I used to drink in a bar in the village called Lion’s Head. It was full of newspaper people. The Village Voice was around the corner, and a lot of guys from the papers would come and drink. It was a great bar full of great bullshitters. I knew a fireman that drank there occasionally and he had done a book. I thought, “Wow. That could be a really good story, about firemen.” I was so against that frigging war and I thought, what’s the opposite of a soldier going and killing people they don’t know? A fireman saving people they don’t know. I got permission, and finally ended up with a rescue team that covered all of the Bronx and Harlem.
New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.
But there is one thing about it — once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough. (c) America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction
New York was a city where you could be frozen to death in the midst of a busy street and nobody would notice (c).
The placename «Harlem» goes from the Dutch town Harulahem which took its title from word Haaro-heim. Literally it means «high place on a sand covered with trees»
Almost 30 criminal gangs of Afro-Americans were interacting in Harlem in 1930`s. The leader of one of the powerful group was a woman — Stephanie St. Clair. Every gang took under control nearly 20 blocks of the neighborhood.