Live in Manhattan for $0 a month! The catch: live in a camper


It sounds like something to be jealous of: A guy whose home is the road, who moves about as he sees fit, just him and his four dogs. He calls his van home.

That sounds kind of ideal, like Easy Rider without the drugs or the sand in your hair. But this guy, Jimmy Tarangelo, isn't roaming the road. He's literally living on it, the victim of twin afflictions of mental illness and recessionary times. He parks and re-parks his mini-caravan (a Ford Econoline and a 20-foot camper purchased for $750) on the streets of New York City's lower West Village, where in the buildings above, lofts sell for well into seven figures. Every so often, as the street signs require, to dodge tickets. Ever since he got kicked out of his home, eight years ago, he's lived this way.

The New York Postpaints a pathetic portrait of how the bottom rung of society is coping with the times. For the ranks of the homeless, patching together an existence takes ingenuity and hours of evasion. His survival depends on working the system.