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Collecting a City

For a 30-year-old New York firefighter, Dave Herman is a throwback to a different time when neighbors knew each others’ names, perhaps even borrowed cups of sugar for their baking.

Dishing It Out, But No Longer Taking It

According to Zagat’s 2007 Restaurant Guide, Gotham is the costliest place to dine in America… Meanwhile, as the well-heeled chow down on pan-seared fluke, slow-roasted pork or Madeira-braised oxtails, conditions for the 165,000 people employed in the five borough’s 15,000 eateries—dishwashers to waiters, 40% of them undocumented—are often heinous.

’Tis the Season

Ekavi Valleras of Astoria, Queens bursts into exasperated laughter. She’s recounting the untold machinations of her youth and the adult frustrations of the biannual kalanda carol rounds where she was raised—Astoria and Athens, Greece. “On Christmas Eve morning and New Year’s Eve morning—and I mean six o’clock in the morning—they are leaning on the doorbell.

Spring Creep

“Think of Spring Creek as a municipal dumping ground,” says Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates. “It is one of the most abused sites in the city and a lot of the abuses come from government agencies.”

Seeds of Change

Flanked by a handful of former Riker’s Island inmates, John Cannizzo gleefully surveys a tangled mass of stems, branches and leaves protruding from the back of an overloaded truck outside the Martin Luther King Housing Project in Harlem. “Just look at this one, a real beauty,” he says, caressing a sickly-looking three-foot shrub. “It even has a bud for next spring.”

Construction/Destruction of Williamsburg Continues at Frantic Pace

The sheer pace and breadth of new construction has led to public safety issues galore as developers with little or no oversight rip down smaller structures and build McCondos at a furious pace. Sometimes it seems like the ghost of Robert Moses donned some hipster sunglasses and started tearing up the neighborhood, leaving any Jane Jacobsian ideal of preserving the unique traits of a community in the rearview mirror of a Hummer.

Black Friday with Reverend Billy

“Is that Johnny Cash?” one asks. “Is that Billy Graham?” asks the other. “That’s Reverend Billy,” explains a church member, “Just listen.”

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DEC 06-JAN 07

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