You are currently browsing the stories about the Harlem neighborhood


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 […]

Real Estate Rhetoric: A User’s Guide

by 03/02/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Chinatown, Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, Williamsburg

 Affordable housing. For most New Yorkers the term is an oxymoron. Niklas and I moved to the West Village when we got married a few years ago, a romantic notion if not an especially realistic one. In the beginning we joked that we could live on love. But a sandwich is also nice sometimes. As […]


by 01/08/2014
Neighborhood: Harlem

“Uptown or Downtown? UPTOWN OR DOWNTOWN??” Mark sputtered, drowning out the Oasis tape in my little red Honda, as he downshifted to take the curve. My spiral-permed hair fluttered in the breeze as I flicked a Marlboro Light out the window. We had just popped out of the Holland Tunnel – Manhattan side – and […]

Harlem Girls

by 09/21/2011
Neighborhood: Harlem, Uncategorized

I love this train station. 125th St. The 1 is sentimental, alluring. It’s Ice T’s shadow in the credits of Law and Order SVU, It’s an isolated and spectacular scene that rises from below at 125th street, and Harlem is unfolded from panoramic elevation. I stood on 125th street, listening the rumble above me as the […]

The Day the World Did Not End

by 07/08/2011
Neighborhood: Harlem, Uncategorized

The world was supposed to end on May 21, 2011. One man I spoke to at a bar was a little disappointed when Earth was still turning at 12:01 AM on the 22nd. I guess that’s what you would expect from someone who is sitting by himself. His face was ruddy with alcohol and he was […]

Inventorying Hidden Spaces

by 03/07/2011
Neighborhood: Harlem, Upper West Side

In the basement of the Museum of American Indian there was a caretaker’s apartment. You got to it by walking down a side stairwell, beyond the main entrance of the museum, or by going past the work space beyond the gift shop, through a utility room, and then down a side hallway. The door was […]

The Super With The Toy Face: Redux

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

[When the site first published Ennis Smith’s “The Super With The Toy Face,” its impact was felt immediately–not just on the site, but on the literary history of the United States. Smith has sent us a revised version of the piece, which we are happy to publish below. We’re going to keep the original up, […]

Thanksgiving With The Blonde in The Brown Jacket

by 10/31/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

If you find yourself awakened by an eccentric, foul-tempered neighbor called el Jefe in the hallway of an apartment building known for its vermin while fully installed with a vodka hangover and reeking of pizza-flavored snack treats, be as pleasant as possible. Especially if you are seeking assistance in the forcible entry of your own […]

The Super With The Toy Face

by 10/24/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

[A few months after this piece was originally published, Ennis Smith sent us a revision which we have also published here. Look at the two versions side by side and see if you learn anything about how revision figures in the writing process. –Ed.] They called him the neighborhood watchdog. He was the super of […]

Scrambling Along the Roots and Rocks

by 08/10/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

We took the train to the very top of Manhattan, exiting the subway into a neighborhood of large boulevards and boarded-up storefronts. Black sedans cruised by and occasionally stopped to ask us if we needed a taxi. At 9:30 on a Sunday morning, it was already steamy. This was only our fifth Sunday in the […]

Dispatch from under the Overpass

by 01/12/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

It’s weird, how often you’ll find in out-of-the-way urban areas—below an overpass, next to a river or stream, next to railroad tracks—a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, unmatching dirty socks, filthy underwear, cast off as if these places were just other rooms, were the private dressing quarters of the damned. I’ve always wondered […]

Brand New Leather Jacket

by 09/23/2005
Neighborhood: Harlem

It was a beautiful November afternoon. I was relaxing in my house located in Wagner Projects, when I realized that I had enough money saved up to buy the leather jacket I wanted. So I went in my sneaker box, where I had $500 saved and went to a store called Jan’s. Jan’s is located […]