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They Smile Over There

by 07/25/2021
Neighborhood: Union Square

My father has worked in grocery stores in California for what seems like my entire life. Albertsons, El Super, Northgate Market, Smart and Final, and then Northgate Market again. After graduating high school, he worked his way up from Receiver to Assistant Manager to Grocery Manager and Front End Manager. Sometimes when he started at […]

Interview

by 07/04/2021
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

I want to be in New York because Sophia is in New York. This leads me from my home in the Jersey suburbs to the waiting room of a doctor’s office, an alumni who will interview me for a prestigious New York college. I sit and wait, squirming, and think about that tired joke about […]

The Terrycloth Bathrobe

by 06/13/2021
Neighborhood: East Village, NoHo

The late afternoon, graying quickly, was sweet with surprising warmth. Days such as this wouldn’t come again for at least a month. A reward, it seemed, for surviving another dank and joyless February in New York City.  My birthday was in March, and even at my age, I looked forward to the day with a […]

Yorkville 1960s–A Neighborhood in Transition

by 06/06/2021
Neighborhood: Yorkville

Early 1960s, Yorkville. My block, 81st street between 1st and York avenues.  During my early years, I witnessed a predominantly working-class immigrant neighborhood of Irish, Germans, and Hungarians being replaced by new wealthier residents. The transition started with the construction of high-rise apartment buildings on the avenues. These characterless buildings were replacing the five-story walk-ups […]

Joanie and Luddy in Greenwich Village, 1967

by 05/23/2021
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, Massapequa

Joanie finished bending over the ironing board, her freshly-washed hair nice and flat. She pulled the plug out of the socket, wrapped up the cord, and looked in the mirror and smiled. Her own natural curls would be given free rein in a few years, but right now she wanted to match the long, straight […]

Kaddish in the Time of Covid

by 05/16/2021
Neighborhood: Berkshires, Midtown

What is it about anniversaries? Is it that the earth is again in the same place relative to the sun, and that we are occupying the same spot in the cosmos? You were here, but differently. Something has changed from when you were at this position before: you got married; planes hit the twin towers; […]

Reading at Trump Tower

by 05/09/2021
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Part I. Project Runway She sauntered by at noon, shopping bags swinging from both arms, striding toward the infamous golden escalators. She was attractive with a flowing mane and long gait. Mostly, I noticed the grey raincoat she was wearing; it was a bright, summer day outside. Then she got swallowed up in the atrium’s […]

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 […]