I remember the Box Man of Pell Street. He lived in a cardboard box on the corner of Pell and Bowery in Chinatown. He lived there for years, in the old days, when homelessness was an anomaly, or so it seemed. He was a landmark, a constant. In a strange way his presence was reassuring. And then, one day, he and the box were gone. Those of us who were used to seeing him whenever we visited our favorite restaurant (Ting Fu Garden, long gone too, alas) were worried and concerned. Where had he gone? Was he still alive? Was he safe? We wondered.
We wondered because, in a sense, the homeless are our quintessential neighbors.