"See that pole with the transformer hanging from it?” Michael Cristofaro asked me. “That was where my family’s home was.”
I looked up at a line of high telephone poles marching diagonally against a blanched winter sky across a vast, empty field—90 acres—that was entirely uninhabited and looked as though it had always been that way. New London, population 27,000, a rundown onetime whaling port on the Atlantic coast that never recovered after the whaling industry died at the end of the 19th century, is a desolate-looking city. Cristofaro, a 52-year-old New London-born computer network engineer, and I were in its most desolate neighborhood—actually, ex-neighborhood, for there was not a residential property left standing on the entire tract.
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