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Derelict Vehicle Removal Program

This series of photographs from 1998 - 2004 is titled after the The New York City Department of Sanitation's Derelict Vehicle Removal Program which accounts for the abandoned cars that were stolen and stripped for parts, those ditched and set on fire for insurance reasons, and everything in between. 

The series began with the novelty of finding a destroyed car outside the front door, but it soon became part of a routine.  They appeared regularly between home, in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park area, and the Williamsburg Bridge on the route to work.  One day I commented to a neighborhood kid I was playing basketball with as we climbed through the hole in the fence (the park was always locked up back then) about the two burnt out hulks of SUV's flanking the makeshift entrance to the park.  I thought it was strangely apocalyptic; he just shrugged his shoulders at it.  Eventually, I also became less sensitive to the oddity of the public destruction of the vehicles.  That was replaced with an interest in the categorical differences I was seeing.  A Toyota Camry or a Ford Mustang was stripped for parts in a heartbeat; SUVs were turned into dumpsters; minivan doors were popular items; a few milk crates can support a Lincoln Towncar once it's wheels have been removed.    

Saul Metnick