That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 40 (The “2nd Homeless Shelter” Chapter)

December 22, 2012

(Photo Credit:
(Photo Credit:

Picking up from yesterday

Before I get to the part about the second homeless shelter, let me just touch on something I learned in that time that I did not know before. Did you know there’s kind of like this little network of homeless people?

Before I started transitioning to a shelter for a long-term solution, and I was just spending a couple of nights on the streets between places, I started overhearing these conversations of people strategizing together about where they’d stay next and pros and cons of places. There were people worrying about other homeless people, asking about people by name. And people knew!

Person A would ask person B, and person B would be able to say, “Oh, she’s at the Times Square McDonald’s tonight” or whatever. I actually thought it was pretty sweet, and very interesting to me that there was this whole network I didn’t know existed.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. I went to the second homeless shelter in midtown.

This was a much different experience. They had a weird unmarked door (though it may have had a mural on it?), so it was kind of hard to find it. Once I did find it, there was no security guard. There was no metal detector. It was just a room full of people on the cots and on the floor.

BUT, we got to watch free movies in there! What up? I saw Due Date and Middle Men.


As far as who got a cot and who got the floor, my understanding was you got the privilege of a cot if you’d been there for three months.

The man next to me mentioned having two strikes and something about assault with a deadly weapon toward his girlfriend. Apparently it was his very first night out of jail. All right.

He weirdly caressed my hair once as he went by, but I just let it go. I don’t think that’s the guy you want to call out…

I met some interesting, sweet people in that shelter.

Random thought: I also thought it was funny how many of the people in there had smartphones. I can’t say I’m too surprised. You can live a certain lifestyle to have it all fall apart. And I guess if you already own it, perhaps you just keep it. At the time, I’d never had a smartphone, so I was not someone with one. But they were in abundance in this shelter.

I had a somewhat hard time sleeping that night. It was sort of cold, though they had blankets. I had to awkwardly sleep on top of my book bag – protecting basically everything I owned. And more than one mouse made its way by me through the night.

I think it was around 6am that everyone had to wake up, clean up, and begin leaving for the day.

Once I got out, I went and hung around Penn Station for a while. There are some places in there where you’re generally left alone if you look pretty put together (like someone genuinely waiting for a train) and you quietly doze off.

That day, I got a call from a friend offering me a job that paid for housing, food, and paid a salary of almost $1,500 a week! Sign me up, please.

This is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.

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