Summary of “Hard Up in New York”

My girlfriend, V, and I were finishing college, with a summer to burn before the next thing, and New York beckoned.
Luckily, my brother Tom was in New York that summer, doing a loft conversion for the hot-shot young photographer Gregory Heisler.
Tom, who was then based in Chicago, had come east with a Chicago friend of Heisler’s who wanted to start a renovation business and hoped to pick up some skills from my brother and split the profits.
Heisler could see that Tom had all the know-how.
He paid Tom twelve thousand five hundred dollars for the loft conversion, approximately one-eighth of what it would have cost with a New York contractor.
Tom realized too late that he could easily have charged Heisler two or three times as much, and I left Manhattan, in mid-August, owing two hundred and twenty-five dollars to St. Luke’s Hospital.
Fifteen years later, after being married and divorced, I built a work studio in a loft on 125th Street, following Tom’s example and hanging my own drywall, wiring my own outlets.
Of all my mistakes as a twenty-one-year-old in the city, the one I now regret the most was my failure to imagine that the black New Yorkers I was afraid of might be even more afraid than I was.

The orginal article.