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Water, One Dollar

by 11/24/2006
Neighborhood: Financial District

Mohammad B. Miah is a small man. He stands about five feet tall with his red and white and black leather hi-top sneakers on. He lives in Astoria, Queens, and he wants to know whether I work for the city. He motions in the direction of City Hall. “You have a job?” he asks. “I’m […]


by 11/10/2006
Neighborhood: East Village

I scrolled through last Saturday’s call log on my cell phone to find his number. I hadn’t saved it on purpose, never thought I’d be dialing it. Weird, I couldn’t stop thinking about this guy. It wasn’t a crush or anything (the thought of romance with anyone Y-chromosomed made my stomach turn), but I had […]

Thanksgiving With The Blonde in The Brown Jacket

by 10/31/2006
Neighborhood: Harlem

If you find yourself awakened by an eccentric, foul-tempered neighbor called el Jefe in the hallway of an apartment building known for its vermin while fully installed with a vodka hangover and reeking of pizza-flavored snack treats, be as pleasant as possible. Especially if you are seeking assistance in the forcible entry of your own […]

“An Orthodox Jew Walks into a McDonald’s…”

by 10/31/2006
Neighborhood: Union Square

I am not expecting it to be so pink. The floor is tiled light mauve-ish, though it’s having a brown sort of day, what with the rain and the customers tracking in the muck from outside. The counters and tables are a marbleized pink and the occasional wall panel is deep purple. I had been […]

Defending the Park Slope Food Coop

by 10/24/2006
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

[Here it is: The moment Fran Giuffre Fran Giuffre first realized that war was at hand. The first of countless responses to Giuffre’s critical evisceration of the Park Slope Food Coop, it was followed, many long and difficult years later, by Erica Weitzman‘s similarly devastating counterattack. –Ed.] Dear Fran, I read your horror story about […]

Confronting the Park Slope Food Coop

by 10/17/2006
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

[Since its initial publication on Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, this piece has unleashed a firestorm of debate so fierce, and so utterly acrimonious, that it is easily the most controversial piece in the history of this website. Of the many responses that we received, the two that we are legally permitted to publish are by Erica […]

Alice Quinn

by 07/31/2006
Neighborhood: Chelsea

The woman comes into the New York restaurant where I work and is reading a poetry magazine. “Say,” I say, “is that some sort of poetry magazine?” “Yeah,” she says. “I like Billy Collins,” I say. “Yeah?” she says. “Yeah,” I say. “But don’t you think Poetry is Dead, kinda?” “Not really,” she says, and […]

Love and Money at Sun Lin Garden

by 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: Chinatown

It’s common practice for a bar/restaurant to save their first dollar and hang it on the wall. Sometimes it’s framed. Other times it’s taped. But it’s up there for luck. Or at least celebration. A sort of diploma from the school of capitalism. Some businesses even save their first dollar bill, five dollar bill, ten […]

The True Origins of the Egg Cream

by 06/04/2006
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

About Daniel Bell. Illustration by Milton Glaser In a recent letter to New York Magazine, an innocent lass from California asked, “What is an egg cream?” and was answered by The Underground Gourmet that like the Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire, which was neither Holy or Roman, the egg cream contains neither egg nor cream but […]

The Kitchen at Le Cirque

by Thomas Beller 05/31/2006
Neighborhood: Midtown

“Chef!” The word rings out over the din of the vast kitchen, swirling in heat and motion, as 62 men and women in white smocks and white chef’s hats go about the business of making dinner for the eight O’clock seating. “Chef!” The eight o’clock seating at Le Cirque is not to be taken lightly. […]

Chicken Special at La Tacita De Oro

by 05/30/2006
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

La Tacita De Oro, the Chinese-Cuban restaurant on 99th and Broadway has a roast chicken special: One-half chicken (breast, thigh, back and wing) is served with yellow rice and black beans, or salad and fried plantains, for $4.85. I’ve come to learn that a small population of Chinese migrated to Cuba in the 1930s and […]

BQE Sunrise

by 05/05/2006
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

It was 4 am. Maybe 4:30. The sun was just coming out, shading the city gorgeous cool oranges and blues and pinks and yellows. It was late spring, early summer. We had been up all night listening to Johnny Cash, smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey. We were on Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn, in my canted railroad […]