A blinding gust of wind slaps me in the face as I step out of the subway station on 42nd street. I hold on tight to my roller bag and walk toward my dusty little corner on 40th St and 7th Ave, one of the only unoccupied busking spots in Times Square. After collapsing onto my ancient picnic chair, I set up my metal tripod and start sharpening my charcoal pencils, gearing up for an eight-hour shift that’ll yield between ten and forty bucks.
Being a street cartoonist isn’t exactly what I had envisioned for myself when I enrolled in Pratt some fifteen years ago. Nobody who has invested five years and thousands of dollars in a renowned institution expects to be drawing caricatures on the sidewalk for a living. But when you’re hopelessly in love with something, you don’t think of a backup plan. You keep telling yourself that the struggle is temporary, that if you keep faking that smile and sketching those stupid faces one of these days you’ll catch your big break.
Then the next thing you know you’re thirty-three. You’re thirty-three and you’re still carrying that same roller bag and that same fake smile to that same little corner everyday. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, indeed.