You are currently browsing the stories about the Across the River neighborhood

The Hidden Deal: Underground Poker in NYC

by 05/20/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Queens

The story was supposed to begin here at an illegal poker hall in Queens called The River, but The River ran dry and I’m left staring at a blackened door with a mailbox next to it that says, FISH. It must have been a marker or tag for new players to locate the building. Fish […]

The Most Important Thought In the World

by 03/23/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Staten Island

Those given to make art are probably the least well equipped to handle what is demanded of the artist. The criticism. The egos. The business – because when it comes right down to it, the artist is a salesman, and his art is the product. It’s enough to push a borderline personality over the edge. […]

I Left My Youth at Fred & Rudy’s Candy Store

by 12/13/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Brooklyn

When I was a kid in Brooklyn, in the Sixties, the “candy store” was the local hangout, the crossroads of the neighborhood. Actually, these ubiquitous institutions were a combination of soda fountain, luncheonette and newsstand. We probably called them candy stores because as kids the candy we bought there was the center of our culinary […]

An Evening With the Nichiren Shoshu of America, 1980

by Mary O'Connell 12/07/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Brooklyn

I remember now that we took the R train from Court Street to 75th Street in Bay Ridge. I thought how ironic it was to be returning to Bay Ridge, from which I had fled for my life, to seek enlightenment. But my sponsor, Ellen, assured me that I could chant for anything, ANYTHING, fulfill […]

The View from Ebbets Field, 60 Years after Jackie Robinson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier

by 11/10/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Brooklyn

Photo by Cannon Kinnard The faded green sign at 1700 Bedford Avenue that reads “NO BALL PLAYING” has had tenants of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field Apartments laughing at the irony, as they walk across the street to Jackie Robinson Park to play ball. This is the former site of Ebbets Field baseball park; home of the […]

George Isn’t Homeless

by 10/12/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Manhattan

“Hi George,” I said, with a wave, as I rushed toward the subway. George, who was sitting in his low-to-the-ground folding chair at his usual post in front of the liquor store, sat up bolt straight, as if I had touched him, giving him a shock of static electricity, and said with some outrage, “How […]


by 10/04/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Brooklyn

There was McCawley’s and its blinds that hadn’t been cleaned in decades. One block over was Connie’s Corner where Chris the German bartender would always announce, “I know your family, Nolan,” cause we lived around the block and Chris served my parents, aunts, uncles and all. On the next was Val’s, used to be Casey’s, […]

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 […]

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 […]


by 05/12/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Queens

It’s March 22nd again, Dawn Alfano’s birthday. I can’t figure out why every year for the past half-century I remember that, but somehow it’s always stuck in my mind. It’s not that Dawn and I were close or anything in third grade, but somehow the little we shared must have made an impression on me. […]

Detroiters Make Citizen’s Arrest, Save Starbucks CDs

by 04/27/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

It was Tuesday and I held the door for a well-dressed black woman on my way into Starbucks at Mack and Woodward. She thanked me and I thought of my mother who had taught me to be a gentleman. I followed her up to the counter where four or five more people were waiting to […]

What Can Do

by 04/27/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Brooklyn

My landlord George fled communist Armenia at a young age. Whenever I have occasion to talk with him in the hall he is infallibly cheerful and quick to offer words of encouragement. “How a you doing?” he asks me, “is beautiful day but must still be working, what can do.” He shrugs at the day’s […]