Photo of the day: WAKE ME WHEN IT’S TUESDAY… Monday morning blues
Photo of the day: A HEEL IN NEED OF A SOLE
– Ok, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve seen people beg for travel money, beer money, drug money, food money or just the food or cigarettes, etc. . . but begging for money for new shoes because your feet hurt – – – well then why isn’t almost every
woman in town sitting next to him?!?!? “Need money for more comfortable Pradas”, “Low on Louboutins”, “Need a new pair of wedgies”, “Brother can you spare a Croc?” “Hungry for Harley boots.”
1am, Macy’s and 34th Street
Photo of the day: THE COLD IS SO HARD ON THE KNEES – It was 11°F (-11.67°C) last night in New York City, with wind chills 10-15° degrees colder. To most of us that didn’t matter in our warm beds. Last year the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system surpassed 50,000+ people for the first time since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago. That grim milestone includes more than 21,000 homeless children. More children and adults are homeless now in New York City than at any time since the Great Depression.
Thanks to despicable billionaire mayor Bloomberg New York City’s record homeless shelter population continues to grow at an alarming rate – up 19% percent in the past year alone. And this does not even include the thousands of New Yorkers still displaced by Hurricane Sandy, many of whom comprise extremely low-income households.
In total the homeless shelter population under billionaire mayor Bloomberg rose by a staggering 61% percent and the number of homeless families has increased 73% percent. During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, New York City homelessness has increased both in absolute numbers and at a higher rate than under previous mayors Koch, Dinkins, or Giuliani. One can only hope our new Mayor DeBlassio and our new administration can rectify these horrific numbers.
Please donate to your local charities.
Photo of the day: BRING YOUR PETS INSIDE – It has snowed again last night, don’t forget to bring your loved ones indoors.
Photo of the day: ONLY IN MANHATTAN DO HOMELESS PEOPLE HAVE THEIR DRY CLEANING DELIVERED TO THEIR CORNER – OR DO THEY? – This past spring I was walking in the west 40’s of Manhattan when I came across this site. A homeless man with freshly dry cleaned dress shirts hanging from his ‘home’ which happens to be a laundry cart. Stunned, with the ‘what is wrong with this picture’ moment, I was torn whether to be amused or impressed.
So, let’s analyze this set up: the laundry cart is obviously stolen. Since it is not of the old cloth kind but of the new sturdy hard black polypropylene, I deduce it was stolen from one the better hotels in town. It is lined with well sorted commercial garbage bags that contain his collected recyclable soda cans, water and beer bottles – but note – the garbage bags are brand spanking new, now the well worn ones you see most street people use over and over again until they fall apart. Hanging from a shovel’s handle is a corporate American Express ID badge from the US Open Tennis Championships here in Queens. Dangling from the same handle is a cat toy, also in relatively unused condition. Tied to the handle is a pair of scissors.
His ‘home’ is lined with a nice light blue and a new black yoga mat. A can of Coke awaits. But the most eye catching of all…is the six newly dry cleaned expensive looking dress shirts hanging from a mop handle affixed to the laundry cart!
Now I ask you – kleptomaniac or down and out Wall Street executive?? You decide.
February 11, 2011 homeless man left to freeze to death under mayor Bloomberg’s watch
Photo of the day: THE ‘BITTER’ COLD – This is a re-post of a story I wrote on February 11, 2011 and again on November 30, 2012. Today when it was 3°F (-16°C) this morning with windchills at -15°F (-26°C!), let’s hope this story does not repeat itself yet again. Previous mayor Bloomberg said we have no homeless problem in NYC, meanwhile emperor Bloomberg failed to acknowledge homelessness increased by 65% under his heartless watch! Let’s hope with our new mayor Bill DeBlasio, there will be a more humane approach to the fragile lives of this city, he is already proving to be more humane during this frigid ‘artic vortex’ and creating easier access/entry to all who seek shelter, god bless.
