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Selected Observations on Urban Fauna

by 03/11/2023
Neighborhood: All Over

Illustrations by Aurélie Bernard Wortsman  The following is the third installment in a work in progress, Observations on Urban Fauna, a contemporary take on the medieval bestiary, featuring actual and apocryphal creatures that share our constricted urban space. Text and image are gleaned from the lifelong perambulations on asphalt and cement by two native New […]

Prospect Park, Q Train

by 03/05/2023
Neighborhood: Prospect Park, Subway

At the Prospect Park station, I sit across from a Hasidic couple on a three-seater bench on the Q train. Parallel to them, in a wheel-locked stroller, is a toddler with unshorn blonde hair, dark eyes that reflect no light, and a suckling baby mouth. He has been dressed in a Canadian tuxedo of many […]

Love, Liberally

by 08/28/2022
Neighborhood: Internet

It was January 2022, almost a year since my breakup. The air was chilly and filled with Omicron. I’d reached my limit of stoical solitude and turned to OkCupid. My profile, I hoped, would present as light, clear, and open.  I used phrases like, “Bundling up and dining outdoors these days.” Read: I’m risk-averse but […]

Dr. Zizmor’s Big Idea

by 07/31/2022
Neighborhood: Subway

“So, when you’re not here at Barney Greengrass serving smoked fish, you’re a writer, eh? That’s interesting. Interesting. We should talk. I have a big idea. We’ve got to talk, yeah.” These weren’t the first words Dr. Jonathan Zizmor had ever spoken to me, but they marked a transition in our relationship from my simply […]

The Underground Poet Revisited

by 02/06/2022
Neighborhood: Subway

Before the interwebs, it required more ingenuity to get noticed. That’s why I conjured up my “underground poet” scheme in the early 90s.  I was already a published poet by then, and at a huge art show at the Javits Center two of my framed one-liners were purchased by a French art dealer. When he […]

Selected Observations on Urban Fauna

by 01/23/2022
Neighborhood: All Over

Illustrations by Aurélie Bernard Wortsman  __________________________ A contemporary take on the medieval bestiary, featuring the actual and apocryphal creatures that share our constricted urban space. The following is the first installment in a series of observations on urban fauna, text and image gleaned from the lifelong perambulations on asphalt and cement by two native New […]

Apparition

by 08/15/2021
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Subway

Last month on the subway, somewhere near the Rockefeller Center / 47th-50th Street stop, I looked up from my phone and saw, across the aisle in the mirror seat of mine, a woman, maybe in her late 60s, whose style was startlingly close to my stepmother’s. She had the same short, tousled haircut—although her hair was […]

Next Stop the Twilight Zone

by 02/28/2021
Neighborhood: Subway, Upper East Side

One afternoon this summer I was on the subway. All was normal. Well, except that we are in a pandemic, which makes venturing down into NYC’s netherworld — one with poor ventilation and tons of non-mask wearers – feel like I am putting my life in my overly sanitized hands. It all seemed surreal. The […]

A New York State of Mind

by 01/31/2021
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Subway

When you sit down on a weather-worn bench in New York—one that is dry and bone colored—it feels like you’ve stepped out of your body. You’ve left a building, a crowded café, stepped off of an accordion bus, or out of a bodega. It’s a pause where you take a cigarette break even though you […]

Still Standing

by 01/05/2020
Neighborhood: Park Slope, Subway

It was not so long ago that I would ordinarily drive into Manhattan from my home in Park Slope. However, I had a rule that I wouldn’t take my car to anywhere above 23rd Street. About five years ago, because of an increase in traffic, I moved my boundary to 14th Street. But recently, things […]

Random Encounters Underground 

by 11/10/2019
Neighborhood: Subway

Flushing Ave. on the M The train stops and the doors open, except one door panel is cut out (locked closed, to prevent it from opening). A tall, skinny, black dude on the platform tries to board the train and, wham! He walks right into the closed panel. He steps back and catches his breath. “Whoa…,” just […]

The Bloody Stranger

by 01/27/2019
Neighborhood: Midtown, Subway

I moved to this city from Akron, Ohio in August 1971, and by the Summer of 1972, I was starting to wonder if I could actually make it here. I wasn’t earning enough to have my own apartment and still found the pace of the city overwhelming. I was certainly not going to head back home, […]