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Blue Velvet Redux

by 05/27/2023
Neighborhood: East Village

I wondered if a movie could produce the same terror decades on, even if I’d worked hard to forget the plot and its disquieting images. Like the severed ear lying in a field—a waxy dead thing, crawling with ants. And Dennis Hopper, huffing into a mask. Isabella Rossellini’s red mouth in eerie close-up. Not to […]

The Fence on Madison Street

by 09/05/2021
Neighborhood: Williamsburg

On a blistering August afternoon in 2012, I visit my childhood neighborhood in Williamsburg after a 50-year absence and approach a teenage girl who sits on a wooden shipping crate in the front of a house on Madison Street.  I’m standing in front of a wrought iron fence that forms a boundary between us. She […]

When You Get Kicked by a White Guy

by 04/23/2017
Neighborhood: Manhattan, Tribeca

A 2010 article from Newsweek made international news with the headline, “Pakistan is the World’s Most Dangerous Country.” Growing up in Pakistan, I rarely experienced moments of panic. Pakistan could be dangerous—like when a bomb went off near my school—but I felt safe in my suburban neighborhood. When I decided to move to the United […]

Life Imitates Art

by 01/24/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown

This weekend I went to see a film called The Wrestler. I am quite neurotic about going to the movies. Because in New York City, theaters, especially on weekends, tend to fill up and sell out quickly, I make it a point to show up about an hour early. I feel panicked when there are […]

Nina’s Wedding

by 02/12/2010
Neighborhood: Park Slope

If my twenty-year-old sister Janet not been maid of honor, I would not even have been invited to my neighbor Nina Milano’s wedding. Nina was 18, one year younger than I, and her fiancé Larry was just 21 on their wedding day, not that unusual in 1969, when many young men, Larry included, were drafted […]