Nov. 30, 2012: “On today’s front page of many papers is a picture of police officer, Larry DePrimo in the bitter cold, buying a homeless man a pair of shoes. The photo was taken on cell phone by a passing Arizona tourist and has gone viral world wide. While it is a beautiful and touching story – I have a contrasting one I posted over a year ago here on Facebook.
On Tuesday February 11, 2011 that night it was 22 degrees freezing with wind chills below zero, this man seemed frozen over his cart. He did not have gloves and his hands had turned brown from frostbite. He did not move. No one helped him. Notice his left hand, his fingers are straight together, it is an unnatural way for your hand to be if you are ‘sleeping’. His hand was frozen. I stepped near the grate, the so called ‘warm air’ was at best minimal. I have been told to freeze to death is somewhat merciful, you numb and fall asleep. Whether he survived the night I don’t know. I am conflicted to hope he survived or if the merciful wish was for him to ‘fall asleep.’ It took me a long time to flag a police car, they said he is on top of a grate and therefor “warm and fine”. I called 911 & 311 repeatedly, because supposedly the NYC law is that if it goes below freezing it is manadatory for the homeless to be brought to a shelter – but no one came. The traffic cop on the corner said there is nothing he could do. I went home with tears in my eyes and could not sleep that night.
It truly is a ‘bitter’ cold.”
Bye Bye Bloomie
Kiss your rich ass goodbye;
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you go and die?
All the gloom is gone away;
I won’t cry Bloomie,
DeBlassio is here to save the day.
I’ll miss your mean Grinch grins,
As tho’ it’s kicking me in the shins;
And each and ev’ry night,
I’ll thank God faithfully!
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you take Quinn with you too;
Bye Bye Bloomie
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared!
Bye Bye Bloomie
Hope the Bermuda triangle’s got you now!
I’ll try Bloomie
To forget some how
No more destroying
Neighborhoods we’ve grown to love
No more lying
When you twist those zoning laws
Your graft and your payola ways
Your super-duper rich class
There’s nothing left to say
You can all kiss my ASS!
Bye Bye Bloomie
Ta ta oh sweetie-pie
Bye Bye Bloomie
Time for you to die
Time for you to die
Time to say goodbye
The true Bloomie at DeBlassio’s inauguration
Photo of the future: VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE DeBLASIO! – GO out there and vote! I want a real human being in City Hall. A man whose family looks like the rest of us. A man with feelings and a heart. Not ice in his veins. I don’t care if all his promises can’t be reached, or if he will screw up and falter – I want a mensch, a human being I can approach and relate to. I want my city back! I got rid of Christine Quinn, one of the most cold calculating, selfish, power mad, destructive politicians of modern times, lets make sure MTA-thief Joe Lohta losses by a huge margin!
YOU can make history and get rid of the elite detached nanny-rule of this Bloomberg tyranny. In my born and raised 57 years as a New Yorker I have never seen a mayor do as much to destroy and harm my beloved city as bastard Bloomberg. We have NEVER lost as many long time established stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, historical neighborhoods and places and business places as with his greedy rule of allowing quadruple rent increases to squeeze (in some cases) 100 year old businesses out of business so he could build yet another mirror glass ivory tower for his billionaire friends. He has done more damage than 9/11 and hurricane Sandy combined, both of which we are rebuilding from. You cannot rebuild from the onslaught over priced glass ivory towers, the destruction of historic neighborhoods, the squeezing out of the middle class, the invasion of chain stores in even the most historical of neighborhoods, the racial and socioeconomic division of this city, the genocide of the middle class as what has occurred in the last 12 years of Bloombergistan.
Bloomberg is a thief. Oddly enough he went from being the 18th richest man in the country to 10th richest man as the zoning laws, historic district laws and street patterns changed and Citi-bikes have invaded and devoured our city. All those deals went into his back pocket. The zoning commission is working around the clock to cram through all of Bloomberg’s excessive destructive plans such as encircling Grand Central Terminal and the iconic Chrysler building with glass super towers!
