The Hill

(3 customer reviews)

$24.95

Description

Gabriele Schafer

In the middle of the night on Thanksgiving 1990, the same weekend that the film Dances with Wolves opened, life partners Gabriele and Nick erected a 25-foot-tall replica of a Lakota tipi in New York City’s then longest-existing shantytown, known as “The Hill,” located at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge at Canal and Chrystie Streets. The tipi was dedicated that December, on the centenary of the Wounded Knee Massacre, in remembrance of the lives lost in 1890, and in recognition of the sovereignty and dignity of the most disenfranchised and forgotten members of our society a century later. Gabriele and Nick thought that if the tipi stood for even one day it would be a success, drawing the eye of over 80,000 motorists that cross the bridge per day, compelling them to engage directly with how our society treats its most down and out. But the powers that be let it stand, and G & N ended up being welcomed and living on the Hill for 2½ years ― getting to know and love their neighbors in all their complexity, cooking with them, performing art with them, quarreling and making up, and watching many of them die. Until August 17, 1993, when the City finally bulldozed The Hill, tipi and all. Gabriele kept this journal that details their day-to-day lives as they navigate drug dealers, one of New York’s largest-ever police corruption scandals, city politics in the era of David Dinkins (elected to solve the homeless problem) and journalists looking for a quick story. It traces the steps of how a shantytown went from the anonymity of waist-high huts hidden in the weeds, to a tour bus and celebrity stop; from addicts just getting by, to a drug supermarket; from a close-knit encampment, to a crime scene that entangles everyone from pushers, to users, to the cops, to the artists themselves, until one day the unspeakable happens.

3 reviews for The Hill

  1. Dick Zigun

    My colleagues from Thieves Theatre, Gabriele Schafer and Nick Fracaro created one of the Bravest & Most Memorable Art Installations In NYC in the early 1990’s within a major homeless encampment at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.

    To this day what they boldly did and stuck with doing so long percolates in my brain which still asks myself such questions as: Was it art installation and brilliant recycling of US Mail bags? Was it Theatre distilled down to its essence? Was it radical outlaw political action that Jean Genet would be proud of???

    Provocative! Revolutionary! Masterful Mind-boggling Mischief! I was there for some of it proud to say.

    And now you too Can relive the experience with the originators who made their stand on

    THE HILL

  2. Jim Fleming

    “My colleagues from Thieves Theatre, Gabriele Schafer and Nick Fracaro created one of the Bravest & Most Memorable Art Installations In NYC in the early 1990’s within a major homeless encampment at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. To this day what they boldly did and stuck with doing so long percolates in my brain which still asks myself such questions as: Was it art installation and brilliant recycling of US Mail bags? Was it Theatre distilled down to its essence? Was it radical outlaw political action that Jean Genet would be proud of??? Provocative! Revolutionary! Masterful Mind-boggling Mischief! I was there for some of it proud to say. And now you too Can relive the experience with the originators who made their stand on THE HILL”

  3. Wayne Beach

    A beautifully-observed account of an extraordinary urban happening. One of my best reads in the last year. The book quickly pulled me into the core of this intensely-lived amazing story. It has many layers – personal and political. It’s sometimes heartbreaking and always compelling. Just take the journey. You won’t regret it.

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