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A Short Walk in Paradise

by 09/25/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Mid-morning, I set out for a short walk—ten blocks, twice a day, prescribed for my aging heart and arthritic body. I clear the lobby and make my entrance on to 106th Street. I’m ready to start my hike to health, ready to laugh—or at least snicker—in the face of mortality. I take my first step, […]

Needle Park/Verdi Square

by 09/18/2022
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper West Side

How many years since “needle park”? In the late 60’s, in the evening on the way to the 72nd St and Broadway subway station, I would make my pass through the park and see junkies nodding out and discarded needles on the pavement. The underbelly of con artists, thieves, prostitutes, and addicts, all lurking in the […]

Looking for John Belushi 

by 08/07/2022
Neighborhood: Bowery, SoHo, Tribeca, Union Square

It may be ever-present, this sense that we are teetering on the edge of apocalypse, but these days it seems the custodians of volatile and otherwise crazy behavior are on a whole new level. I won’t pretend that when I was in my 30s and running around on weekend nights with my friends that we […]

Paradise in Chinatown

by 07/24/2022
Neighborhood: Chinatown

It is blazing hot at midday in Chinatown, June, 2022. The doors to the Church of the Transfiguration on Mott Street are open, so I decide to duck in to cool off. “Lord, give us eyes to see,” a young Asian priest recites the offertory prayers. The church is small with cream walls and wooden […]

Hotel Bolivar

by 07/10/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

In the spring of 1967, a year after my parents’ separation, my older sister and I returned from an extended stay with family friends in California and moved into an apartment our mother had rented on the sixth floor of the Hotel Bolivar on Central Park West and 83rd Street. At the time, the decaying, […]

Advanced Poetry

by 07/03/2022
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, Midtown

Joel had told me his mother was in town for the week visiting, as parents often will when their children are going to expensive colleges in the heart of New York City. But I didn’t think his mother’s visit was going to be relevant to me, until he invited me to go to the MoMa […]

Playing It Out

by 06/26/2022
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights, Upper West Side

Everything got worse in New York except my jump shot. Though I looked the part —  white, six foot and fair featured, like some towhead from the Midwest — shooting was not my ticket on the court. In the small school league in Washington where I had starred, I got my points going to the […]

Epiphany at the Metropolitan Museum

by 05/29/2022
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

At the start of the third year of the pandemic, I stood in front of a small flat screen in a corner of a darkened gallery at the Metropolitan Museum with the strangest feeling: I was happy. I had relaxed completely, every part of me—muscles, sinews, organs, bones, if that’s possible. And even stranger, I […]

Subway Stories

by 05/22/2022
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn, Lower East Side, Prospect Heights

Cars and Crimes and Trains My wife (we weren’t yet married at the time) had a fairly new ’81 Toyota Starlet stolen in Brooklyn. We took a city bus to the police precinct to report it stolen (no over the phone reports back in those days). Halfway there, we insisted that the driver stop the […]

Selected Observations on Urban Fauna

by 05/15/2022
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, Manhattan

Insects The following is a contemporary take on the medieval bestiary, featuring descriptions and characterizations of the actual and apocryphal creatures that share our constricted urban space. This second installment is devoted to insects. Stomped, smoked out, asphyxiated, and trampled underfoot, they elicit a degree of fear and disgust disproportionate to their size. Quietly going […]

Mickey Mouse in Manhattan

by 05/08/2022
Neighborhood: Manhattan

Around two years ago, I’m walking down Broadway and once again I encounter Mickey Mouse. (Not the actual Mickey—he’s either passed on to the rodent afterlife or is living in a fancy retirement resort on a golf course in Nevada). This version of Mickey I’m talking about (which disappeared during Covid) was a very large […]

The Many Mysteries of Love

by 05/01/2022
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

A little boy sits on the wood floor. In a small room with a rocking horse in the corner. A stuffed teddy bear is on his pillow. There is a small soft blanket, the one he holds at night, in a chair. The smell of the room is comforting.  Twenty years later, standing in the […]