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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints » User review

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints by Montiel

  • Sep 3, 2006
Rating:
+4
This work provides a pictorial presentation of street life in
New York City during the past quarter century. It depicts local gang hideouts, the theatre and many subjects too numerous to list here. Typical characters are dressed in the street garb of the
1970s and 1980s. The work would be a good reference point for
explaining the life of yesteryear to the youth of today.

The author discusses trips to Radio City and the downtown area of NYC. There are numerous acquaintances in the Bronx, Queens and elsewhere who are depicted in the book. The street dramas are played out in the text along with the details of life on local neighborhood corners and cafes. Individual gang members are photographed while engaging in small talk, casual sex and other
aspects of life in the big city.

The presentation is realistic because it depicts life on the streets for a variety of characters ranging from the local priest
to gang leaders. Black and white pictures of the NYC neighborhoods are recognizable . For those who grew up in the neighborhoods of NY, this work will provide a much welcomed nostalgia of a past that is long gone with the passage of the
previous century.

The book is a curiosity for enthusiasts of the NYC street culture. The presentation and pictures would make for a lively
conversation amongst longstanding residents of NYC.
The work is unique for the many pictures and extemporaneous expressions of the local area residents in Queens and elsewhere.
The presentation is a conversation piece because the contents
have been well researched from the ground up through the many
street contacts of the author.

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About this book

Wiki

Montiel's saints run the gamut from omniscient priests to wacky con artists. In his rambling memoir of growing up in the 1970s and '80s in a tough Queens neighborhood, he escapes to the East Village to emerge as a Calvin Klein underwear model and lead singer of the punk band Gutterboy. Montiel's childhood was rough but thrilling. "[I]n our neighborhood we would take your everyday type of kids' game and throw in an extra little consequence clause that no one else seemed to have." Games escalated from stealing from the church poor box (consequence: 50 Hail Mary's from saint number one, Father Angelo) through peeing through the windows of Mafioso hangouts (consequence: "being chased by crazy Dimitrios with a meat cleaver") to gang fights (consequence: Montiel's pal Antonio [another saint] kills a guy with a baseball bat and spends six years in prison). When the scene shifts to the sex-, drugs- and punk rock-ridden Lower East Side, Montiel's love affair with Manhattan predominates, as he roams the city with girlfriends, junkies and his mother (more saints) and hangs out with Allen Ginsberg (whose photos of Gutterboy appear in the book) and Warhol protegee Cherry Vanilla. Several Kerouac-like road trips feature the thrill and beauty of being "crazy high" in a non-New York world. Montiel tells his entertaining, sad tales with a combination of affection, glee and nostalgia. He's managed to escape the dismal fate of many of his childhood cohorts, while still cherishing and embracing ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 1560259604
ISBN-13: 978-1560259602
Author: Dito Montiel
Publisher: Da Capo Press

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