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Robbed in Bed-Stuy

by 01/08/2012
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant

“I was robbed in front of my apartment on Thursday night,” my ex told me the other day. “The guy said he had a gun.” “What?” I squawked, genuinely surprised. It was the week of Thanksgiving. We were meant to be discussing favorite trimmings alongside the turkey, not armed robbery. “So you’ve lost everything. Keys, […]

Richie Two-Ax

by 12/29/2011
Neighborhood: Gowanus, Manhattan, Park Slope

When my father walked onto the construction site of the Western Electric Building on Broadway and Fulton, he asked a dark-skinned guy in hard hat where Richie Two-ax was. The construction worker eyed my father’s neatly pressed slacks and asked, “Who are you?” “I’m his friend? He told me to meet him here for lunch,” […]

Passing For 62

by 12/15/2011
Neighborhood: Uncategorized, Union Square, Williamsburg

Every Spring, tennis players in New York City who want to play on the city courts have to buy a tennis permit. The Parks Department doubled the price this year to $200 for an adult permit. Seniors only pay $20 . If I can pass for 62, I’ll save $180. I’m unemployed. The first time […]

The Red Berets

by 11/11/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown, Restaurant Row, Uncategorized

In my youth I wore a red beret. Twenty-some years ago, I was a New York City Guardian Angel who patrolled Restaurant Row with Curtis Sliwa and his wife, Lisa, and about ten other vigilantes. We were a small group who made a lot of noise. We also patrolled the “A” train, which we nicknamed […]

Café Espresso

by 09/19/2011
Neighborhood: Little Italy, Uncategorized

When I moved to Little Italy in the fall of ’82, my ground floor studio on Mott Street was directly next door to the Café Espresso. This did not appear to be a fact that bore much significance, as the café was a broken down mess of a place, with faded gold letters peeling off […]

Trash Fiorucci

by 07/01/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown

In the late-70s Fiorucci on East 60th Street was the style center for the disco world of New York. The windows boasted the latest flash fashion from Italy. These trendy threads guaranteed almost immediate entrance into Studio 54 or any exclusive disco in Manhattan. Joey Arias was the store manager in the summer of 1977 […]

Don’t Look

by 05/01/2011
Neighborhood: Herald Square, Uncategorized

When I took a position at a legal research firm, I became a frequent rider of the subway, sometimes spending more time under than above ground. My new job  had me traveling from office to office during the day giving presentations and training attorneys. I hate to drive, so I’ve never minded the subway. Usually […]


by 05/01/2011
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

When Jeffrey and I argue, my mother always weeps. “Shame on you,” she says. “I wish my brother, Shmuel, was still here for me to argue with. Shame on you!” My brother and I hang our heads. We wait for her to leave the room, but she is not yet finished. “Is this what I […]

Don’t Feed The Crackheads

by 03/06/2011
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant

Tay Tay was my first friend in Bed Stuy. Yes, she stole my money, and yes, she nearly got me kicked out of my apartment, and yes, our relationship further alienated me from my neighbors, but she stuck around. Tay Tay, she was like glue. Let me explain.  Crackheads are like seagulls: you feed one, […]

Guns Guns Guns

by 12/19/2010
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Kids in America are supposed to like guns. Our movie heroes majestically wield weapons on the silver screen and TV cops dance through primetime gun ballets. Armed with air rifles and plastic weapons my friends and I played WAR in the woods behind my house. Imaginary bullets tore holes through the make-believe Nazis and Japs. […]

Door Buzzers that Never Ring

by 12/19/2010
Neighborhood: Williamsburg

I leap down the stairs, unlock and swing open the wrought iron gate. Priscilla, my best friend and playmate, is leaning against the fire hydrant, fidgeting with her treasured Elvis Pez dispenser. She runs to me, pulls on my sweater, and drags me to the corner of Madison Street. Speechless and excited, she nudges my […]

Son of Sam Got Me Out of Guitar Lessons

by 12/19/2010
Neighborhood: Staten Island

New Dorp Lane, even in 1976, was a traffic jam of cars in search of parking for the shops and restaurants up and down the strip. On the corner of Clawson Street, was Lane Music, its window drawn with a transparent yellow shade. Inside, guitars hung on one wall, while, opposite, were the doors to […]