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Some years ago I noticed a newly installed payphone outside a coffee shop on Broadway in Astoria. Payphones, even 6 or 7 years ago when this occurred, were typically being removed from service, not placed anew. I picked up the handset of this Astoria payphone and wouldn’t you know it: No dial tone. Probably the… Read more »

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The once-celebrated East Village bar the Yaffa Café announced that it is closing its doors for good. It was initially shut down in September by the Department of Health for health violations. The coverage sent up its standard lament; another “iconic” landmark crushed by cruel fate. It’s a familiar pattern now. A well-known music venue,… Read more »

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In the past few years a litany of small businesses have closed in Manhattan. From music venues like CBGBs and the Roseland Ballroom to stalwart restaurants like Union Square Cafe, NYC landmarks are disappearing at an alarming rate. Normally this would be a sign of a struggling economy but here it means quite the opposite…. Read more »

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Dad had a habit for coming back into the apartment after he left late for work. Most weekdays, Rory and I watched the act as we sat at the kitchen table late for school eating Kellogg’s corn flakes or burnt toast (not Mom’s fault. Toaster was on the fritz, everything came out dark). Like Dad,… Read more »

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Preparations for a perfect summer day required a delicate dance   Yesterday, I strolled through Central Park. Resting on a bench in front of the Delacorte Theater, I turned my eyes to the center of the Great Lawn. I saw myself lying face up on the grass at 9 years old, throwing a ball up… Read more »

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This has been the coolest New York City summer in my memory. One of the hottest summers I remember is 1961. Each scorcher my brother and I tortured our parents for relief from the heat. Deep into August that year, in the middle of Central Park they gave up. Here’s the story as it appeared… Read more »

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I thoroughly enjoyed many World Cup games this past month in Brazil. I was a big fan of the NHL as a kid and quickly understood the importance of precision passing, tight defense and sharp goaltending. A 1-0 game can be a brilliant contest if those three aspects of a hockey game were executed well…. Read more »

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Over the Fourth of July weekend, I stayed put in NYC. I love when New York empties for a holiday. As a kid, instead of being sad because I was stuck “in the city,” I found good things that resulted from us not “getting out of town.” Dad didn’t own a car, our vacations were… Read more »

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June 20, 1957, on my brother Rory’s first birthday we moved into apartment #4R at 517 East 83rd Street. Mom let Rory and me run straight into the apartment before my aunts and uncles brought the furniture up. I dragged my brother by his arm. At the window was a fire escape with a nest… Read more »

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New York City, February 1941: On a Saturday morning, my father woke up and found his father drinking coffee alone in the kitchen with only the winter light coming in through the backyard window. My grandmother and uncle had left for work. Dad, 11, talked baseball with his Dad for an hour while eating three… Read more »