New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, September 02, 2011

Caught in the Rain


One of the constants in New York City is the homeless. And one constant within that world is seeing the same homeless. Most are battling with drug addiction, clinical depression, and any other number of physical and/or mental disabilities, making it very difficult for those individuals to climb out of the hole into which they have fallen.

I have never battled with severe depression or a feeling of general hopelessness. The brief bouts of depression that we all encounter are enough to provide a glimpse into that dark world of the defeated spirit. And, to be honest about it, how much hope can we hold out to a homeless person? In some cases, they may have been well-schooled and may have had a career. But what about the person who had not even graduated from high school and has no marketable skills at all?

As an employer, I am saddened to see people in this state. What is the possibility of an individual cleaning themselves up, reschooling, or training and going out to compete against others in the job market? Who would hire someone who is formerly homeless with a poor track record over someone with a better work history? Business owners generally hire on merit and qualification, not on a philanthropic basis.

On Tuesday, August 14, 2007, I wrote a story about a homeless woman, Stephanie, whom I had seen on a regular basis in SoHo. Since that time, I have seen her in the Village, albeit much less frequently. I have often said hello, reminding her of who I was. She generally acknowledged that, but I have no idea whether she really remembers me.

I caught up with Stephanie recently on the weekend of our recent tropical storm. She looked much cleaner and better dressed than I have ever seen her. I complemented her and she thanked me. She said she had been spending more time in shelters. I asked if she was a drug user, and she said no. Our conversation was quite short.

I knowthat misfortune has befallen Stephanie, and as I parted, I had no interest in being disingenuous and leaving her with some cute aphorism laden with false hopes. I went for something useful within her capability: Don't get caught in the rain.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel like I know this woman as I've seen her on an almost daily basis for the past 5 or so years. When she first started living on the street with her boyfriend she was attractive and would often sit on the sidewalk reading an impressive book. She is a heroin addict. I have seen her many times shoot up right on the sidewalk on 8th Street. A police officer told me recently that her boyfriend overdosed and died in a Starbucks bathroom in the West Village. He was the tall red headed man who used to beg passing cars on the corner of 9th and 5th.

Steffe said...

Very sad to see. I don't know much about addictions but I understand that heroin is one of the toughest to beat.

time traveler said...

MY FEELINGS ABOUT THOSE WHO THRIVE ON THE MISERY OF OTHERS WAS PUT BLUNTLY BY 'STEPPENWOLF'...THE SONG 'GOD DAMN THE PUSHER MAN' SUMMED IT ALL UP FOR ME...HOW CAN ANYONE SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING THAT WHAT THEY ARE SELLING IS DEATH?? LIKE THE SONG SAYS "HE'S NOT A NATURAL MAN---" IT BOTHERS ME TO SEE PEOPLE LIKE THE GIRL IN YOUR POST--UNFORTUNATELY--I KNOW MANY AND SOME HAVE PASSED ON..

Jimmy said...

Quite sad to see what drugs can do to people. Nevertheless, there is not much we can do. :( It's one of the vices they need to remove by themselves. Thanks for the amazing photos once again!

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Mary P. said...

So, so sad. I'm very grateful for what I have in life. I often wonder what has happened to some of the down and out people I don't see any more...

marianna said...

Athens is micrography of NYC.Every time I visit it feels like home.Same cruel and raw beauty...My point is that homeless people is a growing phenomenon along with the deteriorating economy.Young people who recently lost their jobs and homes.No addicts, just people like me.Companies go bankrupt every day.One day you have your job and the next you lose everything.It takes a lot of strength to get your piecies together and start all over,especially when you're taken down like this...