"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: New York Minute

New York Minute


On Saturday afternoon I saw my neighbor Louie standing with another guy in front of our building. I asked the other guy if he was rooting for the Mets.

“I’m rooting for New York,” he said, “I’m a New Yorker. We need to win. It’s been so long.”

He meant it, too. Then: “We need a fuckin’ parade.”

There’ll be no parade this year but I like the sentiment.

New York Minute


New York, New York. 

New York Minute


Really strong story by N.R. Kleinfeld in the Times

They found him in the living room, crumpled up on the mottled carpet. The police did. Sniffing a fetid odor, a neighbor had called 911. The apartment was in north-central Queens, in an unassertive building on 79th Street in Jackson Heights.

The apartment belonged to a George Bell. He lived alone. Thus the presumption was that the corpse also belonged to George Bell. It was a plausible supposition, but it remained just that, for the puffy body on the floor was decomposed and unrecognizable. Clearly the man had not died on July 12, the Saturday last year when he was discovered, nor the day before nor the day before that. He had lain there for a while, nothing to announce his departure to the world, while the hyperkinetic city around him hurried on with its business.

Neighbors had last seen him six days earlier, a Sunday. On Thursday, there was a break in his routine. The car he always kept out front and moved from one side of the street to the other to obey parking rules sat on the wrong side. A ticket was wedged beneath the wiper. The woman next door called Mr. Bell. His phone rang and rang.

[Photo Credit: Josh Haner/The New York Times]

New York Minute


From my pal Kevin Baker:

That is, our past. Not only the refusal of white people to live with people of colour, but their conviction, running back through the history of the US, that any black space is not legitimate – that whatever black people own can and should be expropriated by whites, if they so desire it. During the second world war, this idea of white primacy sparked one of the worst race riots in American history, after white people insisted not only that Detroit’s federal housing built for war workers be segregated, but that all of it be turned over to white residents.

The riot was no anomaly. During the first world war, in 1917, another white-on-black race riot all but annihilated the black community of East St Louis, Illinois. A few years later, armed white mobs (backed by local law officers) razed to the ground the all-black Florida towns of Ocoee and Rosewood, and the prosperous black Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scores of black people were killed in these onslaughts. Greenwood was burned to the ground as airplanes dropped incendiaries on the neighbourhood. Some 10,000 African Americans were left homeless.

These flourishing black communities were erased not only from physical existence, but also from living memory. Bodies were hidden, accounts censored and the survivors scattered or intimidated into silence. To this day, we don’t know exactly what happened, or how many people died.

One of the most vibrant communities in black America vanished just across the street from where I lived almost all of my adult life. Until a few years ago, I had no idea it had ever been there. Soon after I graduated from college in 1980 – at almost the exact time the federal government joined a lawsuit by the National Association of Coloured People (NAACP) against the city of Yonkers – three friends and I moved into an apartment on West 99th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

[Photo Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times]

New York Minute


Another sure shot from Humans of New York. 

New York Minute


Good Eats. 

[Photo Credit: Susan C]


New York Minute


Autumn is in the air. It was chilly this morning.

New York in fall is a lovely thing. But you know what? I don’t think I’ve ever had hot chestnuts.

Picture via Lomography of the Day.

New York Minute


I know you got soul. 

I waited on Rosie once. She had a little dog with her. Nice, good tip. It was worth it just to hear her voice.

New York Minute


Come out and plaay-yay. 

New York Minute


Caught this the other day near where I live in the Bronx. I know Dominicans have long had love for the Jays dating back to the days of Alfredo Griffin, George Bell and Tony Fernandez. I don’t know about you, but uptown I’ve been seeing plenty of Jays hats these days.

New York Minute


Look, up in the sky. 

New York Minute


Found over at Kottke, this is most cool. 

New York Minute


Night Visions by Martin Lewis, found at the always-stellar This Isn’t Happiness.


New York Minute


The Wife and I visited Governor’s Island on Saturday and ran into The Jazz Age Lawn Party.




New York Minute


I can’t give it away on 7th Avenue. Aka, Stuck in the middle with you.

New York Minute


Whenever I pass the Ansonia Hotel on Broadway I get to thinking about Babe Ruth or Saul Bellow–whose novella Seize the Day takes place in and around the Ansonia–or even Plato’s Retreat. What a history, right? And still, what I think about most, especially from this point of view is Matthau leaning out of the building in The Sunshine Boys, bellowing: “The Feeeenghah! The Feeeenghah!”

New York Minute


Nice chat with the Wood Man over at Vanity Fair:

Sam Fragoso: You’re more prolific than most people.

Woody Allen: But prolific is a thing that’s not a big deal. It’s not the quantity of the stuff you do; it’s the quality. A guy like James Joyce will do just a couple of things, but they resonate way beyond anything I’ve ever done or ever could dream of doing.

Would you say your quality, in spots, dipped because of the quantity?

It always [has]. When you start out to make a film, you have very big expectations and sometimes you come close. When I did Match Point, I felt I came very close. But you never get that thing that you want. You always set out to make Citizen Kane or to make The Bicycle Thief and it doesn’t happen. You can’t set out to make something great head-on; you just have to make films and hope you get lucky.

Have you considered scaling back, making a film every few years?

It wouldn’t help. It’s not that I feel, “Oh, if I had more time or more money, I could make this better.” It’s coming to terms with the shortcomings in one’s own gift and one’s own personality.

What are your major shortcomings?

I’m lazy and an imperfectionist. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will work on the details until midnight and sweat it out, whereas for me, come 6 o’clock, I want to go home, I want to have dinner, I want to watch the ballgame. Filmmaking is not [the] end-all be-all of my existence. Another shortcoming is that I don’t have the intellect or the depth or the natural gift. The greatness is not in me. When you see scenes in [Akira] Kurosawa films … you know he’s a madman on the set. There would be 100 horses and everything had to be perfect. He was crazy. I don’t have any of that.

New York Minute


Thought you couldn’t get enough of Joe Gould. Here’s a good piece by Jill Lepore in the week’s New Yorker

[Photo Credit: Culver Pictures]

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver