When I moved into my building on Henry Street five years ago, I knew it came with heat and hot water, but I didn’t know it also came with Andy Brown. For those of you who have not met him, Andy can usually be found sitting on my front stoop with a smile on his face and a cup of change. He’s so constant a figure that the Google map image of my address used to include him out front. (It’s now a new image that sadly has an empty stoop.)
Through the years I’ve gotten to know him somewhat–wonder what got him on my stoop in the first place, worry when I don’t see him for awhile. So I did a little Q&A, and though he’s a man of few words, I did learn a bit.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Brooklyn. Fort Greene.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: Haaren High School in Manhattan.
Q: Do you have any family? Kids?
A: Yeah, they’re grown.
A: I’m divorced. She lives in Georgia.
Q: Brothers and sisters?
A: I have a brother. I see him from time to time, he lives in Brooklyn.
Q: Why did you choose this spot?
A: It’s nice, quiet. Everybody knows you, even if they don’t know your name.
Q: Where do you live now?
A: In a hotel in Manhattan.
Q: Where did you used to work?
A: I used to lay carpet, but I got injured and I can’t work anymore.
Q: What happened?
A: I got beaten by some kids with a baseball bat. It was about 10 years ago. They broke my leg. That was in Ft Greene.
Q: I didn’t see you for awhile earlier this year. What happened?
A: I was sick. I had swelling in my leg and heart surgery.
Q: What was wrong with your heart?
A: It stopped beating right. They had to put some stents in.
Q: Do you get anything besides money?
A: I get food, clothes. Someone once gave me a German shepherd. I kept him.