Still, the precariousness only adds to its charm. There is no easy come in New York, but we all perch on the brink of easy go. “I’ve lived in this city my whole life, and I’ve seen it change so much,” Molina says. “It’s hard to remember what it was even like a few years ago.” For now, the place stands as a fragile portrait of New York -- crowded, nostalgic, tenuous, tenacious.
This, in a sense, feels like the revelation of this menagerie. The city will throw all of us out at some point. Yet even the discards become part of the fabric of New York, part of the story. I watch Molina as he aligns the handles on a row of ceramic tea cups, humbly presiding over the New York narrative he has given shape to: a people explained in their debris.