Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street

Front Cover
Seven Stories Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 239 pages
A New York Times Notable Book

Whether Lee Stringer is describing God's corner as he calls 42nd Street, or his friend Suzy, a hooker and past due tourist whose infant child he sometimes babysits, whether he is recounting his experiences at Street News, where he began hawking the newspaper for a living wage, then wrote articles, and served for a time as muckraking senior editor, whether it is his adventures in New York's infamous Tombs jail, or performing community service, or sleeping in the tunnels below Grand Central Station by night and collecting cans by day, this is a book rich with small acts of kindness, humor and even heroism alongside the expected violence and desperation of life on the street. There is always room, Stringer writes, amid the costume jewel glitter...for one more diamond in the rough.
Two events rise over Grand Central Winter like sentinels: Stringer's discovery of crack cocaine and his catching the writing bug. Between these two very different yet oddly similar activities, Lee's life unwound itself, during the 1980s, and took the shape of an odyssey, an epic struggle to find meaning and happiness in arid times. He eventually beat the first addiction with help from a treatment program. The second addiction, writing, has hold of him still.
Among the many accomplishments of this book is that Stringer is able to convey something of the vitality and complexity of a down--and--out life. The reader walks away from it humming its melody, one that is more wise than despairing, less about the shame we feel when confronted with a picture of those less fortunate, and more about the joy we feel when we experience our shared humanity.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

This is another book from my to-read shelf, a book I've owned for years and years but never read. Until last night, home from an unusually busy and tiring day of work, having recently spent a lot of ... Read full review

Grand Central winter: stories from the street

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This autobiographical account of homelessness and crack addiction rambles engagingly among the key locations of New York City's Grand Central Station, Central Park, and Central Booking. Written by a ... Read full review

Selected pages


What happened was I was
When I was out there
The Streets of New York City 1985
Grand Central Terminal Winter 1985 1230 am
Grand Central Terminal Winter 1989
West Fortysixth Street Winter 1989
In New York City there are three
Hells Kitchen Fall 1994
I was having a real
I was smoked out tapped out
Its time for my nightly
Sure life on the street
Dear Honey
Manhattan has only two
His name is Marvin
If at the time of this

Valentines adoptive father
On every smut film

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About the author (1998)

LEE STRINGER's journey from childhood homelessness in the '60s, to adult homelessness in the '80s, to his present career as a writer and lecturer, as told in Sleepaway School and Grand Central Winter, is one of the great odysseys of contemporary American life and letters. Stringer is the only board member of Project Renewal who is also a former patient of the facility. He is the two-time recipient of the Washington Irving Award and, in 2005, a Lannan Foundation Residency. He is a former editor of and columnist for Street News. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of other publications, including the Nation, the New York Times, and Newsday. He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, where he also serves on the board of the Mamaroneck Public Libraries.

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