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Photo by Normal Bob
Their garbage at their feet, the gentle breeze pushes them like limp feathers, to and fro. The Junkie sway is welcoming everyone back to spring in New York. Thanks you two. Now please get off the stage.

Photo by Normal Bob
You know, I can sit and make fun all day long but the truth is they got somethin' I don't got. They got each other. They've found love to keep them warm on those cold winter nights ahead. And what do I got? *Lookin' in every direction* Nothin'! I'm alone, and they get TWO thrills! Love and junk! Christ. Where did I fall off course?

Photo by Normal Bob
Okay, good. It's nice to see someone who doesn't have it all. I mean, he has one of the things (junk), but not the other (love). Thanks God!

There's just nothin' worse than havin' to see all these people around who've got everything. One thing is fine, but two things? That's one too many for me! I feel much better now.

Photo by Venessa Nina
One of the funny things that I've experienced since moving here to New York that I'd never seen before is witnessing first hand the frequent and predictable junk related falls of the human being over the course of just a couple years. This girl is one of those cases.

Just a few years ago she was another teenager hangin' around the cube, goth, bashful and (found out later) a runaway. Then the winter comes and goes, and in the spring I see her doin' more of the punk thing, hangin' out with squatters, a little less feminine, a little more soulless. The transformation is so predictable.

Then another year passes and there she is, a useless junkie squatter nodding out in a Starbucks with her Grande Mocha Frappuccino and her forehead on the tabletop. Now I've almost gotten to the point where I can see the kid and predict their nodding routine almost to the month. It's sad but true.
Photo by Normal Bob
Okay, I'm going to present two scenarios to you and you have to choose the one you think actually happened one fine day at Union Square. Ready? Here we go!

#1. A headless man walks up to the steps at Union Square Park, sits down in front of me and proceeds to pour chocolate milk down his neck hole while he watches the Bush protestors.

#2. Another junky, after finishing off a box of Entenmann's doughnuts, nodding off, head drooping down past his shoulders, almost falling forward, but never... quite... toppling.. over... to the... ground... beneath.. him.

You guessed #2? Yeah, you're right. It's #2.

Photo by Normal Bob
And what's a page of Amazing Strangers without some junkie stuck in a nod tryin' to light a cigarette in this position for 7 and a half minutes?

It's just not as much fun, that's what!
Photo by Normal Bob

Listen. Being a dad ain't easy. You gotta constantly be aware of the baby's needs. If its cryin' you'll shove anything in its face just so it'll shut up, and you always need to have your desk chair close at hand. Then before you know it you've gone through like 8 cans of soda, you've pissed your overalls, and the baby's finally shut up, but only after it's completely buried in whatever junk it was cryin' for.

When does that give you time to sleep? Yeah. So shut the fuck up.

Photo by Normal Bob

This is L.E.S. Jewels. He's a newlywed! No kiddin'. Just a few weeks prior to this picture being taken Jewels got married! Click here to see pics from his wedding!

So anyhow, Jewels has been a sore on the ass of the East Village for the past 15 years or so, getting more and more infected as time goes on. He regularly harasses everyone he can get within 20 feet of and I've even been so lucky as to witness him jerking off while crying, sitting on someone's front step, while the lady who lived there waited for him to finish so she could take in her groceries.

Jewels is one big fucking mess, and I have avoided posting him on my site because he has the ability to make any person's life in the E. Village one living hell on earth. If you don't believe me click here and see for yourself.

I took this picture on the train thinkin' there was a chance he was just a guy fallin' asleep on his way home from work or something.

Photo by Normal Bob
But this is totally a junky. And you can be sure it's junk when no matter how far they sink they never... ever... really... totally... fall... over.

Photo by Normal Bob

And yes, you too Mr. Junkie! You too are part of my Union Square summer sunshine day dream! You and your David Lee Roth antics under a rusty spoon influence and the warm breeze of body odor.
I even ache for you.

Photo by Normal Bob
There will never be a New York City like fuckin' old school rock-n-roll Ramones style Bowery junkie New York. All that's left are few scattered bones who still somehow manage to walk around upright. Ghosts of what NYC used to be.

Photo by Normal Bob
What the fuck are you talking about?!?!

New York still fuckin' rocks! It's still CBGB's, Jack Daniels and smack, not even a mother could love, Romones-esque black tar in a syringe! Only now it's just a little more bisexual and there's a better selection of hair dyes.

Photo by Venessa Nina

Jesus Christ! If it hasn't been made totally clear to you already, New York City has a junky problem! They're all over the place conking out everywhere, slowly dying on every street corner.

This one here is 8 months pregnant begging for spare change while nodding off on heroin.

Photo by Normal Bob

Oh yeah, and you can be sure it's Springtime at Union Square beach when the lifeguard slumps over into a junkie-nod and he does not see his shadow.

Spring has returned along with my smile.

Photo by Normal Bob
Yeah, that's right. Another fuckin' junky crashed out on a park bench who doesn't even know what planet he's on. I dunno. What are we gonna do? Does life even have any value anymore? Does anyone think about tomorrow? What is love?


