American Dream.

I live on the cusp of China Town in Downtown Manhattan. Every day, I see Chinese immigrants searching through trash, collecting cans and bottles with gloved hands, all for the small deposit they receive when they recycle them. This is their job. As an immigrant to the U.S. myself, I know that I left Australia, hoping for greater opportunity, as I'm sure the can-ladies did. I always wonder if this is better than what they came from. To be honest, Im not sure I could go about their work with the dignity they seem to. While numerous people choose begging as a way to get by, the can-ladies prefer to work long hard days, in filthy conditions, rain or shine under the constant gaze of the public. Maybe it's pride, or just an unshakable work ethic. I saw this lady pushing her cans on a blazingly hot day in Alphabet City. She looked over 100 years old. Her collection for the day emblazoned with American Flags. The irony was heartbreaking.

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