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Last Night at Mrs. C’s

by 04/16/2014
Neighborhood: East Village, Featured

When we were kids, starting at about 15-years old, there was a bar we’d frequent on Fifth Street east of Avenue A, just past the Con Edison substation. It was called the Chic Choc, but we knew it either as Chic’s or Mrs. C’s. Customers addressed the woman behind the bar who owned the place […]

An Education on Avenue B

by 03/23/2014
Neighborhood: East Village, Featured

In 1971, when I was 11 years old, my world was turned upside down when my parents decided to send me to a Jewish Day School on the Lower East Side. From grades 1 to 5, I’d gone to the Downtown Community School, or DCS as it was called, on East 11th Street. It was […]

Sliced Tomatoes

by 03/16/2014
Neighborhood: Boro Park, Featured

In the Jewish neighborhoods he was “Morris, the Maven of Tomatoes.” The orthodox women hardly talked to him, except to call out their orders in Yiddish, enough of which he understood, or to haggle about his high prices or to complain about the accuracy of the scale that hung from the side of his wagon. […]

The Laughter of the Maestro

by 03/09/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Fort Greene

Last week I was walking home through a snowstorm. Turning the corner toward Fulton I called Cecil Taylor, who lived in the last unrenovated brownstone on that street. We knew each other from back in the 70s. The jazz pianist’s manager James Spicer had been a mutual friend, until the silver-haired impresario ripped off my […]

No Slices

by 02/04/2014
Neighborhood: DUMBO, Union Square

Pizza had been on my mind that summer. Who could forget the ever-present sensation of melting? Our skin like sweating cheese, like crusts toasted to a golden brown. We stank, all of us — the garlic you had for lunch, everyone could smell it in the subway car, hiding behind a juicy fragrance. Even nature […]

Washington Square Park

by 01/26/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Greenwich Village

I have a friend. For the purposes of this story, let’s call him Monte. When I was a kid there were lots of guys in the neighborhood named Monte. Now I don’t know anyone with that name. From the time he was 13, just after his bar mitzvah when he first had a few bucks […]

Just Another Night

by 01/12/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Fort Greene

Last night was New Year’s Eve. My redheaded poetess friend Irene phoned to invite me to a 20-something party in Bushwick. “You’ll be the oldest man there.” Irene was going solo. “Almost three times older.” We were just friends. “I think of you as 16.” She had seen me being silly on more than one […]

Red Socks

by 07/28/2013
Neighborhood: Midwood, Sheepshead Bay

Ran into my neighbor Traubman, a regular Gary Shteyngart except much older, on the sidewalk outside our apartment building near Kings Highway, while headed to the B train to Manhattan and wondering how bad my sciatica would be that day. "Where've you been, I've been thinking about you," Traubman said. He was wearing shorts, scratching […]

The Dress

by 06/18/2013
Neighborhood: All Over, Greenwich Village, SoHo, West Village

For thirty-five years its posture has been folded into a deep curtsy, dormant over a hanger, as if waiting for a curtain call. After that one moment in the spotlight, it’s never been worn again. Unless we consider fleeting fantasies of varying scenarios I’ve had over the decades that flash-forwarded to, well, the age I […]

Below 14th

by 05/30/2013
Neighborhood: East Village, Lower East Side

In the summer of 1984, I sublet an apartment on East 3rd Street between Avenue A and B, about one hundred yards from the building in which I had spent the first 18 years of my life. I’d been away for six years—the first four at a small college in the midwest followed by two […]

Body English

by 05/25/2013
Neighborhood: Clifton, Featured, Staten Island

In the summer of ’77, I met Mark Roth in Pathmark on Hylan Boulevard. Heading home from a Sunday drive, my parents stopped to pick up groceries for dinner, and waiting in the Express Lane, he got behind us with a bottle of Mott’s Apple Juice. I was sure it was him, but then, what […]

What’s in a Name

by 05/06/2013
Neighborhood: Bronx, Midtown

Sitting in the second row of the balcony at the New York City Center ballet, I, sixteen, entranced by the melodies of Swan Lake, watched a tall, muscular sun-god pirouetting and jeteing on the stage. As he soared, I gasped at the height of his jumps and his sure-footed landings. But I had not come […]