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During the time I was studying the Narrative Portrait with Amy Arbus at the ICP, I had become close with my next-door neighbor Fran, a former model and actress. She agreed to sit for her portrait and that is how this project began.

I lived in an interesting pocket of Manhattan. The apartments were built 70 years ago for returning WW2 vets and there are a high percentage of people who have been living there for many of those years due to rent control. As these people pass on, the management is upgrading the apartments to raise the rent and attract a new wave of tenants. After spending time with Fran, I looked towards other neighbors to document, wondering what their stories were about.

My series was a wonderful way to meet my neighbors and hear about their lives—every person’s narrative was as different as their dwellings. I wanted to put a spotlight on these older people living in a city, which is known for its young energy and soaring rent. Most of these people no longer have family around, but still thrive within this planned utopian community.

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