My Eden was made of concrete. It was not a place to go barefoot. There was black soot blowing from the coal chute and rustling old newspapers wrapped around God knows what and broken glass and dog mess underfoot. My paradise smelled like old beer. Its soundtrack was pure jazz, the incessant mechanical syncopation of New York: the wail of sirens, the shriek of subway brakes, the exhaust exhalations of buses stopping and starting on Manhattan’s avenues.

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