Americana: Living Rent-Free on Manhattan's Upper East Side

Until last week, Joseph Cruz, 55, was living on New York City's posh Upper East Side. But while he paid no rent, perhaps he should have been charged some tolls. For Cruz had set up residence, complete with a salvaged bed, storage-crate furniture, a beer cooler and a stove made from an oil drum, smack in the middle of a 35-ft.-long traffic island on Manhattan's East River Drive. His presence immediately stopped a bit of traffic; passing motorists were enchanted by the sight of the eccentric tenant, protected from the elements only by the elevated southbound lanes overhead, and slowed down...

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