Friday, August 2, 2019

the last book I ever read (Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro, excerpt two)

from Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro:

Beyond Jones Beach, the great park Robert Moses had built when he was young, was a little private community called Oak Beach, and Moses said our first interview would be in his summer cottage there. So I drove out from the Bronx that day in 1967, over bridges he had built (the Henry Hudson and the Triborough) after generations of city officials had been unable to build them, and over expressways he had built (the Cross-Bronx and the Major Deegan and the Bruckner) by ramming them straight through the crowded neighborhoods of New York, and over parkways he had built (the Grand Central and the Cross Island and the Southern State and the Meadowbrook) when the most power forces in the state had sworn he would never build them.

When I reached Oak Beach, and turned in through wooden gates that hung ajar, the colony seemed deserted in the preseason May chill: the little cottages set among the high dunes were empty and boarded up, and the narrow, graded road through the dunes had been covered by drifting sand, so there was no sign of life. And then I came around a curve. Suddenly, in a circle of dunes below a modest house was a long, gleaming black limousine, and, beside it, a black-uniformed chauffeur and three armed and booted parkway troopers. The chauffeur was lounging against the car, but although the troopers, members of an elite two-hundred-member unit that was in effect Moses’ own private police force, were only there on an errand, they stood rigidly erect, as if they feared he might be watching them from the house above.

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