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Christmas Morning

by 05/26/2014
Neighborhood: Forest Hills

This morning I made Ramen noodles with extra veggies in it, and peanut butter and Korean bean paste. Then took a walk, crossed Grand Central on over to Queens Boulevard where an Asian woman walking a little dog caught my eye. She saw my eye was caught by her, so when she got up close, […]

Old Brownie

by 02/09/2014
Neighborhood: Midtown

Yesterday was a quiet day on 47th Street. A winter snow was having its way with New York City. Snow piled up on the street. The porters had a hard time clearing the sidewalk and I was having difficulty looking busy. There was nothing to do. No one came into the store. No dealers, no […]

The Supercut

by 07/28/2013
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

The scruff on the back of my neck was getting long, so I decided it was time to head over to Supercuts on 10th and University and get a trim. There’s nothing special about this specific Supercuts; I’m sure the hundreds or thousands of other Supercuts around the country provide the same mediocre haircut for […]

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 […]

Will Work For Free

by 06/25/2013
Neighborhood: Midtown

I didn’t come to New York City to work for free forever. But as a chronic unpaid intern, this had been my experience for the better part of four years. The ability to do pretty much anything for little or no money is a precious skill for any intern, and I started honing this talent […]

On Avoiding the Clipboard

by 06/06/2013
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, Uncategorized, West Village

It was my second time on the NYU campus (I will pause here, long enough for some self-important student to roll his eyes: “We don’t have a campus,” as if the word is a smarmy, sordid curse); it was my first time there alone, and I wore the trademark face of an awed tourist. Open-mouthed. […]

Playing Hide and Seek in the Bronx

by 04/25/2013
Neighborhood: Bronx

Decades ago, when my brother was about ten and I around fourteen, he began to spend an extraordinary amount of time in his room. We lived in an apartment in a sketchy neighborhood in the Bronx. There were muggings, petty and not so petty thefts, and a few cases of violent crimes. Still, we played […]

At Home on the Church Steps

by 02/08/2013
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

On a blustery December evening on my way to a friend’s dinner party, I stopped in front of a jumbo cardboard box on the steps of the church around the corner. “Jim?” I called out. A moment later a hand emerged and gave a little wave, followed by a head with tousled, graying hair. “Hi,” […]

SMASHING KNIVES

by 12/28/2012
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Midtown

In the Greater Depression the employment opportunities for a man my age were limited in New York. No company wanted to pay my worth, for a younger man will do the job for a third the wage and his knowledge of labor resistance is zero. However my absolute willingness to work has overcome most obstacles […]

The Threat

by 12/04/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Flatlands

The wailing woke me at 3:00 AM. I tried to ignore it. I had to get up for work in a few hours. A bus and two subways, my commute to Manhattan was substantial. At first, I thought it must be a dog crying in the cold winter’s night. But after a few seconds, I […]

New York Is Oakland

by 09/08/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Financial District, SoHo, Union Square, Zuccotti Park

Two days after the Occupy Oakland police raid, where an Iraq War vet was shot in the head with a police projectile and hundreds more were sprayed with tear gas while they were sleeping, I get a text from Denise as I’m wrapping up dinner with some friends at Teresa’s Diner in Brooklyn Heights: Show […]

Cross Streets

by 08/28/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper East Side, West Village

I was running late for a new faculty meeting at NYU. "411 Lafayette," I said, jumping into a cab. The driver looked at me in the mirror with squinting, my-English-is-not-great eyes. "411 LA-FAY-ETTE," I said, raising my voice, hoping to hurry us along. I checked the time: If traffic was very light I might—might—make it […]