How My Mom Discovered Crack

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With the economy seemingly sliding into another slump, it's good to remember just how much progress we've made over the past few decades. Crime, for instance, has fallen dramatically.

A piece I wrote for The New York Times Sunday Magazine just went up online. It is about what New York City was like in the 1980s. One little example: when the city painted over the graffiti-covered Washington Square arch, the mayor said, "That'll last about an hour."

These days, it's hard to imagine anyone defacing the arch.

Here's how the story begins:

It was 1985. I was 12 and standing next to my mother in a police station in Greenwich Village. She was a pretty red-haired gal in her late 30s, but the three police officers she was talking to weren’t looking at her. They were looking at the bag of crack vials she had in her hands, confused about what they were. I wasn’t confused. We had a lot of crack vials in our apartment at that point. Hundreds of them. My brothers and I played with them in Washington Square Park. We carried them around in our pockets the way other kids carried marbles.

You can read the rest here or pick up the magazine on Sunday.

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