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Someone Should Keep an Eye on Him

by 04/29/2015
Neighborhood: Union Square

“That’s it. I’ve had it.” Staring at the dirt encrusted window I made up my mind to cheer myself up. After September 11, 2001, my job relocated from a building overlooking the World Trade Center to the industrial center of Long Island City – the old Bloomingdale’s Warehouse on a concrete hill overlooking the Long […]

Of Landlords and Cousins

by 03/03/2013
Neighborhood: Sunset Park

Of Landlords and Cousins My landlord visits our brownstone apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn at least three times a week to “fix” something. He is a saxophone player from the city of Odessa on the Black Sea in the Ukraine—a city I have never visited but feel a connection to because my grandparents were born […]

Hung Out

by 06/20/2011
Neighborhood: Park Slope

Looking out my kitchen window, I see a clothesline. It hasn’t always been there. It’s a bit saggy perhaps, and a long length of excess rope is untrimmed and dangling from the knot. But still, I look at this clothesline and feel pride. For it was I who put it there. My girlfriend Victoria and […]

Looking Up

by 03/13/2011
Neighborhood: Grand Central Station

I first passed under Grand Central Terminal’s Sky Ceiling in 1985 as a young actress new to Manhattan, on the way from my job as a Broadway theater bartender to visit my first serious boyfriend in Connecticut. Several times a week, I raced to catch the last New Haven-bound train at 11:20 pm. Winded as […]

Floating on Air at the St. George Hotel

by 01/27/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights

The visible landscape of Brooklyn Heights is much the same as it was in my childhood, which is a large part of why I moved back to the neighborhood after almost twenty years. Every so often, someone stops me on Clark Street to ask directions to the subway station. It always takes me a second […]

It Wasn’t Our Turn

by 07/20/2007
Neighborhood: Bronx, Outer Boroughs

Arriving at work for the night tour on October 29, 1974 I discover the firehouse to be as abandoned and silent as a cemetery at midnight, I was spooked by something but wrote it off to the approach of Halloween when in reality it was actually an omen. I am the first member of the […]

I Lose My Cherry

by 08/10/2006
Neighborhood: East Harlem

It’s mid-afternoon on a Saturday in April 1973, and my first-day tour on the job, when that seminal alarm sounds. The disembodied voice of the dispatcher booms from loudspeakers throughout the firehouse, “Attention the following units…Engines 83, 60, 41-1 Ladders 29, 17-2 Battalion 14…Respond to…” The box number and address are given, and then the […]

Katrina Did One Good Thing

by 06/14/2006
Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

It sounds like Harlem when black people in New Orleans talk, but way more so. They open their mouths and cane syrup sounds roll out. “Awright, Sugar. Heego, dawlin’,” said the steam table lady serving shrimp as I lunched at a conference that brought me recently to this gorgeous, mangled city. I asked where she […]

The Old Building on the Way to Dad’s Office

by 05/31/2006
Neighborhood: Midtown

My dad worked in midtown at an advertising agency and for years as a young kid I would go to work with my him in the summers, just as a way to stay out of trouble. We would always take the same route and on the way we would pass an old decrepit building sandwiched […]

Christmas Day in a Parallel Queens

by 01/05/2006
Neighborhood: All Over, Letter From Abroad

On this warm, wet Christmas, I ambled without purpose somewhere in America. I prefer the inevitable disappointment of a sodden Christmas–the remains of an earlier December snowfall dribbling down storm drains, the exiled smokers unshivering, unbothering with jackets, exhalations elongated in the humidity, the theatrical coziness of houses all the more fake against temperatures well […]

Industrial Ruins, Digital Gallery: An Interview with Lowell Boileau

by 08/05/2005
Neighborhood: Uncategorized

“Athens has got ruins, Rome has got ruins. Ours are bigger, but there’s no guidebook to them.” —Lowell Boileau Part collage, part museum, part mausoleum, and all constructed around a series of intricately conceived online “tours,” detroityes.com depicts Detroit’s past and present in a library containing thousands of vivid photographic images. For many, the centerpiece […]

The Northern Dispensary

by 04/20/2005
Neighborhood: West Village

Across the street from my apartment is a vacant building known as the Northern Dispensary. Founded as a hospice for the poor in 1827, this wedge-shaped landmark is a West Village oddity situated at the oddest of intersections: the point at which two branches of Waverly Place come together, and where Christopher Street and Grove […]