This is Christine
I have seen Christine many times over the past two years before I stopped to photograph her and find out about her story. On my way to work on Wednesdays and Thursdays at approximately 6:40 AM, I would see Christine standing with her walker at the top of the escalator at the Columbus Circle subway stop. Now being a New Yorker, I would assume that someone standing as she does that she would be looking for donations or spare change from passersby. But she never has that ubiquitous plastic cup with some change in it, nor have I ever heard her ask for money. She is just standing there, very early in the morning.
Christine has two stepsons from her husband's first marriage who visit often. She knows they have their own lives and their time is limited. She enjoys their visits but is not dependent on them for companionship or social contact.
Christine, aged 82, was born in New York City and has always lived here. She loves New York because it is so convenient and easy to get around. Everything is either within walking distance, even with a walker, or there are buses and trains, which for the most part, are handicapped accessible. When I asked what the best thing is about living in New York City, she immediately blurted out "the ballet of course." She loves getting out, early in the morning, every day, meeting up with friends, and getting to the ballet whenever she can.
On a recent Saturday, I was out with my camera and saw Christine at the farmer's market on Columbus Avenue near Lincoln Center. I stopped to talk. Her husband died last year. She misses him and is lonely living alone. She is very sad and has a hard time staying in her apartment during the day. She needs to get out and meet friends. She used to meet her friends early every morning to go to the gym, but since she fell an broke her pelvis last year, that is no longer an option. However, her friends meet her in the morning and they have coffee together instead.
Christine was happy to have me take photographs. She asked that she be able to see the pictures. I frequently give the people I have met a framed photograph and I gave her one when I saw her the following Wednesday morning. She was standing in her usual place when I gave it to her. She was thrilled.