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Sitting Behind Cybill Shepherd

by 02/06/2010
Neighborhood: West Village

… of the class. No one talked about Chaucer anymore. They talked about Cybill. He was right. Hal Sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. His first book was Mother Said (Crown). His latest book is Father Said (Soft Skull Press). In between he wrote My Therapist Said, and Before, During & […]

My Semester With Ralph Ellison

by 05/02/2009
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

In 1971 I took a class taught by Ralph Ellison, author of ‘The Invisible Man.’ It was my last year at the Washington Square Campus of New York University. In those days there was also a Bronx campus. Wannabe hippies, like me, went downtown. I was a little nervous about graduating, because most of the […]

You’re in the Quiet Car

by 10/09/2007
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

“Whether you know it or not, you’re in the Quiet Car,” the conductor announced. “That means you have made a commitment to silence. The first obligation is to shut off your cell phones. And just because the train stops at a station doesn’t give you the right to turn it back on to listen to […]

Yawning Prohibition

by 07/28/2007
Neighborhood: Midtown

(This story took place on a stalled Amtrak train one hundred feet from Penn Station. Therefore, since the train didn’t get to New Jersey yet, I’m calling this a Manhattan story. Though, that can be argued about by those who say it’s not where you are that’s important – that’s just earth stuff – but […]

The Iguana Incident

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

In Park Slope, Brooklyn, on a week-day afternoon a woman was trying to sell her iguana for twenty-five dollars. She was giving it up for a more traditional pet, like a cat who didn’t need to be constantly put out in the sun to digest its meal but could do so underneath the bed. “It […]

The Origin of Pickles

by 07/26/2006
Neighborhood: Queens

“Where does a pickle come from?” I asked my second grade class. “It comes from a diner,” one student answered. “And before it got to the diner, what was it?” “It was always a pickle,” he said. “It was once a cucumber,” I countered. “It was soaked in vinegar until it became a pickle.” “You’re […]

Getting More Than My Teeth Cleaned

by 11/10/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Queens

I took my second grade special education class to my dentist as part of my career education unit. While they were learning about dentistry, I’d also get my teeth cleaned. It seemed too good to be true: taking care of my teeth on school time. I recruited two speech teachers to come along. They were […]

Monkey Bars For a Jail

by 11/03/2005
Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens

Whenever I took my second grade special education class to the playground, they’d make a mad dash for the swings. Though, the winners would seldom swing. They would spin in circles by twisting the chains. I’d warn them about becoming dizzy, but dizziness gave them an excuse after their turn was over to stumble into […]

Two Stories About Teaching in Queens

by 09/29/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Queens

“The Case Of The Missing Pasta” I tried improving my second grade special education students’ skills at addition by having them count pasta. I had them line up the brown and white rigatoni into two groups. Then all they had to do was add them. It worked well – my students were learning while enjoying […]

Knicks Notes: The Golden Age of Losing

by 12/04/2002
Neighborhood: Clinton

The more games the New York Knicks won the more they raised the ticket prices. I could only afford to see them at Madison Square Garden if they continued to have losing seasons. I’d buy a ticket from a scalper. Instead of charging more he’d sell it for a fraction of what it was worth, […]

Mr B at Mo Pitkin’s on Avenue A

by 01/01/1970
Neighborhood: Manhattan

It is our enormous pleasure to announce that Sunday, Nov. 12 at 8:00pm, four of the many outstanding contributors to Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood will be reading live at Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction in the East Village. This is the first in a monthly series of collaborations between the Neighborhood and Mo Pitkin’s that will […]