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Doing My Homework at Plato’s Retreat

by 03/23/2021
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

It’s the swinging 70’s. Everyone I know has tons of sexual partners. I am 28 and only lost my virginity two years ago to a farm boy I met at The Guthrie Theater. The romance continues for a while when I get back to New York, but then, he writes me a Dear John letter. […]

Next Stop the Twilight Zone

by 02/28/2021
Neighborhood: Subway, Upper East Side

One afternoon this summer I was on the subway. All was normal. Well, except that we are in a pandemic, which makes venturing down into NYC’s netherworld — one with poor ventilation and tons of non-mask wearers – feel like I am putting my life in my overly sanitized hands. It all seemed surreal. The […]

The Life and Times of Ricky Powell

by 02/14/2021
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

I was scrolling through Twitter after midnight a couple of weeks ago when I read that the photographer and New York personality Ricky Powell had died. The news hit me because as kids we’d spent a lot of time together at the 14th Street Y in afterschool programs. Biddy Basketball and Sportsman’s Clinic, and the […]

A New York State of Mind

by 01/31/2021
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Subway

When you sit down on a weather-worn bench in New York—one that is dry and bone colored—it feels like you’ve stepped out of your body. You’ve left a building, a crowded café, stepped off of an accordion bus, or out of a bodega. It’s a pause where you take a cigarette break even though you […]

Meeting Ivan Kral at the Gee Whiz Diner

by 01/24/2021
Neighborhood: Tribeca

It’s a good night when shaking hands with Iggy Pop isn’t the most memorable part of it. Pop and the late photographer Robert Matheu had been at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca, where they were signing Matheu’s 2009 book, The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story. On 1973’s “Search and Destroy,” Pop refers to […]

The Man in Apartment 6

by 01/10/2021
Neighborhood: East Village

Apartment 6 is on the third floor, so I guess that’s why I don’t notice the odor. But I have been wondering why suddenly my super has put lavender scented Air Wick stick-ups all over the hallway walls. I also notice urinal cakes have been stuck under the staircase near my apartment door on the […]

This is Jeopardy: Remembering Art and Alex

by 12/20/2020
Neighborhood: Bronx, Park Slope, Rockefeller Center

Alex Trebek, who hosted Jeopardy for thirty-seven seasons, died on November 8th. My connection to him and the show was through Art Fleming, a prior host of the show, who got Alex the gig. Let me explain. As a child, I was quite the nerd. I could recite the U.S. presidents forward and backward at […]

Dog Day Afternoons

by 12/13/2020
Neighborhood: Flatiron District, Gramercy Park, Manhattan, Upper East Side

Pablo’s father was a handsome, French pianist in his forties. His apartment was immaculate and minimalistic. He was usually absent when I came to retrieve Pablo for his 90-minute walk, but sometimes I would turn my key in the lock and hear him playing the grand piano in the living room. It sounded beautiful, but […]

Of Rooftops and Cadavers

by 12/06/2020
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

      I’m sitting on the rooftop of my 31-floor apartment building looking down on a laughing couple drinking White Claws. Looking on like a creep–or maybe like an ever-watching god. Is there a difference? On an adjacent rooftop, a man probably my age is smoking a cigarette and crushing a six-pack. He’s been […]

Life and Death in Chinatown

by 11/22/2020
Neighborhood: Chinatown

I didn’t know Chuen Kwok, an 83-year-old homeless man bludgeoned to death last year while sleeping in the entryway of a Chinatown store. Chances are, I wouldn’t have, since I speak neither Cantonese, Fujianese nor Mandarin. I am one of a growing cadre of non-Chinese moving into the neighborhood and contributing to the area’s gentrification. […]

Sublet on Thompson St

by 11/15/2020
Neighborhood: Caroll Gardens, West Village

  A friend from high school told me about a sublet on Thompson Street. It was a perfect location for a student at NYU.  Norman Fayne, a heavy man with stringy hair and wire-rimmed glasses, showed me the apartment on the second floor. It was the one just above the barbershop with the large, sun-faded […]

Stalking Woody Allen at the Carlyle Hotel

by 10/18/2020
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

It’s silly really. It’s just this picture I took on the stairs outside my apartment building five years ago of a black Remington typewriter with a blazer and skirt below it, like a body. And coming out of the typewriter was a headshot of Woody Allen. Five o’clock. I was putting on my stockings. The […]