After Decades On The Streets, An NYC Prostitute Contemplates Retirement

52 year old prostitute Barbara TerryIt's not often that you hear the details of a career lived on the streets, let alone by someone who raised a family from the money she earned working them.

But Barbara Terry supplied them for an article in The New York Times. Trained to be a medical lab technician, by age 21 Terry's husband had left, leaving her with children to support.

So, she says, she turned to prostitution, working the streets of Hunts Point, a Bronx neighborhood of warehouses and repair shops that straddles a busy expressway. It's where, Terry says, she has worked most of her adult life.

"It was beautiful out here then," Terry, who is 52 and a mother of four, told the Times, adding that there was plenty of money to be made -- even if it meant routinely being arrested and spending time in the city's main jail on Rikers Island.

In the 1990s, Terry was among those who appeared in a HBO documentary about prostitutes working "The Point," and was seen in the movie flashing a "toothy smile" that has since been lost to diabetes.

But Terry soldiers on, working mostly days now and dressing more conservatively than she once did.

Terry says that few women who eke out a living on the streets make it to her age. "I call myself the last of the survivors."

And yet Terry, too, may soon call it quits. Her children, two of whom she put through college, have begged her to get off the streets, she says.

Terry plans to move upstate in about a year or so, to a house that she bought, she told the newspaper.

Still, Terry says, she loves the excitement of street life. "This place has made me strong. It keeps you young."





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mt302

Interesting how the ad pic shows a white foot, then the article is about a african american ladie's
story of career choice...I'm sure many people would not mind making a living with prostitution.
Even us guys....

June 13 2012 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Catherine

If there wasn't such a high demand for this profession then she would be unemployed. I agree with another comment that was made about women who look for men to pay for their way in life. What is the difference? I am a woman and i see it every day, i watched a woman at work rub her chest against two different men in front of everyone in an obvious attempt to get something. I guess she thinks that will work for her, it probobly will. At least this woman is her own boss and provided for her children the best that she could. She is beholden to no one and i admire that!

April 05 2012 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lddavidlevesque

I've been one but for only a very small number of people,for a very short period of time and the last one was like just a joke.I have no idea how a person could last so long in an unregulated,unmonitorred and not making use of a'manager'(if a Pimp,then so be it,or a security guard)Is your secret that you are a pimp and have others doing for you on the side to keep you safe that you mention?See I've met people that would come across as victim or victims of circumstance when the truth is what they are experiencing is something they themselves have set-up and maintain.As what so many people think of when they look at informant networks on TV.And the keeping of food on the table and the kids in school was by using soupkitchens/StreetPantry's,exposing their kids to childmolesters,drug dealers,and mentally ill on a daily basis.It is true that responsibility can be relative(what is considerred unreasonable in an advanced country(US)&can be quite reasonable in undeveloped countries.Making the low-life experience seem understandable for the kids but leaving them resenting it because they continually run into other people and philosophy's where allowing and portraying such an enviroment as tolerable is ludicris.I really do hope you did as good a job as adapting your kids to the need to be met as its portrayed.But I hope we never meet,because what you rep to me is scary.Getting sucked into someone elses needs/animal nature is something that is always a problem to me.But if you 'pulled-it-off',good for you.Like many others said,and I'm saying a second time,'Goodluck.'

January 28 2012 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elnpet

Type your comment hereNot being judgemental at all. Understand why you did this. Happy you could talk to your children about this. Have a question. are you not afraid to do this ? what do you think about while this activityis goingon to get through it all /? Best wishes for your future in your new home up north. If I hadto do this for my kids, think I would too. GOD Bless.

January 05 2012 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sire

I hope she got a good matching funds from her pimp for her 401K plan.

January 04 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jnrentz

An extremely hazardous profession.

Good fortune to you, Ms. Terry.

January 04 2012 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bennersnwfrnkfrt

So go ahead and cast dispersions, everyone. It's a terrible thing she had to go through. I can't imagine the hell she sometimes had to endure, but she raised her kids and kept food on the table. That's more than many of you can or are willing to do. I doubt that she ever touched an illicit drug or spent her money on foolishness. More power to her, and may God bless her. I'd rather stand with her than a lot of people I've known.

January 04 2012 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

Nice nips Megan.

January 04 2012 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jusus82306

If she was really smart she could just sell to close friends

January 04 2012 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jusus82306

This is important, part time work with no taxes.

January 04 2012 at 5:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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