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The Circle Line

by 04/02/2013
Neighborhood: Across the River, All Over, Featured

She throws an envelope onto the kitchen table, vaguely in my direction. She has written my name on it, and underlined it twice. I know what’s in it: it’s my birthday and inside it there will be, as always, a check. I am only ten-years-old, and I do not exactly know what to do with […]

A Walk on Columbia Street

by 08/01/2012
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Featured

If you never saw Columbia Street before 1960, you missed a lot. The street is still there; the sidewalks, the street sign, but the stores, the people, the charm are all gone. That strip of avenue is unrecognizable, now lined with barrack type housing and no character at all. The house where I was born […]

A Forgotten Game

by 03/27/2012
Neighborhood: Jackson Heights

I don’t know who invented the game or whether it is still played today. Slap Ball had a brief vogue in New York City schoolyards in the early Sixties, and in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I grew up, it attained minor cult status as the game of choice for the physically challenged. A welcome alternative […]

I Love You, U-Bet

by 03/26/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay

              When I was a young man—no bigger than this             A chocolate egg cream was not to be missed             Some U-bet’s chocolate syrup, seltzer water mixed             with milk             Stir it up into a heady fro—tasted just like milk             You scream, I steam, we all want Egg Cream.                                                                         […]

The Immigrants’ Daughter Learns A Lesson

by 12/01/2011
Neighborhood: Brooklyn

I learned about sex when I was twelve. My mother called me over while she was watching a rerun of The Honeymooners on the 13” black and white TV in my bedroom. She often watched there, because my father couldn’t stand her smoking in their room. My parents are Holocaust refugees. My mother had lived […]

Chola’s Habit

by 11/16/2011
Neighborhood: Featured, Williamsburg

My younger sister, Chola, a second grader at Our Lady of Good Counsel, is chosen for a special part in the school play. My sister is real cute and the Sisters adore her. Chola loves Sister Romona and gave her a candy necklace for Christmas. She helps Sister Romona erase the blackboard every day and […]

Spring Training

by 08/02/2011
Neighborhood: Westchester

I spent a few days last week in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and while the beach season is still some weeks away, something beyond the college Spring Break assault is on the front-burner for many Floridians: Major League Baseball’s spring training. It’s on TV, in the newspapers, and I overheard hotel guests at breakfast talking about […]

The Bookie

by 07/01/2011
Neighborhood: Flatbush

I attended elementary school in a non-descript brick building across the street from Mostly Books, whose humble proprietor, Sandy Tishcoff, was our local celebrity sighting. He was an unlikely one, spending his hours squinting at a microfiche mounted on his desk, from which he would divine book orders in the days before Add To Cart. […]

Secret Staircase

by 05/22/2011
Neighborhood: Sunnyside, Uncategorized

On beautiful May mornings like this one, when the sky holds a brightness that hints at a sunshiny day and the birds are all a-twitter, I miss Nancy terribly. I miss knowing that after school we’ll go beyond the alley that stretches out behind my back yard, to the communal gardens there. As we do […]

Monkey In The Middle

by 02/28/2011
Neighborhood: All Over, Featured, Rockaway, The Catskills

“You from Long Island?” Danny, from Brownsville, Brooklyn, grilled. Before I could qualify myself, he turned to face the rest of the kids on our bus, and announced, “The skinny kid is loaded.” We had just left Chinatown and were cruising north, along the Hudson River, to sleep-away camp in upstate New York. My fellow […]