Some years ago, on the day when we are asked to honor Veterans of war, I met Allan, an Air Force Veteran of the Vietnam years 1969 through 1974, and a native New York State resident who lived in Woodstock for fifty seven years, and found himself homeless in New York City. Details were scant. He said he was waiting for the Veterans hospital to open.
I did not ask his age or his last name. He had stumbled on some discarded furniture and things, and had set up a curbside office where he was offering items for sale in a casual sort of way.
Must have been 4AM, when, sleepless, I had decided to walk around the neighborhood to relax. When I encountered Larry, and once it was established I was not in the market to purchase anything and had nothing to sell, we had a conversation in which I asked whatever questions I thought were not too intrusive, and he volunteered what he wished to. He posed himself when asked if I could take a few picture. I'd not seen him in the neighborhood before and haven't seen him since.
by Neil Young
There are a billion stories. I only see some.
Here's three more.
Every day he's here up against the wall with his home in the shopping cart. He spreads newspaper and curls up for an afternoon nap. He didn't want to say his name but he will accept a cup of coffee or a sandwich so long as you don't need to talk or need for him to. He doesn't beg in any systematic way, just leaves an empty cup nearby.
I only saw this man twice, always in the same place on 25th Street and looking severely tired out. When asked if he needed anything, he shook his head 'no' and turned away both times.
Two very different gents napping on a bench uptown on Broadway. They were there when I arrived at noon and still there when I left around three thirty. Conversation was inappropriate.
(Pop-up-Shops appear mostly daily, and among several other sellers just outside the Post office on East 23rd Street. Shifting groups but the same faces. They all live in the Shelter rooms right there in a building that used to be one of those infamous emergency welfare rooms whose Landlord had a 'deal' with the City that they would be paid $2000 a month per body. There was an investigation and recently our current Mayor has managed to get it under better control, or so it's said. Too much else going on to allow me to keep track of this one. Once or twice I bought a VHS video from one or another of the several, but mostly none of them want to engage in anything more than business. Today there was only this one fellow.