These are pictures and stories of New Yorkers in crisis.
Drake, 31, and Rachel, 21, have been homeless since they were 12 and 13. Both have backgrounds of fleeing abusive homes. They came to New York from Oregon during the summertime. On good days they can make from $80 to $100 dollars begging on the streets. On this day they were sitting on 5th Avenue between 44th and 43rd with their pet Chihuahua Scooby who they found abandoned and tied to a fence. When it gets really cold they pay to stay at a motel room. Homeless Shelters, they say, are worse than living on the streets. Dec. 12, 2013. 5th Avenue, New York.
Park Avenue and 125th Street. East Harlem. April 11, 2014.
I had not visited Louis for over a month. When I arrived to see how he was doing, he was sitting by himself. I asked him where his friend Africa was. Begrudgingly, he brought me to the side of the Metro North station to visit his friends. Africa had accused Louis of stealing from him. Louis always gets very confrontational when he is accused of stealing.
"You can come back here and talk to me," he told me. "But don’t ever come to me and ask about Africa again."
Park Avenue and 125th Street, East Harlem. April 11, 2014
When Louis was living in Puerto Rico he crashed a car on his way home from work when he fell asleep behind the wheel. He almost severed his tongue from the collision with a tree. The accident broke both his legs and is the primary reason for why he can’t work.
I met Jose Francisco, a 40-year-old homeless person from Puerto Rico, at the recycling center outside Pathmark on 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Although Jose sleeps under bridges now, he’s extremely particular about his style and buys fashionable clothes with money earned from recycling. He hates to be dirty and goes to a nearby shelter to take shower every day. “You live on the streets but you gotta take care of yourself,” he said.
In Photo 2, Jose cleans his hands with liquid soap, but cannot find water to wash it off.
Louis is glad to have Africa around, and out of the hospital. “Africa is like the soul of the group,” Louis said. Africa was hit by a car the previous week and went to the hospital the previous morning because he was afraid he had internal bleeding along with his two broken ribs. #outinthecoldnyc #homeless #nyc