You are currently browsing the stories about the Morningside Heights neighborhood

Cat and Prostitute, 1969

by 01/31/2004
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

It was 1969 and cats were everywhere in Morningside Heights. Multitudes of feral alley prowlers, storefront dozers, and the gray cat who was allowed to sit in the open, unscreened window of the fourth floor apartment across the street. He was always reaching toward pigeons with a wistful paw, even though the pigeons were never […]

Making It

by 01/15/2004
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Julio, a boyish thirty-one, has difficulty not smirking when admitting to having slept with over seventy-five females. The majority were what Julio dubs “Barnard floozies”: white, rich undergraduates at Columbia University or Barnard College. Julio can list most of their names on a napkin. Those whose names he can’t recall, he can usually remember something […]

Why There Is Rust

by 12/31/2003
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Aspiring poets learn, early on, the value of concrete imagery; of replacing metaphorically huge words with small sensory explosions which blow the reader into reality. Allen Ginsberg didn’t write “live life,” he wrote of those “who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup.” Sylvia Plath didn’t say, “I mourn the […]

Tom’s Restaurant

by 02/13/2003
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

I took two of my kids to see the new Adam Sandler picture, “Little Nicky,” and there it was again, behind Sandler as he sniffed some flowers: Tom’s Restaurant at 112th and Broadway. When I was at Columbia College, in the gray and bankrupt and crumbling 1970s, my friends and I had a joke that […]

The Lonelyhearts Patrol Group

by 01/13/2003
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Pregnant and nauseous, I slid over and rolled down the window. Risa and I had gotten into a cab that smelled of cherry-scented cleaning fluid. I rolled the window fully open and a big fat raindrop splashed me on the forehead. It was one of those wet November days, too dark for normal. At home, […]

Mormons in New York

by 06/29/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

At 7:30 on a Monday evening, my apartment on 122nd Street and Broadway fills with the voices of young Mormons singing hymns. From 7 on, around 40 clean-cut, blonde, smiling 20-somethings, some bearing baked goods, arrived in a continuous stream. They bustled down my bowling alley of a hallway to the living room, where they […]

Howdy, Neighbors

by 05/12/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

I long ago decided that my next-door neighbors were mass murderers. They are nice, quiet, neat, and “keep to themselves.” In fact, I couldn’t confidently identify either one of them on the sidewalk or in a police line-up, I so rarely see them come or go. And I have never heard any noise coming from […]

The Religious Life of Objects

by 05/02/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Nadine had dark curly hair, a slow quiet voice and more stubborn patience then anyone I knew. She was showing me her favorite textile, a small pre-Columbian piece, dated around 500 BC. It was no bigger than a doormat, but she had been working on it for over six months. “These repeated geometric patterns form […]

The Shanghai Princess

by 04/28/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Ariel was convulsing. I had been trained in CPR, but couldn’t remember how to do it. The patient telephone was sitting by her side and a loud dial tone rang out. She was a bouncing fish on the stool, spewing foam from her mouth. I held her head so it wouldn’t rap against the wall. […]

Hold Your Own Hand

by 04/08/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

After the World Trade Center is destroyed, I get drunk and seek comfort in the arms of an Orthodox Jewish friend. He is gentle. “I don’t have sex,” he says, and that is fine with me, although the distinction between intercourse and what we are doing seems non-existent. He is warm, and soft, and tentative, […]

Good News and Revelations

by 04/02/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Mara from upstairs, who lives off flute lessons in her dining room and touch-and-go pit orchestra gigs on Broadway, knocked on my door and everyone’s door, begging us to start a tenant’s union. We each had a reason. I was terrified of the dawn in July when half the sixth floor burned and everyone was […]

K-Hole at Columbia

by 02/17/2002
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

My girlfriend, Amanda, and me, and her friend Heather were at Nacho Mama’s, drinking. It had just gotten cold. My friend Sal came in. He had been drinking, too. Heather brought up liquor, how old it had become, how tired she was of it, and asked him if he had any drugs. He said he […]