Trash Can. Photo by Steven Hirsch.
Photographer Steven Hirsch has been documenting the crusty punks (street dwellers) who live in and around Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan’s East Village. His blog, Crustypunks, is fascinating, beautiful, heartbreaking and provocative. The stories of these homeless folks are sad, infuriating and often tragic. These are hippies without a shred of idealism. And though they may wear the occasional Misfits t-shirt, few of them seem to have any connection to the punk scene of the 1970s other than their anger, which seems directed at virtually anything that moves.
As I looked at Hirsch’s powerful photographs, I realized anyone of us could become one of society’s damaged goods at any time. Our comfort zones are extremely fragile. While some of the crusty punks are just white kids slumming, there are plenty who have, for whatever reasons, given up on life. Many are victims of rape, domestic violence, mental illness, neglect, etc. There but for the grace of God…
Hirsch shot this video of a crusty punk (not the above pictured Trash Can) getting his kicks in a most unusual way. Talk about a cheap high. This makes sniffing glue look like part of a health food regime.