ESSAYS

The Seltzer Man and Huckster Harry

I ran across the local seltzer man making his rounds in the neighborhood this morning.  Ronny’s Seltzer is one of the last soda home-delivery services in NYC, driving around on a flatbed truck laden with old-fashioned glass seltzer bottles. I couldn’t believe me eyes the first time I looked out my window early one Saturday morning, soon … Continue reading The Seltzer Man and Huckster Harry

In My Easter Basket(s)

I always had two Easter baskets as a kid. One was child-sized, filled with plastic grass, a few colored eggs, a Russell Stover chocolate bunny and some jelly beans.  It was mine alone. The other, a more serious large, woven affair, was the family basket, the real Easter basket. My mother handled that one as … Continue reading In My Easter Basket(s)

Small-Town Crier

Every once in awhile, I’m reminded that deep in its soul, New York is really a small town. Like the day that I lost my friends’ cat. She slipped out an open door at my apartment one evening while I was cat sitting and after a sleepless night worrying that maybe she’d hopped the garden … Continue reading Small-Town Crier

Big John (1924–2014)

He was, as they say, a character:  the most out-sized personality in a family of 11 children. . . a member  of the Greatest Generation who survived a grenade attack in the Pacific, and was picking shrapnel from his body decades later. . . a barrel-chested gym rat with a booming voice and a penchant for cigars. . … Continue reading Big John (1924–2014)

Beacons of Light

The World Trade Center memorial beacons are back on.  I caught a glimpse of them as I was walking along my street in Park Slope and glanced up at the night sky to see those two shafts of light piercing the clouds. Those simple, silent beacons are turned on for a few evenings surrounding the … Continue reading Beacons of Light

Bus Stop

“No really. You don’t need to give me a ride downtown. I can take the bus.” Family members greeted the news that I wanted to take public transit to a concert at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City with something akin to horror. The Chicken Little comments started raining down. … Continue reading Bus Stop

A Good Death

My friend Janet died a few months ago. It came as a shock to her wide circle of friends in New York City and beyond, although it probably shouldn’t have. Janet was 75 and suffered her share of health problems. Still, it was hard to reconcile the news with my image of the vibrant person … Continue reading A Good Death

Black Friday

“You know what’s the best gift you can give for someone for Christmas?” the old man next to me commented out of the blue. By pure happenstance, we shared a bench in the middle of the shopping mall, watching shoppers trundling by laden with bags and boxes and casting an occasional eye toward the line … Continue reading Black Friday