Humans of New York@humansofny

New York City, one story at a time. Currently sharing stories from Spain. 🇪🇸

www.patreon.com/humansofnewyork

4,881 posts 9,111,015 followers 153 following

Humans of New York

“We were in the same friend group at university. He was so shy that I thought he was gay. When he drove me home after our first date, I invited him up to my apartment for a drink. He told me he wasn’t thirsty.” (Barcelona, Spain)


2,005

Humans of New York

“I’m ninety-six years old. I’d rather just take a pill and get it over with. Whenever I tell that to my wife, she pretends to slap me in the face. But I’m ready to go. And I’d like it to be sudden. I’ve had a good run. I was lucky enough to share my life with someone. She’s ninety now. We’ve had a lot of time together. We have seven grandchildren. Eight great-grandchildren. But there are just so many things I can’t do anymore. I have the money. I have the time. Just not the ability. Whenever I walk, everything hurts. I enjoy sitting here in the park. I think about all the friends that I’ve lost. People come talk to me. Time passes by. But I’m ready. I’m not scared of it. I’d like my soul to go to wherever the souls go.” (Barcelona, Spain)


6,492

Humans of New York

“My dad was in jail. My mom was hooked on sleeping pills and shit. We could be under the same roof for a month and not see each other. I remember one time I was like nine. Mom was awake—well, not exactly awake. But her eyes were open. And she sent me out in the middle of the night to get a movie. And I got super scared because I was alone in this super shitty town, and I ran back home because I was so afraid. But Mom had fallen back asleep and didn’t wake up for five days. She never cared if I went to school. I hardly got any education. I started drinking when I was twelve and never stopped. Then I moved on to drugs. It got bad. Then it got really bad. But I’ve been sober now for about a year. I’m working at a call center. My mind is clear and I know what I’m doing every day. And I’ve met a girl who’s really patient and wants the best for me. She’s nice. Like really, really nice. But instead of being grateful I’m like: ‘you’re too close now.’ Because all my shit is bubbling up again and I’m afraid of feeling stuff. But this time I want it to stop. I’m trying to accept her love—whatever that means, because honestly I don’t know what that means. But that’s what we’re working on. I know that I’m frustrating to be with. I’m not very open. I don’t give away my feelings and I don’t take any back. And I can’t say she’s OK with that, but she’s OK with it for now. I really hope she doesn’t get tired. She hasn’t yet. I don’t know— maybe she sees that I’m worth the wait or something.” (Barcelona, Spain)


4,032

Humans of New York

“My husband and I are artists, so we can’t afford the luxury of babysitters and caretakers. And nobody’s inviting him to sleepovers. I don’t complain about it. But you know, a break would be nice. I could always ask a friend for help, I guess. But sometimes you don’t even have the strength to verbalize what you need. One night I was alone in the hospital during one of his surgeries. I was extremely stressed. My husband had gone home to watch our other kids. There was a gypsy family in the waiting room. Nineteen of them. And even more in the cafeteria. All of them were waiting to see what happened to a sick child. They were taking up space. They were talking loudly. Occasionally one of them would make a joke and everyone would laugh. The hospital staff seemed very annoyed. But I remember feeling so envious. I’d give anything to have a tribe.” (Barcelona, Spain)


3,234

Humans of New York

“I didn’t know anyone when I moved here. I came from Mexico. I was very innocent. I’d just gotten my first job as a waitress So I put up an ad on the internet: ‘Looking for serious, clean people to share a cool environment.’ One of my first replies came from an engineering student. We arranged a meeting, and he showed up like he was interviewing for a job. Very well dressed. Very clean. Very polite. ‘I’m extremely focused on getting my doctorate right now,’ he said. ‘You probably won’t even notice me.’ So I selected him. The first week was fine. The second week he brought a girl over. The third week he brought two girls over-- and they were in the shower all night. I was beginning to get annoyed, but I hoped things would get better. Then the next week I worked a late shift, and arrived home one night to loud music playing. I thought maybe he had a few friends over. I went straight to my bedroom and changed into my pajamas. I wanted a quick snack before bed, so I went to the kitchen, and that’s when I noticed dust all over the counter. It was arranged into lines. So naturally I cleaned it up. That’s when I heard people yelling at me. I turned around and saw twenty people in the living room. Nobody was wearing clothes. It was a big mess of white, pink, black, and brown. Lots of skin. Lots of hair. There was kissing and touching. Lots of groaning. I’d never seen anyone naked before. I went to an all-girls Catholic school. My roommate walked up to me, tried to take my hand, and said: ‘Join us.’ Instead I rushed out the door, down the stairs, and ran through the streets in my pajamas.” (Barcelona, Spain)


2,637

Humans of New York

Today in microfashion...
(Barcelona, Spain)


792

Humans of New York

“I used to be a corporate attorney for Coca-Cola. I worked eighty hours a week. Then one day I asked my boss for a single Friday off and he said ‘no.’ So I left my dog with my brother and flew to Europe. That was ten years ago. It’s been super fucking chill.” (Barcelona, Spain)


12,488

Humans of New York

(4/4) “I started taking photos when I was living with the first man. I needed something to bring me happiness. So I took my camera and found beautiful things. Nothing interesting. Nothing intellectual. Just beautiful. I’ve never been to a therapist. But I did read a lot of psychology books, and I learned that people with my type of history don’t usually have wishes. When you’ve been controlled for so long, you have no practice knowing what you want. But I have wishes. My head is boiling with wishes. I want to be a photographer. I want to take beautiful photos. It’s the only thing I want to do. For me happiness is not important. I don’t even think about it. Because my time is occupied with my wishes. I am a hammer. I am an instrument for taking photos. Today I’ve taken eight hundred photos and I’m still not satisfied. And I’m deeply proud of myself. Because for ten years my time was completely empty. And now my time is completely full. When I created an Instagram account, I wanted my username to have something to do with time. Because it’s so important to me. Time is life. So I typed in ‘one minute.’ But that username was taken. So I tried ‘two minutes.’ But that was taken too. So I kept going. Higher and higher. One minute at a time. Until eventually I got to @36minutes. ” (Paris, France)


