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Nothing But Stories

virginia allyn | New York, United States

Crossing the street to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Someone handed him a dollar bill and he yelled "This is all I'm worth!" - as much a statement as a question.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City is the largest in the nation, the busiest in the world.  In the 1970's and 80's it had a reputation as a hub for pimps, prostitutes, runaways, a mecca for the lost, the misfits, the mentally ill, the misbegotten.  The last exit for some...the last stop for too many.   That was then.  Today, some forty years later, is not that different, just less seedy.   In the days and seasons I walked these streets I came to understand that while this place was never intended as a place to live, it is one indeed.  It is not a hotel or a designated shelter but it serves that purpose for some people.  For others, their economic and social survival is based here in one way or another.  There's a constant hustle.  Take a walk with me, see what I saw.  Over 65 million people walk through the doors of this bus terminal annually.  Everyone here has a story.  

People come to New York City, the Big Apple as it's called, to live a dream or to start over, to take a giant bite out of life itself or to lose themselves in a city of over 8 million people.  They may come for a day or a lifetime.  

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is just blocks from Times Square, the Great White Way - a tourist destination, the site of Broadway's best.  Amidst all the hustle and bustle, the color and excitement of these streets teeming with people, there are homeless walking the streets here wrapped in blankets.  There are people so poor, so disadvantaged, so lost.   I was haunted by the loneliness of these streets in the a city of over 8 million people.  I became concerned when faces I'd come to recognize just disappeared.  I could not help but wonder what became of them.  I found myself looking for certain persons and reassured when I saw them.   I marveled at the ingenuity it requires to simply survive day to day in the four seasons.   My fascination with this place and the people who frequent these blocks  prompted me to return again and again to "people watch" and let the pictures tell this story.

 

Virginia Allyn

Brooklyn, New York

allynva@aol.com

718 422 7977

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