Posts Tagged: new york city

I saw a girl my age sneak her two brothers up to her room; a staff member appeared on the eighth floor to kick them out within 30 seconds. While brushing my teeth in the shared bathroom, I’ll often hear the slow clacking of a metal cane inching down our hallway, announcing the arrival of an elderly neighbor in her nightgown; she’ll shuffle up to the sink for her nightly beauty routine. Every week, a maintenance man arrives on each floor to make repairs: “Man on the floor!” he’ll say, and then go about his business. At dinner, after we file through a cafeteria-style serving line, I see more camaraderie [...]


The Last Real Wilderness Is Time

There is a long and beautiful monologue in Colson Whitehead’s The Colossus of New York in which the author expounds upon the peculiar way in which the city lives, and the way that its inhabitants own everything in it, including the continuous and unstoppable state of change. The city, the reasoning goes, is always as you saw it when you first set foot there, and you become a New Yorker once you see an old place you once loved subducted and recycled to be something new. Your city lives in memory; the real city defies sentiment, swallows things whole.

I heard the author recite that passage during a film fundraiser. [...]


Sugared Ice and Underwear Balconies: Arthur Miller on City Life Before Air Conditioning

A beautiful piece from a June 1998 issue of the New Yorker:

Every window in New York was open, and on the streets venders manning little carts chopped ice and sprinkled colored sugar over mounds of it for a couple of pennies. We kids would jump onto the back steps of the slow-moving, horse-drawn ice wagons and steal a chip or two; the ice smelled vaguely of manure but cooled palm and tongue.

People on West 110th Street, where I lived, were a little too bourgeois to sit out on their fire escapes, but around the corner on 111th and farther uptown mattresses were put out as night [...]


Save the Mermaids!

You probably know and love the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, whether you’ve woven your way shamelessly and toplessly down its Brooklyn streets, leaving a trail of glitter and fish scales in your wake, or just admired it the way Gatsby watches that green light across the water. But it’s been there, glowing, since 1983, filling the streets of Coney Island with mermaids for one gorgeous and solstice-y Saturday every summer. And whether or not you’ve built a mansion to woo it, the Mermaid Parade is now in danger, due to the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, and needs your help. Otherwise it might be cancelled, leaving tens of thousands of mermaids [...]



Recurring Arrival Delusion An endless thought-loop, regardless of how many times it is proven incorrect, dedicated to the idea that each and every train in the city is running perfectly fine—except for yours. Your train must be re-routed today. Broken. Driven into the sea. Where is it? It is definitely not here. There goes the F. And another. But your train will not be coming today. Why are you still standing there?


That's My Baby, She Lives in the Bathroom

It felt like a lightbulb went off in Goddard's head when she realized her family's little-used second bathroom could be the baby's new bedroom. "Babies love cozy spaces. Kids always want to build forts and cuddle up in corners… I think he really likes his teeny space," she said. 

-As I always say: WHY NOT. [DNAInfo]


The Craving: One Woman's Salty Confession

Maybe the spring weather eroded my self-discipline. Or maybe the festive red-and-yellow umbrellas tipped the scales the day I was overcome by a sudden, inescapable craving for a dirty water hot dog. Heading up 3rd at about 48th Street, I clutched my husband by the wrist and pointed at the hot dog cart. "Come on, let's get one!"

Surprised by my uncharacteristic impetuousness, Allan pushed out his lower lip in an expression of consideration. We sidled over to the cart. I was mesmerized by its decor—colorful photos depicting an array of hot dog-topping combinations. I could see I was in for a radical break from my salad-and-grilled fish habit. [...]


The Five Boro Cemetery Tour

Valentine Sillcocks is a ghost. He lives in the uptown Trinity Church Cemetery, on Broadway between 153rd and 155th Streets, high on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. Through a cluster of creaking maples he can just make out the eastern tower of the George Washington Bridge, which opened in 1931, the same year he was buried at the age of 43.

Valentine Sillcocks was a real person before he became a ghost. His name is etched in a piece of granite that marks the spot where he was laid to rest. His family included a silk hat maker, which may or may not have been Valentine [...]


Word Search

When I moved to New York from Germany, I didn’t have words. I had written for prominent papers in Hamburg, but in New York my German faded quickly and English was slow to take its place. After a few months here I found myself close to aphasic. All I had now was a hasty, unhappy marriage and an apartment in Bushwick that was cheap and hot. Through the window bars I could see glimpses of a trash-filled backyard and an alley cat with kittens. During the day I could hear the termites in the backyard destroying the wooden benches that were built by the old German winemaker who owned the [...]


Bill Cunningham: Fan of Bikes

Via the Intelligencer: Bill Cunningham—NYT photographer, devoted biker, and general national treasure—can't get enough of these public bikes in New York. "It's really hilarious to watch two of them come around the corner when they're face-to-face, and neither of them will stop!" he says, giggling, of Manhattan pedestrians. He finds bikers "endlessly funny." I could listen to this man speak for hours. (You can, too—if you've never seen Bill Cunningham New York, it's available for streaming on Netflix, and it's a delight.)