Nickel Fare by Dominic Ambrose
The Summer of 2020 and COVID-19—like ring-tailed lemurs, we lift our heads up to see what’s happening in the world. We are now able to emerge from lock down through various phases. We all are heading to the shore or the mountains, camping or sunning, and physically distanced activities galore are a must. A renaissance in reading has blossomed into a bouquet of books. Some old, some new, and all worth your view.
Going back in time has a lot of appeal right now with everything that’s going on in the world. Dominic Ambrose’ 2012 book Nickel Fare is a hero’s quest as we follow 21 year old Nicangelo as he navigates the gritty streets of Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. It provides a walk down a Memory Lane through the mean streets of the Meat Packing district, the porno palaces on 42nd Street prior to the Disneyfication of Midtown and includes an odyssey to Puerto Rico. All this happens as Nicangelo rides his thumb around the island at a time when hitch-hiking was how people got around. The time was simpler, and not.
For younger readers, it is a clear-eyed view of a time that was more complicated in many ways. But there was a lot less support for being queer than there is today. The support that exists now is from Nicangelos (and Nicangelas) who were determined that Gay is Good, Queer is Here and this slice of life from 1971 reflects a very different experience than what we know and have today.
Like any body of water, the river of time has surface currents and mysteries, as does this book written in 2012. Check out Nickel Fare and take a trip from your beach chair or your arm chair, a trip you will remember.
2012 book Nickel Fare by Dominic Ambrose, ISBN 978-0-9830568-1-2