Hooked on Books
"I just want books, Ma," Nestor A. Cintron III would say.
Growing up in the Alfred E. Smith Houses in a tough part of the Lower East Side, Mr. Cintron was the resident intellectual. "My son didn't take any drugs; he had no bad habits; his thing was reading," his mother, Alicia Leguillow, recalled.
"For Christmas, I would get him $200 gift certificates to Borders and he would buy books."
Mr. Cintron, 26, a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, read anything, but preferred books that were other-worldly: Carl Sagan, Michael Crichton and Robert Jordan were his favorite writers. He was a huge "Star Wars" buff.
He got his two younger brothers hooked, too, to the point where they would all sit at the dinner table reading. "They were never raised by a father, so they had each other," Mr. Cintron's mother said.
Ms. Leguillow knew her son was gifted from childhood, when a teacher at Public School 1 insisted on skipping him from the fourth to the sixth grade, because he was so far ahead in math. But he was still one of the guys.
"He had so much intelligence, he didn't need to show it," said his brother Fred Gonzalez Jr.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 20, 2001.