The patients were on the loose again, moving their shrunken frames through the nursing home's shadowy halls, chattering and giggling like children sneaking out of camp.
It was after midnight. Nearly everyone inside the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, which hugs the banks of the Hudson River in the northern Bronx, was fast asleep. The group crept past a large fish tank and rounded a corner, startling a security guard who jumped at the sight of them: seven tiny women with lights glinting off their silvery hair. Then the guard noticed a young employee pushing one of the women in a wheelchair, and relaxed. It was just the night-care group, out for a supervised stroll.