From the NY Times:
Spotting a squeegee man used to elicit a grumble and a lot of useless waving-off gesticulation by the driver. Now a sighting of this rare species sparks a little charge, the way any New York City rarity — a faux Checker cab or a seltzer man — might.
Squeegee men, once seen as a scourge of New York City, can still be found at intersections uptown.
There is the reflex to pull out cellphones and snap a picture of this emblem of a more unruly city in the 1980s, one that, save for sporadic sightings, all but disappeared after police crackdowns.
One such sighting could be had, one recent afternoon, on West 111th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. A man wearing a green shirt and baggy, rolled-up jeans, was working away on the windshields of cars stopped at the red light on West 111th Street. He said his name was David Morales, 39, of East Harlem, and he immediately qualified his prowess as a glass-cleaner — “I’m the best there is” — while continuing to approach cars wielding only the head of a squeegee — no stick attached.
One can find work any place where drivers have to wait at a light and where police coverage is scant, he said, adding that the best spots are the arteries around Yankee Stadium on game day. When the Yankees are not playing, one can do well plying the service roads and on- and off-ramps along the Major Deegan Expressway.
“You got 145th, 155th Streets, the 138th Street Bridge,” he said. “They’re all good spots.”
They tend to be working people, streetwise people not afraid to roll down their windows, Mr. Morales explained.
As he spoke, a police car pulled up, and an officer hopped out. “You know you’re not supposed to be here,” he told Mr. Morales. Mr. Morales adopted an apologetic tone and said he would be on his way. The officer inspected his identification and, after a few minutes, let him off with a warning.
Mr. Morales flashed a smile and pulled out a wad of pink paper from his pocket — summonses from previous offenses, he said. He gets cited every few weeks and usually wipes them clean with a day of community service.
“Cost of doing business,” he said. He dropped his squeegee into his water bucket and headed uptown.