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I Voted

by 11/06/2012
Neighborhood: Red Hook

The cafeteria is gently buzzing with chatter and fluorescence as I enter PS 27 on Nelson Street in Red Hook. Along the western wall of the room, volunteers are seated at a long row of tables with signs for electoral districts taped to the wall behind each one. Examining the reminder I received in the […]

Doormen For Romney

by 10/25/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

September 2012 - In anticipation of an Occupy Wall Street march up Park Avenue, I am polishing the brass poles of the canopy and humming The Internationale. Although my employers, the bankers and traders who live in this elegant pre-war co-op, are hostile to OWS’s call for higher taxes on the rich, I am among the […]

Doc Pomus

by 10/03/2012
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

My songwriter friend Robin called me with an opportunity to make some easy money, fast. She gave me the name and address of a friend of hers and, although I was pretty busy kicking drugs and booze, I jumped at the chance of making some money. I hopped the number two express on Seventh Avenue […]

Passing Paper

by 09/09/2012
Neighborhood: West Village

Back in the late 80s, my friend worked as a narcotic detective for the NYPD. The 27 year-old Brooklyn native belonged to an elite squad, trained to raid crack houses and dealers’ apartments in the Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s biggest housing project. His job was simple, but dangerous. Once their battering ram smashed down the […]

New York Is Oakland

by 09/08/2012
Neighborhood: Financial District, SoHo, Union Square, Zuccotti Park

Two days after the Occupy Oakland police raid, where an Iraq War vet was shot in the head with a police projectile and hundreds more were sprayed with tear gas while they were sleeping, I get a text from Denise as I’m wrapping up dinner with some friends at Teresa’s Diner in Brooklyn Heights: Show […]

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 […]

Sanassa’s Phone Call

by 08/08/2012
Neighborhood: Jamaica

A new school year is on its way and I did not get any of the classes I requested. My classroom’s been changed from the second floor to the basement, and my attendance list has another teacher’s name on it. Due to the unstoppable ramifications of mayoral control, my school has been whittled away, hallway […]

Faces

by 08/03/2012
Neighborhood: Washington Heights

I shift from foot to foot as I wait in line to see the Mona Lisa. The line snakes around the corridor of the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mother and Aunt Regina insist that we must see this wonderful painting. Helen holds my hand and tells me that Leonardo da […]

Mother’s First Vote

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: East New York

 My mother turned twenty-one, voting age, in 1932, during the worst of the Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for president for the first time, trying to unseat Herbert Hoover. My mother had no job, but she had a cousin who was, of all things, not just a Republican but an active Republican. A Jewish […]

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 […]

In The Living Room Of The Beggar

by 04/13/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

He sat sprawled on the furthest side of the Q train, nose plumped with alcohol and ears flushed a chili-pepper red — laughing so hard his breath left two giant spheres of fog on the window. The rest of us were bunched on the other side, in an attempt to escape the stench of human […]

From Howard Beach To An Ashram; A Mafia Journey

by 04/06/2012
Neighborhood: Howard's Beach

All names in this story have been changed. It is not every day that one visits an Ashram for yoga and encounters a “retired” Mafia soldier, adrift there because of illness and poverty. From my end, I envisioned a documentary film covering his faded world; however, for his own security – though the events occurred […]