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An Upper West Side Tragedy Set To Music

by 05/18/2012
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

He always said, “Hello, I’m so glad to see you? How are you?” even when he no longer knew our names. Starting in the last year, he didn’t care about answers. He cherished his long career as an impresario in the world of music, selecting and programming concerts for major institutions in New York City. […]

Growing Up Beastly

by 05/17/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Letter From Abroad, West Village

In 1986 I became an international pop music recording sensation. I don’t mean that at the age of 15 I admired and tried to emulate Ad-Rock, a squeaky, strutting third of the fresh hip-hop phenomenon the Beastie Boys—I mean I was Ad-Rock. His band mates—Mike D and MCA—were my homeboys. Sure, there had previously been […]


by 12/01/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown, Uncategorized

My first real job was in a recording studio on 8th Avenue and 44th Street, producing movie commercials for broadcast on the radio. I was the second engineer, which sounds a lot more impressive than it was. I set up microphones, recorded the talent, edited sound effects and music, layered the voice over the background […]

Inventorying Hidden Spaces

by 03/07/2011
Neighborhood: Harlem, Upper West Side

In the basement of the Museum of American Indian there was a caretaker’s apartment. You got to it by walking down a side stairwell, beyond the main entrance of the museum, or by going past the work space beyond the gift shop, through a utility room, and then down a side hallway. The door was […]

Sotto Voce

by 09/14/2009
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

“If you could be anything in the world and talent and money weren’t an issue, would you still be doing what you do, or something else?” My husband posed this question in an attempt to liven up a rather staid Upper East Side party one night. The gathered Wall Street wizards, lawyers and M.B.A. types […]

Opera for the Poor, Cheap and Masochistic

by 08/16/2009
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

I’m Number 28 in line for rush tickets at the Metropolitan Opera. Today there was a ripple in the curvature of the space-time continuum: they moved the rush ticket waiting line upstairs. Ongoing construction forced everybody out of the usual spot. This means that instead of waiting in the hyperborean dungeon beneath the main level […]

Gettin’ Racial on Little Rodeo Drive (uh, Bleecker Street)

by 11/02/2008
Neighborhood: West Village

If you have a gloriously Afro’d, insanely talented, sleek sapling of a former student who has given herself a single syllable moniker and released her first hip-hop CD, you want to walk her around your neighborhood like a princess. You want a red carpet to roll out in front of her as she shyly hunts […]


by 10/07/2008
Neighborhood: West Village

I met John Lennon in Washington Square Park. My friend Susan and I were returning home to the Village from our jobs as drug abuse counselors in the roughest schools in Brooklyn…when we spotted him. It was 1973, and his hat gave him away: a black Beatles’ cap that had become their trademark, a newsboy […]

My First (And Only) Paid Appearance as a Violin Soloist

by 08/25/2008
Neighborhood: Lower Manhattan

Most violin students must diligently practice on their instruments many hours a day, for many years, before even thinking of turning professional. Some may give it up long before they become proficient. And even should they pursue their musical studies, and become skilled at playing the violin, there are only a limited number of professional […]

Kill Whitey Day

by 04/27/2008
Neighborhood: Bronx, East Bronx

I was standing in the basement of Macy’s Parkchester in The Bronx, in a line of what seemed like a thousand teenagers, smoking both cigarettes and weed, chanting and cheering and waiting for Ticketmaster to open. Adult shoppers were non-existent and salespeople had abandoned their posts either in foreknowledge or in fear, except the lone […]

Strange Bedfellows

by 12/09/2007
Neighborhood: Times Square

Time really is the great leveler. The other night I went to BB King’s Blues Club and Grill to hear the Psychedelic Furs of all things. Or a better way to put it, in my case, would be that I went to hear the Furs at BB King’s of all places. Either way, you get […]

Leaves of Grass

by 12/01/2007
Neighborhood: East Village

I slouched on my unmade bed in the murky mid-afternoon twilight, back against the wall, staring forlornly out the window. The sooty red bricks across the air shaft, crusty with flecks of ancient pigeon shit, provided little comfort. I tried casting my eyes around my room every now and then, for variety, but that was […]