West Side Rendezvous

by Katsu Naito

The Meat Packing District in the early 90’s was not place to visit for every one, unless you are the club goers or to fill your stomach at Florent.
By mid afternoon, all of the meatpacking businesses will be closed and the area will become very quite and nobody is in sight.  No sign of any life form is present.  It has own abandoned isolate felling to it.  Before the quietness has settled in another side of its face would gradually come out.
A moment of The Meat Packing District will changes to other mean.
Car traffic began noticeable and is driving around as if wondering around.  Driving on the same street over and over again. The drivers mind is focus for only one reason…. looking for somebody to fulfill their fantasies.
After an initial driving in the area, the car driven by an elderly man had stopped his car and someone had approached to the driver side of window. After few conversations, the driver was reaching out his hand to the crotch of transvestite prostitute.
Off the side walk of Washington Street, a man standing against building and a men kneeling down and giving him an oral pleasure. A bloody and meaty smell is saturated every inch in the Meat Packing District.
The transvestite prostitutes are on the move.
I am just an outsider trying to get familiar with what is going on here, walk around or sit and watch my surroundings.
At that time, the crack epidemic was ongoing and people learned to understand about the AIDS and practice safe sex was must but they didn’t seem to care to protect him/her self in that way.   How can they risk their own life to earn twenty dollars? I wanted to hear their story….
It didn’t take a long time to have conversation with them and when its cold outside, I used to take them to the Bagel shop on 14th street and have coffee there. Talk about their past and dreams.
They seems only believe in money but I found beauty in their heart.  They seems in the edge of society and forgotten but they have their own identity here.
My feeling started to have a respect toward them and began to photograph them.