Category Archives: Essay Categories

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 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 , , |

Wasted Lives and Broken Dreams

The whistle wailed my sleep away in the upper berth as the Crescent hurtled towards New Orleans, rolling back the night along its storied route. Into the dim night I peered from the ribbon windows. Deserted main streets stared back at me. Track-side once meant promise: out of town visitors and commercial travelers alike, poured […]

Also posted in New Orleans |

The Way of All Flesh

There he is that “gallus old codger” (thank you, Damon Runyon), front and center at his daughter’s wedding, circa 1934.  Shortly before his death, Edward West “Daddy” Browning made a fool of himself one last time as he escorted Dorothy “Sunshine” Browning out of the church doors with her new husband Clarence Hood, a laundry […]

Also posted in Call Me Daddy: Essays |

True Color

It was springtime, 1978, and my girlfriend and I were living in sin.  At least we’d kashered our little flesh pot by pledging troths.  Now it was time to pick the place for the wedding simkhe.  We’d already had fair warning: my late father-in-law had come from Germany as a young adult in 1926.  His […]

Also posted in Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |

Peaches Makes the Rounds

“Peaches’ Act Postponed” blares the large-type headline in a New York daily from late march, 1928.  Not long separated from her Daddy Browning in one of the most spectacular and widely-publicized marital spats of the Roaring Twenties, 17-year old Peaches was “at it” again with another man much older than she.  Nary a penny came […]

Also posted in Call Me Daddy: Essays |


Itka’s sun-tanned left fore-arm stretched out limply from her hospital smock when I visited a few months ago, the five numbers tatooed by the Nazi SS shocking me with their blue clarity as nothing else can.  She was in a rehab center near Philadelphia after falling down the stairs in her Northeast rowhouse.  Thank G-d she wasn’t hurt worse, but still […]

Also posted in Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |

Sol Goldberg and A Sow’s Ear in The Bowery Boogie !

Also posted in Found Objects, Press, Sol Goldberg biography, Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes |