Who’s your daddy?
This Bronx-based business can help you find out.
As another Valentine’s Day rolls around, mobile DNA testing truckers Health Street are answering that essential question that can result from the season’s lovemaking.
The company has reunited fathers with long lost daughters and brought together siblings separated at birth since it started offering on-the-spot maternity and paternity tests out of a small fleet of graffiti-decorated vans in 2010.
“You just wouldn’t believe the insane dramatic situations that people are faced with,” said Jared Rosenthal, who founded the company.
His vans team leaves their perch under the Third Avenue Bridge every morning to hit NYC’s streets in an attention-grabbing truck with the words “Who’s your Daddy” painted on its side.
The paternity test is simple and quick: A quick cheek swab and $350 later, the genetic material is FedExed to a lab in Ohio. Potential parents get the life-changing news in just a couple weeks.
And the majority of those potential parents—contrary to the depictions of absentee fatherhood (“You’re NOT the father!”) on daytime TV—actually want the results to come back positive, Rosenthal said.
“There’s never been a time when dad comes in, found out the kid isn’t his and does a dance,” Rosenthal said.
Sure, there are cases where a parent is upset that they’ll be legally held accountable to pay child support. But mostly Health Street is about bringing loved ones together.
On a recent Tuesday, Leycy Jimenez, a Dominican immigrant who now lives in Fordham, swung by Health Street’s walk-in clinic on the eighth floor of a commercial building on Third Avenue in Port Morris.
Jimenez was being tested to confirm her relationship with her mother, who still lives in Santo Domingo. She’d like to bring her mom to the States, but the Consulate’s office needs genetic proof.
“It would mean a lot to be able to take care of her as she gets old,” Jimenez said.
Demand for genealogical clarity has been constant since Rosenthal started the company. The van’s playful sign, which was painted by the legendary South Bronx street artists TatsCru, helps break the ice.
“People have been thinking about this stuff sometimes for over 20 years,” Rosenthal said. “All of sudden they see the truck and come in.”
The Bronx is and always will be the DNA testing truck’s home base, but Rosenthal said the service spans the entire city.
People of all different ethnicities and income levels come in to find out the truth about their families.
“It’s not an economic issue,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a human issue.”
For more information on Health Street’s programs, visit www.health-street.net.