5,279

Humans of New York

(3/4) “I never tell the story to anyone. I find it shameful. I find it pitiful. When I finally escaped, the man said to me: ‘I hope you’ll forgive me for what I’ve done to your life.’ But honestly his soul is not my problem. I’ve done everything I can to forget those years. I think you have only one duty in life. You stand up and you go. No matter what happens: I will buy a dress, I will color my hair, I’ll put on my lipstick, and I’ll go out and meet people. After I got my papers, the first thing I did was enroll in French school. I began to make friends. I learned that people liked me. I could make them laugh. Can you imagine? For ten years I hadn’t made anyone laugh. I began to see that I wasn’t handicapped. I wasn’t deformed. I wasn’t broken. I became a salesperson at a make-up store. I was so good at it. Number one in Europe for my company. And I met a man who cares about me. His name is Mark. He’s super beautiful. He’s bald. I love bald. I typed ‘bald’ into the dating site. And he sincerely cares about me. He’s given me home and family. Twenty times a day he surprises me with something kind. It took me three years to tell him about my past. I didn’t want him to know that I’d lived through dramatic things. I didn’t want to be a survivor. I wanted to be delicate and feminine. It’s my pleasure to be weak. It’s my joy. I cried for three days after I told him. But he didn’t care at all. My past didn’t bother him. It only bothered him that I was crying.” (Paris, France)


2,545

Humans of New York

(2/4) “I moved to Paris to be with the man. I brought along my teenage son. The city was so beautiful compared to where we’d come from. The man paid for everything. He told me: ‘Anything you need, I’ll give you.’ And for a few moments I felt protected from the troubles of life. His home was like a prison, but I cannot say that the prison was uncomfortable. He told me not to worry about residency papers. He said that he’d talk to his lawyers and everything would be arranged. But time went on and the papers never arrived. Whenever I questioned him, he’d change the subject. Then he started to say: ‘I won’t do it. Because if you have papers, you’ll leave me.’ I was trapped. I couldn’t work. I didn’t have a bank account. I didn’t speak the language. Over the years I became like a child. All I ever said was ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ He convinced me not to trust anyone. I could see on TV that French people had friends, and went to the office, and took vacations. But it was like a different world. There were years of my life when my only human contact was with my dentist. I lost hope. You can’t live in pain all the time. You have to give up. So I just focused on survival. I couldn’t leave because my son would have no life back in Moldova. He was the only thing I loved. Eventually he turned eighteen and got his official papers. Then he wrote a letter explaining my situation. He sent it to some ministry-- I don’t know. He didn’t even tell me about it. One morning he asked me to sit down, and he said: ‘Mama, don’t get too excited. But I just got a phone call. They told me your papers are ready.” (Paris, France)


1,150

Humans of New York

(1/4) “The situation was horrible. The Soviet Union had just collapsed. Nobody was able to adapt except for the criminals. You’d see people you loved begging on the streets for food. Everyone around me had one dream: to leave Moldova. But not me. It seemed like a foolish idea. I thought: ‘Why go someplace where there’s nobody waiting for you?’ It seemed too risky. So I stayed. I got a degree. I worked as an economist in the Ministry of Statistics and Prices. I bought my own apartment. And I felt safe. I knew how to manage my life and solve any problem. But suddenly I had this very strong feeling that my life was finished. I’d reached the limits of my world. I’d never experience anything new. I’d never be surprised again. But I was still young at the time. I was thirty-five. I was strong and not afraid of anything. I told myself: ‘I can do this. I have just enough energy to live one more life.’ So I decided to change my life completely. But that isn’t the reason I finally left Moldova. I’m embarrassed to even tell you. Because I’m better than this—but I left because I met a man. He was visiting from Paris. He seemed very nice. He was handsome. He looked like a university professor. He looked like someone I could trust.” (Paris, France)


1,010

Humans of New York

“One day she told me she was getting a lawyer. I tried to play catch-up, but it was too late. Apparently I wasn’t enough of a leader in the relationship. We’d fallen into too much of a routine. Or at least that’s what I was told. I’ve been alone for thirteen years now. The hardest part for me was losing the sense of family. My youngest daughter barely speaks to me anymore. I’ve seen her maybe fifteen times since the divorce. I have a five-month-old granddaughter that I haven’t even met. I don’t understand it. I wasn’t that bad. I didn’t openly argue with their mother. I never had an affair. I was present. I was affectionate. Maybe I was a little strict, but she was a tough teenager. We were afraid for her. She was only fifteen and going to nightclubs. There was a lot of screaming back then: ‘you’re an asshole,’ ‘you’re not my father,’ things like that. And maybe her mind is still locked in that time. Now we speak maybe once a year. Whenever I ask her about it, she feels attacked. It’s awkward. There’s no familiarity anymore. And it’s not getting any better. Time is working against us. Because I feel like I’m losing the feeling of being a dad. Of loving. Of caring. Obviously that’s not true, or I wouldn’t be talking about it. But everything fades eventually. At least when someone dies, you can mourn. It’s so much harder when someone just disappears.” (Paris, France)


4,772