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The Sultry Scent of Formaldehyde

by 03/10/2019
Neighborhood: East Village, Queens

My memories of high school are burdened by two deciding factors: the absence of girls and my aversion to math and science, both regrettable, given the fact that the prestigious institution I attended, Stuyvesant High School—then still in its old digs, a venerable building on East 15th Street—was all boys and all about math and […]

The Ohio Convention

by 03/03/2019
Neighborhood: Featured, Greenpoint, Port Authority, Woodside

I ran into Dad’s room after hearing my name called. “Take off your shoes,“ he said. I wondered what the heck was going to happen now. That morning my mom had told me that I would be going to Akron, Ohio with Dad to see the people who caused his nightmares and screaming. His war […]

Drawing

by 02/17/2019
Neighborhood: Corona

An el train chugged across the tracks, shadows cutting in and out from the sun beaming above it. Cars cruised along the streets of Corona, Queens, as though there was nowhere to go. Storefronts sat like rows of sleepy eyes, their riveted steel lids rising just enough for their doors to open. The sidewalks were […]

Christmas Balls

by 12/16/2018
Neighborhood: Woodside

I came up the stairs from the subway. The cold air on Queens Boulevard blew hard. I turned and looked back down to see where my sisters Sara and Carol were. I was relieved to see them coming up towards me. I’d been lost before and it wasn’t fun. Behind them was my dad. He […]

A Trip to Aqueduct

by 10/21/2018
Neighborhood: Aqueduct, East New York, South Ozone Park

The day after I turned ten, my mother took me to my first horse race at Aqueduct. Hitting the regular numbers didn’t pay as well as the horses, and sometimes when Mama had an itch to gamble she couldn’t wait on the numbers man, Mr. Sheyanne, to come around. Besides which, she whispered to me […]

The King of New York

by 03/05/2017
Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens

I. From a distance the crown almost looks like solid gold. But as I walk farther up 30th Avenue in Astoria, I can tell there is something not quite right about it. It is glinting, sure, but I realize the crown is made of curled paper. It’s from Burger King. I am now only a […]

You’re Out of the Night

by 06/17/2016
Neighborhood: Flushing, Lower East Side, Queens, Uncategorized

On Match.com, Ken’s moniker was “Dull.” He wrote that among his favorite things were office carpeting, spam, and waiting rooms. “I bet he lives in one of those storage units off the highway,” my friend Meg said as she read over my shoulder. My own profile was styled after Nancy Drew. Hair color? Titian. Hobbies? […]

The Tape

by 04/26/2016
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Chelsea, Jackson Heights, Manhattan, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Sunset Park

-1- Once upon a time, there existed a New York City economy where a young person fresh out of college could, with a straight face, think in terms of “building a career.” Imagine such optimism. The notion of “career” seems so trite now, forty-plus years on, so immaterial, in this age of downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring. […]

Remembering, Memorial Day

by 04/17/2015
Neighborhood: Queens

On weekends it’s a tossup, either my wife or I go on expedition for our Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and this was my turn. Because I knew the usual place on Queens Boulevard was closed for repairs I had to head down to the one on 61st in the Woodside valley. On the way back I […]

Exhaustion, Faith, or Madness

by 12/12/2014
Neighborhood: Jackson Heights, Queens, Uncategorized

A group of Asian teenage boys with shaved heads slows down in front of me. It is around 7 pm, not yet dusk, not really day, and we’re passing by a series of low brick row houses with bar-covered windows on 73rd Street in Jackson Heights. The boys look kind of tough, but they are polite as […]

Direction By Mercy

by 09/28/2014
Neighborhood: Long Island City, Lower East Side, Queens

“Here, going? Here, here!” The woman says to the drive and points to the paper in her hand. “This bus is going to Rockaway Beach!” The bus driver looks at her and answers. The woman doesn’t seem to understand and starts to talk to the bus driver in Chinese. The bus driver looks puzzled and shakes […]

Can We Get Next?

by 07/29/2014
Neighborhood: Queens

Vexatious questions always flow out, almost carelessly, when I mention that one sport I enjoy playing is Handball. No, not the much respected European Handball, but American Handball which was played by the Irish and Chinese immigrants that first arrived in large cities, yes girls CAN play, pretty well too, and yes it is a […]