From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part III: Beauty

May 30, 2012 ·
Filed under: Bronx, Hunts Point, Hunts Point Bronx 

Beauty: Hunts Point, Bronx

Chris Arnade (who took the above photograph) writes:

Beauty, 21, was born and raised in Oklahoma, and was brought to New York City by a pimp who promised her she could “make some mad money.” She has since had nine pimps: “I have been through nine niggas. Got my first black eye from one, another punched me in mouth, but this guy is good to me.”

Her mother was an addict. “She started using crack. That’s when it all started, the walls started coming in on me. Now she is incarcerated. I can’t blame my mom–she’s my mom. I smoke weed, but not crack. I don’t like that peppermint burning smell.”

“I want to get out of this stuff, but I am scared. I guess I could stop at any time. Some of the guys tell me I could be a model. Money wise it’s good, but otherwise, fuck Hunts Point. Maybe I can become an RN, or go into childcare.”

When I asked her how she wanted to be described she said, “I’m a good person. I don’t like to see anyone down. I like to make people happy.”

New York Shitty Day Ender: Jose & Henry

Jose and Henry: Hunts Point, Bronx

Taken by Chris Arnade.

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Titania

Mia as Titania: Hunts Point Bronx

Chris Arnade (who took the above photograph) writes:

Every year a group of children from HPAC perform a Shakespeare play, this year its A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The two performances will be this Saturday and Sunday. I spend lots of time in Hunts Point documenting the struggles of the neighborhood, so seeing these children and the hope they represent is especially satisfying. It is a true thing of beauty.

Mia, here dressed as Titania, wants to grow up to be a fashion designer. I asked Mia what she learned from spending the year preparing and she said “Everybody has a charchater inside of them, a character that can express many things.” When I asked her about Hunts Point she said “Its good and bad. Lots of people litter, curse, and do drugs. Thats bad. There are so many different cultures you can explore. I like that.” When I asked how she wanted to be described, she said “Unique.”

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Jose

Jose and LIED: Hunts Point, Bronx

Taken by Chris Arnade.

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part II: Jose, Airborne

Jose again: Hunts Point, Bronx

Taken by Chris Arnade.

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part III: Jose

Jose upright: Hunts Point Bronx

Chris Arnade (who took the above photograph) writes:

Last year I was in a desolate part of Hunts Point, talking to a friend. A group of about ten teenagers came down the street, loud, filled with energy, and seemingly marauding (kicking over cones, jumping on and over stationary cars, etc). I have never had a problem in my twenty years in New York City, but that does not mean I don’t stay aware. As they passed, out of the corner of my eye I spotted Jose, do a back flip over a hydrant. Amazed, I yelled out to him. He and his friends, who were also warily eyeing me and my friend, thinking we were cops, were planning to run away, but his friend Henry had a sprained ankle, so they stood their ground.

Since then I have come to grow very fond of Jose and his friends, and have done two proper photo shoots. Big fans of Parkour, Hip-hop, and Anime, they are fighting against an area where the pressures of poverty, drugs, and limitied opportunity weigh heavily.

For me it’s another lesson in expectations. All of my accumulated baggage from popular culture signaled for me to get away from these kids and their bad intentions, all theirs told them to get away from the cop who would treat them unfairly. Neither of us did that, and because of that I certainly have learned a bit more about the Bronx.

Groups of teenagers have thrown rocks at me from a distance (I just spread my arms and say “Give me your best shot, you arm aint that good.” So far that’s worked). I understand what the combination of boredom, energy, and hormones can do. Hell, I threw rocks at things when I was that age.

More of Jose here: Jose the amazing

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Ruben & Lefty

March 19, 2012 ·
Filed under: Bronx, Hunts Point, Hunts Point Bronx 

Lefty and Rubin: Tremont Bronx

Chris Arnade (who took the above photo) writes:

Rubin called me this week and told me I had to come up and see something amazing. One of his pigeons had given birth to a baby with only one wing. Both Rubin and Vinny, life-long pigeon keepers, had never seen anything like it in over 40 years of flying and breeding pigeons.

They let me know that they were going to do everything they could to make sure the pigeon stayed healthy and safe. When the mothers start trying to push the babies out of the nest (in a few weeks) they will transfer this one to a special cage they built. They still haven’t come up with a name yet, although they are leaning towards “Lefty.” I suggested “Wingy” or “Uno,” but they are welcoming other suggestions.

Quicklink: Telling The Stories Of Hunts Point, One Portrait at a Time

Roxy: Hunts Point Bronx

Many who have followed this site are familiar with the work of Chris Arnade. He is not only a frequent (and incredibly talented) contributor to my photo pool, but he is also a good friend. His latest series of photographs documenting life in Hunts Point (after dark) has put a very human face on individuals this city seems to have forgotten. One such example is Roxy, about whom he writes:

Roxy, 23, has been walking the streets for six months, turned out by a pimp she met. “I am in school. I got tuition, food, housing, all that to pay for. This is just a way to get by. I got turned down for student loans.” When I asked her about the dangers, she said, “sure, its not easy. I’ve been kidnapped once and raped twice.” Over the summer she got into a car with a john. Another man was hiding in the backseat. They drove her to Yonkers, tied her up and raped her. “Now I am friends with the other girls. We all lookout for each other, because no one else will.”

Five minutes after we spoke the police arrested her best friend. Fifteen yards away, undeterred, the johns continued to pick up girls…

Mr. Arnade’s portraiture and accompanying anecdotes of life in Hunts Point are at turns disturbing, outraging, sad and yet curiously hopeful. The people who pose for his camera face adversities the likes of which many of the readers of this site (including me, the author) cannot begin to fathom— but instead of simply taking photos, going home and posting them, Chris follows up. Most importantly: he listens— and we should as well. These people are not “statistics”; they are our fellow New Yorkers and as such deserve our compassion and respect.

Thus, as both a friend and colleague, I was very pleased to learn he has garnered (yet more) recognition for his work. This time via the New York Times. Please take a moment to read this article. It is good read.

In closing Chris will be having a show of his photography next month—- albeit closer to home: the Urban Folk Gallery in Cobble Hill. Check it out.

Portraits & Pigeons: Photographs by Chris Arnade
Opening Reception: Friday, March 9, 2012 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Urban Folk Art Gallery
101 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Fly

January 20, 2012 ·
Filed under: Bronx, Hunts Point, Hunts Point Bronx, New York City 

Car parts and Jose: Hunts Point Bronx

Taken by Chris Arnade.

From The New York Shitty Photo Pool, Part II: Dominoes

July 17, 2011 ·
Filed under: Bronx, Hunts Point, Hunts Point Bronx 

Playing Dominoes: Hunts Point Bronx

Taken by Chris Arnade.

Miss Heather

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