You are currently browsing the stories about the Washington Heights neighborhood

A Psychiatric Aide, Way Back Then

by 02/04/2024
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

I was too young to comprehend “dark energy” that pulls apart the human psyche. But at 19, I was a witness. New York State Psychiatric Institute, high up and hovering over the Hudson in Washington Heights, was, and still is, a special teaching hospital connected to Columbia University.  In the 1950s, when I worked there, […]

The Sigmund Freud of Barnes Avenue

by 11/11/2023
Neighborhood: Bronx, Washington Heights

I first met Ari Horwitz in front of a pizzeria near the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in 1978. I wasn’t in the habit of talking to people I didn’t know, but Ari was about my age, mid-20s, and we seemed to have an immediate psychic connection. Ari, it turned out, lived with a roommate […]

Of Rooftops and Cadavers

by 12/06/2020
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

      I’m sitting on the rooftop of my 31-floor apartment building looking down on a laughing couple drinking White Claws. Looking on like a creep–or maybe like an ever-watching god. Is there a difference? On an adjacent rooftop, a man probably my age is smoking a cigarette and crushing a six-pack. He’s been […]

Interlude

by 10/27/2019
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

In the midst of a particularly grueling winter, I met Wren on OK Cupid.  Unlike my slim, brown-skinned fiancé who had deserted me the week before Christmas, Wren was bulky, with a ruddy complexion and pale blue eyes like my father’s. The day after my third date with Wren, my father died of congestive heart […]

Riding the A

by 07/28/2019
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

One way or another, everybody needs to get on the A train. I’m leaning against the back wall of the car, in that tiny corner beside the conductor’s compartment, still managing to read despite all the other people crammed in around me. It’s the afternoon rush hour and you don’t need a watch to tell. […]

The Therapist Who Was Always Late

by 09/24/2018
Neighborhood: Bronx, Chelsea, Co-op City, Upper West Side, Washington Heights

As a young man in my mid-twenties in the late ‘70s, I was in a precarious state. I had just failed miserably at an attempt to work at a job on the west coast and was back with my parents in Co-op City. I was on the list for a civil service job at the […]

Homeward

by 03/12/2017
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Washington Heights

“Lemuel,” my mother cried out to me. “No puedo ver.” I looked up. Her eyes were shut, her grip was tight around my hand, and she was telling me she couldn’t see. We had been walking home, enjoying the lull that comes over Washington Heights at the end of the day. I was six and […]

COFFEE, MY FAMILY

by 06/14/2014
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Washington Heights

It had become a habit that week—reading Richard Rodriguez’s “Brown” on the A train, riding a gradient line between the ochre of Washington Heights and the powdered white walls of NYU. I reveled in holding the book upright, spine stiff, and the bent paperback cover like a sail at full mast. It was a silent […]

Faces

by 08/03/2012
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

I shift from foot to foot as I wait in line to see the Mona Lisa. The line snakes around the corridor of the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mother and Aunt Regina insist that we must see this wonderful painting. Helen holds my hand and tells me that Leonardo da […]

My Friend, The Fire Chaplain

by 09/11/2011
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Uncategorized, Washington Heights

I met Mychal Judge in the spring of 1985 when my boyfriend, Javier, and I decided to get married. As a lapsed Catholic, estranged from the Church for over a decade, I was tormented with guilt and worry, yet I wanted to have a church wedding without having to account for prior errant ways—our daughter, […]

G-2183

by 05/01/2011
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

When Jeffrey and I argue, my mother always weeps. “Shame on you,” she says. “I wish my brother, Shmuel, was still here for me to argue with. Shame on you!” My brother and I hang our heads. We wait for her to leave the room, but she is not yet finished. “Is this what I […]

Trolling Whores for Coke: How to Get Started

by 03/17/2010
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Washington Heights

So you’ve got the wife and the kids. You’ve got and are just barely hanging onto, the co-op in the chic enclave, you’re so middle-aged. Some men, finding themselves adrift in a wood in their middle years, go to the gym: I troll whores for coke. After you’ve seen the horrors of Chelsea Pier’s ice […]