In New York: Reading Between the Lions

It is high noon. On the 42nd Street sidewalk outside Bryant Park two street musicians, both senior citizens, are plonking out "golden oldies" on electric guitar and zither. A few steps farther on a middle-aged black man sits on a wire wastepaper basket clutching a tattered Reader's Digest. He greets all passers-by with a cheery "Auf Wiedersehen!" But as Bryant Park comes to an end voices begin to hiss. "Wanna smoke, wanna smoke?" —twice, three, four times before a resolute reader reaches the top of the library steps and walks the hundred or...

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