. Sometimes it feels like the entrance in to any one of the store fronts between 95th and 92nd Streets changes in the five minutes you are inside.
Yesterday the work was a little closer to Laundry Boy, with a sliver of a walkway between the brick buildings and men working. As I drew from my little spot each member of the small crew that was carving the moat in front of the cleaners came up to me to bust my chops—each one would ask me to draw their coworker. I even got a “Just draw the black guy with the radio,” of course coming from the black guy with the radio. He then disappeared before I could get him in the drawing. There is nothing P. C. about a construction site. Maybe tomorrow.
The best comment of the afternoon was from the front loader/backhoe operator that saw last weeks drawing. Looking at the dump truck in the middle of yesterdays drawing he told me what to do with said dump truck (it rhymes with truck). I told him he was going to be in there soon, I just started. He repeated his instructions. So much for pleasing everyone. By the time I was done he was pretty engrossed in building a trench, I guess his break was over. Tomorrow I will make sure his backhoe will be the star of the drawing.