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Week of 2.2.07

King of the Cans

Meet Eugene Gadsden, a man who makes his living one nickel at a time collecting and redeeming bottles and cans. Through Eugene's life, we get an insider's peek at an underground economy in which armies of scavengers pick up some of the $91 million worth of bottle deposits New Yorkers often leave on the streets. Eugene, who has become something of a leader in his field, has collected enough bottles and cans to rent his first apartment, which he's furnished with treasures found in the trash.

We met Eugene through "Picture the Homeless," a group founded and run by homeless people whose motto is "don't talk to us, talk with us."