5 Questions for Cheryl Harris Sharman, co-author of “Nightshift NYC”

nightshift nyc

nightshift nyc

In “Nightshift NYC,” Cheryl Harris Sharman and Russell Leigh Sharman explore the “city that never sleeps,” and interview 200,000 men and women who work the nightshift.

I asked co-author Cheryl if she’d respond to a few of my questions about her fascinating book…

TM: What lead you to become interested in exploring the nightshift theme?

CHS: New York, of course, is the city that never sleeps. That alone is worth exploring. But we also noticed several small businesses in our neighborhood — convenience stores, auto mechanics, laundromats – stayed open through the night. As social scientists and writers, our curiosity was peaked. And folks on the nightshift are hungry for conversation. It soon became clear there was a book waiting to be written.

TM: Who was the most interesting night-shifter you encountered during your investigation?

CHS: We each probably have different answers. Russell and I will always remember Alam, a Bangladeshi manager of a deli in Penn Station, reciting Bangla poetry in a back room at the deli. But honestly, every single person we talked to was interesting in their own way. Whether because of where they work, how they work, where they’re from, or how they adapt to the nightshift.

TM: What was the common thread that you found between these nightshift workers?

CHS: All of them struggle with the health implications of working nights. Sleep is always elusive, healthy eating habits are difficult to maintain, and the cumulative effects of living a life out of phase with the rest of society clearly takes its toll.

TM: What surprised you about nightshift workers?

CHS: Nightshift workers are almost always happy to talk. They truly are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The city at night seems to shrink to small town proportions and people actually enjoy the small talk that day dwellers tend to avoid in New York City.

TM: Do you work at night?

CHS: I’m a nightowl. I’ve always worked best at night. Though as a writer, I tend to set my own hours. But Russell and I did stay up all night for the year we did the interviews for the book, both to make it easier for nightshift workers to talk with us and to get a feel for what their lives are like.

Cheryl Harris Sharman and Russell Leigh Sharman will be going on a New York City book tour, starting November 1st, 2008. For details, visit www.nightshiftnyc.com or www.booktour.com/author/cheryl_harris_sharman

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 10:51 pm and is filed under New York City Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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