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Rodney Street

by 02/26/2017
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Lola is whining. I open the door to the dark hallway so she’ll stop, so she’ll know I’m here. The sunlight reveals a brown present she’s left already, its odor mixing in with the faint smell of cigarettes. It’s hardening. I’m not going to clean it up. She’s not my puppy. The open bedroom door […]

The Culture of Dog Walking

by 09/26/2013
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill

I’ve always wondered about the strange symbiosis that forms between dog owners and their dogs. For dog lovers, the word pet fails to suffice. But the dog walker may speculate: is it an equally co-dependent companionship, where partners receive and transmit comparable levels of appreciation and affection? Or is it asymmetrical—an over-identification on the part […]

Stellar Decisions

by 12/04/2012
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

I was supposed to meet Christopher, but not the way I met him. The circumstances were of the sort that makes people believe in a higher power, which wasn’t exactly my thing. I’m not saying it is now, but I’m not saying it isn’t. It was early December, and I was two months into grieving […]

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 […]

City Habitats

by 03/08/2010
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

My partner and I found an apartment with one bedroom—one more bedroom than either of us had in our old places. The new residence did not, however, have a bathtub. The bathroom—an extension of a hallway that also served as the kitchen—was too small for a tub. The space left for a tub measured about […]

Art History

by 08/24/2007
Neighborhood: East Village

My neighbor is an artist and I’ve been walking my dog Vera past her door daily looking for evidence of how she lives. I’m new here now but no longer young. When I was, I lived in the same neighborhood but it was different, so even though my first address in this city was only […]

A Boy & His Dog-Poop

by 12/01/2005
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

It’s January 2, 1997. I head out to the corner bodega to buy coffee and a New York Times. I wear a robe and slippers. I am still hung over from New Year’s Eve. It is the time of year when the frozen ground in Williamsburg forms an admixture of leftover snow and dog turd […]

The Jewel in the Crown

by 11/16/2005
Neighborhood: Uncategorized

[The following was originally published in “Piece From Life’s Crazy Quilt,” a collection of personal essays about growing up in Detroit in the 1920’s, 30s, and 40s by Marvin V. Arnett. The collection first appeared in 2000, as part of the University of Nebraska Press’s “American Lives” series (Series Editor: Tobias Wolff), and the University […]

The Dirt on Vets

by 10/27/2005
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

My cat Pancho had been throwing up for two weeks and my dog Mack was still scratching his ears after the ear mite treatment, so, in search of a new brand of cat food and some anti-itch supplements, I ended up at the local pet store just across from Prospect Park on the Southwest side. […]