The box is as long and low as a frontier coffin, and answers soundly a knock of the knuckles. It has four small wheels and a heavy chain that snakes through a hole on the side and wraps around a “No Standing” sign. Hundreds of neighbors and Little Italy tourists pass it every day, just off a strip of busy lighting stores on the Bowery at Broome Street. They pass the box with barely a glance.
One man does not pass: John Cornelius Foley, a 6-foot-2, lumbering slab of damaged Irish-American age 57 years this May. He limps slowly, his right leg below the knee as knotty and bulbed as an old root. He stops at the box, digs a key out of his jeans and stoops over, working the padlock on the chain. He pulls an end of the box open on its hinges and peers into the place he calls home.
"A sobering story of when life isn't at its best...."