Photography
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Q100

“Q100” was shot by Espinoza during 2016, the bus line that originates in his hometown neighborhood of Long Island City. The Q100, which is operated by the MTA, is the only method of public transportation to and from Riker’s Island. Beginning its route at Queens Plaza, the 100 runs along 21st Street through the Queensbridge, Ravenswood & Astoria neighborhoods before making its way across the so-called “Bridge of Pain” to the Perry Center on Riker’s Island. Riker’s Island situated across from the LaGuardia airport runways on the East River between Hunts Point and Astoria has not been without controversy in its 84 year history. Widely recognized as one of the worst jails in the country, it has been in the national spotlight recently for its frequent instances of abuse and corruption. Espinoza’s motivation to shoot the Q100 route was to show how incarceration just doesn’t affect just the inmates but their loved ones on the outside. Most of these inmate’s loved ones can be seen Thursdays through Sundays waiting to board the Q100. Espinoza adds, “As I would walk past the lines waiting to board the bus, I’d wonder about the mostly women and children who would start their journeys to visit their loved ones on an island just across the east river that is not thought about much by the average NewYorker.”

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"Ben" has been a vendor at the bus stop for the last five years. He sells white underwear, socks, combs, and other items you can bring to inmates on the island. He has noticed business slowing as the age of inmates on the island has gotten younger and younger. He believes the younger inmates do not have as many people visiting them as older ones with families and larger support systems. The past two weeks I have not seen Ben as new construction in front of the bus stop has moved the stop to a different corner.  

"Ben" has been a vendor at the bus stop for the last five years. He sells white underwear, socks, combs, and other items you can bring to inmates on the island. He has noticed business slowing as the age of inmates on the island has gotten younger and younger. He believes the younger inmates do not have as many people visiting them as older ones with families and larger support systems. The past two weeks I have not seen Ben as new construction in front of the bus stop has moved the stop to a different corner.  

"Cyn”, with her sons Haniel and David, is going to visit her friend of two years who is being held awaiting trial at Riker’s Island for the past twenty months. She takes the two hour ride from the Bronx often, but this is the first time for Haniel and David who have only spoken to her friend on the phone. She was hesitant about putting her sons through the process of getting onto the island as she knows from experience that visitors are not always treated well. But the enthusiasm shown by her friend and her sons to finally meet changed her mind."

"Cyn”, with her sons Haniel and David, is going to visit her friend of two years who is being held awaiting trial at Riker’s Island for the past twenty months. She takes the two hour ride from the Bronx often, but this is the first time for Haniel and David who have only spoken to her friend on the phone. She was hesitant about putting her sons through the process of getting onto the island as she knows from experience that visitors are not always treated well. But the enthusiasm shown by her friend and her sons to finally meet changed her mind."

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  "Ivana made the two hour trip from the Bronx and waited another hour to visit her 19 year old son, who has been on Riker's for the past three years, for only five minutes. Fresh off a kidney transplant, she is on thirteen medications to help her recover. Once on Riker’s, she was not allowed to bring or take her medication at the scheduled time. She had to cut her visit short but was relieved she got to see her son for the first time in four months   and deliver a package of necessities     that never seems to get to him when shipped."      

  "Ivana made the two hour trip from the Bronx and waited another hour to visit her 19 year old son, who has been on Riker's for the past three years, for only five minutes. Fresh off a kidney transplant, she is on thirteen medications to help her recover. Once on Riker’s, she was not allowed to bring or take her medication at the scheduled time. She had to cut her visit short but was relieved she got to see her son for the first time in four months and deliver a package of necessities that never seems to get to him when shipped."

  

"Trenzas" was recently released from a ten day stay on Riker's on a   Friday   morning at   7 am  . He is 28 years old and this already has been his seventh stay on Riker's. Traveling back home to the Bronx with what he says feels like a black cloud over his head, he stated he was uncertain about what he would be doing in the near future except for trying to see his nine month old son."    

"Trenzas" was recently released from a ten day stay on Riker's on a Friday morning at 7 am. He is 28 years old and this already has been his seventh stay on Riker's. Traveling back home to the Bronx with what he says feels like a black cloud over his head, he stated he was uncertain about what he would be doing in the near future except for trying to see his nine month old son."