Category Archives: Essay Categories

Picking a Beautiful Bronx Mansion’s Lock

[Acknowledgement: The author graciously acknowledges being introduced to the Keil Mansion described below by Frances Stern, some many years ago.] On a chilly November morning I knocked on the door of 381 East 165th Street in the Bronx, a short walk from the busy, modern stretch of the Bronx Judicial Center complex on 161st Street, […]

Also posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Uncategorized |

On the Wings of Angels

During the weeks after my mother’s passing on December 4, 2016, I was particularly comforted by the invitation of my friend Abe, the bal koreh (official Torah reader) at Park Avenue Synagogue on 87th Street and Madison Avenue, to attend Shabbes (Sabbath) services and recite the mourner’s kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead that […]

Also posted in Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |

The Measure of a Man

The size of a funeral is the measure of a man, and in 1932, Upper West Sider Sol Brill’s departure from this earth was larger than life.  An, honest, dignified, gentle soul was cut down by cancer at age 54, at the height of his career as a movie-theater builder and operator.  Brill’s funeral was […]

Also posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Lost New York, Sol Brill, Sol Brill, Uncategorized, Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |

All that remains….

Embarked on another difficult voyage, I thought I finally spied land from afar, in a quest to repatriate to its rightful heir yet another found object, in this case a trove, rescued from the trash, of family pictures and memorabilia.   I’ve searched for Kathy Denton Saville for a good four years, my only clues […]

Also posted in Found Objects, Uncategorized |

The Toast of the Town….

                                  Billy Niblo is quite the man these days, despite being gone since 1878 ! Come hear this blogger speak about Niblo’s fascinating career as New York’s premier tavernkeep and then pleasure garden owner in the early and mid-19th century […]

Also posted in Lost New York, Talks & Events, William Niblo biography |

The Trilogy of Desire…

Most of us know Theodore Dreiser as the author of An American Tragedy, Sister Carrie, and Jennie Gerhardt, but in his lifetime, Dreiser was known for much more. A master story teller and cultural historian, Dreiser’s Trilogy of Desire has fallen off the cliff of popular consciousness, relegated to the academic world.  Even more obscure […]

Also posted in Lost New York, Uncategorized |

The Way of All Flesh

America’s Centennnial Year: 1876 was a time of booming fortunes, and New York was bursting with post-Reconstruction fervor, the metropolis burgeoning, robber barons feeling their oats. Thriving since the Civil War’s onset as a manufacturer’s paradise, the New York region’s many tentacled rail system and giant natural harbor fostered a cornucopia for commerce of all sorts. […]

Also posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Uncategorized |

By The Skin Of His Teeth…

Take a look at this smiling mug. It’s June 17, 1929, the height of the Roaring ’20s, right before it all went crash. Here’s Daddy Browning, looking far younger than his 55 years of age. Whence the gray that tousled his head when just a few years earlier he walked 15-year old Peaches Heenan down […]

Also posted in Call Me Daddy: Essays |

A Tribeca Palimpsest from Days Gone By

New York’s City Hall has stood, majestic, since the start of the War of 1812, its design by Green-Wood resident John McComb, Jr.,  little changed save an Alabama limestone cladding added in the mid-1950s over the original buff sandstone rear facade and the front of Massachusetts marble.  McComb’s name is seldom recognized today, his only other surviving creations in Manhattan being Gracie […]

Also posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Found Objects, Lost New York |

FLOURISH…

FLOURISH Since my teenage years I’ve been an early and baroque music devotee, attending sacred music at New York’s many churches  I’ve thrilled to organ recitals in St. John the Divine’s vast sanctuary where the pipes envelope one with overwhelming sounds, inhaled Monteverdi and Rameau and Scarlatti and Schutz with the incense at Smokey Mary’s […]

Also posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Personal Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , |