Wayne Street: My Childhood Home

The apartment of 23 Wayne Street between Grove Street is the first home I can remember living in Jersey City starting from when I was three-years-old. Before that, according to my parents, we were living in a basement apartment somewhere around Sixth Street in downtown Jersey City. It was tough times for us living there, but 23 Wayne Street was a step up and I had lived there through my childhood from the age of three until the end of my freshmen year of high school when I just turned 15-years-old.

I had so many memories in this apartment from family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, playing my Sega Genesis in a small pantry area, getting my first pet in a kitten named Max, the arrival of my younger brother Jason from the hospital and much more. I was happy enough to stop by my old neighborhood with my camera to take some simple photos of the apartment building I once called home. (*Photos taken on July of 2014*)

Shot of the Stoop where I reminiscence about childhood memories  © 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

Shot of the Stoop where I reminiscence about childhood memories
© 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

In the first shot (photo above), I took this on the corner of Wayne and Grove Street as I zoomed in a bit for a mid-shot frame. I wanted this shot because this is the view I would get of the building when I would return home from either school at PS #37 Cordero or Van Vorst Park.

I also wanted to show the stoop I sat on constantly during the warmer days of the year. Right next to the stoop is a green candy cane shape pipe I would normally make as a chair and sit on it. In the frame, also, are the rest of the block and apartment homes I normally passed by when I was a kid.

A point of view of the stoop where I spent many a day sitting growing up on Wayne Street  © 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

A point of view of the stoop where I spent many a day sitting growing up on Wayne Street
© 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

The next photo here is (photo above) is the perspective of sitting on the stoop. I sat on the upper step of the stoop to get the right level I wanted and lowered the camera. I wanted to give the perspective of myself sitting on the stoop on warm summer days of no school, thinking about my future, people watching and witnessing people driving down Wayne Street despite it being a one way.

I also wanted to capture the neighborhood stores around the area such as King’s Furniture and Lee’s Fruit & Vegetable Shop. In this shot, I wanted some people to walk by in the shot, but no one was coming by. It was an overcast day with some threat of rain, so that would explain the absence of the public.

I waited patiently for until I saw a man on his bike going by. Already having the shot set up, I was able to take it in a second. Good thing he didn’t take a left turn and went the wrong way. I guess bicyclists are smarter than some car drivers.

Full shot of apartment building 23 Wayne Street where I lived for most of my childhood years   © 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

Full shot of apartment building 23 Wayne Street where I lived for most of my childhood years
© 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

I walked across the block to get a full shot of the apartment building which was tough to get (photo above). I couldn’t get the right angle I wanted and the corner shot was no good since the car in the front was blocking the entrance of the building which I wanted in the shot. So, I moved a few steps over and adjusted myself in front of the entrance just across the street and pointed the camera as high as possible to get the cars off the frame.

After several minutes of frustration, I just took the photo. It paid off as I was able to get the greenness of the building such as the frames of the windows, the entrance door and the fire escape. I try using the black, white and green technique (a black and white photo with the green color left in), but the greenness just wasn’t popping out. The green of the building was just too dark to pop out on its own.

The Alley Way of 23 Wayne Street where I threw keys over the fence to welcome family members in.  © 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

The Alley Way of 23 Wayne Street where I threw keys over the fence to welcome family members in.
© 2014 Angel Ortiz Jr. Photography

The last photo (above) of the apartment building I wanted to capture was the entrance to the alley way where residents take out their trash. Believe it or not, barb wires use to be on top of this entrance gate for some reason. I never understood that except for perhaps maybe keeping people from sneaking into the building, but I never witness a break-in of this apartment from all the years I have lived there.

The reason I wanted to capture this was because of more memories which may sound bizarre. I use to live on the second floor on the side of the alley and anytime a close family would come by, we would throw them the keys to the apartment over the fence perfectly. This is how I used to get the house keys when I started going to school on my own until I received my own pair of keys.

Also, we had a large rat epidemic one time and one day I had taken out the trash as my mom watched me out the window. She started screaming as I looked at her wondering why. I turned back and there was nothing. When I came back up, she said there was a giant rat behind me that sneaked by.

Thank goodness I never saw it or else I would have been paralyzed by the fear of a giant rodent. As for the shot, I went vertical this time so I could capture the entire alley way as well as the fire escape and the second floor where I grew up.

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