You are currently browsing the stories about the Lower Manhattan neighborhood

Summer of ’68

by 09/30/2018
Neighborhood: Castle Hill, Lower Manhattan, South Ferry

As the 6 train chugged past grimy buildings in dicey neighborhoods, I felt I was being safely transited through vast danger zones. In those days before air conditioning, the train’s windows were kept open, so the amplified sound of screeching brakes and rumbling wheels was a constant assault. Mature ladies fanned their dripping faces with […]

The Final Summer of My Father’s Life

by 08/25/2018
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

The final summer of my father’s life, I worked for him as a runner, making food deliveries at his restaurant. He and I weren’t getting along too well. I had just turned seventeen and my mother had died the previous winter, either one of which would have meant a strained relationship, but the combination was […]

Elevator Days

by 02/10/2012
Neighborhood: Financial District, Lower Manhattan, Manhattan

Whenever I go to a party or I am introduced to people I don’t know, they invariably ask me what I do. “What do you do?” And I always tell them, “I am an elevator operator.” I say that I drive an elevator in downtown Manhattan. The reaction to my announcement varies. Some people smile […]

I Can’t Go!

by 08/16/2011
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

“Jeez, I hope he hurries.” The doctor said to his nurse. “I don’t want to miss my train.” “Me, too. I’ve got to get my kid by 5:30pm.” Her answer tinged with aggravation. Hearing this exchange through the bathroom door, my bladder shut down. I was on the 60th floor of the Woolworth Building, the […]

The Singing of God Bless America By A Woman Condemned To Death

by 02/14/2011
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

Throughout the 1950s Stan Novick was locked up at least four times in “The Tombs,” Manhattan’s now-closed city jail and holding cell on White Street. Pictures from that time show “The Tombs,” now torn down, as a Dickensian sort of place with looming towers and small windows. Photos of Stan Novick at that time show […]

The Lucky One

by 08/16/2010
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan, Manhattan

I celebrated my 60th birthday and my 25-year job anniversary the same year my employer accepted billions of TARP money. And then, on a bright July morning, I was laid off. I could pretend that it was because business was changing, as the notice letter said, or that there was a need to make more […]

Political Joyride

by 07/31/2010
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

We bounded out the exit of the Municipal Building like two cowboys pushing through saloon doors. Kurt set the pace as he trotted to the VIP parking lot, where six black Lincoln Town Cars belonging to elected officials and agency commissioners rested during the dignitaries’ brief visits to their offices upstairs. He reached one of […]

The Magic Life of the City

by 03/25/2010
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

It was a lousy and bleak first Sunday in May. I walked into City Hall Park, in my neighborhood, and Richard the gardener greeted me and introduced me to the other volunteers. “Can I pull out the tulips?” I said to Richard. “ My knees are in bad shape and I’m afraid of making them […]

Imperfect Strangers

by 09/07/2009
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

There’s a low of five degrees today, and a woman gets off the 2 train with no hat, gloves, or scarf. An older man offers her some space under his umbrella, and she graciously accepts. I walk ahead of them, keeping my eyes down and forward to keep from slipping. Having underestimated the snow, I […]

Theft of Service

by 05/02/2009
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

It was the third week of what was to become my first real job, at Irving Plaza, the club in Union Square. I was working three days a week after school, doing odd jobs around the venue. Basically whatever tedious tasks they needed me to do. I was a junior that year, and took the […]

My First (And Only) Paid Appearance as a Violin Soloist

by 08/25/2008
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

Most violin students must diligently practice on their instruments many hours a day, for many years, before even thinking of turning professional. Some may give it up long before they become proficient. And even should they pursue their musical studies, and become skilled at playing the violin, there are only a limited number of professional […]

Redemption Birthday

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

My dad was the Ralph Kramden of St. Peters Avenue. He always had some plot, some scheme to try to make extra money. The first I remember, he played the number. No, not “Lotto,” but the real, old-school number “played” to scary old men in the back rooms of candy stores that sold wormy Chunky […]