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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 […]

That’s My Daughter In The Water

by 03/27/2013
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper East Side

Getting your two year old daughter into a bathing suit in a men’s changing room can be a bit like stuffing an eel into a pillowcase. For some reason I thought the smart move would be to undress myself first, get my trunks on, my flip-flops, grab my towel, then shed Hana down to her […]

Bensonhurst Nicknames ca. 1966 – 1980, Annotated.

by 11/12/2012
Neighborhood: Bensonhurst, Featured

[This list contains all the nicknames of kids I can remember from my childhood (age 7 - 21, approx.) in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  See explanatory notes for each nickname below.] 1. Angelo Head 2. Rabbit 3. Ape 4. Frankie Airlines 5. Joey All-Star 6. Vinnie Barbarino 7. Turtle 8. Tortoise 9. Harry O. 10. Frank Asshole […]

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. […]

Barking at Tourists

by 06/29/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Times Square

“You guys like comedy?” The young Armenian-looking couple stares straight ahead; their paces don’t slow as they walk past me. “No? Ok, no problem,” I mutter to myself before taking a quick drag of my American Spirit. I spot a 30-something white guy in a pressed suit; not my normal demographic but he’s walking slowly […]

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 […]

To The Basketball Playing Men and Women of Letters

by 03/14/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Caroll Gardens, Carroll Gardens, Manhattan, Upper West Side, West Village

I recently read a fanciful article in which a literary East/West  all-star basketball game is imagined and scouted. Dave Eggers and Stephen Elliott are the starting back court for the West. Ben Marcus is cast as the starting center for the East not on the grounds of basketball skill but because, according to the writer, […]

January 25, 1987

by 02/03/2012
Neighborhood: Featured, Letter From Abroad

The New York Giants are heading to Indianapolis for their fifth Super Bowl. 25 years ago, I spent a perfect day in Pasadena. “Tommy, want some action?” Al said to me on the school bus. “No, the Giants are favored by 9 ½ points.” I answered. “What about over and under, it’s 39 ½?” Now […]

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 […]

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 […]