Life in Public Housing
New York’s public housing projects have more residents than the entire city of Cleveland. But seven current and former residents reveal that life in the towers is not always as it seems.
Photos by Shino Yanagawa
More than 400,000 New Yorkers live in housing developments overseen by the New York City Housing Authority—towers more commonly known as “the projects.” Yet the public’s collective image of life in these communities is far more simplistic than the true, complicated stories of the people who actually live there.
Over the course of twelve months, journalist Rico “Superbizzee” Washington and photographer Shino Yanagawa facilitated a series of candid interviews and photo shoots with current and former residents of various housing projects throughout the city, including seminal hip-hop icon Afrika Bambaataa, author/ filmmaker Nelson George, and hip-hop artist/actor Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def). Inspired by the documentarian works of Jacob Riis, Gordon Parks and Ruiko Yoshida, Washington and Yanagawa aimed to explore and challenge the stigmas and stereotypes associated with blacks and Latinos in New York City’s public housing community.
Seven of those stories…