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There Really Was a Mafia on the Upper West Side

by 11/03/2019
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

In the early 1960s, as a recently married City College professor the closest I’d come to the Mafia was in movies and newspaper articles. Back then, New York City was rocked by Mafia scandals as investigations revealed that the police and other municipal unions were cooperating with mobsters in numbers rackets, loan sharking, business shakedowns, […]

He Was No Angel

by 10/07/2018
Neighborhood: Manhattan

One day, back in the early 90s, I came pretty close to being on that list of unarmed black men dead at the hands of New York’s finest. I was a full-time college student at the time, and holding down a full-time gig at a department store in midtown Manhattan. My co-worker, a Colombian cat […]

After the Graveyard Shift

by 01/28/2014
Neighborhood: East Village

Always wear a bag on your head if you don’t want people to bother you. I figure this out in 1989 while I’m working the midnight to 5am waitressing shift at 7A Cafe in the East Village. It is right across the street from Tompkins Square Park during the height of the riots. The park […]

The Clerk, the Librarian, the Hobbit and the Cop

by 01/08/2012
Neighborhood: Zuccotti Park

“This,” I realized, “I’ve got to see.”   In and out of grass-roots politics my entire adult life, I’ve marched, demonstrated, phone-banked, written letters and e-mails, signed petitions, sold buttons, attended meetings, gone on the radio, made documentaries, and helped with organizational duties. Early this October, I had joined in one Occupy demonstration in Washington […]