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Respect for the Dead

by 04/08/2013
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

I was on the 2 Express uptown on my way home after work. It was about 6:30 pm. We straphangers who were standing were packed in like sardines. As the train pulled into the 79th Street station, there was a sound, a whooshing of air, a release. It felt as though the power had been […]

Crust, Mantle, Core

by 10/23/2012
Neighborhood: Bay Ridge, Featured

A sinkhole is threatening to swallow up 79th Street in Bay Ridge. Police, fire, city workers are on the scene. Supposedly, the sewers had something to do with it.“The beginning of the end,” laments a longstanding neighborhood resident on local TV. He is wearing a trucker hat and gold chain and undershirt. Behind him, elders […]

Larry’s Bench

by 09/25/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper West Side

Larry Polshansky, dead. I cannot believe this. He wasn’t that much older than my husband, Gregory, who died of melanoma at age 56, five years ago. Larry chain-smoked, I remember. Maybe it was lung cancer that got him. I am walking my two dogs, Sophie, an eager-to-please golden retriever, and Henry Longfellow, a less-than-eager-to-please piebald […]

Facing The Day

by 06/25/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Chelsea, Gramercy Park, West Village

On the first Wednesday of every month for the past year, my walk east from Fourteenth Street and Seventh Avenue where I teach, to the corner of Eighteenth Street and First Avenue took about twenty minutes. There are intriguing neighborhood changes along the way but I was usually lost in thought. I would arrive at […]

Old Enough To Die In Brooklyn: The Mortician’s Lament

by 05/10/2012
Neighborhood: Cobble Hill, Featured

When the previous resident of my apartment, who was still living in it when my girlfriend and I viewed it for the first time, told us that the funeral home downstairs hardly ever held services, the effect on me was less than palliative. Jenna nodded thoughtfully in the way real estate shoppers are prone, apparently […]

Here Lies Jed

by 05/22/2011
Neighborhood: Featured, Prospect Park

We suspected it was illegal, but we had no choice. At the vet’s office in Park Slope, they told us cat cremation cost $125, and neither my boyfriend nor I had the money. Besides, cremation seemed too formal, too clinical, for Jed. He was always escaping out the window, taking self-guided tours of the neighborhood […]

Death Comes to The Fenwick Arms

by 12/31/2010
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper East Side

     I’m holding the door open for Mr. 11A and his dog, but when he sees the Medical Examiner’s van and the police car parked in front of the building, he stops, leans in close to me, and asks in a stage whisper, “Do they suspect foul play?”      I tell him that the police had only […]

The Last Day

by 06/03/2010
Neighborhood: Windsor Terrace

I always woke up early the last day of school. My eyes would jump open and I’d sit up and look toward the windows in my parents’ bedroom to see if morning slid through the thick wooden blinds and thin white curtains. I’d jab the bottom of the bunk bed above where my older brother […]

The Nameless Old Lady Who Jumped

by 03/25/2010
Neighborhood: Featured, West Village

The sidewalk in front of my apartment building was wrapped in crime tape. An ambulance waited idly on East 10th Street. Policemen strode in and out of the lobby. It was a mild winter Saturday afternoon, and I’d come downstairs for my mail. My doorman looked ashen. “A woman jumped,” he said. “18G.” He was […]

Mrs. Graham, the White Ghost

by 03/08/2010
Neighborhood: Beechhurst, Upper West Side

As a teenager, I lived with my dysfunctional family in a modest but comfortable apartment in Beechurst, Queens. One Saturday morning, too fried to suffer any longer the slings and arrows of my sorry-assed teenage life, I decided to run away from home. I told my mother I was going into Manhattan to spend the […]