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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homeless Woman, Below Brooklyn

Homeless Woman, NYC
Photo by myself at the DeKalb subway station, in Brooklyn.

A homeless woman stood on the subway platform Wednesday night, with all her belongings.

A large bag patched with duct tape hung from her shoulder. A small plastic bag at the front of her cart carried some bananas. The woman was hunched over and glared at passersby.

I took a photo of her from a subway car that was just departing. The doors of the subway closed and we went on our way. Inside, commuters were entranced by their electronic devices. The contrast between what society is capable of and reality was striking.


This was the second time I've seen this woman. I promise myself (and all of you out there) to approach her the next time, but it can be tricky.

There is a fellow who pretty much lives on one of the lower levels of the 59th Street subway, for instance. I've approached him with food, only to be waved angrily away.

There is no guarantee that approaches are welcomed, and with subway tracks nearby, one should exercise care.

Related posts: Society's Trash, A Dollar and a Dream, and All You Can Eat.


Olivier said...

en effet, les SDF ne sont pas toujours facile a approcher, souvent ils se protègent et on peur des réactions

s.c said...

Nice that you will do something for her. Its really a sight you don't expect in a city like yours but in reality is all to common. Something is definitively wrong in our society. But photo's like yours make people think and that is good and can make a change.

Andy said...

Approaching people in this situation can be risky. A lot of them are unstable. Good luck on your next try.

kousuke said...

Are there any place to go by subway for her?
The real purpose may be to avoid the cold wind.

Steve Kennedy said...

I would think that this woman suffers from some type of mental illness that transcends her homelessness. According to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 40% of America’s chronically homeless people suffer from some type of serious mental disorder. You wonder if she has any family or friends?

sonia a. mascaro said...

Moving photo!
I agree with s.c, photo's like yours make us to think about the contrast of our society.

Wishing you and your familya a Very Happy New Year!

Mike said...

Why on earth would you approach her? To have yet another moving story on your little blog? To show us all behind our screens how bad she has it, and how well off we are? It is not the right reason. To get her story, so that you have something to write? Please. Ask yourself these questions: Would you like to be harassed by a total stranger? Would you like to tell your story to that person? Would you like to be photographed and put on a blog for all to see? Just because she is homeless and might need money or food, does not change any of this. If you really want to help, just give her some food or money, if she wants it, do not make her a subject. She is not.

Wayne said...

She must be tough. It looks likes she's barefoot in slippers.

RedPat said...

I have a friend who I met when he was living at our dog park years ago and he always appreciated a good conversation and still does but many homeless people would rather be left alone. So be careful.

Maxine said...

I know just what you are saying... Many of the homeless have received abuse and such hate from people that they are often very wary. Even though you try to do something good, some homeless feel safer if they converse with no-one. I approached a woman on 42nd Street, in the doorway of Hyatt Hotel. She was a little 'off' at first, but was ok after checking me out and giving time to see what I wanted. I just wanted to give her 20 dollars. Not a lot in the grand scene of things... but it's hard to walk by... and if we have 20 dollars to give, we shouldn't walk by... despite the often frosty response from some of the homeless people. I hope you see her again.