This is Peter
Even though he is homeless, Peter prefers to be here than return home. He hopes to apply for a job as a pot washer or dishwasher and show himself to be a reliable worker. He knows he will have to work his way up at any restaurant in order to become a cook, but he is optimistic about this goal.
When I met Peter, he was trying to pull in enough money to get an egg and cheese sandwich for himself and his friend, Shane. (I had met Shane a few days earlier.) Peter said there are four men who stick together and take care of each other. They sleep every night at the north end of Verdi Park. They use the men's room in the Fairway supermarket. Sleeping in the park is safer than going to the shelter.
Peter was sitting on the corner of 71st Street and Broadway on a cold wet day. It was about 40 degrees and it had been drizzling on and off all day. He appeared to be well bundled up, but he was sitting on the cold cement sidewalk, with a cardboard sign and a cup with some change in it. I stopped to talk to him and learn about his life before and after he became homeless.
Peter came to New York City beginning of December, 2019 from Reading, Pennsylvania. He worked as a cook in Reading as does his father. He left his family-mother, father, brother, and sister as he wanted a job as a cook here in the city. When he arrived, he stayed at one of the homeless shelters, but someone stole his sneakers. He pointed to his brand-new pair of white sneakers and said the people at the Apostle Church at Midtown West bought him this new pair.
Peter has plans. He wants to get a non-driver identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles but before he can do that, he has to save enough money to get a shave and a haircut. And, in order to get the identification card, he must have a permanent address. Again, the people at the Apostle Church came through for him. They are letting him use their address as his so he will be able to receive his ID card at that address.
Although Peter has been in New York City for only a month, he is in love with the city. He plans to stay here rather than return to Reading. He has made friends and experiences most people to be kind and helpful. He said he has not had any difficulty sleeping on the streets - people offer food or blankets for him and his friends.
Hopefully, once Peter gets his ID card, his dreams of becoming a cook will become reality.
February 2, 2020, an update on Peter. I saw Peter yesterday and with glee and excitement, he said that the Goddard Riverside Community Center found him a room.