The Inner Strengths Of A Vulnerable City

During my long walk home Tuesday, it was on a block of lower Third Avenue--that is, the Bowery--that I first felt reassured. All the storefront missions were hopping, their doors wide open. The mission workers were on the sidewalk exuding matter-of-fact competence as they offered their services--water, bathrooms, food, telephones, first aid--to the thousands of anxious strangers passing by. A few of the regular clientele, people accustomed to walking the streets dazed and dirty, stood aside, watching their temporarily down-and-out fellow citizens accept handouts.

New Yorkers are known for being jaded, and they are, but the iconic toughness is also...

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