In 1982, Johnny and Sarah Sullivan and their daughters Christy and Ariel enter the United States on a Visa (document) from Ireland via Canada, where Johnny was working as an actor. The family settles in New York City, in a rundown Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan tenement occupied by Drug addiction, Transvestism, and a reclusive Nigerian artist/photographer named Mateo Kuamey. Hanging over the family is the death of their five-year-old son Frankie, who died from a brain tumor. The devout Roman Catholic Church Johnny questions God and has lost any ability to feel true emotions, which has affected his relationship with his family. Christy believes she has been granted three wishes by her dead brother, which she only uses at times of near-dire consequences for the family as they try to survive in New York.