Saturday, January 31, 2009

A city that never sleeps

The spruce mill and the pulp mill may be long gone, but Ketchikan is still a night-shift town: nurses, cab drivers, police officers, cannery workers, grocery clerks, bartenders and deckhands all toil away while we're snuggled down under our blankets. I've dabbled with the edges of night shifts - 5 am baker, midnight grocery clerk - but to be a true nighthawk is to live in another world. Nightshift NYC provides a glimpse into this world in the most 24-hour city in America. Russell and Cheryl Shaaman listen to the stories of transit workers deep in the subway, waitresses at all-night diners, cab drivers and ferry workers delivering intoxicated revelers home from Manhattan, and the guys down at the Fulton Fish Market. Oddly enough, most of the people they talked to choose to work the night shift. The traffic's lighter, the tips are better, and it frees up their day to spend with their kids. Sprinkled with striking black-and-white photos from Corey Hayes, this book is a really interesting look at a lifestyle many of us don't ordinarily think about until we happen to be out at 4 am. If you're looking to meander through late-night, big-city life without actually being on the NYC subway in the middle of the night, you can't go wrong with this book.

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