A cab cracks into a hydrant and keeps going. The fare it bypassed screams
and flips it the bird. One big SPLASH and dumpster juice is everywhere - you know, remnants of a shitty hamburger rubbing dirt mustard on a crumpled Daily News shot of Hillary hugging a five-year-old. New York's coarse side has been lauded by all sorts of artists. The most shallow romanticize the filth. But those who accept the vulgarity and tension for what it is usually reveal a bit of its heart too. Tension. Calamity. The urban obstinance that turns a jackhammer into a musical instrument. Linda Zacks finds the mess both engaging and reviling. In NYC SOUL CITY she scrutinizes those mixed feelings, and the middle ground she settles for makes sense: one clear ray of sunshine can momentarily illuminate the turd-tinged Hudson, and bumper-to-bumper car coitus does have its erotic side. Want a little study in the way we strain ourselves each day? Want to see how living all over each other has its intrigue? Walk the streets with her, and keep your eyes open. One person's pissy alleyway is another's pied a terre.