Photo by myself on the Lower East Side, somewhere along Stanton Street.
An older woman peeked her head out during my walk in the neighborhood on Sunday.
The cable running from the roof in through the window is for cable television. In older buildings, it's easiest to locate the cable connection on the roof, then run wires straight down from the outside to each apartment, rather than along the stairs.
I'm reminded of an episode of Friends, which involved cable tv. (Disclaimer: I watched perhaps 2 episodes of this sitcom, and this was one of them. The other involved Pheobe and a cat and a song about the cat).
Joey and Chandler were watching tv, when suddenly they started getting the adult channel. Fearing the channel would disappear just as quickly, the tv was left on all the time. The guys wind up watching hour after hour of x-rated programming.
This is roughly a true depiction of New York life. Well, sort of.
In the older walk-up buildings, the cable hook-up is a complete mystery, this cable coming in from the window. Often when you first move in, you get free tv. Gradually the free tv disappears, and you're faced with making the dreaded phone call to the cable guy.
Perhaps I'm generalizing here, but it happened to me (not the adult channel, but the free cable), and I've heard the same story told over and over.
Note: A 'tenement' is another name for a walk-up building, a four or five (and sometimes six) floor residential building without an elevator. When originally conceived, the word 'tenement' did not have the class stigma it has today.
Related posts: Rent, The Low Down on Walk Ups and The Community Garden - An Urban Oasis.