You are currently viewing the stories for June, 2006

The Swordsman

by 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

There used to be this guy who came to the park in a business suit with a thin black tie and his straw hair slicked back and wet-looking to make the case against Darwin’s theory of evolution. He had a clutch of professional-quality charts, which he set up on an easel behind him to help […]

“Dear Paul Bowles”

by 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

MOROCCAN LETTERS Phase 1: The Seduction Jane Bowles liked to call her husband, Paul, a spider. The spider is a dry creature, and she was referring to the spider’s thirst to lure its prey into his net and drain their fluids. She herself suffered that fate. Bowles met Alfred Chester at a dinner party in […]

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 […]

Joseph Mitchell and Joe Gould’s Secret

by Thomas Beller 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

Joseph Mitchell is famous for inventing, to a large degree, the tone and style of the New Yorker long profile, of which he is perhaps the unrivaled master (Calvin Trillin has said as much). He is equally (and perhaps a bit more) famous for enduring one of the most grueling and peculiar writer’s blocks on […]

Death of a Fireman

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

Autumn, 2000 It is fall in London, where I now live, but I spent ten years in Manhattan so it comes as no surprise that I would remember early dark evenings, dark so suddenly that you know with a flash that summer has gone, and that I would think of crisp mornings when leaves first […]

Gold Rings With Missing Jewels

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

I live where the wide expanse of Houston Street, in crossing 6th Avenue, suddenly dwarfs down to the little tributary of Bedford Street. It’s an old Mafia neighborhood, where people sit on the stoop for hours. I’ve lived here 12 years, long enough so my neighbors and I know each other, or so I thought. […]

Bikes at Rest

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

All over the city, people leave their bikes locked up to fences, sign posts, whatever they can find, but there probably isn’t a neighborhood with a higher bikes-locked-overnight density than the West Village. Our photo editor, Josh Gilbert went out one snowy January day and politely asked some to strike a pose or two. That’s […]

Mr. Brownstone

by Thomas Beller 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

“There is a certain shade of red brick–a dark, almost melodious red, somber and riddled with blue–that is my childhood in St. Louis,” wrote Harold Brodkey in State of Grace. Well, there is a certain shade of red brick–somber and melodious–that is my neighborhood in the West Village, and Ferron Brown is the custodian of […]

David Zuva: Shoemaker

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

My name is David Zuva. I’m from Russia, from Odessa. I’ve been here twenty years. I’m a shoemaker. I repair shoes. This my profession. I worked in Russia in the same profession. I learned when I was small boy. My father teach me. All the family shoemakers–my whole family–my wife, me, my father, my brothers, […]

The Information Superhighway, Circa 1870

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

Right up until the time men started to stop wearing hats, the city was woven together by a network of pneumatic tubes that connected post offices and major buildings. A letter took seven minutes to go from Manhattan’s 32nd Street to downtown Brooklyn through this Pneumatic Tube System, or PTS. Making use of the city’s […]

A Face in the Crowd

by Thomas Beller 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

An odd thing happened during game two of the Knicks’ first round play-off series, against the Indiana Pacers. With a little under six minutes left in the third quarter, the Knicks were fighting there way back from a 10 point deficit, when Anthony Mason made a spectacular reverse dunk. The Pacers immediately called a time […]

The Last Police Chief

by 06/03/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

The Mail and Express reported appointment as a patrolman cost $300, promotion to sergeant, $1,400, and advancement to captain, $14,000. Policemen made back their investments by taking bribes. As Luc Sante observed of Big Bill in his book Low Life, "It was well known that he was corrupt; he in fact admitted as much quite […]