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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 […]

Not Sisters

by 02/09/2020
Neighborhood: Park Slope

Bobbi and Gerri first introduced themselves as sisters when we moved into an apartment one floor below them. But the headline above their picture in the Park Slope Patch nine years later reads, “Park Slope Couple First Same-Sex Couple to Wed in Brooklyn.” The picture caption reads, “After 48 years of coupledom, on Sunday morning […]

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 […]

Child as Parent

by 11/17/2019
Neighborhood: Park Slope

Isn’t it fitting to think of Wordsworth when raising a baby? “Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind”—best to cut the poem there. He authored so many other polished pieces about childhood and how the mind changes when growing up and old, crowned by the great koan-like first line of The Immortality Ode, “The child is […]

Roommates

by 10/19/2019
Neighborhood: Astoria, Corona, Crown Heights, Ground Zero, Harlem, Hell's Kitchen

I’ve spent time in over 20 countries and at least 40 US states. In my travels, many people have told me that though New York City might be a nice place to visit, it’s certainly not a place for a person to live. But thank God there is a New York.  One of the best […]

Learning to Drive

by 10/13/2019
Neighborhood: Cobble Hill, Flushing

I am learning to drive for the second time. On Sundays, I take classes at “Learn-Rite,” a school in Flushing. The school boasts a neon blue sign illustrating a yellow car and red stop sign. The graphics’ cheap branding displays cartoon-like pictures as if to reassure students that this endeavor is simple, achievable, and above […]

A Sports Coat is Worth a Thousand Words

by 08/18/2019
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Jamaica, Long Island

My dad reached inside the closet for his new jacket, single breasted, two button, and straight off the rack. It was pencil gray with flecks of black in it and may have had those professorial looking patches on the sleeves, but I’m not sure. He didn’t care much about clothes and the jacket was nothing […]

Settling

by 08/11/2019
Neighborhood: Long Island, Queens, The Catskills

I broke up with my first boyfriend one month, two weeks, and four days after I found out he was fucking his neighbor. I never told him that I’d overheard them.  He never wanted to fight; he didn’t want us to be the couple who fought. It was important to him that we maintain a […]

The Darkroom

by 06/30/2019
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill, Midwood

I learned to write in seventh grade. Not to form sentences, but to know and use my voice on paper, and to hope I would be heard. It was 1969: Nixon was president and I had a new teacher: a 26-year-old draft evader named Robert Rusch. He was six feet four and, moreover, wore cowboy […]