"They’re staying with their aunt right now." "What do you tell them when you talk to them?" "I just tell them that it’s temporary.
“My father never grew up. He was always in and out of jail. And if you listen to him talk, he acts like he was some sort of kingpin, but he wasn’t.
"My daughter was born four days ago. I’m just trying to wake up every morning, have a coffee, and not think about smoking weed or hanging out." "What’s your biggest fear?
"It’s been a bumpy road."
“I grew up in Jerusalem. When I was a child, I loved to paint. My father told me that he was going to send me to the biggest art academy, so that I could become a famous painter.
"Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?" "When I won the lottery. Last four digits of my son’s student ID number: 0-8-0-0.
“My children are 18, 17, and 15. And I think it’s just really starting to hit me that I’m about to lose them really quickly.
“It’s tough to take the right steps when you grow up in this neighborhood. It’s hard to get up and go to school everyday because you see so many other kids who are dropping out, and they still figure out a way to handle their business.
"I’ve been an electronics engineer for thirty years, but it’s my dream to live on a farm. It was my dad’s dream too, but he died before he could get out of the city.
"I feel like my family uses the exchange of money as a substitute for real communication."
“I met my dad for the first time when I was fifteen. I visited him in Trinidad for two months during the summer.
"Never laid a hand on her. And that was huge for me. Because it was always the first thing my dad did."
"I’ve been a union ironworker for 34 years. One year until retirement. I’ve worked on the World Trade Center, Citi Field, Museum of Natural History, Trump Tower, Penn Station.
“What has been your proudest accomplishment?” “Surviving in America. I’ll be honest— I crossed the border about eight years ago.
“I look up to my father more than anyone else. He taught me the value of hard work. He came over from India, and used all his savings to start a small clothing business.
“My oldest son has a learning disability. Probably the saddest moment of my life was when he failed second grade.
“I grew up on an island off the coast of Honduras, and I came to America on a banana boat when I was very young.
“What was your greatest moment of firefighting glory?” “A car went into the Bronx River upside down with two people trapped inside— so we jumped in the river, broke the windows, cut the seat belts, and got them out.
“What do you feel most guilty about in life?” “Well, life’s not over yet. But as of now, I don’t have anything saved up to leave behind for my family.
“I’m trying to finish a short story for my writing class. I’m basing it on a couple that I saw on the subway a few weeks ago.