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Christmas Morning

by 05/26/2014
Neighborhood: Forest Hills

This morning I made Ramen noodles with extra veggies in it, and peanut butter and Korean bean paste. Then took a walk, crossed Grand Central on over to Queens Boulevard where an Asian woman walking a little dog caught my eye. She saw my eye was caught by her, so when she got up close, […]

The Hedges

by 02/16/2014
Neighborhood: Farmingdale

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but it happened. I have become a cranky old man, closed and rigid and fixed in my ways, despite the fact that in my youth I’d resolved never to grow up, never to become like all the grown ups who lived in my world when I was growing […]

The Wild Turkeys Of Staten Island University Hospital

by 04/17/2012
Neighborhood: Staten Island

Wild turkeys roam the grounds of Staten Island University Hospital. When my mother was hospitalized in April 2011 with a respiratory infection, I had the opportunity to observe them in detail. Turkeys stand around a lot, sort of like escaped mental patients who suddenly find themselves free, but then what. One day, they might be […]

Here Lies Jed

by 05/22/2011
Neighborhood: Prospect Park

We suspected it was illegal, but we had no choice. At the vet’s office in Park Slope, they told us cat cremation cost $125, and neither my boyfriend nor I had the money. Besides, cremation seemed too formal, too clinical, for Jed. He was always escaping out the window, taking self-guided tours of the neighborhood […]

A True Life Fish Tale

by 04/11/2011
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

I thought I’d been having a bad year—chewed up and spit out after a couple of months in the New York City public school system (which is a whole other story I was advised by my attorney not to write about until after our lawsuit was resolved)—but then I met the saddest, sorriest creature I’d […]

Hemmed In

by 02/14/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown

This is a story about my grandmother, who was young in Manhattan in the 1920s. Speakeasies, nightclubs, drop-waisted dresses, bobbed hair, cloche hats, waist-length strands of dime-store pearls. Even for a middle-class workaday office girl like Frances Thornton, those were heady times. She was among the first of the gals in her office to bob […]

Scary Scary Scary New York City

by 10/31/2010
Neighborhood: All Over

Be afraid, they tell us. Be very afraid. I read the Timeses, the Newses, the AM New Yorks. I watch the Ernie Anostoses, listen to the Brian Lehrers, check out the NY1s, peruse the Gothamists, and call the 311s, only to end up hearing the same message, the ongoing drumbeat pounding in my brain in […]

Some Lice to Live

by 03/02/2008
Neighborhood: Midtown

I come home to find a message on my answering machine from the nurse at my daughter’s school. “We had a case of head lice in the 5th grade, so we did a school-wide check.” Pause. “Meredith has some nits.” I immediately think of The Thorn Birds, which I read when I was a kid. […]

The Fig Trees of Bensonhurst

by 12/31/2006
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Outer Boroughs

I hesitated before walking through the alleyway that led to my old backyard. I could see that my mother and father’s old fig tree was still there in the yard. It was late summer and there had just been a light rain. This would have been prime fig picking time back in the old days. […]

The Bird Funeral

by 07/27/2006
Neighborhood: Midtown

This morning I saw a dead bird on 52nd Street. It was lying on its back on the sidewalk in between Park and Madison Avenues, in front of a Duane Reade Pharmacy. Its feet were in the air. At first I wasn’t sure if it was dead. It looked like it was just dozing, sunning […]

Earth First (And Last)

by Thomas Beller 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: West Village

Bill Dilworth may have one of New York’s most relaxing jobs. He is keeper of the New York Earth Room, a permanent installation by the artist Walter DeMaria, sponsored by the Dia Foundation. The work has been on display at the same location at 141 Wooster Street for over ten years, and Mr. Dilworth has […]

Tulips and Addresses

by 05/31/2006
Neighborhood: Midtown

The Museum of Modern Art on West Fifty-third Street Is interested only in the flower not the bulb. After the Dutch tulips finished blooming in the garden last year, They pulled them up and threw them away–that place has no heart. Some fortunately were rescued and came into my possession. I kept them all winter […]