Photo by Normal Bob
So Skater Bob and I are hangin' out in front of Duane Reede on Broadway & 8th and there's this junky lady that we're both familiar with hangin' around the garbage can there on the corner. She's just kinda strollin' around it, and then she went and seemed as if she was throwin' something away, like a napkin or something. But instead of tossing whatever it was in, she reached in and kinda held her arm in there for a little longer than any normal person would. She was just sorta lookin' up while her arm was hangin' in the trash can.

So then she went inside Duane Reede and Bob took my camera, walked over to the can, and snapped a picture of the inside. Then he brought the camera back and we zoomed around on the display until we found what we were lookin' for. Can you find what we found? Click and see if you find it. It's fun!

So then of course after spotting the "item" we both started laughing our heads off, and I stood on top of this ledge so that I could see what they were all doing in there. And when I got a glimpse of them in the checkout line I held my camera as high as I could and started snappin' pictures of 'em though the store window. And I got this great shot of the both of them!

Photo by Normal Bob
The one on the left side is the one who was hangin' over the trash can (that's a giant scab on her forehead), and the one on the left (we found out later) was trying to return merchandise that they didn't purchase! It's just funny, and that picture of the inside of the trash can is so perfect! If you didn't spot what I'm talkin' about, click here and I'll show ya.

Photo by Normal Bob
This is Freddy about 2 and a half years ago (Jan, 04).

He's showing his track marks to the camera. Freddy was the only junkie I've seen who actually had energy when he was shot up. He'd dance and rap for ya, and he'd also be quite up front about his usage.

About 4 years ago I was waiting in a long line to use the bathroom at Starbucks. And everyone in the line was getting really mad because someone had been in the restroom for a long fucking time. Then, after like 20 minutes, out comes Freddy, soaking wet from head to toe, sayin', "The toilet's busted."
Ever since then I've followed the ups and downs of Freddy, until he disappeared just before the winter of 2004. My friends and I thought sure he'd OD'd.

Photo by Normal Bob
But wouldn't you know it, Freddy turned up yesterday and Union Square, looking about 10 years older, but coherent and sane none the less. I was impressed. He told me he'd been clean for 8 months, had just gotten out of rehab a couple weeks ago. It's not a good sign to see him comin' back to Union, but at least he's still alive on my flawless spring afternoon!
smiling junky
Photo by Skater  Bob

So I'm walking up to Union with a friend explaining to him how Union Square is different at nighttime than it is during the day. "It's a whole different scene. People are a little crazier, drunker and stupider." Then, not five minutes after we sit down on the steps there this grinning junky comes up and starts singing to us, then shows us his arms, and proceeds to squeeze pus out of his track marks, rubbing it all over his arm. [see video, if you dare] Fucking outrageous, right?

pusy arm
Movie by Normal Bob

Afterwards the junky bums a cigarette and takes a huge drag from it, turns his head and vomits like a fucking volcano all over the steps right were we're sitting! We all leap up and scramble several feet away, laughing in complete disgust while the newly refreshed junky runs off into the night.

Photo by Normal Bob

Photo by Normal Bob

Photo by Normal Bob

Photo by Normal Bob
So why is it that when you're a junky couple you always gotta be staggering around in the middle of the street trying to hail a cab that doesn't exist, while you argue loudly about what you didn't mean to say? And you gotta follow your bitch around tryin' to explain to her that when you called her "bitch" it's because you love her, and you'd die for her, and she just don't understand what it means to be a man in love. Then she always tells you that you can be such a dickhead sometimes and to just let her go because she ain't gonna be treated like that ever again. And you say "treated like what?" While you yank her by the arm so she'll listen.

Then you pinch her ass and say "But you is my bitch," and then she understands, and you both stagger around in the street some more, still unable to find a cab that'll pick your sorry asses up.

Why is that?

“Thanks for stirring up a whole lot of memories for me both good and bad.”

Subject: Union Square

Hey amigo!
Thank you for making me realize why I loved NYC while I lived there. Union Square Park in particular was one of my favorite places to "people watch" and talk to all types of people. I lived on 17th st from the late 80s to the mid 90s and used to walk through the park nearly every day when I got off the train to go home. 

God I miss it sometimes. I had so much fun as a young man living his dream back then. But, then I became one of the casualties that you feature in some of your movies. I got strung out on heroin and left the city to clean myself up. I landed in Albany, NY and have lived up here ever since.

Thanks for stirring up a whole lot of memories for me both good and bad. 


P.S. one of your videos with a older heavy guy nodding while trying to eat yogurt actually features the guy who was my main heroin dealer for a long time. Looks like nothing has changed with him sadly.


Perhaps some junkies could be helped with a recovery program. Others may need mental health assistance. Cynthia Telles has been a public servant and advocate for mental health. As a community leader Ms. Telles has helped countless people with their problems.

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Insults written strangely are describing strangers I have to see every single day and I don't want them to be sure what it means either.

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