I began this blog as an extension to my stationery line “aTouchofYellowinNYC”. The note-cards are designed to share a bit of what it’s like to live here, a slice of New York City life. So much happens that if you stand still on a street corner for a minute you will experience something unique, unexpected. With my designs, the everyday/mundane has a bit of character and a bit of history to give perspective as to why the city is what it is today. This entry shares what I experienced yesterday while walking my dog.
Our neighborhood is very nice by New York City standards. The buildings that surround us are quite grand each with their own doormen; the streets that grid the neighborhood are lined with very regal and very old trees. We are right on the East River and stroll the promenade each time we take our walks. Amidst all the landscaped beauty and the well coiffed people that live in this neighborhood, there are some folks that take temporary residence in this part of town. They are transient folks, nomads that carry their goods on their backs. These folks most of us refer to as the “homeless”. They find sanctuary under foot bridges along the rivers’ edge, on stairs at churches and schools, in concealed doorways of darkened buildings. During the late night hours these folks are sleeping in these places, but during the day what do they do? Where do they go? Since most of us are working, that question is not readily answered. (Unless you ride the subway where entertainment abounds-sing for your supper I suppose…)
Yesterday, my dog Kodi and I had a glorious spring morning greet us. On our walk, we passed the doormen and maintenance men & women washing their sidewalks. This daily routine begins on the first warm day in spring and ends on the last warm day in fall. With so many 2 and 4 legged friends sharing this space, the cleaning is a necessary task.
As we were watching the hose spray in the sun light, trying to avoid getting wet ourselves, I noticed a man walking down toward the river. He was in the street and had a black suitcase in tow. This gentleman was graying and I could only guess his age to be mid 50’s to early 60’s. He stopped at the corner where a puddle of water was gathering from the side walk run off. Letting go of his bag, he bent down to the street and began scooping the water with his hands, washing them. It took a moment to realize what he was doing. Kodi and I kept walking so as not to distract him. We made the corner and when I turned back, he was gone. For some reason, this act made me stop and I began to cry. (Thank goodness for sunglasses!) I bent down and hugged Kodi trying to shake off my emotion. Once I was composed, the photographer kicked in. I wish I had taken the shot of him washing, but in hind site I prefer to keep this man’s dignity.
We take so many things for granted. This moment helps put things back in to perspective. Such a basic need as having water to wash your hands becomes a challenge for a street person. The expression “out of necessity comes invention” was demonstrated at a very rudimentary level.
There is an organization on the Upper East Side that allows individuals who want to improve their circumstances to do just that. “Ready, Willing & Able” takes folks with the desire to enter back in to society and teaches them the necessary skills to succeed. The progress is monitored ensuring each individual adheres to the program. They have a very high success rate. Please take the time to learn more about this group and do what you can to help.
All our life choices have brought us to this current place in time. Most of us can navigate through the tough times. Those that cannot, need to know there are groups that can help. Empower each individual and watch what happens!
until next time!
adventure is life, live it! ®