You are currently viewing the stories for March, 2008

Redemption Birthday

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

My dad was the Ralph Kramden of St. Peters Avenue. He always had some plot, some scheme to try to make extra money. The first I remember, he played the number. No, not “Lotto,” but the real, old-school number “played” to scary old men in the back rooms of candy stores that sold wormy Chunky […]

Supporting Mick Jagger’s Habit

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens

In the glory days of Steinway Street, there was an establishment called Record Spectacular. A combination record store/head shop, it was located between 30th and 31st Avenues, on the west side of the street…and was a meeting place of sorts for music aficionados, potheads, and other 1970s misfits. I still remember walking wide-eyed into Record […]

Young Russian Immigrants Turn to Heroin

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, On the Waterfront

Her daughter tried dozens of rehab clinics and treatment programs. After awhile, Olga says, they blurred into a familiar pattern: “program, back, program, back.” “Back” meaning: back on heroin. Olga, who asked that her and her daughter’s names be changed for this story, came to New York City with her family in 1997, refugees from […]

God Must Be An Octopus

by 03/25/2008
Neighborhood: Manhattan

We were on our way to school, my two sons and I. It was their first day back since the World Trade Center attacks last Tuesday. The weather was eerily beautiful, as it has been all these days. We were smiling and I felt brave. Their conversation was light and chatty. We are going to […]

Local Stops

by 03/15/2008
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

It’s brick outside, thermal-brick, coffee cup lids have coughing fits and a blind man with two good legs gets into my pocket by saying that I could be him one day. At the 116th stop Jane runs into Dick, all surprised and shit, she says, Wow, when did you move up here? Dick gives her […]

A Fan’s Statistics

by 03/15/2008
Neighborhood: Jamaica, Queens

Two times per year the New York State English Regents Exam visits the high schools of our fair city, four comprehensive essays over a period of two days, and this January’s results are in. In my building, preparation for the exam begins in the ninth grade and continues right until the students enter class to […]


by 03/15/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

“This would be a great place for making babies,” Kristal said to me, in the same longing way she often asked to go to the bathroom during city and state exams. Kristal was fifteen. They were all fifteen, even the other ones, the white ones from New Jersey, whose names reflected the suburban streets where […]

R2-D2: Working Stiff

by 03/09/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of “Star Wars,” a number of mailboxes around the city have been made over–shrouded in an industrial strength decal–like R2-D2, my preferred mailbox among them. The USPS website quotes a postal representative as saying it was a “natural fit,” the tone of his hyperbole exuberant. My suspicion is that […]

Disappointment with the Color Brown

by 03/09/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

At the tender age of seventeen, I discovered that tigers were not in fact yellow and brown, but are rather orange and black. It never did much harm, my color deficiency, nor did it prevent me from getting my own way. It certainly never interfered with my love life. However, by no fault of my […]

Sharing Vectors with Jesse Lee

by 03/07/2008
Neighborhood: Chelsea

“Do you know–” “Of any sports bars around here?” I interrupted. The towering man paused, chapped lips parted in a bewildered grin revealing white teeth caulked with white material. “You looking for one too?” “No,” I said, “you asked me that last week.” We stood this December afternoon on 22nd off 6th. Last time, 19th […]

Some Lice to Live

by 03/02/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

I come home to find a message on my answering machine from the nurse at my daughter’s school. “We had a case of head lice in the 5th grade, so we did a school-wide check.” Pause. “Meredith has some nits.” I immediately think of The Thorn Birds, which I read when I was a kid. […]

The Ghost of Fred Revisited

by 03/02/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

Somehow through life’s twists and turns, I’ve come to live in vegan-shoe-wearing Park Slope and own a miniature wirehaired dachshund named, well, er, Pixie. Her full AKC designation is Tiny Tails Pixie Dust. Abridged or unabridged, her name is pure embarrassment, though it’s not my invention. At least I can say she came with her […]