Behind the Photo - Ali / by greg brophy

 Ali behind the counter in his shop

Ali behind the counter in his shop

One of the first people I photographed in Willets Point was Ali. Ali is from Afghanistan and came here after his brother Frank moved to the United States where they started the New Mustang Auto Parts store in Willets Point 15 years ago.

 The first photo I took of Ali looking at me kinda suspiciously 

The first photo I took of Ali looking at me kinda suspiciously 

Since then, Frank passed away with cancer and Ali runs the place by himself. He is like a computer with vast amounts of storage and can remember every part he has and where it is located.

 Ali in the shop where you can see the license plate with Franks name.

Ali in the shop where you can see the license plate with Franks name.

Ali has been a constant anchor for me in the neighborhood. He is always there and very welcoming. We have spent many hours talking about life, religion and what is happening in the area. He has let me roam his shop and take all the photos I want.

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 A vast array of parts.

A vast array of parts.

He is currently the only person in his family working and has children that he supports as well. He is very concerned about the future and what he will do if the area is shut down.

 He works seven days a week no matter the weather.

He works seven days a week no matter the weather.

 A sign in Ali's shop. I now own the "Willets Point NOT For Sale" button in the photo

A sign in Ali's shop. I now own the "Willets Point NOT For Sale" button in the photo

Come see me on January 20th from 6-9pm at Caelum Gallery 508/526 W 26th Street NYC for NYC Street where my work will be on display and I will be participating in a panel talk. The show is presented by Loculars, sponsored by Leica and curateded by Alice Gabriner and James Wellford. https://goo.gl/wb6pTz