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One night in 1997, I was walking in New York City when I passed a young panhandler with a pooch. On the kid’s lap sat a sign: “Give me change, or I’ll eat my dog.” Live in Manhattan long enough and you’re bound to see the desperation of homeless people. It’s ubiquitous. And yet, most of us simply look away. Not Alexia Lewnes. For several years, beginning in 1996, Lewnes immersed herself in the depraved world of the homeless teenagers living in Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side. In Misplaced: New York City’s Street Kids, Lewnes chronicles the lives of four individuals—Stephanie, Fraggle, Dakota, and Juan—as they do pretty much anything (except eat a dog) to stay alive and get high. Like the dog-eating sign, Lewnes’ compassionate storytelling will stop you in your tracks. Only with Lewnes’ book, you won’t want to walk away. She’s here at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Felix Gillette)