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The Fence on Madison Street

by 09/05/2021
Neighborhood: Williamsburg

On a blistering August afternoon in 2012, I visit my childhood neighborhood in Williamsburg after a 50-year absence and approach a teenage girl who sits on a wooden shipping crate in the front of a house on Madison Street.  I’m standing in front of a wrought iron fence that forms a boundary between us. She […]

Abandoned Car

by 08/29/2021
Neighborhood: Caroll Gardens

I’m a 54-year-old New Yorker who lives three blocks from the Brooklyn row house I grew up in. The last 18 months have brought a lot of changes to my neighborhood. Storefronts on Carroll Garden’s Smith Street are boarded up, the sidewalks are lined with restaurant lean-tos, and street parking is more unattainable than ever. […]

The Boys of Crown Heights

by 08/08/2021
Neighborhood: Crown Heights

Dr. Schpahl looked like a Nazi out of central casting. A thin mensur crawled down his right cheek, across his pock-marked face, to below his mouth. He spoke in clipped, accented barks, most of which were expressions of severe disappointment. That he was a Hebrew teacher and not a camp commandant may have been a […]

The Flaneuse’s Return

by 04/25/2021
Neighborhood: Kensington

Every now and again I find myself contemplating a suitable place for a desk. This may sound mundane, except that the home in these musings is not where I live. Even in reverie, this desk-placing endeavor is no easy feat. For while the contemplation serves as a daydream, the home—an apartment in Kensington, Brooklyn—actually exists. […]

Memories of an East New York Childhood

by 04/18/2021
Neighborhood: East New York

Boulevard Houses was built in 1950 and consists of eighteen buildings, six and fourteen stories high. Signs in grassy areas warned residents to “Keep Off.” Most people left their doors unlocked, so we could freely go from one apartment to another to chat, play games or borrow a needed item.   My family did not […]

This is Jeopardy: Remembering Art and Alex

by 12/20/2020
Neighborhood: Bronx, Park Slope, Rockefeller Center

Alex Trebek, who hosted Jeopardy for thirty-seven seasons, died on November 8th. My connection to him and the show was through Art Fleming, a prior host of the show, who got Alex the gig. Let me explain. As a child, I was quite the nerd. I could recite the U.S. presidents forward and backward at […]

Sublet on Thompson St

by 11/15/2020
Neighborhood: Caroll Gardens, West Village

  A friend from high school told me about a sublet on Thompson Street. It was a perfect location for a student at NYU.  Norman Fayne, a heavy man with stringy hair and wire-rimmed glasses, showed me the apartment on the second floor. It was the one just above the barbershop with the large, sun-faded […]

The Cemetery Exercist 

by 11/01/2020
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Ridgewood

A cemetery was never a place I imagined myself doing squats. But in late March, when New York City shut down gyms and public parks and braced itself for a deadly COVID-19 outbreak, I found myself at the gates of Evergreens Cemetery in Queens, sporting black leggings and a pink hoodie, ready to sweat. Like […]

The Horseshoe Crab and the Rain Collector

by 10/04/2020
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

“If I had a dollar for every dead Subaru battery, I would be a millionaire”, the roadside assistance man tells me in a tone that is both wishful and annoyed. “Since Subaru started manufacturing their own batteries, people keep on calling. If it’s not recharged frequently, the battery will run out of juice, especially in […]

THE SUPREMES and Me

by 09/19/2020
Neighborhood: Bronx, Brooklyn, Washington DC

Ordinarily, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the Supreme Court. I practiced law for forty years, reluctantly. But the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death tonight has me very agitated.  Ruth was a tough old bird, a borough girl. Like her sisters on the Court, Sonia and Elena. All three are borough […]

Facebook Censors a Haitian Cultural Foundation

by 09/13/2020
Neighborhood: Flatbush

Elisabeth Moscoso Piquion Untitled 2002 Photo: Toussaint Louverture Cultural Foundation   In a disheartening example of its bizarre and arbitrary standards, Facebook is censoring Haitian art. This summer Facebook Ads rejected a painting by Haitian artist Elisabeth Moscoso Piquion, that appears on the Artist of the Week webpage of the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Foundation, labeling it “Adult […]

The Best Basketball You Never Saw

by 08/15/2020
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn

It was the dying days of the springtime professional circuit known as the United States Basketball League (USBL).  A one-time proving ground for NBA hopefuls, the League had fallen on hard times. Teams going out of business weren’t being replaced. In the 2006 season, the USBL was a faded attraction, split in two between a […]