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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 […]

Magic City: Not In Our Town

by 12/22/2007
Neighborhood: Across the River, Bronx

One of the great, underrated things about living in New York is meeting all those people who come from everywhere else. Not that Gotham natives aren’t a barrel of monkeys, but it’s cool that someone always seems to have a different frame-of-reference, a different slice of life about where they came from, which is my […]

It Wasn’t Our Turn

by 07/20/2007
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Arriving at work for the night tour on October 29, 1974 I discover the firehouse to be as abandoned and silent as a cemetery at midnight, I was spooked by something but wrote it off to the approach of Halloween when in reality it was actually an omen. I am the first member of the […]

Lobster Bisque on City Island

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

Listen to this story: I always stop whenever I see “Lobster Bisque” on the soup menu, and I smile. That isn’t because lobster bisque is a particular favorite of mine. I never had much interest in “lobster anything,” unlike the people who rave about lobsters and have to order them whatever the cost, even though […]

Wat is the Wat

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

One thing Sambath Suen can’t abide is the cold. Until four years ago, Suen lived in Kandal, a Cambodian province that borders on Vietnam. Before that, he lived in Vietnam, where he earned his diploma, and before that he had lived in his native village, about thirty knots downriver from Phnom Penh, where he spent […]

The Smell of Bologna (An Essay in Ten Parts)

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

[Patrick J. Sauer also has a website. –Ed.] The sense of smell is the most powerful reminder of past events. It’s the hardest sense to pin down, the hardest to define. A smell is never described as it is, only in simile form. It smells like burning leaves. You know, it smells wet, like…like…like a […]