It was Friday, September 19, and in City Council chambers this meant a third day of hearings since July on new lead paint legislation. On Grove Street, in Bushwick, it meant Vevidiana Padilla was watching television with her son, Brian. The 15-month-oldwith wide cocoa eyes and a toddlers plucky gaitrecently had his blood lead level measured: it is high enough for Padilla to worry (seven), but not yet high enough for Brian to be considered lead poisoned (ten) or to trigger environmental intervention by the city (twenty).
Moses P. Cobb was a tough man. He was born a slave in Kinston, North Carolina in 1856. After emancipation, he sought a new start to his life, literally step-by-step, by walking to New York City from North Carolina. After his sojourn, Cobb bought a house in Weeksville, a community in Brooklyns Ninth Ward formed by freed slaves. In 1892, he became his neighborhoods first black policeman.
The smell of fine colognes, smoked salmon and Bellinis is powerful stuff. Luckily, it quickly rises up to the 100-foot-high, gilded and chandeliered ceiling of the restaurant near Grand Central Terminal. That Im at an event of money-transferring magnitude is belied by the black ties and gowns, as well as by the video crew that shadows an infamous media mogul who stands near the entrance like an Executive centurion.
Im halfway through my first pregnancy now, and the question I get the most from peopleafter "girl or a boy?"is "what are you craving?" Even well-wishers are always disappointed to find Im not craving something bizarre, like sardines in ice cream. Its as if pregnant women hold the key to some secret food universe, where all the rules are upturned and new, unlikely delights are waiting to be discovered.