“The tourists don’t know anything,” said Nichole, 29, a former heroin user who lives in a shelter and goes to the McDonald’s regularly with her boyfriend. “I love when they walk in here and look around and everybody is nodding out on a table. Because they have no idea what’s going on. They’re like, ‘Why is everybody sleeping in here?’ ”
Why there? Because within a three-minute walk there are a clinic that dispenses methadone, the substitute opioid used to treat heroin addiction; two outpatient substance-abuse programs; and a needle exchange. The neighborhood has few cheap options for hanging out. The White Castle allows only paying customers to use the restroom. The management at a Subway and two Dunkin’ Donuts claim their bathrooms are out of order.
—Kim Barker writing in The New York Times about the overt drug culture at a particular McDonald’s in Manhattan.