The Story of Jenn. Part 1.
There is a very good reason this story must be told TODAY, before Monday, when I will reveal why.
I was at a concert October 23rd in Tompkins Square Park featuring a number of bands, including David Peel. Scanning the sparse crowd, the photo subject du jour was immediately obvious - a Goth Girl accompanied by a Man in Black.
Just take a photo - you don't need permission. This is a public park, many are taking photos and certainly a woman that looks like this must be somewhat of an attention hound.
Yes, but to take a photo or two at close range is a bit awkward. This is not a crowd shot - it will be very obvious you are taking her photo. And if you get her cooperation, not only will you be comfortable taking more photos, you will also feel better as a human and will likely have an opportunity to chat about her appearance.
So I decided to approach the couple and ask if they minded I take photos. The response was an immediate "Us? Sure!" A few photos later and we were on to the interview portion of the afternoon. I had already made a number of assessments - she was a rebel, not particularly well employed or educated and perhaps a resident of the East Village.
The Man in Black, Anthony told me that in fact they were married. Surprise number one. I asked him if his wife, Jenn, looks like this just for special occasions. He told me that she looks like this "pretty much all the time." To which I thought, where does this person work, if at all? At an East Village boutique? I was not interested in tempering my inquiry, so I just asked Jenn "Do you work?" "Yes" "Where do you work?" (wanting to add "looking like that"). "I AM A SUBWAY CONDUCTOR"
WOW. Of course - what better place for a Morticia lookalike to work than the subterranean depths of New York City. "Do they care that you look like this?" "Not at all." Perfect. And her husband, Anthony? ALSO A SUBWAY CONDUCTOR. The MTA is where they met. A friend in tow was a conductor too. Jenn's sister is a subway conductor. They're taking over.
I still had many unanswered questions about her childhood, family life, where she grew up, her education, etc. Jenn agreed to continue the dialog by email. I emailed Jenn with a number of questions on October 28.
I was very disappointed however. My email to her was not answered (nor bounced back). Six days later on November 3, and after giving up, I finally received a response explaining that my email had found its way into a spam folder, similarly to my experience with Driss Aqil (see here).
Jenn provided not just answers but an 840 word biography. A simple follow up question returned a 540 word clarification. I now had enough material for a documentary. Everyone has a life story. But this is Jenn's and like many New Yorkers, it's has many surprises and some edge. With a Special Event on Monday...