Five weeks before he abruptly resigned from the top job at the United Neighborhood Organization, Juan Rangel met me for an interview. He picked the day (Halloween) and the spot (UNO’s Soccer Academy High).
It was easy to see why Rangel wanted to meet at the new high school. Designed by Colombian-born architect Juan Gabriel Moreno and unveiled the month before, the building had been plopped like a futuristic glass-and-steel spaceship onto an otherwise unremarkable industrial stretch of 51st Street. Lush green fields surrounded it, marked off for student soccer games. Inside, only a few students sported Halloween costumes. Most were dressed head to toe in crisp five-piece uniforms, topped off with navy blazers and ties.