Snapshot Stories: Fulton Flapper

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind old photographs? Snapshot Stories is a series of short, fictional narratives prompted by that curiosity. This installment features Girl in Fulton Street, taken by Walker Evans in 1929.

The Italian was late. She was supposed to come into the store, meet him in the back, and arrange to take the last of his liquor. The visit should have been over before the clerk had time to cut her half a pound of mozzarella. He was “tidying up some business,” the clerk told her, probably thinking she was a Wall Street wife eager to ask about the best way to prepare lasagna.

Fifteen minutes later, she was pulling her hands into her fur sleeves and looking out into the stream of identical wool coats and fedoras on Fulton. The men were in a daze, stragglers from Wall Street conflicted about their sudden freedom. The wind tugged one of her curls out from the confines of her hat. She was going to wait for the Italian, even if she would have to storm the back door into the grubby excuse for a bar.

The idea that he was still on the last legs of his business began to warm her up. He was lucky anyone was willing to buy his liquor, but she had no interest in the money. She was there to raid his cellar like the police had raided hers, courtesy of his tip-off. The satisfaction of seeing his face hover between desperation and contempt was worth the trip downtown.