The Bum's Rush

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There was a time in the not-too-distant past when you could bum a cigarette on the street with nary a soul looking askance. In fact, it was such smoker camaraderie that kept us together—who could you count on in times of need if not your fellow yellow-fingered outcasts?

These days, though, as prices skyrocket and a kind gesture can cost an arm and a leg, bumming a smoke isn’t so easy. I asked 100 smokers in Union Square Park if I could bum a cigarette over the course of three days, and I found that while camaraderie isn’t completely dead (one man said, “Oh, no, you don’t have to pay me, we’ve got to stick together!”), smokers are certainly wary of sharing.

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