Category Archives: Lost New York

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, Sol Brill, Sol Brill, Uncategorized, Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |

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 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 Uncategorized |

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 |

A Con Grows in Brooklyn

A CON GROWS IN BROOKLYN… Brooklyn, March of 1961: The Cold War shivered America, the perils of internationalism evident all about. Camelot’s reign in the Kennedy White House had just begun, though, and Jackie’s hiring of French chef Rene Verdon to reign over America’s presidential kitchen heralded a new day in what had been a […]

Also posted in Essay Categories |

Cold Storage

My wife tells a story that I never get right. The details don’t really matter, though it’s the moment that counts: A precious thing bonds her psyche to mine: the Yiddish inflection of older relatives (though hers was Bronx-ite and mine through parents who fled Philadelphia to live among the lost tribes in East Tennessee). […]

Also posted in Essay Categories |

The Great Unwashed

Walk the moonscape of far East 38th Street today: the sidewalks are empty, devoid of life, though the streets hum and clog with traffic at rush hours as the entrances and exits to the Queens Midtown Tunnel spill forth. Those who emerge from the taxis and limos are well-scrubbed, their private baths drawn and terry […]

Also posted in Essay Categories |

Mister Dog

My father was a gentle, quiet, swarthy man, slow and decisive, both with logic and love. It was Summer-time, 1957. The day at a close, he’d read me a picture book. Sitting beside me on my trundle bed, Daddy was all mine. The four others could wait. My favorite story, for the umpteenth time. Once […]

Also posted in Essay Categories, Faves |

All Cars Transfer There

It happened just the other day. One glance up on a tenement wall, five stories above East Harlem’s Lexington Avenue. Two seconds was all it took. The shock of recognition rushed through my soul. It’s 2006, right? Not. 1912 is more like it. A ghost image, a palimpsest, caught my eye, high above the 116th […]

Also posted in Essay Categories |

Dressed to Kill – Part 1

A giant bronze sculpture of a bull elephant having a happy dream stands in the Peace Garden at the northwestern end of the New York City headquarters of the United Nations. Shrubbery at the base hides the beast’s massive equipment, a gesture dictated by local sensibilities, not the artist. Two gargantuan rocky mountain oysters and […]

Also posted in Essay Categories, Faves |