The first encounter was on a cold autumn afternoon in 1989. A woman carrying two bulky bags over her shoulders caught the attention of legendary journalist Gay Talese as she stood on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 59th Street in New York City.
She appeared to be in her early 40s, with delicate bones, blue eyes and short curly blond hair. Talese continued on his way, but the image of the woman stuck with him. A few blocks later he turned around and walked back to ask her an awkward question.
“Are you a homeless person?”