[lit-ideas] Re: some polls

  • From: "Steve Chilson" <stevechilson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 06:54:12 +0000

On Thu, 16 Nov 2006 15:22:11 -0500, "Eric Yost"
<eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> said:
> Eric: You mean the seasonal junkies who used to live in
> Tompkins Square Park before the redesign in the '90s? 

Sort of.  They were still hanging out seasonally when I left in '03 -
although TSP was swept of the massive homeless situation there was still
that familiar (similar) vibe thereafter.  Probably still is today, if
they haven't overcrowded the hood with Starbucks and Gap stores yet.

Several years ago I would accompany my friend who was doing her PHD on
homeless teens in the Lower East Side and would spend hours every day
during the summer interviewing them.  Great majority were from abusive
backgrounds but there were always a few in the pack that were just
basically slumming it for the summer away from their affluent suburban

The homeless kids got a few bucks for their trouble and my friend came
away with a book:


I met
> several when I lived near the park. They hopped trains and
> hitched about the country. NYC for the summer, New Orleans
> for the winter, Seattle as an alternative. They followed the
> seasons, and of course their heroin supply.
> I also got to know an older homeless couple -- Molly and
> Saigon -- who slept under a plastic sheet in Tompkins Park.
> Saigon was a wiry black man who claimed to be a Vietnam vet
> and Molly was an older white woman with leg problems. The
> kept a menagerie: several dogs and cats. Molly would pack up
> their "tent" into a shopping cart, tie the animals to the
> cart, and set up near Cooper Union to beg.
> Molly and Saigon should have been hired for the morning
> weather for local TV. Show them emerging from their plastic
> shelter. Have them read the weather from a teleprompter.
> Their color commentary would have been priceless ... since
> they knew the weather better than anyone.
> After the park was redesigned, the junkies disappeared and
> the homeless people went, or were sent ... who knows where.
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  Steve Chilson

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