You are currently viewing the stories for May, 2005

TuCan: The $1 Kingdom

by 05/22/2005
Neighborhood: Chinatown

I have given my neighborhood a trendy new name. TuCan. What does it mean? Too Close to Canal Street. My windows are over Canal Street, but my street is named “Lispenard.” Have you heard of it? Neither has any cab driver in New York City. Every day, I attempt to direct them to it. They […]

Morning at the Morningstar

by 05/22/2005
Neighborhood: Midtown

A new customer took the stool next to me at the Morningstar Diner on 59th and 9th on the West Side. His name was Rich, a thin, white, middle-aged man carrying a plastic Gristede’s grocery bag that must have contained books. He took a seat, ordered a coffee to go, and I asked him about […]

The Difference Between Chickens and Goats

by 05/22/2005
Neighborhood: West Village

A Goat walks in with a camera, wants to document me, the Best Administrative Assistant in the World, diligently at work. I turn off the Atari emulator on my computer, open up a word processing document, and get to my Work, processing, retrieving, shrugging off calls in triplicate. Each call and customer needs to feel […]

The Shave

by 05/21/2005
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Clinton

My father was a man of few words. Not because he was the strong silent type, but rather because, in the twenty-three years that we spent together, it was my mother who did most of the talking. He had few opinions, my father, which he mostly kept to himself, and my life was too full […]

Girlfriendless at the Grocery Market

by 05/17/2005
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens

My girlfriend, with whom I live in Brooklyn, was going to be out of town for a few days. And so it happened that I found myself in a grocery store, alone, deliberating between the advantages of a Swanson Hungry Man fried chicken dinner and a Banquet Salisbury steak. Each came with corn and mashed […]


by 05/16/2005
Neighborhood: Across the River, Queens

There’s a small pocket in Brooklyn east of Williamsburg, west of Bushwick, known by its residents as Flushwick. In this small pocket, mattress fires attract drum circles. Catalpa trees burst from the shattered windshields of bulldozers. Pedigrees with silk bandanas growl behind fences crowned with razor wire. It’s hard to get a fix on this […]

SWF Seeks Dream Apt.

by 05/12/2005
Neighborhood: Chelsea

Apartment hunting in New York City is like dating: in the search for the One, you’ll inevitably run into countless disasters along the way. While my romantic relationship has been the model of stability for once, buying my first Manhattan apartment was like looking for love all over again. The idea of settling down gave […]

Exercise Astronauts!

by 05/10/2005
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

On a cold icy Thursday in a duplex on the Upper East Side with high windows: well cared-for plants and a spiral staircase lead to a mirrored room. There stands an erect youthful female figure, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn, with a dancer’s sillhouette. Her name is Anita Koffler. She awaits her devoted exercise participants and […]

Until It’s Over

by 05/09/2005
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Long Island

A good map will not only show where you are, it can also tell which way you’re headed. I’ve always resented the way New York City claims such a large portion of Long Island, its landscape and culture, the layers of people and the stories they keep. Does Queens have anything to do with Montauk? […]

Manhattan Ate My Car

by Thomas Beller 05/02/2005
Neighborhood: West Village

This is the first chapter of “How To Be a Man: Scenes From A Protracted Boyhood.” (W.W. Norton) [35 years old] A little while ago I went to get my car and found that it was not where I had left it. The car is, or was, a huge, mint green 1977 Thunderbird; almost half […]