The Hill

The Hill

The Hill

The year 1990 marked the centenary of the Wounded Knee Massacre. In commemoration, Gabriele and Nick installed a replica of a Lakota tipi in the center of a Manhattan shantytown known as The Hill and moved in on Thanksgiving Day.

In her journal Gabriele details their day-to-day lives as they navigate one of New York's largest-ever police corruption scandals, city politics in the Dinkins era (elected to solve the homeless problem), drug dealers, the AIDS crisis, and the media. It traces the steps of how a shantytown went from the anonymity of waist-high huts hidden in the weeds, to a tour-bus, school-group and celebrity stop; from addicts and recluses just getting by, to a drug supermarket; from a close-knit encampment, to a crime scene that entangles everyone from drug dealers, to users, to cops, to the artists themselves, when one day the unspeakable happens.

(photo by Andreas Sterzing)


“Rather than provide an overarching statement on homelessness, [The Hill] lets the author’s experiences speak for themselves—a powerful statement that doesn’t force an agenda. From Juan, a pushover crack addict, to Mr. Lee, who diligently tends to his own shack, the individuals are as unique as they are tragic… the material forms a highly readable firsthand account that is neither overly sentimental nor dismissive. A personal, informative portrayal of a unique New York community.”
Kirkus Reviews


"Fascinating, suspenseful, and touching... A must read for history buffs."

"This is a book - and a story - unlike any you will read. It is a true story... that is at once harrowing and exhilarating, amazing in some moments and absurd in others, and ultimately both tragic and revealing... Seriously, get this book. You won’t read another like it."

"This book is a revelation about so many things, history, New York City, the plight of the disenfranchised everywhere, but it’s made specific and memorable by the stories of the people of The Hill. Unforgettable and poignant, outrageous and thoughtful, this is a keeper for the ages."

"This book is about an incredible explore the deep divide in America between the Haves and the Have nots..."the unspeakables" that roam the streets of America."

"I had to cry a lot, especially towards the end... [the book] brings this small chapter of NY history to life beautifully in its whole chaotic and brutal way, and also in its humanity – as a loving and tender experience."

"When you are reading, it feels like you are listening to a friend telling you a story. Gabriele’s voice is warm and her accounts are detailed with information about a NYC that, for the time, was gritty and real and just a little bit scary... A wonderful book!"

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