Ms. White never mentioned to the others who slept in the park that she had been nominated for a Tony award when she performed, alongside Glenn Close, in “Barnum,” in 1980; nor did she ask about their pasts. Severely depressed, she was too proud to reach out to social services, and kept the extent of her problems from friends. “Most of them are barely getting by in their tiny apartments as it is,” she said. “People in New York, they need their patterns. You can’t interrupt them.”
To avoid the police, Ms. White usually alternated sleeping for an hour with walking for an hour, which is what she was doing when she ran into Officer David Taylor on Grove Street at 4 a.m. one day last fall. Officer Taylor had come to know Ms. White when he was patrolling the West Village. He admired her energy, and, off-duty, came to see her perform. He had never seen her looking like she did on Grove Street. “She is usually someone who lifts your energy if you’re feeling down,” he said. “That night she looked soulless. I was concerned for her — scared.”
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