Started by photographer Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York is a New York City-based photoblog that has received critical acclaim from The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice for its introspective look at NYC residents. Armed with only a camera and an intuitive need to find compelling stories, Stanton traverses the mean streets of New York, capturing photos and tales from random individuals. We have collected 80 heart-warming stories from this Instagram account for you read. Have a beautiful day, friends.

76

I grew up in Colombia. There wasn’t much to watch on television back then because we only had a few channels. Everything was black-and-white. But every night there was a famous music show. All the big bands came on that show: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin. Always my nose would be stuck to the TV. I went completely crazy. My parents could not understand. Sometimes I’d get so excited that I’d cry. I grew my hair long. I told myself: ‘One day I will be in a band. I do not know how. But I will do it.’ A few years later my father got the opportunity to manage a dairy farm in Spain. From there I was able to get a visa to London. I was nineteen years old, and London was almost too much for me. It was so exciting. All the time I was crying. I worked as a dishwasher and started going to all the nightclubs. I fell in love with punk music: Sid Vicious, Billy Idol, The Clash. They made me dance like a crazy. So many times I cried. But I especially wanted to be on the stage. So I found two guys and started a band. We were called The Ridiculous. For two months we played on the street outside the club. But it was harder than I thought. We never were invited inside. Our drummer found another band. Then the guitarist found another band. And then it was just me. That was forty years ago, but I’m still keeping the punk alive. One day I will try again


77

We’d been friends for three years. We’d mostly see each other at the Catholic Center on campus: picnics, group outings, stuff like that. But then we started hanging out alone. And one day during finals week we spent an entire day together. We talked for six hours straight, and that night we ended up eating burgers at Five Guys. Remember it was finals week, so I was stressed out and sleep deprived and not thinking clearly. I started telling him that he’s so great, and that I’ve never felt so comfortable with someone, and suddenly I realize that I’m practically telling him that I like him. And he’s got this blank expression on his face. Total poker face. So I panicked, and said something silly.“She told me, word-for-word: ‘But don’t worry. I could never date you.’ My heart sank. I’d been planning on asking her out after finals. I had a whole plan. Suddenly it felt like I’d misread the last three years, and especially the last few months. I tried to keep a straight face. No crying. And after we paid for the check, I dropped her off at the dorm and walked the entire two miles home. I kept telling myself: ‘You can recover. She’s still a dear friend. Life has its ups and downs.’ Two weeks later I helped her move into a new apartment. And we kept hanging out as friends for the next few months. But then on Valentine’s Day, she sent me a neuroscience card. It’s a bit of a tradition because we’re both neuroscience majors. The card said: ‘Are you a neuron? Because you have action potential.’ Then she followed up with a text that said: ‘If a man really wants to impress me, he’d bring me pancakes and yellow roses.’ Suddenly things were looking up again


78

Right now I just feel confused. It’s fear, really. I’m scared. I’m graduating in a year. I still don’t know what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to be a leader in something. But I don’t know what that is exactly-- and I feel like if I’m not doing it already, then I’ll probably never be a leader in it. So it’s a lot of stress. The one thing that’s giving me solace is the thought of being a mom. I’ve wanted to be a mother since the age of four. I used to put blankets under my shirt to pretend like I was pregnant. I love taking care of people. And if I can’t conceive, I’ll adopt. I’ve got everything figured out. I didn’t think about it much in high school or middle school. But now that the future is in such close proximity, motherhood has become my security blanket. I think about it whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. Since everything seems to matter so much right now, it’s my way of saying: ‘nothing really matters.’ Because at least I’ll have a family


79

I owned a frame shop in Atlanta for thirty years. But every time I went to a theater and sat in the audience, I got the feeling that God had come and left without me. I just knew that I was meant to perform. Then one day a woman walked up to me in a health food store, and asked: ‘Do you always talk like that or do you have a cold?’ I said: ‘Excuse me?’ And she told me that she wanted to cast me in a BMW commercial. I thought it was a freebie. But on the way out of the studio, they asked for my social security number. $750 for three minutes on the mic! I thought: ‘I need more of this.’ I started taking acting classes. I got cast in a few local plays. I moved to New York on my 50th birthday. I wasn’t about to sit around in my later years wondering if my soul had gotten what it needs. I drew unemployment for the first time in my life. But by 2003 I was a member of SAG. By 2005 I had a speaking part on Law and Order SVU. And at the age of 62 I was given a full scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Things have dried up a bit since then. I had to take care of my mother for six years. And it’s hard for women of a certain age to get cast. But it ain’t over yet. Things happen when they’re supposed to happen. And I’m a firm believer that nobody can get what is yours to have. And I will tell you this: I’ve already envisioned what I’m wearing the first time I get invited to the Oscars. Red mermaid dress, fitted from the waist to the knees, and flaring out at the bottom. A stand-up collar that frames the back of my head. Stunning neckline. And a king’s ransom of rubies on loan from Harry Winston


80

We had dorm rooms next to each other freshman year. We mainly just played a lot of board games: Risk, Scrabble, Scattergories, a Trivial Pursuit game from the 1980’s-- which everyone sucked at. But we became best friends, and the next year decided to get a house together. That’s when things started to get tense. We began sitting closer together. We were touching more. We’d play with each other’s hands. Never holding hands-- but playing with hands. And we’d even fall asleep in the same bed together. There was a time that she told me goodnight, and I swear I felt her brush my lips, but by the time I opened my eyes she was out of the room. Neither of us had ever dated a woman. And I was terrified to try anything. We were such good friends. There was always this fear that if I voiced the desire, it would ruin our friendship. But one night we were out for drinks at a hotel where Al Capone used to stay. I was feeling pretty drunk, so I leaned over and said: ‘Sometimes I feel like I want to kiss you.’ And she replied: ‘Sometimes I do too.’ I didn’t say a thing. I wasn’t even sure that I’d heard her correctly. I just kept thinking: ‘Oh my God, it’s happening. It’s happening.’ Then once we finished our drinks, and started walking home, I stopped her in front of a bridge. I said: ‘Shall we do it here?’ It was December 12th, 2002. And even though we got married five years ago, that’s the day we celebrate as our anniversary

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