Photo by myself on Broadway and Spring Street, in Soho.
Fortunately, a quick internet search confirmed that the two women on the flier were found, safe.
The teenagers were from neighboring New Jersey, and were found in Connecticut. No details were provided regarding why they went missing.
Like many major cities, New York is often the destination for runaways. Signs such as the one above are not uncommon. You might see a few of these every year.
Runaways come to New York perhaps because it symbolizes opportunity. More often than signs, you see young people sitting on sidewalks asking for help.
I believe I had my first close encounter with a runaway a couple months ago, on the subway. On my way to work, I sat next to a young man who was asleep. After a couple stops, he woke up and asked where he was.
He said that he fell asleep while looking for a hotel. Besides the fact that he was young and scruffy, that fact didn't sit well with me. After all, who goes to a city without planning first where to stay?
By the time we got into Manhattan, he said, 'Well, I guess I should just go into the office'.
Scruffy young kid, new to the city, suddenly has an office to go to? It didn't seem right. But it was a Monday, and my brain doesn't function well in the mornings. I directed him to where his 'office' was, near NYU.
Looking back, I wish I could re-live that day. I wish I'd asked him directly what his deal was, though it's not the easiest thing to do with a perfect stranger. If I had, this might have been a completely different story.
Related posts: Hope for Better Times, in the East Village, On Pink Walls and a Family Update and Outside the Sunburnt Cow, on Avenue C.