You are currently viewing the stories for March, 2004

Portrait of The Bagel as a Young Man

by Thomas Beller 03/29/2004
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

His hands were large. My resume lay flat on his desk. He had cleared a space amidst the clutter, and he ran one of those big, sensitive, but also violent looking hands over it again and again while he studied it, as though his hand was a scanner and would impart some key bit of […]


by 03/25/2004
Neighborhood: SoHo

As most everyone by now knows, a little family of French bistros lies scattered over the lower half of Manhattan, as if arranged by the single pass of a great pepper mill. Named Le Gamin (save one Le Deux Gamin), each is a neighborhood place, a paradox of quiet and noisy, sunny and dark, boring […]

On The Aesthetics of Urban Walking and Writing

by 03/24/2004
Neighborhood: All Over, Multiple

A tugboat, wheezing wreaths of steam, Lunged past, with one galvanic blare stove up the River I counted the echoes assembling, one after another Searching, thumbing the midnight on the piers. Lights, coasting, left the oily tympanum of waters The blackness somewhere gouged glass on a sky And this thy harbor, O my City, I […]

Firemen and Kosher Salt

by 03/17/2004
Neighborhood: Boro Park, Brooklyn

The firemen came when I was six years old. Sirens screaming, bells clanging, the big red fire engine parked right in front of our house at 1051-46th Street in Boro Park, Brooklyn. They entered wearing  their yellow rubber coats, red helmets and tall black shiny boots. So many of them in our tiny apartment. They […]

Notes from the Audobon Society, Part 2

by 03/17/2004
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Kensington

The wind blew the first raindrops of the cold front against my back. Iris was late. I couldn’t believe I was standing out there under the street lamp in Kensington, Brooklyn waiting for her. But I was curious. I wanted to see what she had. I had never met her and I didn’t know what […]

For the Birds

by 03/12/2004
Neighborhood: Murray Hill

This week’s meeting of the New York Companion Bird Club of Manhattan was held at the Jackson Hole Restaurant. This would be the first bird club meeting of my life. I have never liked birds very well. In my last year of undergraduate college, I transferred to San Francisco State University, and discovered that the […]

A Dance With Spalding Gray

by 03/10/2004
Neighborhood: East Village

When I was in college, I spent an entire night dancing at the Palladium in New York City with Spalding Gray. We danced and danced to every song- danceable or not. I didn’t know who he was but my friends did and he was a very cool older man who seemed to still like the […]

The Passion of the Anti-Christ

by 03/09/2004
Neighborhood: Uncategorized

Throughout my life I have paid good money to see innumerable films that have dehumanized Muslims in the most overt and ingenious ways possible. I have also seen a great many television programs, books, newspaper articles and high-minded literary journals do the same. I have witnessed my father—-who is Muslim and who, in my imagination, […]

Bucket Boy

by 03/09/2004
Neighborhood: Bronx

1201 University Ave in the Bronx is no place to live. The front door, lockless and crooked on its hinges, wouldn’t bar entry to dogs, rapists or the media. Austin Fenner, a reporter and a friend of mine, arrived there before me. We began patrolling the building together, staying away from the bucket boy’s apartment […]

The Lost Art of Haggling

by 03/08/2004
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

The high ceiling lofts feel more SoHo than Lower East Side, though the view of Seward Park High School to the north and tenement bricks from the terraces facing south easily reorient you. This freshly painted blue building gracing Grand Street between Essex and Ludlow Streets originally housed a piano showroom and warehouse before the […]

A Conversation with Richard Ashcroft

by Thomas Beller 03/08/2004
Neighborhood: All Over

I had my Ipod on shuffle. All of a sudden strings welled up, sentimental and epic. Then Richard Ashcroft’s voice came on, sounding as though he had the ten commandments in his arms: “I wander lonely streets…” The song was “History,” off of The Verve’s “A Northern Soul.” That record preceded their one US hit, […]

Knickerbocker Village

by 03/01/2004
Neighborhood: Manhattan

A block or so north of the Brooklyn Bridge, just behind the old New York Post Building, between Catherine and Market Streets, squats Knickerbocker Village. This unassuming enclave of bare brick apartment towers, privately managed, which might easily be mistaken for one of the nearby government projects, made history as the first major housing development […]