I am tired of the little dwarf who is about as much a part of the rest of us as a cold rock from outer space. His Napoleonic syndrome of dominant power over every little aspect of New York went too far.
DON’T “ASS-U-ME” DeBlassio will win or win big: May I remind you , that is how bastard Bloomberg got this third term because of the anger and apathy that let everyone assume he would win his bought third term. Apathy and laziness looses you your city. VOTE! – Take 15 extra minutes before or after work, take the dog on a voting walk, turn off the TV, grab a warm coat, take your children with you and let them know they are a part of something great, take someone you love and share this exhilarating chance, but most of all, know that this vote is one of the most crucial votes you will cast in the last 100 years of this city’s glorious history and certainly determine our next 100 years.
HELP SAVE NEW YORK – VOTE BILL DeBLASIO ! ! !
Photo of the day: HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL – When I saw this homeless woman on the front steps of a 42nd Street Church, reading a book with the title “Zadie Smith On Beauty” I thought, ‘now there’s positive thinking!’ But – it turns out the book is a smoldering novel of bi-racial love and the clash between liberal and conservative academic values in the United States! A good page turner always intrigues and passes the time:)
is a 2005 novel
by British author Zadie Smith
. It takes its title from an essay by Elaine Scarry
(On Beauty and Being Just
). The story follows the lives of a mixed-race British/American family living in the United States. On Beauty
addresses ethnic and cultural differences in both the USA and the UK, the nature of beauty, . A short article in the Guardian
has described it as a “transatlantic comic saga.”
Photo of the day: “I’M HOMELESS RIGHT NOW, BUT IF YOU LEAVE A MESSAGE…” – Only in New York, will you find a homeless man’s very neat street living quarters with a handwritten sign that reads “I am currently at ‘Think Coffee’ across the street, keeping a ‘watchful eye’ on this property. Anthony. 646-717-XXXX.”
Only in New York.
Photo of the day: THE WHOLE BALL OF WAX – When you are a daily New York subway rider, you come to know ‘the regulars’ on your train. That man who always folds The New York Times so precisely when reading it’s almost an art, the Russian woman who loves wearing leopard patterns, the Indian man who listens to Bollywood soundtracks so loud on his iPhone ear bugs – you can hear it clearly three seats away, the girl who seems to think the subway is her bathroom and meticulously applies her makeup stroke by calculated stroke, the snoring businessman who prefers to wear gray suits. But then there are the other “irregulars”: ‘Lady Karisma’ a woman who wears emerald green sequins, plays a melodica and announces the history of Brazilian music before she sings Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘The Girl From Ipanema” off key, the kid selling candy “for my high school team”, the air head folk singer who singing on the minority laden 7 train is just so, so out of place, the crazy lady from 46th Street who wears totally mis-matched clothes with a preference for lace gloves and veils, eats bags of sunflower seeds and very busily talks to herself – but don’t touch her, she gets testy.
But this being New York…there is always something new to surprise me in this never ending stream of a free show. The other day I was crammed onto a #4 uptown train during rush hour and had barely any room to move my head to look around. As I glance to the left, the lady with the big oversized bee-keeper-like mauve hat did catch my attention. She was terribly engrossed in working on something with her hands. There was also a strange odor coming from her way. Not offensive – just not a recognizable smell. Ok, curiosity getting the better of me, I inched closer. The smell was of the wax she was kneading. There she was – making an old fashion shoe out of candle wax, yes you read that right. A shoe…out of wax. She had a cardboard box of dirty, presumably found candle stubs that she was breaking pieces off of in order to add and mold them very meticulously to her shoe. By the way, the matching shoe was in the box. I tried getting a look at her face but the mauve bee-keeper hat prevented that. She studied the shoe, turned it from all angles in order to apply the next piece of dirty wax just right. I watched her with fascination. As the train pulled into 42nd Street and I got off the train, I just wondered ‘what does one do with a pair of wax shoes?!’
