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The River, the Floating Lanterns and the White Balloons

by 10/16/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Featured, Financial District, Tribeca, West Village

Friday, September 9, 2011. My friend and neighbor Judy the Therapist and I ponder the upcoming 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. On that terrible day, Judy and a young couple from my building had just picked up the morning paper at a news stand around the corner; they saw the […]

Cigarette Break

by 08/26/2014
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Tribeca

She has just stepped out of her Tribeca branded content office and is leaning against the wall, wondering if she should buy some cigarettes, when she sees a man eating from the trash. His clothes are neat. T-shirt tucked into belted jeans. He must do this often, because he's wearing nylon gardening gloves, and, when […]

Manhattan Mirage

by 08/02/2014
Neighborhood: Financial District, On the Waterfront, Staten Island

I am a New York City booster. And I travel its streets with all its positives and negatives crammed into my head, coloring everything I do, everything I see, everything I feel.  I am very familiar with the city. And I love the sheer unpredictability of it, the Mad-Hatter kinetic energy. The zany atmosphere, the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Zone A

by 02/27/2013
Neighborhood: Featured, Staten Island

Hurricane Irene bared down on the East Coast, while my mother was in the Vent Unit of Staten Island University Hospital, on a respirator and recovering from her second abdominal surgery. Located in South Beach, designated Zone A, the hospital faced mandatory evacuation. A team of medical personnel, including her surgeon, the Director of the […]

A Comparative Analysis of the Heroic Exploits of Antarctic Explorer Ernest Shackleton and Downtown Resident Brent Shearer During The Five-Night “Sandy” Blackout

by 02/07/2013
Neighborhood: Lower East Side, Tribeca

October 1915 - Shackleton's ship the Endurance crushed by ice after drifting for nine months. October 28, 2012 - 7:30 pm: Shearer hikes two blocks from residence at 90 Hudson St., #6B, to Hudson River with stated goal of checking out storm surge and keeping feet dry. Forced to wade through three feet of water […]

Ellis Island

by 02/03/2013
Neighborhood: Ellis Island

The following sonnets are excerpted from Robert Viscusi's forthcoming book, Ellis Island, which will be published in March 2013 by Bordighera Press. Random arrangements of lines from the 624 sonnets that comprise this epic work can be discovered via the Random Sonnet Generator at ellisislandpoem.com. This is the first time these poems have appeared as written […]

Pizza at the End of the World

by 01/15/2013
Neighborhood: Featured, Staten Island

My apartment building, across from the ferry, in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, fared well against Sandy. From my window, I saw the water rise above the seawall, and swallow the municipal parking lot, but situated on the hill, I never felt threatened. When the power went out, I was watching a DVD […]

Hurricane Kingdom

by 01/07/2013
Neighborhood: Featured, Lower East Side

It was like the prom. Only it wasn’t the prom. It was Hurricane Sandy. All the anxious preparation, the heart slightly aflutter, the pure angst and nervous excitement all at once. What to buy in advance, who to spend the night with, hell, even what to wear. It was Monday afternoon on the Lower East […]

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 […]

Hurricanes in the Hamptons

by 11/26/2012
Neighborhood: East Hampton, Uncategorized

One glorious and balmy summer weekend in the late 1990s, I sat in the house my parents built for their retirement, enjoying the spectacular view of Gardiner’s Bay. A flotilla of sailboats lilted in the wind, guided by red buoys that demarcated a channel in the otherwise shallow waters. My gaze shifted southeast, towards Napeague, […]