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1981

by 02/14/2011
Neighborhood: East Village, West Village

Everyone on the scene thought operating an after-hours club on top of a 14th Street theater was a good idea and Arthur Weinstein opened the Jefferson on New Year’s Eve 1980. During the week the loft was home to Arthur, his wife, daughter, and best friend, Scottie. On the weekend hundreds of revelers unwilling to […]

Second Chances

by 01/30/2011
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

With Illustrations by Carlo Quispe I don’t go to Dr. Dave for check-ups, just when something goes wrong. And something is wrong today. I suck down the last hit of my cigarette and stub it beside a mural of spray-painted camouflage that covers part of Dr. Dave’s corner office on Clinton and Stanton. A sign—red […]

Trolling Whores for Coke: How to Get Started

by 03/17/2010
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Washington Heights

So you’ve got the wife and the kids. You’ve got and are just barely hanging onto, the co-op in the chic enclave, you’re so middle-aged. Some men, finding themselves adrift in a wood in their middle years, go to the gym: I troll whores for coke. After you’ve seen the horrors of Chelsea Pier’s ice […]

Crack Island

by 09/06/2008
Neighborhood: East Village

East 11th Street between Avenue B and C on the Lower East Side of New York was hot for drugs the summer of 1986. The tenement building on the corner of Avenue B was called ‘the Rock.’ Teenage look-outs steered cokeheads into the tenement. The metal apartment doors were welded shut. A spy hole allowed […]

Young Russian Immigrants Turn to Heroin

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, On the Waterfront

Her daughter tried dozens of rehab clinics and treatment programs. After awhile, Olga says, they blurred into a familiar pattern: “program, back, program, back.” “Back” meaning: back on heroin. Olga, who asked that her and her daughter’s names be changed for this story, came to New York City with her family in 1997, refugees from […]

Supporting Mick Jagger’s Habit

by 03/31/2008
Neighborhood: Astoria, Queens

In the glory days of Steinway Street, there was an establishment called Record Spectacular. A combination record store/head shop, it was located between 30th and 31st Avenues, on the west side of the street…and was a meeting place of sorts for music aficionados, potheads, and other 1970s misfits. I still remember walking wide-eyed into Record […]

Hotel Edison

by 12/15/2007
Neighborhood: Times Square

Since my father’s suicide in the Hotel Edison, I made sure never to pass that hotel. I would not even walk down West 47th Street. But suddenly there I was, smack in front of it, thirty-nine years later on a brutally cold night in 2002 with my boyfriend Craig, who innocently suggested we stop in […]

Leaves of Grass

by 12/01/2007
Neighborhood: East Village

I slouched on my unmade bed in the murky mid-afternoon twilight, back against the wall, staring forlornly out the window. The sooty red bricks across the air shaft, crusty with flecks of ancient pigeon shit, provided little comfort. I tried casting my eyes around my room every now and then, for variety, but that was […]

Liquid Straightjacket Works Every Time

by 11/18/2007
Neighborhood: Murray Hill

It’s 1983; I’m on the job ten years and have received my first promotion. Yesterday as a firefighter I carried an axe and fought fires; today as a Fire Marshal I carry a gun and fight crime. In most departments around our country, the title Fire Marshal denotes a person who performs inspectional duties. In […]

One Snort

by 10/09/2007
Neighborhood: Williamsburg

Cocaine did not ruin my life any more than video games or an overprotective mother ruined my life. Which is to say, not at all. Whether or not cocaine impaired my intellectual abilities (I am not a member of MENSA) is something I’ll never know but as for my physical development (I’m six foot nine) […]

Living with Nicola’s Single Life

by 06/01/2007
Neighborhood: East Village

Nicola is a lively twenty-year-old girl of Thai and Italian descent, born and raised on the Upper East Side. She has been my roommate on East 4th Street for four months, since I answered her apartment ad on Craigslist, and she works as a cocktail waitress at Thor—a fashionable nightclub in the Lower East Side—until […]

The Naked New Year’s Eve Bartender

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Tribeca

The job sounded perfect: bartending a gay sex party in a private loft in Tribeca. If I had to be stuck in New York for New Year’s Eve – a very depressing thought after having spent four New Year’s Eves in Cape Town – then I might as well work, earn some money, and just […]