MAC ATTACKS CAN HAVE SERIOUS SIDE AFFECTS:
Today January 17th, 2013 is McDonald’s “Customer Appreciation Day”! (Buy a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder with Cheese get a 2nd one for a penny!) I don’t know what was in his ‘happy meal’, but I think there was a little too much ‘happy’!
But if it’s not the extra ‘happy’ and you wake up in Times Square from a McDonald’s food haze, painted in gold and your items painted in gold…you should have laid off that fourth 12-pack of Chicken McNuggets, large big mac, two side order of fries and the 16oz big gulp. People have long debated over the ingredients in their food, this seems to be one of the bad side effects.
AL MEETS THE BLESSED SISTERS OF MOTHER TERESA:
These are the two sisters of The Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta here in New York City. They have met Al a homeless man, just off Broadway. I quickly photographed them since I don’t recall seeing the Mother Teresa garb in our streets before. As I got closer the conversation went something like this:
Sisters: Please don’t photograph us. Why are you photographing us?
Me: Because it was a beautiful moment.
Al: Are you famous?
Me: No, I’m just a blogging photographer.
Al: You sure you’re not famous, because I know a lot of famous people.
Sisters: Well Al, it was a pleasure talking with you, we have to be going now…
Al: Hey sisters! I didn’t get you telephone number.
The sisters and I looked at each other.
Al: Mister, you sure you’re not famous? Where can I see your photos, are they in my stuff here? I got all kinds of books here, I found ’em. Let me get your email so when I become famous we can email each other and I can get your pictures of me and the sisters here.
Sisters: Al, how can you email if this is your home?
Al: I can send brainwaves, they’re just like emails.
The sisters and I look at each other again.
Sisters: It was so nice to meet you Al, God bless you. Let me give you this card, it was blessed by Mother Teresa herself, and this medal too.
One of the sisters opens a tin to reveal dozens of tiny little medals, all supposedly blessed by Mother Teresa herself. She kisses the medal and the card and hands them to Al.
Al: I gotta look this Teresa up. Hey Mister, you famous? No seriously, give your email.
I gave him an email which just might have been a few digits off…
Sisters: Bless you my son too, here please take one of these blessed medals from Mother Teresa too.
Al: I thought I was the only one getting a medal?
Sisters: They are meant for all good people.
Al: Hey! I know lots of famous people!
I took my card and medal, and graciously thanked the sisters. We then made our excuses and went on our separate ways, me wondering if I would be getting any brainwaves from Al soon. To this moment, they haven’t arrived yet 🙂
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.
BANAN-APEAL: The economy is taking a bad turn when our local fruits are begging in the streets! This down and out banana was found a-peeling for funds on east 40th street Friday afternoon. ‘Brother, can you spare an ice cream scoop?” “I’ll ripen for $1.00.” “Do I a-peel to you?” “I’ll peel for $2.00!”
Truth be told, I was in a hurry to an appointment down the street when I passed this scene and found it quite amusing and odd. Half an hour later I passed by and still no one was there, so I went into one of the local stores to shop. Fifteen minutes later, still no one, just the banana. When I asked how the banana was doing, it said “I just miss the rest of the bunch.”
COUNTING THE DAY’S RECEIPTS: “I could just die without my Starbucks coffee in the morning.” “I always get the giant popcorn at the movies.” “I could just die for a pair of Louboutin shoes!” “I got great seats to see the game.” “Cigarettes are so expensive.” “Do you have a dishwasher in your apartment?” “Time for a mani and pedi.” “Let’s order Chinese.”
There but for the grace of God go I.
CATCHING UP: Bryant Park behind the grand public library on Fifth Avenue is where all walks of life converge. It is one of my most cherished places to study and photograph people, to study their contrasts and comparisons. It is a park always rich with untold life’s stories.
