On Sunday, in industrial Sunset Park, an abandoned world of curving train tracks, there were only half-hearted security guards pacing around their little booths. One called out to me, “hey babydoll,” and another walked down the whole length of his fenced-off pier to tell us there were better views at 58th street of the stalled barges and the glowing mist hanging over the cool river.
Behind a fence outside a factory, a man suddenly emerged from what seemed to be a pile of pallets. He was shirtless and lean, stretching his arms into the sky with a swimmer’s rangy elegance. He looked too healthy for an addict, too unmarred to have been homeless long. He was perhaps between the acts of normalcy, marking time. Or like Dante, maybe, on a tour of hell.