“I Like ’em Crazy” — Luis Cortes Interview for Honeysuckle Magazine

Luis was born in the Bronx in 1963 to a psychotic mother who abused him and siblings -two sisters and a brother – with coat hangers and whatever else was in the house. He left home at the age of 11, dealt drugs as a teenager in the 80’s on the lower east side where it was normal to ‘pack’ guns and knives.  After years of being homeless, he eventually ended up squatting in the Puppet Theater in Central Park.  During a few dark nights, Luis actually witnessed and stopped rapes and crimes from taking place there. They Mayor at the time, Mayor Koch, caught wind of the situation and rewarded him for his help.

Dorri Olds: How did you become homeless?

Luis Cortes: When I was young I ran away from an abusive home. I lived on the streets of New York — lower Manhattan and Central Park.

Were you hit as a child?

Oh yeah. My mom used to beat us with a baseball bat,
with the TV wire, whatever she had in her hand.

Was she on drugs?

No. She was just psychotic [Laughs]

Do you mean literally psychotic?

Yes. That’s how we looked at her. Every month she would tear the whole apartment up and my stepfather always refurnished the whole place again.

He didn’t try to stop her?

There was no stopping that woman, especially because she always had a knife in her hand and was trying to
stroy everything in the house.

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Written for Honeysuckle Magazine