You are currently browsing the stories about the Washington Heights neighborhood

The Slow Death of Dan Dinnerstein

by 11/02/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

I met Dan Dinnerstein at a party in 1982, when we were young, single guys in our late twenties. We had a lot in common: we were both were products of the New York State University system, we both came from the same neighborhood in the Bronx (although we hadn’t known each other there), and, […]

Welcome to Washington Heights

by 08/05/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

The day I moved to Washington Heights, a kid stood on the sidewalk and stared at me. And not a trying-not-to stare, either; a slack-jawed, wide-eyed, rooted-to-the-spot stare. It was sweltering that day—the first day of summer—and even though it wasn’t the most practical choice for moving day, I wore one of those tank tops […]

Not That Christ is Funny

by 04/11/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

My friend John promised a world away from the gray of Boston, but the Cloisters seemed equally cold and dim when we paid our admission fee (ahem, suggested $20 donation). The cold from the stone floor seeped upward through my shoes as we began to wander around, approaching the tapestry in which the unicorn sits […]


by 03/15/2008
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

“This would be a great place for making babies,” Kristal said to me, in the same longing way she often asked to go to the bathroom during city and state exams. Kristal was fifteen. They were all fifteen, even the other ones, the white ones from New Jersey, whose names reflected the suburban streets where […]

Washington Heights Playing Field

by 07/06/2006
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

175th Street, between Audubon and Saint Nicholas Avenues was the playing field for hundreds of boys each year, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Anchored mid-block by Incarnation Grammar School, 175th Street was a four-car-wide, smoothly paved, level, treeless, usually-blocked-off-during-school-days street. The sidewalks were also wide and level, the street curbs sharp and unbroken, […]

The Butcher Shift–a Gotham Hazing.

by 02/11/2005
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

In a city that purportedly never sleeps (but does take frequent disco naps), there is a population of workers who must keep the place running while most inhabitants are in fact snoozing. Our commute begins as most are bedding down with Letterman or curling into a vodka-drenched stranger. We are the skeleton crew operating the […]

Personal Space in the 181st Street Elevator

by 01/31/2004
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

Twenty-one children (the first of whom were triplets), and twenty-one grandchildren. And two wives, if you’re wondering. Thirteen with the first wife, nine with the next. He’s not married anymore. He grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, when it was still Brownsville, Brooklyn. Now he lives in Springfield Gardens, Queens. On public transportation it takes him […]

The View From The Jewish Alps

by 04/03/2002
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

Charles Boromeo Eder (Charlie) and Hermine Fleckenstein (Minnie) were immigrants, Charlie from Vienna, Minnie from Habichstal (a 300 person farm village about 80 kms. east of Frankfurt). Both had immigrated to New York City in the late 1920s. Charlie, a waiter at the Essex House met Minnie one afternoon in Central Park, as she was […]

The Cleaners

by 10/06/2001
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

When I hear about the plane crash in Queens, all I can think is, “I can’t believe no one’s talking about it.” Then, after sunset, I’m thinking, “God, it’s clear out tonight. Look at these stars.” Our season of caring seems to be over. Later, at 3 a.m., I’m at 145th Street, waiting for the […]