I call this scene “Catching Up”. Three individual all have something in common yet their stories are most likely so diverse. The man on the left seems like a tired business man or clerk enjoying the sun on his lunch hour. Well dressed, neat clean – yet as the hours passed he remained in his coveted sunlit chair, he is not what he seems at first. Either loneliness or homelessness brings him to the park every day so he can read the daily newspapers loaned out by the library in their “outdoor reading room”.
The woman in the center fascinates me. Very positive body language. Assertively studying The Financial Times, article by article. Sophisticated mannerisms, briskly snapping the pages about, smartly dressed, but her ragged overstuffed suitcase gives her away – she is homeless. It is tragic to think that a woman with such intelligence would be brought to this point in life, what could have happened to her? I always think to myself “there but for the grace of God go I”. For these warm moments in the sun, the situation of her life is gone and she studies the world’s problems as she may have done so in her office perhaps at one time.
The man on the right is a messenger waiting for his beeper to go off to go on a call. It didn’t go off in the few hours I was there. Slumped from exhaustion he rests, determined to work if given the chance. He remained absolutely motionless steeped in slumber, perhaps escaping from the day. Each one of them sharing the same library garden to catch up.
SOMETIMES YOU JUST FEEL LIKE SLEEPING IN: “God the moon is so bright! Oh, uh, huh? Noon?!?!”
I am used to seeing the homeless sleep on the street at night or in doorways, but you don’t see it so often in the bright sun of high noon. Must’ve been one helluva night.
LITTLE DOT: She is known as the ‘dot lady’. She reminds me of a 1950’s Harvey comic book character by the same name. She haunts Greenwich Village around 6th Avenue near 8th Street. ‘Dot’ will rummage through the local garbage to find any in tact items she can and then obsessively paints dots on the things she finds…including herself.
Her ‘paint’? Diluted Pepto-Bismol! At night she tries to sell her ‘art’, but in the day time – I was told not to get too close to her, or she’ll get angry and dash off. . .
REMAINS OF THE DAY: Ghosts of the The Wall Street Journal and his past seem to haunt this homeless man as he ponders his future outside of the Journal’s headquarters on Sixth Avenue.
STOOPED: It’s all a matter of time. It happens sooner or later, here we have an example of it happening sooner and later 🙂
Union Square Park
Hello everyone! I thought I would start with some of my well known photos that has been exhibited in galleries, published and won awards. My first post will be a woman I have fallen in love with since I have photographed her.
A FOUND MEAL
A FOUND MEAL: Late night in Times Square is my favorite time to observe people. I will just wander about and pick people out of a crowd and trail them (ok = stalk) with my camera. I notice this lovely old woman pulling her roller suitcase behind her, she seems to blend into the crowd, except . . . she stops at every garbage can in the square. She is looking for her evening meal. She finds a couple of nearly empty drinks and pours them all into one large McDonalds cup. She finds a half smoked cigarette. Some unused napkins. Half a pretzel. And then – good fortune shines on her. In the garbage can at the corner of 46th and Broadway there is a, still hot, doggie bag from The Olive Garden containing a seemingly uneaten lasagna, with utensils. Having put her meal together, she searches for a table to sit down and spread out her ‘found meal.’ She sits with dignity at the table. Her silver grey hair whisping about her forehead in the light evening breeze. Life is good for the moment. I look at her, and wonder, what brought her ‘here‘? I alone know her story. The surrounding people at the other tables have no clue as to her situation in life. (There is a visual clue in the photo, her thumbnail is pitch black, from digging in the garbage cans.) I take a whole series of photos of her enjoying her meal. I am drawn to her, by her beauty and dignity – and sadness. Finally, I feel it is time for me to move on and as I leave, I notice two Italian tourists at the next table knowingly smiling at me and say “she is beautiful.”