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March 19th is the Feast of St. Joseph ~ an East Side wide holiday in 1962 in Manhattan. The St. Joseph parish on 87th Street began as an orphanage on York Avenue (then known as Avenue A) and 89th Street in the 1800s. The cornerstone of the present church was blessed in 1894. My mother and… Read more »

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I bet I can name every barber I’ve had back to five years old. I only remember nicknames for the first two on York Avenue because I didn’t know their real names. “Herman the German” and “Mickey Mouse” with his wife with Tourette’s syndrome. In a house dress with her wild gray hair, she sat next to you… Read more »

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Let’s get some definitions out of the way first: Gentrification is integration that you don’t like. Integration is gentrification that benefits you. Filmmaker Spike Lee made news when he complained about the gentrification of Brooklyn recently, decrying the efforts of white interlopers to “bogart” black cultural enclaves like his native Fort Greene. But Lee suffers… Read more »

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This month marks my 60th year as a New Yorker, and I still find new and interesting things everywhere I go in all five boroughs. To celebrate the city, to thank my friends, this month my storytelling show is free on me. I’m giving away stuff, too. “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” Tuesday, March 11… Read more »

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For most of my time in New York, I did without a car. After being poor and having cars break down on me at record pace, I was glad to be done with the world of automobiles. I was happy to leave the driving to New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, though the MTA is poorly… Read more »

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he won’t be attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because the parade does not let gay organizations march under their own banners. The statement made the news, though it was not likely de Blasio’s intention to do so. He mentioned it in response to a question… Read more »

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I would like to borrow Mike Kelly’s imagination for a few days, so I can create a grand metaphor for life itself. Hurry to PS1 before the fresh loafs of inspiration leak away into the good warm world. Mike Kelly at PS1 managed to decant every drop of his wonderfully colorful mind into a multi-dimensional… Read more »

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New York State may soon embrace medical marijuana. We’d be better off if the government legalized it outright. Why talk half-steps when other states have already made cannabis legal? It was Tommy Chong who put it to New York via social media, saying that we were behind the high times. New York used to be… Read more »

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Early in the day on December 31st, visitors will begin pouring into the city to participate in the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration. If you plan to be among the one million people who will ring in the New Year with the ball drop at midnight consider this: you may stand in the cold… Read more »

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The week after Thanksgiving 1959, my mother left my brother, Rory, off at my grandparents on York Avenue and picked me up at P.S. 77 after kindergarten dismissal. Together we walked over to the 86thStreet cross-town bus just pulling up to the corner. Mom dropped a Mercury dime (I loved coins my grandmother and father… Read more »