Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.


THIRTEEN DOWN WAS A BITCH: Part of her morning routine is to secure a warm sunny chair and table early in Bryant Park, to settle in her belongings and to do her crossword puzzles. She is one of the regular homeless faces I recognize in the park. One never knows what brings you to such a point and what story lurks behind that sleepy face next to you. She being an avid cross word puzzler makes me curious what her past was -secretary, business executive, wife, teacher, accountant, clerk – I wonder?
Bryant Park is situated right behind the huge public library here in Manhattan filled daily with avid readers. The advantage is they discard their daily newspapers in the nearby trash bins. So her morning routine begins – find a spot, find the daily papers, find the crossword puzzles, tear them out of the paper and then start with #1 across.  Being homeless, you never are assured to find the next days paper to find out if you’ve solved them all correctly or not, but it whiles away the hours.
#1 across was the easiest, it always is, likewise for #1 down. #2 across follows easily.
#7 across required some thought. #11 down she wasn’t sure of the spelling.
Solving #22 down made the others fall into place. #39 across could be one of two names. But . . . #13 down – was a bitch, so, she decides to take a nap.

4 responses

  1. Mickey Rosato

    Sad….I once read that most people are one paycheck away from being homeless. Where do they sleep? Where do they go when they’re tired and don’t feel good? Is this what happens to old folks who don’t have money or family to help them out?

    November 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm

  2. Mickey, if you look at her hands, she has nice jewelry on. She once had a seemingly good life, now it’s just in a few suitcases and bags. Old age is a horrible situation to find yourself in in this country. Husband dead, family gone = you’re alone. (I myself just have my 86 yr old mom, that’s it.) She was someone’s daughter. Had a home with heat, 3 meals. What happened? It breaks my heart, I wish I had a lot of money and could put them all in a warm home to be cared for. “There but for the grace of God, go I.” It could be me or you – you never know what horrible, helpless turn will occur in your life.
    I try to photograph the homeless with a sense of beauty, sometimes more starkly, hopefully perhaps to create more awareness and thankfulness for what we have.

    November 16, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    • SouthernBelle

      Wonderfully captured photo! I am pretty certain she is the elderly lady I spoke with today at the park. She had some fascinating stories, but things just didnt seem to add up when I saw all of her belongings with her. She is a really sharp lady….so sad if she lives on the streets.

      July 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      • Dear ‘Southernbelle’, thank you so very much fpr sharing that with me. Yes, some of smartest and brightest have been left homeless. Horrible. But our mayor builds more glass boxes for the idle rich and no shelters for the poor, as a matter of fact, he closes them down or cuts back the funding. Welcome to Bloombergistan.

        July 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s