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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 […]

School Spirits

by 03/20/2013
Neighborhood: Featured, Jamaica

I’ve been teaching Writing and Literature in New York City’s public school system for almost nine years. This spring, my former building will graduate its final class just shy of reaching the century mark. The school’s phase-out process followed the usual script that no ‘education reformer’ cares to discuss: a decent school declared dangerous, unable […]

Found in Transit

by 02/09/2013
Neighborhood: All Over, Grand Central Station, Union Square

A woman once offered me her seat on a rush hour 3 train. New Yorkers only donate seats to the elderly, the injured, and the pregnant, so it was obvious what she thought. “Not pregnant – just fat,” I told her, matter-of-factly, compelled to set precedent before this woman’s so-called generosity spawned an outbreak of […]

Chowdah

by 01/17/2013
Neighborhood: Grand Central Station, Midtown

Last week my boss Manny hated me. The business was slow on 47th street. I had been hired part-time to help my replacement H-Love, but neither of us had made a sale between Xmas and the New Year. “I feel like I’m running a charity ward. The two of you are about as useful as […]

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 […]

Starry Night

by 12/04/2012
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn

“If stars are lit...” - V. V. Mayakovsky Had the receptionist been Dante Alighieri, he might have strung a banner along the wall of the windowless waiting room advising visitors to “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” But the person who pointed me in the direction of this circle of Hell was no Dante--nor […]

Cookie Friday

by 06/09/2012
Neighborhood: Midtown

There’s no real sorrow in this account. I wasn’t working the red light district, nor had I become a Mole Person. I wasn’t destitute or physically mistreated. I was a recent college graduate, holding an entry-level position as a paralegal at a personal injury firm in East Midtown, Manhattan. In fact, with everyone talking about […]

A Longer Walk

by 04/20/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Upper West Side

For twenty-one years I walked the same beat on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – from my apt on West 86th Street to my office on West 64th. I have lived in the same apartment for thirty-two years and have worked in the same office for twenty-one. I am a person who likes security and whose […]

Bento Box Bingo

by 02/26/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Lower East Side

Many things are curated in this day and age. Google will happily refer you to “a curated book,” “curated digital apps,” “a curated list of televised soccer games,” a “meticulously curated” fixed-gear bicycle boutique in Paris, and “a curated set of grooming products.” A curated door, such as can be found at 27 Ludlow Street […]

Elevator Days

by 02/10/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Financial District, Lower Manhattan, Manhattan

Whenever I go to a party or I am introduced to people I don’t know, they invariably ask me what I do. “What do you do?” And I always tell them, “I am an elevator operator.” I say that I drive an elevator in downtown Manhattan. The reaction to my announcement varies. Some people smile […]

Bearded Strangers Unite!

by 01/08/2012
Neighborhood: All Over

I was sitting on a bench on the Lower East Side, waiting for an appointment with my barber, when a homeless lady came shuffling by, dressed in black rags. These were particularly witchy rags, it seemed to me, like she’d bought them at a store as part of a Halloween costume. Like in addition to […]

Bear Patrol

by 07/19/2011
Neighborhood: Featured, Midtown, Park Slope

The door to Karen’s office was open and I waved a little hello as I entered, indicating that I would only be a second. Karen was the creative director at the magazine publisher where I was freelancing as a copy editor. I thought there was something cozy about her, something very motherly, in a distracted […]