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(among other great stories)

A struggling young artist needs a miracle to save herself from being deported.

A newly formed Julliard string quartet must provide the entertainment at a public housing project.

An unorthodox census of New York’s Chinatown yields a very surprising result.

Two housewives from Queens produce a Broadway play.

A daycare dropout decides to educate herself.

An eccentric Brooklyn dowager reveals that her daughter is a Chinese empress.

To support themselves, two severely disabled men risk life and limb riding the New York subway.


New York may have the largest concentration of the world’s best artists, writers, actors, and musicians. We have Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Broadway theaters – and, of course, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera.

But virtually all of the people heavily involved in the arts earn livings as food servers, bartenders, and office temps, while hoping to get that one big break, which never seems to come. And yet, each of these people has a story.

So do the other assorted misfits, dreamers, eccentrics, and survivors whom I have counted among my friends and acquaintances. You’ probably remember the line from the song, New York, New York: “If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere.” Well, most of the people I write about, especially in this third volume, are people who have not made it here – at least not yet.