Keys to the City: Tales of a New York City Locksmith
"Before I became a locksmith, when I sat down for a meal, I sat down for a meal. Nothing except a fire could drag me out of a movie theater. I made plans, often in advance." Now Joel Kostman is beeper-bound: a licensed knight of the Vise-grips, the pick set, the hole saw. On call. He's also a master storyteller whose job provides him with all the material he needs. He arrives on the scene and in no time he's heard about childhoods and children, lovers and fears. He's repaired a lock for five guys dining naked in a steamy apartment on a sub-zero night, he's changed a cylinder for Bugsy Siegel's personal physician. He's worn for a minute a jacket and tie of Eddie Cantor's after rescuing the entertainer's ninety-two-year-old cousin who's lost his keys but kept the wardrobe for decades. "Tank God," the old man cries when he sees his savior on the stairs. "You vill let me in." The New York Times calls Joel Kostman the Doctor of the Deadbolt and quotes him, "New Yorkers are concerned about keeping people out on a very primal level, whether it's an abusive spouse or a creep on the corner. They like to talk. I like to listen." This funny and touching book is the result. As Kostman is letting the locked-out into their cars and apartments, they are letting him into their lives. These are their stories. Ordinary people, star performances.