Veterans of West 4th

We get to talking, me and the skinny older guy, who called himself ‘Ice Man.’ Then blue jeans comes over and tells me his name is ‘Yung 63.’ Ice and 63 start arguing about who has the better handle.

It’s all about originality, says 63. You got two joints lying flat on the table and you gotta pick one to listen to. One cover says Ice Man, and the other Yung 63. Which one you gonna choose?

I realise he’s asking me, and I think aloud about both names. Reluctant to take sides, I say I can’t answer in front of both of them.

63 laughs. Loads of people got the handle Ice Man, it’s too common. You ain’t gonna get discovered with that name.

I start taking some pictures of both guys. Ice shows me his busted finger and I tell him I need to take a picture.

You like that?
Yeah I like it.

He holds it up and I snap two frames, then some of 63. He wants to wear his jacket, which looks good I think, so I tell him to put it on.

I wanna get their details so I can send them photos, but they don’t have email so they write their names on the back of a print I have in my bag. Ice asks how you spell Brooklyn. 63 tells him.

Ice’s real name is Kelvin, 63’s is William.

We hang out for a bit before I have to go. 63 is trying to score a smoke off these NYU dudes. One of them is rolling up a blunt and telling me how he’s been in a Nike commercial.

63 starts telling me about his rock. It’s an actual rock, on the ground in front of me.

Nigga come and try to take my rock this one time, so I gotta chase him down. I hit him with my rock and he don’t try and take it again.

Where did it come from?

This one time I just squatted down in the court and shit out a rock, for real. I shit that rock right there.

63 starts kind of dancing a little bit, saying how most guys his age can’t do shit, but he’s got the energy to run circles round all the young pups on the court.

I tell him he’s the youngest 63 I ever met.

Words and Photography: Samuel Bradley