By Marc Jacobson

Asked if he’d heard of Lloyd Blankfein, the man in the Yankees cap standing by 295 Cozine Avenue in East New York muttered, “What he do?”

In the projects, when someone who looks like me comes up to you, it almost has to be bad news: a cop, a process server, a guy from the Housing Authority. But no, I explained. Blankfein was the head of Goldman Sachs. They ruled Wall Street, the Trilateral Commission too, sat at the table with the Illuminati.

“He used to live in this building,” I said.

It was so. Son of a postal clerk and a receptionist at a burglar-alarm factory, Blankfein had grown up right there, at 295 Cozine Avenue, a redbrick building more or less exactly like the other eighteen redbrick buildings at the Linden Houses. That was in the fifties and sixties, before the white people moved out of the projects and East New York became one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Still, the Goldman CEO apparently retained affection for his childhood home, once sending a post to the East New York Project, a website for people nostalgic for the days of egg creams and spaldeens. It said: “Graduate of Jefferson (’71), Gershwin (’68), P.S. 306 (’65) and the Linden Projects. Currently reside in Manhattan with wife Laura and three kids. Lloyd Blankfein lloyd.blankfein@gs.com.”

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