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A Walk on Columbia Street

by 08/01/2012
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Featured

If you never saw Columbia Street before 1960, you missed a lot. The street is still there; the sidewalks, the street sign, but the stores, the people, the charm are all gone. That strip of avenue is unrecognizable, now lined with barrack type housing and no character at all. The house where I was born […]

On Turtle Bay

by 11/11/2011
Neighborhood: Featured, On the Waterfront, Turtle Bay

Twice weekly, we ride the ferry across the East River from the India Avenue landing in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn to 34th Street on the Island of Manhattan. Two hours later, we make the return trip. Each time we come aboard, the pilot, the bill of his cap pulled low on his brow, greets […]

Where To Begin

by 10/14/2011
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

I was late to the 79th Street Boat Basin, which meant I had missed the introductions of name and sailing experience. Convenient, since of the two, I had only a name. My new boss was telling us our mooring was at NW2. I scanned the orientation packet: bowline, jib, vang. I had thought the position […]

Overheated In Gravesend

by 06/20/2011
Neighborhood: Gravesend

It’s hot. We have one air conditioner and one TV. The TV is black-and-white; the air conditioner is in my parents’ bedroom. I usually sleep with my door wide open, letting in a cool breeze from the back door to our attached row house, the access to our backyard. Back then no one imagines someone […]

The Whip and The Bonnet

by 02/14/2011
Neighborhood: Featured, Financial District, Uncategorized

For a long time I used to go down to Pearl Street at the bottom of Manhattan. It was around the time that I had started writing a book about the famous case of the man and the woman who had disappeared from Pearl Street in 1997. The book led to the street and, in […]

Prall’s Island

by 04/15/2010
Neighborhood: Featured, Prall's Island

“It all started in 1974, when a longshoreman spotted an egret with a twig,” said EJ McAdams of the discovery of nesting birds along a heavily trafficked—and polluted—Arthur Kill waterway in the heart of New York harbor. We were speeding south on the New Jersey Turnpike, and it was a sunny day in early June […]

Once More Over the Bridge: May 24, 2008

by 07/01/2008
Neighborhood: Multiple, On the Waterfront

I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge on my last day of classes. It was a beautiful day in May. I had walked over the bridge many mornings this year, dropping my daughter at her school in Brooklyn Heights and continuing to work. I teach the essay to first-year college students and it is a good […]

When Motorcyclists Can’t Feel Solitary Anymore

by 03/02/2008
Neighborhood: On the Waterfront

One of the children’s favorite holidays is now past, the heart-warming annual Recycling of the Desk Calendars. This followed hard upon the Transfiguration of the Christmas Décor, when inexplicable magic occurs: wreaths and lights, trees and cheery blow-ups quivering on lawns in vast profusion are overnight divested of hope and suddenly take on a forlorn, […]

Spinning Tables at the Frying Pan

by 08/10/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

I had never gone to the Frying Pan—the restored boat/event space docked beside the Chelsea Piers—before last week. It was one of those places that I’d almost been to a bunch of times, but never actually made it. I nearly didn’t go that night, either, but I’m glad I did, because I think I ended […]

Manhattan, Floating World

by 05/31/2006
Neighborhood: Midtown

Manhattan is shaped like an ocean liner or like a lozenge or like a paramecium (the protruding piers its cilia) or like a gourd or like some kind of fish, a striped bass, say, but most of all like a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere. The Japanese of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth […]

On the Train Tracks in Marble Hill AKA Manonx, New York City- the circumsized north end of Manhhhhhaaaaattaaaaan

by 02/14/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, On the Waterfront

That morning I got up in the afternoon. My friend Micki came from 204th/Post Avenue, from her man’s crib complaining about his small penis saying, "My baby brother’s got a bigger dick than his!" And I had to get up and shower, leaving her in my room and I took the loofa with me because […]

Funky Piers of Tribeca

by 12/01/2005
Neighborhood: Tribeca

I’m savoring the last days of Pier 25, which closes next month for a three year renovation. I loved this funky wharf in Tribeca– a rest stop on my daily bike rides through Hudson River Park. I would visit the Sweet Love Snack Shack for a lemonade or veggie burger grilled on an old fashioned […]