Nur Kahir juggles dual roles at the southwestern corner of University Avenue and 50th Street in the Colina Park neighborhood of City Heights. He owns the VIP Discount Store, a gathering place for the surrounding Somali community, and by virtue of that also presides over the informal court of Somali men that springs up to chat outside his shop every day.
Late Thursday morning, the group was unusually large, considering the sweltering heat. But minutes earlier, city workers had finished painting a brand new crosswalk across University Avenue, and now Kahir and about a dozen other men were standing around assessing the work.
“It’s good,” said Osman Hagisufi, who lives in the neighborhood. “Before, people look. Run.”