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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 […]

On Randall’s Island

by 10/18/2012
Neighborhood: Randall's Island

Why am I on Randall’s Island, shivering in a ski jacket, gloves, a scarf, and a blanket wrapped around me? It is 7 PM on a Friday evening, and I can see the Manhattan skyline lights flickering on. Normal people—sane people—are warm in bars, toasting pisco sours instead of facing blustering winds on Randall’s Island. […]

A Forgotten Game

by 03/27/2012
Neighborhood: Jackson Heights

I don’t know who invented the game or whether it is still played today. Slap Ball had a brief vogue in New York City schoolyards in the early Sixties, and in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I grew up, it attained minor cult status as the game of choice for the physically challenged. A welcome alternative […]

Date Night At The Gambling Den

by 02/15/2012
Neighborhood: Midtown

                My husband has figured out a way to play poker round the clock, save when he is at work, in the shower, reading a book or in bed sleeping. He plays it on his phone against other poker enthusiasts in round-the-clock online tournaments.  It doesn’t bother me – he’s not the type to bet […]

King of Handball

by 01/24/2012
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights, Featured

By any standards, Mark Margolies, who is now in his late sixties, lived an uneventful life. He was modest and soft-spoken. Even after he graduated from Brooklyn College, he lived with his parents until he was 30, mainly staying in his room, working only sporadically, and reading philosophy books. Then, on a weekend hiking trip, […]

Passing For 62

by 12/15/2011
Neighborhood: Uncategorized, Union Square, Williamsburg

Every Spring, tennis players in New York City who want to play on the city courts have to buy a tennis permit. The Parks Department doubled the price this year to $200 for an adult permit. Seniors only pay $20 . If I can pass for 62, I’ll save $180. I'm unemployed. The first time […]

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 Haters: The Angriest Softball Team in New York City

by 10/01/2009
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Last August, on a brutally hot Sunday afternoon, after a debilitating outdoor 90-degree basketball game courtesy of The Word bookstore league, I was shuffling along the sidewalks from Greenpoint to the Bedford L stop trying to bring my core temperature below triple-digits. Needing a respite, I stopped to watch a softball game on a playground […]

The Greatest Game

by 07/19/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

Some people say the 1958 NFL Championship game between New York and Baltimore was the greatest game ever played. Some say it was the playoff game where Carlton Fisk hit that home run. Some say it was the 1980 Olympics when the US Hockey Team beat the Russians. All those people are wrong because I […]

Playing Games With Kamran Shirazi

by Thomas Beller 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

Depending on how you look at it, Kamran Shirazi is famous in the world of chess for his flamboyant and innovative style of play, or for his amazing ability to lose, or perhaps both. He cobbles together a living by combining prize money from chess tournaments with fees from chess lessons, for which he charges […]

I Wanna Be Sedated: A Night at the Roxy

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

Between 10th and 11th avenue, on the north side of 18th street sits the Roxy night club which, on Wednesday nights, houses a medley of characters whom appear to have been pickled by time. Wednesday at the Roxy is “disco night.” Everyone is on roller skates. The speakeasy secrecy of this sub-culture scene contaminates one […]