You are currently browsing the stories about the Manhattan neighborhood

Detours Through Dreams and Nightmares

by 09/08/2019
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

Twenty New York blocks gets you a mile. Back in “our time,” a motley crew of urban youth crossed the Manhattan landscape with that formula in our heads. We understood distance. We got time. We lived the algebraic formula of Time x Speed = Distance. If we started peddling our bikes at the top of the […]

Riding the A

by 07/28/2019
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

One way or another, everybody needs to get on the A train. I’m leaning against the back wall of the car, in that tiny corner beside the conductor’s compartment, still managing to read despite all the other people crammed inside. It’s the afternoon rush hour and you don’t need a watch to tell. The doors […]

From New York to New Orleans

by 07/21/2019
Neighborhood: Manhattan, New Orleans

Wandering Two Cities, a Youthful Diary   Edward Hopper once said that he identified all the places he’d known according to their architecture.  I used to be the same way.  I noticed people as backdrops to overblown dramas in light and shade.  I looked past them toward ogee roof and filigreed transom; I marveled at […]

The World’s Most Developed Man

by 07/14/2019
Neighborhood: Flatiron District, Manhattan

  If 115 East 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron district rings a bell, you’re probably of a certain age.  From the 1930s through the 1960s, the address was plastered in thousands of comic books and magazines. The 12-story building, constructed in 1913, housed the offices of Angelo Siciliano, better known as Charles Atlas. It was at […]

Chelsea Clinic, October 3, 1995

by 06/23/2019
Neighborhood: Chelsea

It took two weeks for my first HIV test results to come back. Naturally, as I waited, I thought I was going to die. For two weeks, I ate Ben & Jerry’s and sang along to a Discman on the streets of Manhattan. I spent each night on a different barstool and serenaded strangers about […]

Ashok’s Shop

by 06/09/2019
Neighborhood: Midtown

For twelve years there was a convenience shop I frequented in the Manhattan office building where I work. It was a cramped place, essentially a hole in the wall with a door attached to it, at the back end of the lobby. The sign on the door said Headline Newsstand, but as newspapers gradually disappeared […]

Patches

by 06/02/2019
Neighborhood: East Village, Lower East Side

  I’ve been accused of many things, but never of false modesty. You’d have to be pretty old to remember the catchy TV ads that the long departed Braniff Airways used to run. They hired celebrities like New York Jets star quarterback Joe Namath to recite one line: “If you’ve got it … flaunt it! […]

The Trouble with Ghosts

by 05/26/2019
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

  Anton and Lelo were scared. They had seen them every day at the bar where we work for the past several months—lurking in corners, hiding behind shelves, disappearing into cracks in the walls, into drains, into boxes. Not roaches. Not rats. Ghosts. It was practically an infestation. A ghost infestation. I wanted to laugh […]

Rootless

by 05/19/2019
Neighborhood: East Village

  Sattley, California. Winter solstice 2016. We’re at my Aunt-in-law’s house, in the High Sierras, in the Egyptian room. Sphinxes, golden fabrics, a Nefertiti head. The rest of the house is faux Victorian, a modest ranch overstuffed with Costco products and kitsch. My wife, my toddler daughter, and I are curled up under an electric […]

Old Lefties: An Oral History

by 04/21/2019
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Co-op City, Lower East Side, Ozone Park

Editor’s Note — These poems emerged out of oral histories of the American Left that Paul Buhle conducted forty years ago. They are not literal transcripts, but lyrically condense the stories he heard. Buhle traveled New York from Coop-City to Ozone Park to the Lower East Side to Brighton Beach for this project. The old […]

Love and Letters at a Bar Downtown

by 04/14/2019
Neighborhood: Bowery

I work at a bar on the Bowery. Drunk people are funny. Also incredibly forgetful. Here is a list of some of the strange things we have found at the bar at the end of a long night: a single shoe; an antique baby stroller (it looked like the stroller for Rosemary’s Baby); a banjo; […]

The Tax Man

by 03/31/2019
Neighborhood: Bowery, Upper West Side

  It was tax time, April 1989, the cold and merciless spring a further insult to what had been a turbulent year for me. I’d been struggling with sobriety and was trying to bounce back from a failed romance. Some days, I felt like I walked through the world with my skin turned inside out, […]