Brandon Standon: Humans of New York

“My biggest worry is that I’m going to die and not do all the things I wanted to do. The funny thing is—I didn’t even realize how many things I wanted to do until I got diagnosed. Simple things like meeting a guy, getting married, getting a job, having my own apartment, and even picking out my own furniture. Those never seemed too interesting to me. They just seemed like adult things that were guaranteed to happen. Now I want to do them so bad. Because I want to know what they feel like.”

— Sara, who has since passed away from cancer.

Humans of New York is a fascinating site about the people walking down the streets of — you guessed it — New York. Some are several paragraphs long, while others are barely two sentences.

One is about a widow who chose homelessness after his wife’s suicide.

“I’m just existing. I wasn’t a good husband. I wasn’t a good father. And now I’m doing penance.”

Another is about the Iraq war.

“Our military may have fought the war, but our whole society went to war. All of us were part of what happened.”

Or growing up in Kosovo.

“You had to speak their language and learn their history. So all of us went to illegal schools in private homes. … It was our way of staying Albanian.”

Or the son of someone trained to be a terrorist.

“I said ‘I love you Dad,’ and his body started trembling. There was a terrified child inside of him. He wanted to love. And he wanted to be loved. He just didn’t know how.”

Humans of New York also gathers stories from foreign countries like Iraq, Ukraine, and Jordan.

They’re often tragic, but I usually feel a little inspired after reading these. I can’t pinpoint why. Regardless, Humans of New York is fascinating.


Humans of New York: “Humans of New York began as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.” The site is located here, while creator Brandon Stanton’s Twitter is located here.

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