chapter  21
30 Pages

Setting the Stage: Central City Decline and the Rise of the Drug Economy

BySam Staley, Kurt L. Schmoke

On a warm August night, a five-month-old baby boy was sleeping contentedly in a Manhattan apartment. At about 12:30 A.M., a loud noise woke the child’s grandmother. Another loud noise prompted an exodus of people from the apartment next door. Gunshots in this building on 109th Street are a common event. This time, however, a small child lay covered with blood in his bed, the victim of a “stray” bullet crashing through the wall from the adjacent apartment. The family, which had intended to move to an apartment in Queens at the end of the month, now plans to move back to their native Haiti. Once again, the American dream was shattered by violence.