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Fame On The F Train

by 03/09/2024
Neighborhood: East Village, JFK

Yesterday afternoon my long journey from Sriracha, Thailand, ended with the 747’s touchdown at JFK in New York. I hadn’t slept much on the flight and jet lag threatened to seize my body and soul, as I unpacked my bag at my Fort Greene apartment. Sleep crowded my vision, but the writer Bruce Benderson was […]

My Blood

by 01/26/2024
Neighborhood: Astoria, Elmhurst

It was a drop, barely. On the busted tile in the kitchen. My floor. The apartment in Astoria. A drop. My feet were bare. I could kick the tile in and out of place with my toes. Like Tetris. I moved the piece with the splash of blood. I was making mac’ and cheese. Nine […]

Porn That Gets You Into Hell for Sure

by 11/05/2023
Neighborhood: Woodside

I am in my apartment in Woodside, Queens, reading C.S. Lewis. It is my first apartment that isn’t school housing, and I feel like a woman born again: reading, writing, thinking, manic with ideas and desires in a space all of my own. Though I am not Catholic- I’m technically Jewish but not in any […]

A Day at the Track: Aqueduct, 1972

by 09/29/2023
Neighborhood: Aqueduct, Queens

I hope I break even – I could use the money.– overheard at Aqueduct Early in 1972 I went to Aqueduct racetrack with my father and my Uncle Nick. They had the day off, and I had a new telephoto lens that I wanted to try out. I wasn’t doing much of anything back then […]

The Phantom Punch

by 07/08/2023
Neighborhood: Astoria

The two apartments I rented, one after the other, in Astoria from 2009 to 2011 were on the same block of lower Ditmars Boulevard in modest buildings, under the faded dominion of the Hell Gate Bridge, within sight and smell of the East River, and across the street from the Kodachrome canvas of Astoria Park. […]

A Magical Oasis in Queens

by 01/21/2023
Neighborhood: Sunnyside

I grew up in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, during the 1950s, in an attached house between 48th and 49th streets. The houses had small gardens – front and back – with much larger communal gardens beyond our front yard. Small trees and flowering bushes were planted around the edges of two large square patches of well-mowed […]

Welcome to New York City

by 11/20/2022
Neighborhood: Ridgewood

The atmosphere seemed different coming home. You could feel it stepping off the train. A March chill penetrated our light jackets, and we caught ourselves shivering. Off to the west, fog obscured Manhattan’s glow. The empty subway cars clattered away, headed for the end of the line; oddly, we’d been the only riders in ours […]

Long Live Linen Boy

by 09/11/2022
Neighborhood: Astoria

When I stopped dating him twenty years ago, I never imagined he’d end up living up the street from me. We were two twenty-something Brooklynites having cocktails somewhere near Broadway and Lafayette, sometime in the late 90s, when I told him that the date we were on, our third, would be our last. He stared […]

The Saint of Linden Boulevard

by 04/19/2022
Neighborhood: Queens

*** Editor’s note: This is a true story. It happened in 1995. The protagonist lived in St. Albans. The church where he worshipped was in South Jamaica. M. A. Istvan Jr. was raised in Beacon, New York, in the 80s and 90s where, in addition to the soft bigotry of lowered expectations, a decades-deep tide […]

St. Patrick’s Day

by 03/14/2022
Neighborhood: Park Slope, Rockaway Beach

I was born in South Brooklyn in 1947. As a teenager I did not experience the Italian – Irish conflict that my parents, children of Italian immigrants, did. The fighting between Irish-American and Italian-American teen gangs had basically stopped. (Sadly, newer common enemies were found.)  Locals continued to tag walls and store gates with graffiti […]

Moving to Queens

by 03/06/2022
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights, Sunnyside

I lived in Manhattan for most of my considerably long life, until moving to Queens four years ago.  In my early adulthood, Manhattan was still affordable, so affordable that the people who worked the jobs that sustain city life—cops, teachers, garbage men, hospital and transit workers—could afford to live in certain areas of it. So […]

Together at Jacob Riis Beach

by 07/18/2021
Neighborhood: Jacob Riis Beach, Queens

It was my first time going to Jacob Riis Beach and it was with you.  We’d been together for two years. The first year, we were too new, and I felt a last minute anxiety about shedding my clothes in front of you and lazing in the hot sun, an anxiety that I hadn’t felt […]