Life in the Hole, Part III: The Cultivator
Raising animals, tending to gardens, and building his own house, all while living off the grid (literally), in New York’s most overlooked neighborhood.
Jose — known as Wepa to his friends — is a farmer of sorts. Untamed vegetable gardens are cobbled together on his property, while Jose’s roosters stalk his tenants’ yards, often engaging in impromptu cockfights to establish dominance over one another. Although Jose once owned a horse, pig and goat on his land, he does not live in farm country. He makes his home in “The Hole” — a neighborhood spanning the border of Brooklyn and Queens and filled with a ramshackle assortment of abandoned buildings, dilapidated trailers, and other abodes where a diverse assortment of New Yorkers are desperately trying to build their lives.
Jose brags about building his home with his own two hands, but he has been unable to connect it to the electrical grid and thus it sits abandoned. For months now, he has resided in a small shack on the edge of his property, a satellite of his hard work. Despite his tribulations, he is generous to a fault, sharing beer, food and money with anyone willing to share a conve…
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