Portrait of a Local Dude from Around the Way

So get this…

I sometimes go on these long walks around Astoria to take photos of whatever interests me, which is usually this complex of industrial ruin near the East River by project housing. On this occasion, Aryn went with me so I could test a couple of lighting techniques in HOT midday sun (conquering the beast!). A gentleman appearing in his 50s was relaxing in this lot that I always take photos of. Something about it just gets me every time.

The fenced in lot is empty except for this one corner where a big cargo carton lays. There’s always new stuff lying beside it such as broken mirrors, shaving razors and other miscellany. Lately, I’ve noticed that whoever had been keeping the area added a garden, artwork and a chair. He was renovating the space to become a place of relaxation and art.

On the day that Aryn and I were taking pictures, the owner was sitting on his chair, watching us. He walked around, crossed through an opening near the river and started speaking with us. He used to be security for the plot when the company that owned it moved away. Since then, it’s been his domain.

I’m dying to bring this man a couple of beers and spend some time taking his portraits while learning his story. The man intriques me as much as the space where he spends his leisure time. He gave me his name but I can’t remember it. I’ll return to the space with a couple of said beers in hopes that he’ll show.

For now, here’s the space and the man himself. Based on the second photo below, I presume that he’s also an artist who makes paintings based on his memories of his homeland in Greece.

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