Several thousand of them would have to stand…

Reading time: About 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by New Yorker writer Ian Frazier…

How do you deal with homelessness? Do you walk by the beggars sprawled on the street, asking for spare change?  Do you hand over your spare quarters to others without knowing whether they’ll spend them on cigarettes, booze or drugs? Do you have any right to know what they’ll choose to spend the money on? Don’t all human beings deserve a safe and warm place to sleep at night?

Homelessness is a problem lacking a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, it often seems to be lacking any sort of solution at all. Ian Frazier explores this issue in a recent New Yorker article headlined “Hidden City” and published Oct. 28/13. You can read it here.

Did you know that there are now as many homeless people in New York City as there were during the Great Depression? That was just one of the sobering facts I learned by reading Frazier’s article. But perhaps the most affecting statistic was his lede — specifically, the first two sentences. Here is how he began:

For baseball games, Yankee Stadium seats 50,287. If all the homeless people who now live in New York City used the stadium for a gathering, several thousand of them would have to stand.

Isn’t that remarkable? More homeless people in NYC than Yankee Stadium can hold. Sobering. Scandalous. Heartbreaking.

Ian Fraizer knows how to write an article that forces readers to pay attention.

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