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The Polaroid Photo

by 03/22/2020
Neighborhood: Bowery

I have an old Polaroid of Dolores, Roni, and me. I was finally painting my kitchen, after not dealing with it for years. There’s a stepladder slanting diagonally across the snapshot and I am in the center, sitting on the bottom rung, a glass of wine in my hand. Dolores is vamping toward me from […]

A Breaking Point

by 02/16/2020
Neighborhood: Midtown East

Bellevue was a dark castle in my childhood imagination. In grade school, long before I knew that my own mother had once landed there, my classmates and I spoke of Bellevue in a chilled whisper, as the place you’d end up in if you lost your mind. A straitjacket and a padded cell would be […]

Super Poems

by 01/26/2020
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan, Tribeca

Waterbugs Before I was a super If you asked me what A waterbug was I’d of said One of those little things That kind of runs on the top Of ponds or quiet pools On the sides of streams But at 258 Broadway Down in the sub-basement where I had to make my way through […]

Spice World

by 01/19/2020
Neighborhood: Midtown, Theatre District

My daughter Hazel, after ten years of listening to what her parents wanted to hear and wanted her to hear, found music that neither her father or I could lay claim to, pop music designed for girls her age: Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera. We’d taken her to see Bob Dylan at Jones Beach […]

Home Decorating

by 01/12/2020
Neighborhood: Yorkville

Was I a fool to think this relationship could be saved by an upholstered storage bench? I spent weeks in deep contemplation on my go-to furniture websites, activating coupons and letting them expire, looking at measurements, colors, prices, patterns. Jonathan and I had already discussed it in couples’ therapy. The plan, sanctioned by our therapist, […]

Dealers I Have Known

by 12/15/2019
Neighborhood: East Village, Lower East Side

I began using cannabis regularly in 1968, when I was about 14 years old, and since then have had innumerable encounters with dealers. The ones I will write about here are the dealers with whom I had long-term relationships. With cannabis becoming legal in so many places, there’s not much future left in the business […]

It Happened at Barneys

by 12/08/2019
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

In honor of the closing of iconic department store, Barneys, shuttering its doors, here is a tale of what happened to me there back in 2004.  *** It was right after Thanksgiving. Christmastime. The streets had a distinct holiday chill to them; they were crowded with tired, overworked shoppers carrying store bags. My boyfriend Chris […]

Special Needs

by 11/24/2019
Neighborhood: Kips Bay, Manhattan, Murray Hill

From 1966 to 1969 — grades 1 to 3—I attended the Adams School. Occupying three separate buildings, in the East 30s near Lexington Avenue, it was a “private school” for roughly 400 students aged four to 21 facing learning or emotional challenges. In reality, the school received most, if not all, its funding from the […]

There Really Was a Mafia on the Upper West Side

by 11/03/2019
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

In the early 1960s, as a recently married City College professor the closest I’d come to the Mafia was in movies and newspaper articles. Back then, New York City was rocked by Mafia scandals as investigations revealed that the police and other municipal unions were cooperating with mobsters in numbers rackets, loan sharking, business shakedowns, […]

Interlude

by 10/27/2019
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

In the midst of a particularly grueling winter, I met Wren on OK Cupid.  Unlike my slim, brown-skinned fiancé who had deserted me the week before Christmas, Wren was bulky, with a ruddy complexion and pale blue eyes like my father’s. The day after my third date with Wren, my father died of congestive heart […]

MR. BELLER’S NEIGHBORHOOD READING SERIES 

by 10/27/2019
Neighborhood: 3 Bleecker Street

__________________________ At Von on November 7 at 7:30 FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Von is located at 3 Bleecker Street: phone: 212 473 3039 ABOUT THE SERIES: Author Thomas Beller founded mrbellersneighborhood.com in 2000. The site has been publishing non-fiction stories that take place in New York City for 20 years—slices of life, portraits […]

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 […]