You are currently browsing the stories about the East Village neighborhood

Men Who Buy Me Drinks at Bars

by 05/18/2024
Neighborhood: East Village, Greenpoint, Upper West Side

ROUND ONE: JAY Walking out of the crowd, my ears are still ringing. It’s late. I’m more than tipsy, but I haven’t felt tired in hours. I bounce down the stairs that lead from the East Village dance floor and head to the bar. There, I shift my weight around on the balls of my […]

Fame On The F Train

by 03/09/2024
Neighborhood: East Village, JFK

Yesterday afternoon my long journey from Sriracha, Thailand, ended with the 747’s touchdown at JFK in New York. I hadn’t slept much on the flight and jet lag threatened to seize my body and soul, as I unpacked my bag at my Fort Greene apartment. Sleep crowded my vision, but the writer Bruce Benderson was […]

The 1936 Battle of Tompkins Square Park

by 06/03/2023
Neighborhood: East Village

I once had an experience that answered for me the question that haunts many males of the species: am I tough enough to hold my head up with the great warriors in history – those who fought at Armageddon, Troy, Marathon, Lepanto, Austerlitz, Gettysburg, Stalingrad? This question was answered – at least to my satisfaction […]

Blue Velvet Redux

by 05/27/2023
Neighborhood: East Village

I wondered if a movie could produce the same terror decades on, even if I’d worked hard to forget the plot and its disquieting images. Like the severed ear lying in a field—a waxy dead thing, crawling with ants. And Dennis Hopper, huffing into a mask. Isabella Rossellini’s red mouth in eerie close-up. Not to […]

Louie the Ex-Con

by 04/29/2023
Neighborhood: East Village

I loved my fifth-floor tenement apartment on 6th Street in the East Village. At the time, I was in my early twenties and could fly up those stairs The railroad apartment had two fireplaces, one in the kitchen and one in the living room. In the winter, I couldn’t wait to get home to start a […]

The Laundromat

by 03/18/2023
Neighborhood: East Village

It was quite an operation. Lookouts on walkie-talkies patrolled the roofline, and a scout on a bike pedaled up and down the block, combing 7th Street between Avenues B and C. A guy in a ski mask stood guard at an open window on one of the apartment building’s upper floors, ready to service the […]

Hua Tang’s Daughter Gets a Tattoo

by 10/22/2022
Neighborhood: East Village

23 minutes away from the East Village, Manhattan, and Hua Tang’s mascara has already snowballed beneath her lashes. I don’t look any better — glancing at my window reflection, I register, my resemblance to the racist portrayals of Chinese people in 19th-century American comics. My eyes are swollen to the point where my field of […]

Dead Weight

by 10/14/2022
Neighborhood: East Village, Greenwich Village

When I was a teenager, during the second half of the 1970s, I pretty much lived in Washington Square Park during the summer. I sometimes joke that in some ways I was raised there. In some ways that is not so funny. Yippies, Jesus Freaks, drug addicts, tourists, and street performers were my friends and […]

It Takes a Village

by 07/17/2022
Neighborhood: East Village

They say it takes a village…to raise a drunken man out of the gutter. I discover this is true while crossing First Avenue at 6th street in the East Village. After throwing on an inside-out sweatshirt and flip-flops to visit the corner fruit stand, I see someone lying in the street near the curb by […]

The Terrycloth Bathrobe

by 06/13/2021
Neighborhood: East Village, NoHo

The late afternoon, graying quickly, was sweet with surprising warmth. Days such as this wouldn’t come again for at least a month. A reward, it seemed, for surviving another dank and joyless February in New York City.  My birthday was in March, and even at my age, I looked forward to the day with a […]

Lyrics for Songs that May Never be Written

by 05/17/2020
Neighborhood: East Village

I started writing these for my dear friend and frequent collaborator, the jazz saxophonist John Ellis. We both live in Village View, a Mitchell-Lama Housing Complex in the East Village, one building over from each other. When COVID hit, I started sending him material – “rough cuts” that we might eventually work on together to […]