East Harlem recycling center

Marco, from Puerto Rico, lives on the streets of East Harlem. He found these two dolls while collecting cans to deposit in the recycling center. He calls them his wife and son. Photo by Ye Ming

Marco, from Puerto Rico, lives on the streets of East Harlem. He found these two dolls while collecting cans to deposit in the recycling center. He calls them his wife and son. Photo by Ye Ming

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A homeless person from Puerto Rico holds two dolls he found while collecting cans. He calls them his wife and son. The recycling center outside Pathmark on 125th Street and Lexington is one of the hottest spots in East Harlem, frequented by the homeless, addicts, mentally ills and the police. But picking bottles and cashing them there is also the only source of income for many of these people in need.
Thomas Brown, a Brooklyn original, works at the station and helps to maintains the machines. Taking a break from college where he studied accounting, he tried hard to fit in to the neighborhood, socialize and even try to help the people with small moneys. Although he describes the location as a war zone sometimes, he doesn’t describe against anyone and tries to make people feel they are somebody.
East Harlem. 201402.

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