08 May 2012

"The Last Shot" Quotes by Darcy Frey

Here are selected quotes from The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams by Darcy Frey.

- "The experiment of public housing, which has worked throughout the country to isolate its impoverished and predominantly black tenants from the hearts of their cities, may have succeeded here with even greater efficiency because of Coney Island's utter remoteness. On this peninsula, at the Southern tip of Brooklyn, there are almost no stores, no trees, no police, nothing, in fact, but block after block of gray-cement projects - hulking, prison-like, and jutting straight into the sea. Most summer nights now, an amorphous unease settles over Coney Island, as apartments become stifling and the streets fall prey to the gangs and drug dealers. Options are limited: to the south is the stiff gray meringue of the Atlantic; to the north, more than ten miles away, one can just make out the Statue of Liberty and the glass-and-steel spires of Manhattan's financial district. Officially, Coney Island is part of the endless phantasmagoria that is New York City. But on a night like this, as the dealers set up their drug marts in the streets and alleyways, and the sounds of siren and gunfire keep pace with the darkening sky, it feels like the end of the world." (3-4)

- "Lincoln is by no means the worst or most dangerous of New York's almost two hundred public high schools. That distinction is shared by Thomas Jefferson in Brooklyn, where two students were recently gunned down in the hallway as they walked to class; William Taft in the Bronx, where kids occasionally throw M-80s into crowded classrooms; and the forty-five other schools throughout the five boroughs where metal detectors have been installed at the front doors to separate students from their coat pocket arsenals. The faculty at Lincoln includes some of the most dedicated teachers in the city, as well as a principal who just retired after twenty-two  years of holding the school together through this era of enormous change. Still, a malaise has set in at Lincoln, as it has at so many other inner-city schools. Twenty-five hundred students attend Lincoln, packing every inch of its yellow-walled corridors at dismissal time, and it often seems that an equal number of security guards is required to keep them from inflicting grievous bodily harm on one another. The first day I dropped by, in the spring of 1991, there was much commotion in the Lincoln hallway because the locker of a student was found to contain a handgun. On my second visit, the weapon in question was a six-inch knife. After one student was taken by ambulance to Coney Island Hospital with a neck wound requiring forty stitches, even some of the most peaceable kids at the school began carrying X-acto knives for protection." (13-14)

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