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It’s Not A Cult

by 10/10/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, JFK/LGA, Letter From Abroad

“I have to get to New York” says the woman in front of me at the Portland, Oregon airport. “You don’t understand, I have to get there.” She repeats this urgently, in a slightly hysterical voice to a man in uniform behind a counter. I smile at her sympathetically. The flight to JFK has been […]

Growing Up Beastly

by 05/17/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Letter From Abroad, West Village

In 1986 I became an international pop music recording sensation. I don’t mean that at the age of 15 I admired and tried to emulate Ad-Rock, a squeaky, strutting third of the fresh hip-hop phenomenon the Beastie Boys—I mean I was Ad-Rock. His band mates—Mike D and MCA—were my homeboys. Sure, there had previously been […]

January 25, 1987

by 02/03/2012
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

The New York Giants are heading to Indianapolis for their fifth Super Bowl. 25 years ago, I spent a perfect day in Pasadena. “Tommy, want some action?” Al said to me on the school bus. “No, the Giants are favored by 9 ½ points.” I answered. “What about over and under, it’s 39 ½?” Now […]

Dear NYK People

by 09/11/2011
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

Dear American people Dear NYK people Ten years ago I wrote my emotion published on this web place. Ten years after, my emotion and compassion is still strong! Ten years after, one thing is very clear: we must be united to struggle against enemies of freedom. We must be all together finding solutions for economic […]


by 09/11/2011
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

10 years ago today, 9/11/01, I had not yet read E.B. White’s 1949 essay “Here is New York,” which includes the following passage: “The sublest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A […]

The Asian Bug

by 02/20/2011
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

The Asian bug has bitten my younger son Jesse. I don’t mean the flu that comes around every several years and gets blamed on that continent. No, he has been smitten by the mysterious East, and, like Marco Polo, fallen under the spell of the Orient. He is dating an Asian girl. Not that there […]

Postcard From New Orleans

by 02/06/2010
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

1. My first night back in New Orleans I get pulled over by a police car. It’s night at the edge of the French Quarter. 2. From amidst flashing blue lights, pierced by that one super bright lamp the cops shine into the car, a figure emerges. I am alone. 3. "I’m sorry," I say. […]

The Greatest Game

by 07/19/2009
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

Some people say the 1958 NFL Championship game between New York and Baltimore was the greatest game ever played. Some say it was the playoff game where Carlton Fisk hit that home run. Some say it was the 1980 Olympics when the US Hockey Team beat the Russians. All those people are wrong because I […]

Detroiters Make Citizen’s Arrest, Save Starbucks CDs

by 04/27/2008
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

It was Tuesday and I held the door for a well-dressed black woman on my way into Starbucks at Mack and Woodward. She thanked me and I thought of my mother who had taught me to be a gentleman. I followed her up to the counter where four or five more people were waiting to […]

Floor Pounding Polkas: A Croatian Wedding Story

by 10/28/2007
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

I should have known I was in trouble when I read the wedding invitation and saw that the reception was in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge someplace in New Jersey. The second clue was that the directions were in a foreign language! I was no stranger to ethnic couplings, having seen both the […]

You’re in the Quiet Car

by 10/09/2007
Neighborhood: Across the River, Letter From Abroad

“Whether you know it or not, you’re in the Quiet Car,” the conductor announced. “That means you have made a commitment to silence. The first obligation is to shut off your cell phones. And just because the train stops at a station doesn’t give you the right to turn it back on to listen to […]

All of a Piece: Saint Anthony’s Statue and New Guinea Mourning Rituals

by 06/18/2007
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

Every Tuesday when I was a small boy my mother would take me to visit a statue of Saint Anthony in Saint Francis Church on 31st Street in Manhattan. Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of the poor. Curiously, he is invoked by those looking for lost things. Along with Saint Jude he […]