The New York Times, September 22, 2023, Children Are The Casualties In New Yorkers’ Daily Struggle For Space
In New York, intimate tragedies often provide the clearest view of our bleakest problems, the most urgent invitation to reckon with systemic failings.
The case of Nicolas Feliz Dominici, almost 2, who authorities say died after exposure to fentanyl hidden near nap mats in a Bronx day care, affords us harsh vantages — on the darkest inadequacies of our child care apparatus, its slippery regulation, and the apparently unstoppable flow of synthetic opioids into the country.
The child’s death also suggests, if less obviously, the danger of living arrangements common in parts of the city, in which domestic space is frequently commandeered for the purpose of making money.
The housing shortage, and the fact that many accommodations for the poor are in terribly maintained buildings, throw that particular scenario into high and troubling relief. Even on a less catastrophic scale, the harm of crowded living, especially for children, is well documented. Last year, the Community Service Society of New York, a 180-year-old organization devoted to promoting economic equality, found that more than a quarter of city families with children were living in overcrowded conditions. Rates for immigrant households were even higher.