In the cramped vestibule of the Providence Hotel, 125 Bowery, three men squat on metal chairs drinking milkless tea. They ask my name and it's intros all round. Harry*, a large Middle Eastern man with an impossibly thick beard, is the last to extend his hand, and he holds on to mine just a bit too long, enough that I notice. I ask if they have rooms. "Go up and see," he says in the careful, enunciated English of a man who has worked to acquire it. "Then I want to talk to you." He says it friendly enough, but firm too, like there's no question that we'll be having this chat. And there... More >>>