You are currently browsing the stories about the Outer Boroughs neighborhood

My Only Regret

by 04/27/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Arriving before the engine, with fire blowing out two windows on the third floor and people in the street yelling, “There’s two kids in there” our asses are about to be kicked and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s 1977, and Lieutenant Annello leads the way as usual. He is simply the […]

Just Another Part of the Job

by 03/31/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Inside the firehouse, sweeping floors, cooking meals and maintaining equipment are routine parts of the job. However when the doors go up and the rigs go out you have to be as flexible as Gumby, because you do not know what you are going to be faced with next. While responding to alarms, we always […]

By Careful What You Ask For

by 02/22/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

A beaten body sat slumped on the back step of an anonymous pumper. We nearly walked right by Danny without recognizing him. Danny’s turnout coat was half open and covered with remnants of the building burning at the corner of Townsend Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway. His face and hands were black with soot. […]

The Job of the Forcible Entry Team

by 02/06/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Autumn has arrived and the cooler air has dampened but not ended the fires of this years “Summer Offensive.” Somewhere the trees are changing color but here in Hunts Point it has been one of those days. We’ve already caught more work on this day tour than any company outside the ghetto will see in […]

The World of Darkness

by 01/19/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Heath Avenue. I recognized the building right away. Public housing always stands out from all other domiciles. It looms, and, like a tall man, commands your attention. But when you look up, expecting to see his face, you see a blank outline, no distinguishing features. No nose. No mouth. No eyes. We parked on the […]

It Followed Me Home

by 01/12/2006
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Oh man, he’s going to die! I live 100 feet from Interstate 95 and from my living room window have an unobstructed view of this sea of vehicles. Having lived here many years the sounds of impending trouble are familiar. So when the horns started blaring it was a cue to look out the window […]

Christ Zig, what did you do?

by 12/22/2005
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Christ Zig, what did you do? Whenever I’m asked if the fire department had an effect on my personal life, those six words explode into my brain. It’s a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon in 1977 at the Bronx zoo with my wife and three kids. The kids are riding a camel and shouting what all […]

Getting More Than My Teeth Cleaned

by 11/10/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Queens

I took my second grade special education class to my dentist as part of my career education unit. While they were learning about dentistry, I’d also get my teeth cleaned. It seemed too good to be true: taking care of my teeth on school time. I recruited two speech teachers to come along. They were […]

Two Stories About Teaching in Queens

by 09/29/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Queens

“The Case Of The Missing Pasta” I tried improving my second grade special education students’ skills at addition by having them count pasta. I had them line up the brown and white rigatoni into two groups. Then all they had to do was add them. It worked well – my students were learning while enjoying […]

Two Feet of Slippery Vinyl

by 09/22/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Staten Island

Although I moved to New York in 1994 with Manhattan in mind, I quickly became fascinated with the city’s boroughs. On weekends I’d take the subway to Coney Island, Brooklyn, Astoria, Queens, or the Bronx Zoo to see the other parts of my new home. Staten Island, however, remained elusive. In my early days, I […]

Big Apple for the Teacher

by 04/24/2005
Neighborhood: Multiple, Outer Boroughs

So you’re teaching again. No, not the cushy adjunct work at the college where you got the MFA. This will be the crack your knuckles, roll up your sleeves type of teaching that New York City has to offer. Once you realized that The New Yorker was just as happy to ignore you with or […]

Blue Disco

by 04/16/2005
Neighborhood: Outer Boroughs, Queens

In 1978 I had the only blue record album in the Berkeley Townhouse apartment building, on 35th Avenue, and probably in all of Flushing. It was the age of disco and Cheryl and I, the founding—and only—members of the Funseekers Club, (co-presidents of the Queens headquarters) were about to outgrow the unruly, shag rug in […]