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

A Short Walk in Paradise

by 09/25/2022
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper West Side

Mid-morning, I set out for a short walk—ten blocks, twice a day, prescribed for my aging heart and arthritic body. I clear the lobby and make my entrance on to 106th Street. I’m ready to start my hike to health, ready to laugh—or at least snicker—in the face of mortality. I take my first step, […]

Needle Park/Verdi Square

by 09/18/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

How many years since “needle park”? In the late 60’s, in the evening on the way to the 72nd St and Broadway subway station, I would make my pass through the park and see junkies nodding out and discarded needles on the pavement. The underbelly of con artists, thieves, prostitutes, and addicts, all lurking in the […]

Hotel Bolivar

by 07/10/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

In the spring of 1967, a year after my parents’ separation, my older sister and I returned from an extended stay with family friends in California and moved into an apartment our mother had rented on the sixth floor of the Hotel Bolivar on Central Park West and 83rd Street. At the time, the decaying, […]

Playing It Out

by 06/26/2022
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights, Upper West Side

Everything got worse in New York except my jump shot. Though I looked the part —  white, six foot and fair featured, like some towhead from the Midwest — shooting was not my ticket on the court. In the small school league in Washington where I had starred, I got my points going to the […]

Broken Glass

by 02/13/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Last January, days before I was due to return to New Orleans from New York, a fire broke out in my parents’ apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I had come to the city in the midst of the pandemic to repopulate my life, albeit temporarily: the first week belonged to my […]

Shoveling Snow

by 01/30/2022
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Out early yesterday morning after the big snowfall. The streets are being cleared. God, it’s been years since I did any of that. Now I have no car to dig out, no store to clear the street for; nothing special to worry about (save for not slipping on the ice and cracking my old bones).  […]

Doing My Homework at Plato’s Retreat

by 03/23/2021
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

It’s the swinging 70’s. Everyone I know has tons of sexual partners. I am 28 and only lost my virginity two years ago to a farm boy I met at The Guthrie Theater. The romance continues for a while when I get back to New York, but then, he writes me a Dear John letter. […]

Am I Still A New Yorker

by 09/23/2020
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

One morning not long ago, from a bedroom in suburban Maryland, I called the Upper West Side. I sat, hunched down, knees up, on the area rug at the foot of the bed. I like being on the floor when I make calls that make me nervous. The phone rang, and I felt not only […]

Nothing is Certain: Death and Bagels

by 08/09/2020
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

My very first marriage proposal came from the guy behind the counter at H&H Bagels on 80th and Broadway. I was around twelve and realize now he was most likely just looking for a tip or playing with the shy girl who was only recently allowed to go out from her school to buy her […]

Betta Fish Blues

by 04/26/2020
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

“Can you help me?” I said this to the young woman who was opening boxes in front of the aisle of fish tank decorations. “Sure,” said the woman. She pulled herself up from her squat by pushing off the edge of the box. “What can I help you with?” “I’d like to see your goldfish,” […]

There Really Was a Mafia on the Upper West Side

by 11/03/2019
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

In the early 1960s, as a recently married City College professor the closest I’d come to the Mafia was in movies and newspaper articles. Back then, New York City was rocked by Mafia scandals as investigations revealed that the police and other municipal unions were cooperating with mobsters in numbers rackets, loan sharking, business shakedowns, […]

The Tax Man

by 03/31/2019
Neighborhood: Bowery, Upper West Side

  It was tax time, April 1989, the cold and merciless spring a further insult to what had been a turbulent year for me. I’d been struggling with sobriety and was trying to bounce back from a failed romance. Some days, I felt like I walked through the world with my skin turned inside out, […]