You are currently browsing the stories about the West Village neighborhood

Zapkus

by 04/03/2024
Neighborhood: SoHo, West Village

Zapkus. His name was almost an onomatopoeia: its electric prod forcing me to sit up and pay attention. “Design Fundamentals” had to be, in theory, the most yawn-inducing chunk of time in the Parsons School of Design illustration curriculum for Spring 1972. I looked at the course card and envisioned the need to occasionally cut […]

The Candy Box

by 06/24/2023
Neighborhood: Bowery, West Village

The bathroom was small, at first glance appearing to be a large closet that opened off the kitchen. A beautiful nautilus shell, almost a foot long with a pale-pink pearlescent chamber, had been placed in the bathtub. The tub itself was deep and old-fashioned, made of heavy porcelain; the wall behind it was protected with […]

Washington Square, A Place Apart

by 12/03/2022
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, West Village

On January 23, 1917, artists Marcel Duchamp and John Sloan, poet Gertrude Dick, and three actors from the Provincetown Playhouse broke into a hidden spiral staircase in the Washington Square Arch and ascended to the summit. They dangled Chinese lanterns and red balloons, fired off toy cap pistols, and galivanted until dawn, whereupon, with Bohemian […]

Cocaine in the City

by 12/05/2021
Neighborhood: West Village

I first tried cocaine off of a chessboard, while listening to Lou Reed in my West Village studio apartment with a girl named after the Central American country in which she was conceived. I remember thinking that for brief moments life really could be a movie if you made it one. The girl and I […]

Writing Classes

by 08/22/2021
Neighborhood: Upper East Side, West Village

There are 1700 writers per square foot in New York City. I will be one of them. It’s going to be easy. First, I need to learn about the craft of writing. I peruse various catalogs and websites for classes. Nothing jumps out at me until I notice a class called “How To Write Funny.” […]

Sublet on Thompson St

by 11/15/2020
Neighborhood: Caroll Gardens, West Village

  A friend from high school told me about a sublet on Thompson Street. It was a perfect location for a student at NYU.  Norman Fayne, a heavy man with stringy hair and wire-rimmed glasses, showed me the apartment on the second floor. It was the one just above the barbershop with the large, sun-faded […]

How is Your Mother?

by 09/06/2020
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village, West Village

“How is your mother?” they’d ask with a friendly smile. The stationery store manager with the club foot from whom she bought her cigarettes, the Eurotrash guy at the shoe store with whom she spoke German, everyone at the Jefferson Market. The shopkeepers up and down Sixth Avenue loved her. She made them feel special, […]

Bad Date

by 08/30/2020
Neighborhood: West Village

  (photo credit: Elizabeth Schoettle) Sometimes it seems New York will get hotter and hotter until the greenhouse glass breaks and we are all dead. But this was the winter of 2006. The night was cold, bitter, the swelling sky would not let loose, hair hit my face, and my coat blew open before I pressed […]

Dinner with Dad

by 05/31/2020
Neighborhood: Upper East Side, West Village

“Hi Jim, it’s Dad, just touching base to see how everything is going and how you’re feeling and how everyone is today. Looks like the first day of spring, the weather is horrible, I’m sure you agree. Give me a ring, let me know how things are going?” My Dad, Bill, spoiled me for fine […]

Cupcake Overdose: Magnolia Bakery & Me

by 11/17/2018
Neighborhood: West Village

The New York Times real estate listing read, “An enchanting Swiss Chalet Penthouse Studio. Imagine waking up to the sweet aroma of Magnolia Bakery…” Oh, great, I thought. A constant smell. Who wouldn’t want that? The bakery meant little to me. After having spent three years trying to buy an apartment in Manhattan, I had […]

I Remember I Forget, And Why

by 02/18/2015
Neighborhood: West Village

I’ve lived in the neighborhood practically forever, but to my girlfriend it’s all new. She’s always making some new discovery. Once she came home with a small box of Japanese chocolate wrapped inside a perfect silver bag and with a sleek packet of dry ice. I asked her where it came from and she told […]

Library Meditations, 8am

by 11/18/2014
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Uncategorized, West Village

Most mornings are like this: you are walking alone, very underdressed for the harsh whip of winter (sorry Mom), multiple book bags in hand, and struggling. You are out when the shop owners dump buckets of soapy water onto the street, to wash away dog piss. You are out when the bums are still too […]