Re: What inspired you to write Lush Life?

A robbery turned suicide on New York's Lower East Side.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

The story centers around a robbery turned homicide on the streets of the Lower East Side. It’s a fictional version of a couple things that have happened over the years down there. What the real story is behind that is the culture clash between the people that had been living there for at least a half a century and the new wave of younger middle-class kids that have been coming down for about 10 years. To my experience, all the groups that are down there -- the Orthodox Jews, the Fujanese [ph?] Chinese, the Hispanics, and blacks that live in the housing projects, the old hippy guard and the new entrepreneurs and the new kids -- they live in their own worlds but they occupy the same physical streets but they don’t really acknowledge each other until something happens in the middle of the night. A couple of kids from the projects maybe venture inland to Ludlow Street and see if they can mug two kids from the Midwest and every once in a while, something will go wrong because these kids from the Midwest are not too street smart, they’ve been bar hopping, there’s a gun involved, and instead of just giving over their wallet and living to fight another day, they’ll make a move to the gun or they’ll say something challenging.

A shot’s fired, you’ve got headlines for five days and on day six, everybody goes back to their respective worlds. The novel centers around a fictional incident like that. That happened actually after I started writing this because there had been something previous a few years before that, that I was thinking about. Things like this are pretty rare. It’s pretty safe down there, I think in terms of the precincts. I think it’s one of the safer precincts. One of the reviewers said that the cops down there have become almost park rangers. But the problem is it’s New York City and anything can and will happen at any time. It’s like a safe tiger. There’s no such thing.

Recorded On:
3/3/08