In 50-degree weather, the 35-year-old Venezuelan prowled the sidewalk by a 7 train stop — one of the city’s main day-laborer hubs, called “paradas” in Spanish. A friend suggested the site after days of fruitless job-hunting at local restaurants.
Wearing a Yankees cap and jacket gifted by a local church, Palencia waited until the late afternoon for a potential employer in a passing vehicle to stop. The former driver, exterminator, air-duct cleaner, and restaurant worker in Venezuela said he was willing to take whatever work he could get.
“Whatever price they’ll pay, I'll take,” said Palencia, who arrived in New York three weeks ago and has been staying in a hotel-cum-shelter in Jamaica, Queens. “The price doesn't matter as long as I get to work.” But no work came this day or the next.
Photographed for Gothamist, with words by Arya Sundaram.
For asylum seekers looking to work in New York, desperation meets necessity - Gothamist
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