Shape-Up on Bedford

Around 7:30 a.m., the men gather in the chilling December air at the corner of South 5th Street and Bedford Avenue, next to the Williamsburg Bridge overpass, as they do every morning. There are about 30 of them, ranging in age from twentysomething to early fifties. Some stand alone; others cluster in small groups, chatting, making jokes. But everyone keeps an eye on the street, watching the cars, vans, and pickup trucks that pass by -- and waiting for the occasional vehicle that slows down. Read more [...]

Class Distinctions

In a photograph at the front of this book, three fortyish political activists – Frank Trotta, Jr., Leslie Maeby, and Tim Carey – stand together at a restaurant in Peekskill, N.Y. Peekskill is the home base of conservative Republican George Pataki, who was elected New York's Governor in 1994 on promises to cut taxes and spending (i.e., social-service programs) and bring back the death penalty. Both Carey and Maeby worked for Pataki's campaign, and it's a safe bet that Trotta, a lifelong Republican, gave him his vote. Read more [...]