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Thanksgiving 1979

by 09/07/2012
Neighborhood: Gravesend

At a Scherma family holiday meal there was usually mayhem. Thirty people including Sadie, chief chef, and Frank and their four sons and their families and friends and Aunt Angie sat around a set of long tables. The youngest kids were placed nearby at a separate table. There was always too much food and the […]

The Owner Likes It Loud

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

In the mid ‘70s I, a lifelong New Yorker, eagerly departed the crazy hustle and bustle of New York City when I landed a job in Birmingham, Alabama. I didn’t expect to miss New York or anything about it. But a few weeks after I moved to Birmingham, suddenly and unexpectedly I began craving almost […]

Cookie Friday

by 06/09/2012
Neighborhood: Midtown

There’s no real sorrow in this account. I wasn’t working the red light district, nor had I become a Mole Person. I wasn’t destitute or physically mistreated. I was a recent college graduate, holding an entry-level position as a paralegal at a personal injury firm in East Midtown, Manhattan. In fact, with everyone talking about […]

The Gift of Tongues

by 05/25/2012
Neighborhood: West Village

It’s 1979 and the grown-ups are out of control. They are getting divorced and either going to law school or Studio 54. They are in therapy; they are smoking pot, taking lovers, coming out and finding themselves. My parents are married, but my mother buys Donna Summer’s Bad Girls and uses my Stagelight blue roses nail […]

Hello Pizza

by 05/07/2012
Neighborhood: Prospect Heights

On a just-cold-enough-not-to-be-warm evening in April I am at work, delivering pizza; mostly on streets lined with brownstones. Down these lanes I pedal doggedly, lurching on an old blue/green mountain bike with a large wire basket mounted above the front wheel and a habit of breaking down with reliable frequency. Tall and thin with a […]

A Frothy Goodbye

by 03/26/2012
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill

Every English teacher needs a café of his own, and my weekend joint for nearly seven years has closed. The Fall Café frothed its final latte in early December. I hope my students understood why their last batch of essays was returned later than usual. Signs of the café’s demise were written everywhere, literally. Last […]

I Love You, U-Bet

by 03/26/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay

              When I was a young man—no bigger than this             A chocolate egg cream was not to be missed             Some U-bet’s chocolate syrup, seltzer water mixed             with milk             Stir it up into a heady fro—tasted just like milk             You scream, I steam, we all want Egg Cream.                                                                         […]

Bento Box Bingo

by 02/26/2012
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

Many things are curated in this day and age. Google will happily refer you to “a curated book,” “curated digital apps,” “a curated list of televised soccer games,” a “meticulously curated” fixed-gear bicycle boutique in Paris, and “a curated set of grooming products.” A curated door, such as can be found at 27 Ludlow Street […]

The Balcony

by 02/03/2012
Neighborhood: Long Island

We moved into our apartment on a cold, windy April day. April Fool’s Day, actually. Susan and I didn’t know many people in town and we were looking forward to making new friends. As the movers struggled to get the bed and sofa up the narrow stairs, I looked out the tiny window in our […]

Gratuity

by 12/30/2011
Neighborhood: West Village

Everyone thinks the French are so cute. But I’m a waitress, so I know better. I deal with plenty of tourists. I don’t mind them while they’re at the restaurant and I do my best to decipher their accents and answer their questions—though I do draw a blank when they ask me where all the […]

Low Point at High Point

by 04/03/2011
Neighborhood: Park Slope, Uncategorized

As I walked past High Point Coffee on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, a heavy bag of groceries in each hand, I was surprised, even alarmed, to see that the windows were dim. It wasn’t even eight o’clock yet on a warm April evening. However, I reflected as I approached, I am High Point Coffee’s only […]

Long Live Viva Pancho

by 01/18/2011
Neighborhood: Times Square

Long Live Viva Pancho Viva Pancho is a Mexican restaurant in Times Square, on West 44th Street, just off Broadway. It’s verde awning reads, “Viva Pancho”/“Home Of the Sizzling Fajitas,” in chili pepper script. Neither quaint holdover from the old Times Square, nor modern day restaurant group vision, it could very well be situated in […]