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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portrait of a Young Man, Without a Home

Photo by myself on Sixth Avenue in Midtown.

I met a young man named Eastwood on Sixth Avenue, Tuesday afternoon.

This fellow has lived in the city for several years. He told me he's from Pennsylvania and has plans to return or go to Scotland, where he has family. He proudly pointed out that his beard is actually a tattoo.

While working as a bike messenger, Eastwood was hit by a cab, severely injuring his left leg and putting him out of work. He is now on the street and turned 32 a couple weeks ago.

Eastwood sometimes sleeps at a hostel that charges 30 dollars a night for a bed. When he can't find the money, he sleeps in a sleeping bag in a parking lot on the Lower East Side.

Last night, it was incredibly cold, and Eastwood slept outside. I was flabbergasted.

Who knows whether Eastwood's story is true? It's hard to say.

I think most New Yorkers are wary of believing every story they hear, since there are so many people about with various motives. However, after our brief chat, I felt this fellow was sincere. I left him with what cash I had, which was about ten dollars.


It felt good to take another photo in the portrait series, where I take photos of random New Yorkers and speak to them. I will be doing more of these (!), showing New Yorkers from all walks of life.

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Prospect Heights, Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side and On the Picket Line, in Hell's Kitchen.


Olivier said...

c'est vrai que l'on sait jamais si c'est une vraie histoire ou pas, il y a une belle chanson sur le sujet de Charlelie Couture "les menteurs de métiers".

Lily Hydrangea said...

I like Eastwood's name.
The idea of anyone not having a warm bed to sleep in is just heartbreaking to me. At least with a few dollars, he can get a hot meal.
Beautiful portrait Kitty.

Leif Hagen said...

I've been trying to count my lucky stars lately! This posting makes me count my lucky stars again! A sad story, Kitty!

Luis Gomez said...

Beautiful portrait Kitty. Very kind of you. And once again we all should just be thankful for what we have.

WTakeuchi said...

So sad!! Even worse because he looks like a very good friend of mine!
Anyway, very nice portrait.

biebkriebels said...

You are a good person, I think it is difficult to take a photo and turn your back at him, you feel misserable. At least he can buy something warm, but it is a shame that people have to live on the street in such a rich city.

RedPat said...

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feelings - he probably was telling the truth! Nice one Kitty.

NYC, Style and a little Cannoli said...

I agree about his name, very unique. Sad to see the homeless and makes us appreciate what we have. I know when I stay in the city in the summer, at night walking around 5th Avenue, they are sleeping on the church steps...very sad to see indeed. I hope he has a chance to get back on his feet.

John-Roy Photography said...

Nice capture. I did a series on homeless people in Boulder but I did not get their stories, just their image and the sign they were holding. Nice personal touch. (I did give them $1)

elsiee said...

beautiful portrait - best tattoo beard EVER!

Upper Cesc said...

Good history, good photo. Maybe the hsitory it's true. Who knows??