You are currently browsing the stories about the Upper East Side neighborhood

Cross Streets

by 08/28/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side, West Village

I was running late for a new faculty meeting at NYU. “411 Lafayette,” I said, jumping into a cab. The driver looked at me in the mirror with squinting, my-English-is-not-great eyes. “411 LA-FAY-ETTE,” I said, raising my voice, hoping to hurry us along. I checked the time: If traffic was very light I might—might—make it […]

Apartment 7

by 07/18/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

When I moved into my apartment going on four years ago, the building looked like a movie star fifty years past her prime. It was in such a condition that they were being ordered by the city to make capital improvements and were continually fined until they did so. I of course had loved its […]

Stillness is the Move

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

It was after our third year in New York that my wife and I realized it was time to move. The deciding factor came when I’d picked up a stapler at a stationary store, looked at it in my hand, and thought, ‘Where am I going to put this?’ Our studio apartment was just that […]

The Owner Likes It Loud

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

In the mid ‘70s I, a lifelong New Yorker, eagerly departed the crazy hustle and bustle of New York City when I landed a job in Birmingham, Alabama. I didn’t expect to miss New York or anything about it. But a few weeks after I moved to Birmingham, suddenly and unexpectedly I began craving almost […]

Death Comes to The Fenwick Arms

by 12/31/2010
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

     I’m holding the door open for Mr. 11A and his dog, but when he sees the Medical Examiner’s van and the police car parked in front of the building, he stops, leans in close to me, and asks in a stage whisper, “Do they suspect foul play?”      I tell him that the police had only […]

Shoe Glue

by 04/15/2010
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

The dark interior smells of leather, glue and shoe polish. It looks as if Jim’s Shoe Repair hasn’t had a fresh coat of paint since it opened. In 1932 when Vito “Jim” Rocco walked across the threshold of his shop on East 59th Street between Park and Madison Avenues in Manhattan, it was one of […]

A Sidekick for St. Patrick’s Day

by 03/17/2010
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Walking the streets on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City is akin to walking into an insane asylum in which all the inmates have been starved for days, denied all their medications, punched about the head a few times, then painted green and released from their cells. Also, someone has pissed in all the […]

Dental Cares

by 02/26/2010
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

I have had a lot of trouble with my teeth, having been born with weak enamel in store in my childhood, a nutritional illness that almost killed me as an infant, and then a horribly incompetent dentist during my adolescence. Norbert Vaughan, who sadly encouraged his patients, even his teen-aged patients, to call him Norby. […]

Crazy But True

by 08/09/2009
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

At 4 a.m. on a Saturday night in May, I was suddenly trapped in my own bedroom with no likely route to freedom. I had just turned out the light and pulled the covers when a strong draft slammed the bedroom door shut. This had happened before, but the door had never locked. The problem […]

The Sadistic Pleasures of the Guggenheim Café

by Thomas Beller 07/19/2009
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Sometimes I sit in the lunchroom of the Guggenheim Museum and write. If I can, I sit at the rear wall, where there are many framed black and white photographs of the museum’s benefactors, artists, and scenes of the museum’s construction. A bearded Brancusi sits with his dog; they resemble one another, both smiling. Thomas […]

The Holy Cart

by 06/08/2009
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

My primary focus in grammar school was scheming ways to get out of class. At the start of seventh grade, I weighed my options. The parish claimed it needed money all the time. It ran fifty/fifty clubs, cake sales, bingo, casino nights, you name it. The low earner on the ledger was the religious article […]

Schadenfreude — How Bout Those Boys?

by 12/13/2008
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

The Dallas Cowboys losing — my number #1 Schadenfreude trigger. As you get older the word hate drifts from your conversation. It’s a bad word, and a silly emotion to hang onto. Life’s too short. If you’re lucky, you lose it all together. If you’re really lucky, you save it for one person, one particular […]