Scott's Reviews > Alphaville: 1988, Crime, Punishment, and the Battle for New York City's Lower East Side

Alphaville by Michael Codella
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's review
Jan 19, 11

Read in January, 2011

A memoir of sorts, by a NYC police detective--nicknamed Rambo--who grew up in Canarsie (a neighborhood where mobbed-up families lived in harmony with cop families), joined the force, worked for the housing police in Coney Island, then, where and when the bulk of Alphaville takes place, on the Lower East Side in the mid- to late-1980s, specifically the Riis and Wald projects along Avenue D, a true World Capital of heroin dealing and consumption. More a collection of cop stories--sometimes funny, sometimes gross, sometimes suspenseful, sometimes annoyingly self-serving--than a cohesive narrative, Alphaville definitely hits the nostalgia-for-the-gritty-old-city button early and often, and if you think you'd enjoy reading a crime- and junkie-ridden portrait of the town in the '70s and '80s, then you will probably be as entertained while reading this as I was, but also frustrated by the lack of any real insight into or fresh perspective on this well-traveled landscape.

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