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Nightshift NYC

Russell Leigh Sharman (Author), Cheryl Harris Sharman (Author), Corey Hayes (Photographer)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 270 pages
ISBN: 9780520252714
November 2008
$85.00, £66.00
Other Formats Available:
New York is the city that never sleeps. This luminous book peels back the cover of darkness over the city as it hums along in the night, revealing a hidden world populated by the thousands of women and men who work and live the nightshift. Written with beauty and grace, Nightshift NYC weaves together cultural critique, vivid reportage, and arresting photographs to trace the inverted logic of the city at night. Russell Leigh Sharman and Cheryl Harris Sharman spent a year interviewing and shadowing fry cooks and coffee jockeys, train conductors, cab hacks, and dozens of others who keep the city running when the sun goes down. Investigating familiar places such diners and delis, they explore some less familiar ones as well—taking us on a walking tour of homelessness in Manhattan, onto a fishing boat out of Brooklyn, and into other little-known corners of the night. Traveling past the threshold of voyeurism into the lives of real people, they depict a social space entirely apart—one that is highly structured and inherently subversive. Together, these stories open a compelling view on contemporary urban life and, along the way, reveal the soul of the city itself.
PROLOGUE: Nightfall
ONE: One Big Family
TWO: I’ll Take My Chances on the Nightshift
THREE: Our Own Little City
FOUR: A Stillness
FIVE: Stay Awake
SIX: You Have to Give Up Something
SEVEN: Fulfilling My Dreams
EIGHT: I Don’t Know Where Is the Keys
NINE: All Night on the Street
TEN: Call It a Night
ELEVEN: I Just Work Here
TWELVE: Everyone Is the Same DownThere
THIRTEEN: The Real Hard Core
FOURTEEN: I’m Here All Night
FIFTEEN: Night Boat Weekends
SIXTEEN: Night Fishing
SEVENTEEN: Different Fish, Different Places
EIGHTEEN: Here Is Not My Home
EPILOGUE: Daybreak
Russell Leigh Sharman, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brooklyn College, is author of The Tenants of East Harlem (UC Press). Cheryl Harris Sharman is a writer and researcher whose work has appeared in The Lancet, the Miami Herald, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications.
“No book has ever examined the nature of nighttime work in the city — and of the often forgotten, faceless people who do it — in as great depth and descriptive power as ‘Nightshift NYC,’ a scholarly but readable book recently published by the University of California Press. The book, based on a year of ethnographic and journalistic examination of the lives of more than 100 nighttime workers at dozens of sites across the city, is based in social science research but opens like a novel. . . . The book is illustrated with a series of haunting black-and-white images by the photographer Corey Hayes, whose work evokes the melancholic mood of Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks.’”—Sewell Chan New York Times
“[The authors] contextualize the personal anecdotes of their subjects by seamlessly weaving into the narrative pertinent data on the economy, transportation, health, industry, crime, labor, homelessness, immigration, and New York City history.”—Library Journal
"Poetically written, sympathetic, and engaging, Nightshift NYC opens up an unexplored world of the experiences of those who work at night in New York. An excellent read."—Kirin Narayan, author of My Family and Other Saints

Grand Prize Winner in Non-Fiction, Next Generation Indie Book Award

2009 Outstanding Book Awards, American Society of Journalists and Authors

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Interview with the author, Russell Leigh Sharman and Cheryl Harris Sharman

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