Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Micropolis: Images of Addiction in the Bronx
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 04:00 AM
In this episode of Micropolis, WNYC's Arun Venugopal ventures into the home of Michael, a transsexual prostitute and heroin addict -- and, as you can hear in the segment above -- given to baking cookies for her guests.
Michael, who also goes by the name Shelly, or Michelle, is one of the subjects of "Portraits of Addiction," an ongoing project by Wall Street trader-turned-photographer Chris Arnade and writer Cassie Rodenberg.
In addition to images, the project gives us insights into the lives of its subjects. Thirty-five year old Vanessa, seen below, "was standing on the cold street corner looking for business, wearing only flip flops and smoking with her two friends." When asked how she wanted to be described, one friend jumped in and said "She's the sweetest woman I know. She will give you the shirt off her back, if she has one on."
Beauty, below, was 21 at the time the photo was taken, and originally from Oklahoma. She'd been through at least nine pimps.
Eric and Sonya with Boo Boo the kitten. They had lost their three children to the state but wouldn't give up their cats. At times, their illegal basement apartment has been flooded with raw sewage.