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Bleeker Street - the other side of the tracks

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  • Bleeker Street - the other side of the tracks

    We'll call it Sin City. Using it's real name would serve no worthwhile purpose. It's sometime in the late seventies, that seediest of decades.

    Our journey today takes us deep into this urban decay - right to the rotten core at its heart.

    That core has a name: Bleeker Street.

    The early morning is the only time there's ever quiet on Bleeker Street. And even that brief peace is shattered by the growl of an ancient locomotive, working the crumbling industries in the next block.

    Big Boy's Jive Joint rests silently in the early sun. At this hour, no jungle jazz throbs from its fissures.


    Big Boy's owns the long nights around here.

    Up on his battle-scarred wall, Big Montana lights his first smoke of the day.

    Farther up the street, there is clatter of a garbage truck making its a futile attempt to clean up a place that can't ever be clean again.

    Apple Annie, the bag lady shuffles down the street. She's up early today. Maybe she never slept again last night. No demons to torment her.

    Farther still up the block, Freddie is having no trouble at all sleeping on his park bench...until an over zealous cop prods him awake with his nightstick.

    All the sins that go down around here and the cops have nothing better to do than hassle a man getting an innocent nights sleep!

    As the sun crawls higher, the "hood" begins to stir. Street denizens stake out their turf in front of the Roosevelt Hotel. What business they conduct is best left unknown.

    Annie shuffles by, as oblivious as everyone else to East Side Elvis' attempts to entertain. He hasn't even had a drink yet, but he's ready to try his slightly off key rendition of "It's now or never". We have to leave - just in time! Some drunk is begging him to play "Feelings"

    A few feet over, underneath the "El, "Whacky Willie" holds court at his 45 gallon oil drum. Willie was never quite the same after he came back from Southeast Asia.

    Behind him: home for the homeless. Abandoned cars, old cardboard boxes, mattresses. shopping carts. Cast off things for cast off people.

    Next door is the Sunshine Cab Company....

    It's seen better days.

    Across the street. a neighbourhood "lady" chats with a police officer:

    What's all the commotion?...Oh.....the cop is there for a reason. In fact, the area is crawling with cops. looks like there's been an interesting find in the dumpster out behind "Sonny's Burgers"...

    It appears that Johnny, the bartender at Big Boy's Jive joint, won't be mixing any more shooters.

    "The vic took six to the chest," says Detective Lenny," Nice grouping, though. I'm guessing that the perp was a pro."

    Just another typical incident in a typical day down on Bleeker Street.

    LeRoy Brown cruises down the street in his custom Eldorado. He's got a custom Continental too.

    By the lampost, stands Lola, just as much a fixture on the street as the post. She's a big-boned "girl" with a deep voice. She claims that the Kinks wrote a song about her.

    The big guy lights yet another smoke.

    Big Boy's Jive Joint waits for the night to arrive....

    and finally....dusk does arrive on Bleeker Street.

    And with the fall of night, come the drunks and the working girls......

    Willie and the boys under "the El" huddle around a fire in the oil drum for warmth.

    Once more, the jazz beat pounds into the street from Big Boys Jive joint...the night is complete.

    The next morning another of the frequent trains rumbles over the "El"....another day. Life goes on in Bleeker Street.

    Lance Russwurm


  • #2
    Truly incredibly, realistic modeling, Lance. Just fabulous. So much detail and so well done. Thanks for sharing it with us.


    • #3
      Lance, what a great rendition of the mood of this quite unsafe place. So, even LPs can be killed...


      • #4

        Great imagination and some very well done modeling. Thoroughly enjoyed the 'slide' show.

        Peter [:-kitty]


        • #5
          Very realistic modeling and excellent photography. Thanks for the pictures and the narrative.


          • #6
            Realistically depressing. I would not want to be there after dark. Places like that are why I live in the country. Even the railroad I model is for a large part in the National Forest.


            L&N nut



            • #7
              Awesome modeling and photography! Lots of work too! Thanks for sharing!


              • #8
                Fantastic work Lance, loads of creativity. You've set a dark, edgy mood perfectly.


                • #9

                  Wow, this is great. What an imagination you have. Great use and placement of the figures. I like Freddie and the big blonde matrix.

                  Great placement of the liquor store next to the true that is.


                  • #10
                    Great sequence Lance!

                    I hadn't made the connection between the diorama and the night photo of O'Malley's Bottoms Up until just now.

                    Thanks for letting me revisit Bleeker St once more.

                    --Rich B.


                    • #11
                      Sweet! I like it.


                      • #12

                        Excellent modeling. Those night shots are superb and I love the story line that goes with the pictures.



                        • #13
                          Lance, that is some great urban modeling! I enjoyed the photos and story line, too. :up:


                          • #14
                            I'm particularly impressed by the realism of your street's pavement, Any tips to your methods and how you pulled off such realism?


                            • #15

                              Hi Lance,

                              Excellent!!! Reminds me of my old neighborhood in northwest Detroit.

                              Karl O.

                              Berkley, MI