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There’s No Rainbow on the FDR

by 05/31/2006
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

It was an unseasonably cool Sunday evening in July, and, like the weather, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I was looking for a new job and getting used to the pressures and angst of being in my first serious relationship. Walking on 78th Street between First and York, heading to the subway […]

Fiberglass Dogs

by 09/27/2005
Neighborhood: Times Square

There was a while when it seemed like every year New York played host to a parade of hand-painted fiberglass animals. The cows were the most famous. The German shepherds were a lot less famous and they disappeared from the streets pretty quick. But, here and there, you’ll still see one, sitting guard outside the […]

Tulips in the Dark

by Thomas Beller 04/20/2005
Neighborhood: West Village

I saw Ed in the shadows on Perry street. A streelamp must have gone out because it was very dark. There was a helicopter circling the neighborhood, it’s spotlight straffing. “A sign of things to come,” he said, as though they were looking for him. A couple of houses down from where Ed sat there […]

Post Oaks in Pelham Bay Park

by 09/27/2004
Neighborhood: Bronx

We were looking for the old oak trees, the ones rumored to be down by the shoreline. The day was already sweat-lodge hot, at 8 a.m., the seagulls circling lazily in the morning light. We stood in the parking lot, plotting our route; the sweat boiled up under our long sleeved shirts and long pants—protection […]

For the Birds

by 03/12/2004
Neighborhood: Murray Hill

This week’s meeting of the New York Companion Bird Club of Manhattan was held at the Jackson Hole Restaurant. This would be the first bird club meeting of my life. I have never liked birds very well. In my last year of undergraduate college, I transferred to San Francisco State University, and discovered that the […]


by 07/16/2003
Neighborhood: Central Park

I was a New York City Urban Park Ranger usually stationed in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, but for this day I was detailed out to Central Park, the park of my childhood. In Van Cortlandt Park I knew where the hophornbeam trees lived in a valley of white oaks and tulip poplars. I […]

David Brown’s Flower Shop

by Thomas Beller 09/18/2002
Neighborhood: West Village

What follows are some stories about David Brown and his flower shop. But before I tell you about him, I have to explain why, whenever I look into the store window I now see, in addition to all the flowers, a face. For a period of several months David Brown was absent from his own […]

Outward Bound on the East River

by 07/11/2002
Neighborhood: Multiple, The East River

It was the beginning of summer and my two young sons had taken to counting Jaguars. “There’s one!” Alex, then eight, would cry, elated, from the backseat of the car. “Oh, there’s another one.” “Look over there—there’s two more!” five-year-old Ferran would trill. Anyone unfamiliar with the Hamptons might have assumed we were on a […]

Street Tree Forest

by 05/03/2002
Neighborhood: Uncategorized

From mid March to early June (and again from mid October to mid December), the New York City Parks Department plants approximately 7,500 trees on the sidewalks in front of people’s homes, in front of businesses, and on street medians. This is no small thing. A little bit of nature is being transplanted on your […]

Raccoon Killers

by 02/04/2002
Neighborhood: Central Park

On January 25 at 7:30 in the morning, two raccoons were found dead by Central Park personnel. One was found just below the reservoir and the other in the tangled stems of Shakespeare garden. Instead of just cleaning them up, as they might have done in different circumstances, they called the Urban Park Rangers. The […]

The Fate of the Pear Trees at Ground Zero

by 11/10/2001
Neighborhood: World Trade Center

Two weeks after the shock of September 11th, I was sent to “ground zero” by the Parks Department Commissioner to make a quick evaluation of the damage to the plant life in the area. The Commissioner wanted to know what had survived, what plants would need to be replaced, how much it would all cost. […]

The Campers

by 11/02/2001
Neighborhood: Central Park

Growing up, there were certain inarguable rules Mom set forth to ensure her kids’ safety: don’t take candy from strangers, power tools are off-limits unless your Father is present, avoid the yellow snow, and never, under any circumstance, spend the night in Central Park. But over Labor Day weekend, my girlfriend, Kim, and I threw […]