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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 […]

Altercation at Irving Plaza

by 02/17/2024
Neighborhood: East Village

November 3, 1978 – East Village – Journal Entry Last night THE NEW WAVE VAUDEVILLE SHOW at Irving Plaza was a great success for the performers, but a debacle for me. Klaus Nomi was the headliner along with a horde of starry-eyed rockers and artists. My friends and I were asked to be the security. […]

Hua Tang’s Daughter Gets a Tattoo

by 10/22/2022
Neighborhood: East Village

23 minutes away from the East Village, Manhattan, and Hua Tang’s mascara has already snowballed beneath her lashes. I don’t look any better — glancing at my window reflection, I register, my resemblance to the racist portrayals of Chinese people in 19th-century American comics. My eyes are swollen to the point where my field of […]

It Takes a Village

by 07/17/2022
Neighborhood: East Village

They say it takes a village…to raise a drunken man out of the gutter. I discover this is true while crossing First Avenue at 6th street in the East Village. After throwing on an inside-out sweatshirt and flip-flops to visit the corner fruit stand, I see someone lying in the street near the curb by […]

The Life and Times of Ricky Powell

by 02/14/2021
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

I was scrolling through Twitter after midnight a couple of weeks ago when I read that the photographer and New York personality Ricky Powell had died. The news hit me because as kids we’d spent a lot of time together at the 14th Street Y in afterschool programs. Biddy Basketball and Sportsman’s Clinic, and the […]

Lyrics for Songs that May Never be Written

by 05/17/2020
Neighborhood: East Village

I started writing these for my dear friend and frequent collaborator, the jazz saxophonist John Ellis. We both live in Village View, a Mitchell-Lama Housing Complex in the East Village, one building over from each other. When COVID hit, I started sending him material – “rough cuts” that we might eventually work on together to […]

In Praise of Rooftops

by 04/19/2020
Neighborhood: East Village

I’m sitting on the roof of a walk-up on East 11th Street, staring into the large glass windows of a penthouse apartment across the street. It’s an early evening in August, the perfect time of night for idling: not late enough to make you worry that you’ve wasted the night, but since the sun’s gone […]

Rootless

by 05/19/2019
Neighborhood: East Village

  Sattley, California. Winter solstice 2016. We’re at my Aunt-in-law’s house, in the High Sierras, in the Egyptian room. Sphinxes, golden fabrics, a Nefertiti head. The rest of the house is faux Victorian, a modest ranch overstuffed with Costco products and kitsch. My wife, my toddler daughter, and I are curled up under an electric […]

Will Probably Be Late to the Party

by 01/21/2014
Neighborhood: East Village

I am apologizing to Michelle because I’m crying and I don’t know why. I’m not sad or anything, I’m actually having a good time. This is one of the first times that Michelle and I are hanging out outside of class, and we don’t know each other well yet. But tears keep running down my […]

Where East Village Meets West

by 01/18/2011
Neighborhood: East Harlem, East Village, West Village

Where East Village Meets West Village I’ve spent the last ten years of my life in the East Village of Manhattan, movin’ on up Avenue B. Quite literally: I first lived at 4th and B, then briefly moved to 6th between B and C, ending up on 13th and B. I lived in a shoebox […]

Number 6 at the White House

by 08/16/2010
Neighborhood: East Village, Lower East Side, Midtown

The front of the White House wasn’t that bad. The  reviews online had been awful but perhaps they’d been hasty. The doors were bright blue and no place with bright blue doors could be that bad. I heaved my suitcase over the step. At the train station, a frat boy had tried to help me […]