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This is Jeopardy: Remembering Art and Alex

by 12/20/2020
Neighborhood: Bronx, Featured, 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 […]

A Song of Love

by 07/26/2020
Neighborhood: Bensonhurst

  (for ELG) My dad, who served as an MP in Okinawa just after the war, had strong views on inter-racial dating, because of all the mixed-race babies he saw there, half-breed bastards, he called them, rejected by the Okinawans, and ignored by the American GIs who’d fathered them. As his teenaged son in the […]

In a Pandemic, Reflecting on my Race with Mortality

by 05/24/2020
Neighborhood: Bay Ridge, Park Slope, Staten Island

Lately I’ve been working the elliptical hard, pumping the pedals like I have something to prove. As a cancer survivor, maybe I do. Staying strong could help protect me against COVID-19. Because of my condition, I make it my priority. Sometimes during my workout an old memory drifts up, of a time I had even […]

Dust to Dust

by 03/15/2020
Neighborhood: Middle Village, Sunset Park

I blame Basquiat. He’s where my whole Trump grave fixation started, unlikely as that sounds. It was right after the holidays—January 2, 2018, to be exact (It’s nice of iPhones to keep track of photo dates isn’t it?)—that Carolyn and I first went to Green-Wood Cemetery. Generally we were there to explore: ostentatious tombs, towering […]

Lost in Coney Island

by 03/01/2020
Neighborhood: Coney Island, East New York

  Each summer it was a requirement that my brothers and I attend summer school. We could not be idle. We must all do something to further our education. My mother, Dot, laid down the law. She was formidable—not standing more than 5’4”, she wielded the power in our household. My father, though technically present, […]

The Third Line

by 02/23/2020
Neighborhood: Bronx, Brooklyn

  On a recent visit to a friend’s aging aunt who lives in a minuscule Bronx apartment crowded with plants, I was puzzled by her three telephones. Two of them rang several times, as did her microwave, alarm clock, and various other tingling appurtenances—the pitch of each of which she was immediately able to tell […]