You are currently viewing the stories for August, 2008

Requiem for William A. Shea Municipal Stadium

by 08/26/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Queens

The Mets new home, Citi Field looms in the outfield at Shea Stadium. (Photo: Kevin Nolan) I recall being shocked the first time I heard someone call Shea Stadium a shithole. He was a stranger, a gray-haired man in a mesh Mets cap, missing several bicuspids and an incisor. I was a wee boy walking […]

My First (And Only) Paid Appearance as a Violin Soloist

by 08/25/2008
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

Most violin students must diligently practice on their instruments many hours a day, for many years, before even thinking of turning professional. Some may give it up long before they become proficient. And even should they pursue their musical studies, and become skilled at playing the violin, there are only a limited number of professional […]

Hope in a Jar

by 08/21/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

I’ve become obsessed by wrinkles. Particularly the ones surrounding my eyes and across the map of my forehead that extend like arid rivers across my skin’s terrain. About a year ago, I purchased my first wrinkle cream, Oil of Olay Anti-Aging Eye Gel ($12.99) from the local Duane Reade. This was followed by Olay’s Regenerist […]

Out with the Old

by 08/21/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

“I probably should have done this ten years ago.” This was the theme that ran through my mind when I replayed the decision to leave my profession and take up teaching at the age of 49. But then getting out of the garment business was no easy feat. I felt like The Godfather’s Michael Corleone […]

Bittersweet Victory

by 08/19/2008
Neighborhood: All Over, Multiple

About a hundred of them went. They left their wives, children, friends and girlfriends. Some left school, others their jobs, to fly halfway across the world to fight in a war for, they say, their people, their identity and their independence. The independence, gained almost a decade later, came at a cost. For Florim Lajqi […]

Farewell, Jamaica High School

by 08/19/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Queens

In New York, boy, money really talks–I’m not kidding…   Holden Caulfield Remarkable events have always had their place in the English wing of Jamaica High School, occurrences so uniquely American, happening at such a steady rate, that after awhile they almost seemed ordinary. This fall, for instance, I’m fully confidant that George will shoot Lennie […]

Before Oprah

by 08/19/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

Back in the days when bookselling was uninfected by the dubious influence of Oprah’s Book Club, I was employed at the historic Midtown Book Retailers, a New York City landmark. The bookshop was housed in a now bulldozed brownstone buffeted by crags of diamond mines, popularly known as West 47th St. Manhattan, ground zero of […]

Working His Way Up

by 08/06/2008
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Roberto is giving Vince the usual changing-of-the-guard rundown: who has dry cleaning, who’s expecting guests, who left keys for the housekeeper, etc. When he’s done, Vince shakes his hand and says, “Good luck.” What’s that about? “I gotta get my pengé fixed,” he tells me. He has prostate cancer. It is in times of crisis […]

The Pool Boy

by 08/05/2008
Neighborhood: All Over, Manhattan

It was the day after the August 15, 2003 blackout. Greenwich Village still didn’t have any electricity. It was roughly 107 degrees outside, so my wife, Kim, and I headed to the healing waters of our neighborhood pool. Strike one. The closest sanctuary — Tony Dapolito pool on 7th & Clarkson — was closed, so […]

Undertow of Summer

by 08/05/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

My radiant, delusional mother, my two older brothers, and I lived in second-rate hotels and one-bedroom apartments in Manhattan from 1961, when I was five, until 1967. We’d sporadically get locked out of wherever we were staying for not keeping up with the rent, have our possessions confiscated, and spend the night sleeping in Central […]

Welcome to Washington Heights

by 08/05/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

The day I moved to Washington Heights, a kid stood on the sidewalk and stared at me. And not a trying-not-to stare, either; a slack-jawed, wide-eyed, rooted-to-the-spot stare. It was sweltering that day—the first day of summer—and even though it wasn’t the most practical choice for moving day, I wore one of those tank tops […]