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Gregory ($mere): Hunts Point, Bronx

Gregory, 32, the son of Mary Alice, goes by the street name "Cashmere the debonaire. I spell it $mere." Gregory was taken away from his mom for the first time at age three, and then for good at eight. He has lived in more than twenty foster homes. He had one stretch of five years with one family, "good people," but otherwise he went from home to home. "I wouldn't let my kids go through it. From the age of three to five I was head in the closet."

 

On his relationship with is mother: "We're still cool. She's my baby. I just tell her, you live this life, it's time for you to hang it up." He has no idea who his father is, "I could be a trick baby," and does not keep in touch with his siblings: "They were lost in the system."

 

He has spent some time in jail recently for "doing shit, pimping, fights." He doesn't use crack or heroin, "I pop pills here and there and that's as hard as I do."

 

When I asked him to describe himself he said, "I'm a young man trying to make better out of nothing."

  

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Taken on May 6, 2012