“Yonkeros” is a popular term for businesses that strip wrecked cars and sell them as scrap metal or for parts. The term is a Spanglish derivative of “junk”, conjugated grammatically to refer to people who engage in this line of work.
Yonkeros is a lyrical exploration of first world consumerism, waste, and obsolescence as they intersect with third world ingenuity and survivalist strategies in the no-man’s-land of Willets Point, Queens.
This series of photographs is both an appeal and a eulogy; the City of New York is determined to erase the existence of this small enclave, not withstanding that it continues to provide an essential service to the community and that it constitutes a source of income and employment to a segment of the city’s immigrant working class.
But above all, Willets Point is a vast inventory of parts, and like all catalogues it is also a poem.