chapter
Introduction: Sociology’s Urban Explorers
WithRichard E. Ocejo
Pages 14

On a Saturday afternoon in the early spring of 2010 I walk into Milano’s Bar. I began my dissertation research at Milano’s, an old neighborhood bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, more than six years ago. Since I had expanded my project beyond the doors of the bar to examine whether and how the conflicts of change and gentrification that I was witnessing among its regulars occurred among residents in the neighborhood four years ago, I did not have as much time to spend there. But I have still occasionally gone in to get some updates and catch up with people. Jackie, the regular Saturday day bartender in her mid-40s, greets me warmly, as she does whenever I come in. Originally from Northern Ireland, Jackie has been bartending at Milano’s for fifteen years. She always works the day shift, when the older regulars are there, for whom she serves as a den mother of sorts. Teases and playful insults usually characterize her banter with them, which is loud enough for the whole bar to hear. Regular customers highly respect Jackie, and she provides them with compassion and discipline in equal measure.