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Playing Hide and Seek in the Bronx

by 04/25/2013
Neighborhood: Bronx

Decades ago, when my brother was about ten and I around fourteen, he began to spend an extraordinary amount of time in his room. We lived in an apartment in a sketchy neighborhood in the Bronx. There were muggings, petty and not so petty thefts, and a few cases of violent crimes. Still, we played […]

The Dirty Side Of A Car Wash

by 03/15/2013
Neighborhood: Bronx

I believe my father owned one of the first automatic car washes in New York City, located on Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx. It was around 1950 and I can still recall a TV blip of him driving into the car wash and the newscaster, John Cameron Swayze, making note of this distinct new type […]

Friendly Fire

by 10/11/2011
Neighborhood: West Bronx

I came home to a frightening scene one Saturday afternoon back in the spring of 1950. I was 10 years old and had been at the movies all day with my friends. I opened our apartment door and instantly smelled fire and tasted smoke. As I pushed the door in I saw my father on […]

The Honda Healing

by 07/31/2010
Neighborhood: Bronx

It was midnight and Jay and I were walking out of Brook Park in the South Bronx. We had been in the Puerto Rican version of a sweat lodge. Years ago I had attended a Lakota Indian version of the same purification ritual in upstate New York. But this experience was far more spiritual and […]

Bumping Heads with New York Yankee Steve Whitaker

by 10/22/2009
Neighborhood: Bronx

No, I wasn’t going to cut school to go to Yankee Stadium and watch the Yankees play the Orioles during their 1967 season. “Aw, c’mon, BB, let’s do it,” recommended “Reese,” one of my Southwest Bronx neighborhood pals and fellow schoolmate during my sophomore year at DeWitt Clinton High School. Otherwise easygoing, when it came […]

The Piano

by 09/14/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Bronx

The old upright piano was in the living room from my earliest recollection until the day my father died. He must have brought it sometime in the early ‘50s, soon after he’d gotten married. Dad would spend hours playing Brahms, Schumann, Clementi, Chopin. At the end, he would always start playing an old Russian folk […]

Turds Fall Within Pepe’s Bailiwick

by 08/16/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Bronx

Someone pooped in the cabinet today. It wasn’t the first time the staff bathroom had been despoiled. It happened once before but I’d completely forgotten about it in the general whoosh of activity around the clinic. The bad part is we don’t know if it was a patient passing by or a staff person. That […]

The 1977 Blackout Hits Co-op City

by 04/08/2009
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

It was July 1977. I had gotten my master’s degree in journalism the year before, but I still hadn’t gotten a full-time job. Not that jobs in journalism were easy to find. At the present time, I was writing weekly news articles for the Eastside Courier, a neighborhood newspaper on the Upper East Side, and […]

After Dark

by 06/14/2008
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

“Nothing good ever happens after 2:00 am.” That’s what my mother told me when I tried to get my curfew raised. I was 19 and thought I had made the right choice by choosing to stay home and go to the School of Visual Arts instead of Art Center in California. I could get Latin […]

It Was One Hell of a Ride

by 06/01/2008
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

Fuck… you… fireman. I had never known such rage. There was no conscious thought to exiting the rig and beating each member of this group to death. Unguided, my hand found its way to the door handle. But try as I might, the door would not open. That’s when I started to climb out of […]

Kill Whitey Day

by 04/27/2008
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

I was standing in the basement of Macy’s Parkchester in The Bronx, in a line of what seemed like a thousand teenagers, smoking both cigarettes and weed, chanting and cheering and waiting for Ticketmaster to open. Adult shoppers were non-existent and salespeople had abandoned their posts either in foreknowledge or in fear, except the lone […]

A Force of Nature: Patrick O’Connell

by 01/06/2008
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

A few years ago in my father’s eighty-first year, my brother Patrick and I went to his house to spend Thanksgiving. My father lived in the Bronx at that time. We are the only children in the family still living in New York. Neither of us particularly wanted to spend the day in my father’s […]