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Back Row America

I first walked into the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx because I had been told not to. I had been told it was too dangerous and too poor, and that I was too white. I had been told that “nobody goes there for anything but drugs and prostitutes.” The people telling me this were my . . . . Continue Reading »

Homeless in Seattle

My name is Gil ­Costello, and I live at one of the Pike Place Market’s senior housing buildings, the ­Stewart House. I am seventy years old. In 1955, at eight years old, I began my on-and-off life of homelessness. At age eleven, before becoming addicted to drugs, I learned to ride rails around . . . . Continue Reading »

Dirty Laundry

The town’s dilapidated LaundromatIs packed this morning with a crowd of menAnd women, hauling bulky laundry sacks—A full month’s worth, in fact. It’s Saturday,The last one of the month, the day when allThe members of our church’s outreach teamProvide the rolls of quarters so that . . . . Continue Reading »

Charity or Philanthropy?

The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity  by jeremy beeruniversity of pennsylvania, 134 pages, $19.95 As I sat on the subway car reading Jeremy Beer’s new book The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity, a homeless man entered the . . . . Continue Reading »

Solving the Poor

In a recent article in the “New York Review of Books” on the television and stage adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s historical novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies,” the Irish critic Fintan O’Toole tries to explain the present popularity of a story about Henry VIII’s obscure . . . . Continue Reading »

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