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If Dad Was A Doll

by 04/09/2017
Neighborhood: Coney Island, Featured

My father took me to the Coney Island Freak Show every summer growing up. My artist Dad seemed unfettered from his day job as a social worker, sketching subway riders on the hour train ride from the Lower East Side, where we lived surrounded by junkies and prostitutes wandering derelict streets. On the boardwalk, he […]

Rodney Street

by 02/26/2017
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Lola is whining. I open the door to the dark hallway so she’ll stop, so she’ll know I’m here. The sunlight reveals a brown present she’s left already, its odor mixing in with the faint smell of cigarettes. It’s hardening. I’m not going to clean it up. She’s not my puppy. The open bedroom door […]

Rollo

by 02/05/2017
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Rollo lived at the corner of Madison Street and Broadway. He was taller and stronger than my father. Rollo would lie down on a bench in his front yard and lift dumbbells every morning. His breathing was heavy, his forehead glistened with sweat. He had large arm muscles and a big chest. His hair was […]

102 Steuben

by 06/17/2016
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Clinton Hill

When I think of my dad, I think of the stories he’s told me. What he knows and what he wants me to know. I think of the time at Friendly’s when he etched the web of our ancestors onto a napkin. Patrick to Matthew, Edward and Agnes and Teresa and Mary, and at the […]

The Tape

by 04/26/2016
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Chelsea, Jackson Heights, Manhattan, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Sunset Park

-1- Once upon a time, there existed a New York City economy where a young person fresh out of college could, with a straight face, think in terms of “building a career.” Imagine such optimism. The notion of “career” seems so trite now, forty-plus years on, so immaterial, in this age of downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring. […]

I Know About His Ear

by 05/03/2015
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn

Aunt Judy’s a teenager and my grandmother takes her shopping at Mays Department store in Downtown Brooklyn. Nana chooses the item she wants, then leans close to Judy. “Watch this.” Nana trumpets: “This is too expensive! I’m not paying this much!” A clerk says, “Ma’am, that’s the price.” “Oh, no! You’re not doing that to […]

Jews Playing Basketball

by 11/06/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Bronx, Brooklyn, Lower East Side

New Yorkers of a certain age who dig hoops can tell you that there is a lot of Jewish DNA in the city game. Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, an instructor at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, but the game’s popularity really took off early in the 20th century in the settlement […]

The Ancient Swirl of Time that is Always Present Over Coney Island

by 10/20/2014
Neighborhood: Coney Island

It’s a bone chilling day in winter as I park my car on a side street next to the Cyclone roller coaster. My head is spinning with all these old Brooklyn memories, and I’ve come back here now looking for signs of them, looking for pieces left behind from the sad sweep of time. Sometimes, […]

Direction By Mercy

by 09/28/2014
Neighborhood: Long Island City, Lower East Side, Queens

“Here, going? Here, here!” The woman says to the drive and points to the paper in her hand. “This bus is going to Rockaway Beach!” The bus driver looks at her and answers. The woman doesn’t seem to understand and starts to talk to the bus driver in Chinese. The bus driver looks puzzled and shakes […]

Will You Marry Me?

by 09/26/2014
Neighborhood: Long Island City, Uncategorized

During the middle of my spring semester, I remembered the homeless man in front of the 21st street CTown. He was the poem in my poetry workshop. He was the protagonist of my memoir workshop free-write. I remembered my love for him. My professor loved him from the first paragraph. I went to high school […]

Spa Day

by 09/06/2014
Neighborhood: Coney Island

The massage was about three-quarters of the way through when Galina stopped what she was doing and disappeared, leaving me face down and naked on the table, without a word of explanation. Galina? Bafflement gave way to blessed relief that her thumbs had, for a moment, ceased bullying me into a state of relaxation. I […]

A Picnic in Eden

by 09/01/2014
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

“No, it is not only our fate but our business to lose innocence, and once we have lost that, it is futile to attempt a picnic in Eden.” — Elizabeth Bowen There’s a man across the street. He’s seventy-five, maybe eighty years old. He comes out of a red door in the apartment building kitty-corner […]