When writing a feature about murals painted under the pavements of Manhattan by homeless artists, Alan Emmins was challenged by a homeless dancer to try homelessness himself to better understand what he was writing about. He took up the challenge. Don't Let the BENCH Bugs Bite is a humorous, tender and tragic portrait of an invisible New York City, and a society full of surprises.
“Digging beneath the depressing statistics and grinding poverty, Emmins’ is a more than human portrait,” Dazed and Confused
“An absolutely fascinating book,” Robert Elms – the BBC
“Cutting edge reportage – Alan Emmins sees the world with such a fresh eye,” William Shaw, author of Westsiders
Time Out Magazine article (October 4th) on Alan Emmins living homeless and penniless in London for 7 days, rather than the 31 days he survived in New York to write 31 Days.
‘Oh, what the fuck! I nearly broke my fucking neck. The city’s trying to kill me, the cocksucker! You? You got a cigarette?’ Tony, throwing himself elaborately off a step in order to get my attention.
"Dumb cracker bitch! Oh yeah, she be acting all sweet. But I’ll tell you what she is and it ain’t no fucking lollypop," unknown homeless, on the steps of Madison Square Garden
‘Can you spare some change, sir? A cigarette? I’ll give you a blowjob for five bucks.’ Unknown on the steps of Madison Square Garden.
‘Yo, dude! Don’t be making love to your woman on the steps of The Garden, man! Some of us got to work here. Go get a room,’ JV 'selling' the Onion outside Madison Square Garden.
‘Yeah, I saw you in there. You went into my house. I was watching you,’ JR - one of the few remaining Freedom Tunnel residents