Reflections from the Number Two Train

and please see the bottom of the page for Essays. The essay Esperanza, below, was also included in The Best of Wanderlust 2019.

Getting Off the Couch

I sat on my couch Sunday morning, knowing I had something better to do. It wasn’t much, just writing letters to infrequent voters, something I should be used to doing regularly. And I almost didn’t go.

We drove. To make ourselves go. To Brooklyn. And it took all of about half an hour. We . . . → Read More: Getting Off the Couch


On the beach in front of my mother-in-law’s house in Rincon, Puerto Rico, are three almond trees. When we arrived to visit in February, months after Hurricane Maria had devastated the island, the trees, which were badly hit during the storm, seemed to still be in a defensive crouch. Their limbs looked contorted, but . . . → Read More: Esperanza

Segunda Ola

My wife and I have been traveling to the Northwest corner of Puerto Rico for more than twenty years. First as part of our courtship — her mother is from a small town on the Southern coast of Puerto Rico, so I was taken to meet the extended family. We all squeezed into . . . → Read More: Segunda Ola


Writing is an act of imposture. You are either pretending to be someone else (when you write fiction) or writing in a voice that is a cleaned up version of you. Whatever the case, what’s on the page looks nothing like the person in a t-shirt and dirty shorts with bits of breakfast on . . . → Read More: Infamous


President Obama recently called on the Muslim Community “to think about how we make sure that children are not being infected with this notion that somehow they can kill innocent people and that that is justified by religion. And to some degree that is something that has to come from within the Muslim community . . . → Read More: Extremities

Luddites Are Us

Americans get the inventions we deserve.

The ironically named smartphone is a perfect example. And let me say at the outset that I am American and entirely addicted to it.  Rather than building on what we already know, it assumes we want to know less.  Once upon a time we used maps because we . . . → Read More: Luddites Are Us

College Girl: Hope and Loss

It’s early summer and ordinarily about now, my elder daughter would be preparing for camp. But not this year. Instead, she’s starting an internship, learning to drive and making packing lists. She’s going to college in the fall.

I’m very excited for her and very proud, but some part of me would prefer time . . . → Read More: College Girl: Hope and Loss

Freedom From Speech

The other day I went and got a service. An item I own had malfunctioned, at least according to a light on its dashboard. I won’t say anymore about the item, or the company, but suffice it to say, that I called, they checked it out the next day, the warning turned out to . . . → Read More: Freedom From Speech

Ball Hog

I know how Amare feels. The Heat, for all their talent, are a bunch of jerks. Lebron is a whiner and a flopper and a showoff and Bosh is inconsistent and not really as good as being part of the big three makes him. For all their swagger, the Heat are beatable . . . → Read More: Ball Hog


One of our doormen died suddenly last year around Christmas. A few years older than me, a heavy smoker, Raoul had been a DJ in his earlier life, and then had become, in his second incarnation, the soul of our building.

It wasn’t his work ethic. It was his proficiency at the human . . . → Read More: Well-Remembered

No Pun Intended

The great thing about the Jeremy Lin story is that it’s not manufactured. It’s real.  And as a result no one quite knows what to make of it.

Cooler heads keep trying to prevail. Telling us it won’t last and that we should dampen our enthusiasm. That Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, his high . . . → Read More: No Pun Intended


In the window of Citarella on the Upper West Side, a flag had been created out of shrimp and other fish. Above it, was the legend, “September 11 We Will Never Forget.”

It was 9/11/11 and people kept stopping to take pictures as if they were hungry for something — anything — to . . . → Read More: What?

Slow Down

As the president battled with a recalcitrant Congress, and the Republicans, claiming to represent a conservative constituency, had us hurtling further toward financial oblivion, the highways seemed to be full of people who couldn’t care less about conservative behavior.

On a two-lane roadway in upper New Hampshire, a man who was clearly . . . → Read More: Slow Down


I don’t often get up to Harlem. Recently I was sent up for an assignment to write about some graduate students who are volunteering to help children in schools in Harlem with math. They are part of a program that pairs students with struggling schools in the surrounding area: the children they . . . → Read More: Teach

Killing Time

Sometimes New York surprises. Just when you think it’s going to behave according to form — turn out to be exactly the way outsiders see it — it lets you in.

Last Friday I had just this kind of experience.

I was supposed to meet two friends at the Tribeca Film Festival. We . . . → Read More: Killing Time

Wake Up!

I’m a regular at a coffee establishment in my neighborhood; I consider the table facing the doorway my office away from my office.  The manager of this coffee establishment, a soft-spoken ringer for Ringo Starr, is my friend and we chat once or twice each time he’s there.  This manager is also a . . . → Read More: Wake Up!

Think Different

Why Rag and Bone was praising Café Colonial:  they were preparing to take over their old space. It’s not their fault. But this is the way we do things now. Lip service is all that’s necessary. Charity can take the place of fairness, opportunity. We want as a nation to do good, but . . . → Read More: Think Different

It’s Hot

It’s hot. People are dealing with this with various levels of success. Some spend their day running from air conditioning to air conditioning. Developing a tell tale sneeze.

Others are not so lucky.  On Crosby Street, a man empties construction debris into a dumpster. He is not wearing a shirt and his chest is . . . → Read More: It’s Hot

Lebronx is Up?

Lebron is coming. Someone showed him an apartment in the Time Warner Center. Someone else showed him a townhouse in the Village. Our sportswriters are sure he will, sure he won’t — filled with New Yorkers’ characteristic mixture of self-aggrandizement and self-doubt. In unsolicited tough-love letters, they have whispered what is wrong with coming . . . → Read More: Lebronx is Up?

Family Fun: Man of the House

In September 1997, my essay on being a freelancer and a Dad appeared in Family Fun. Please see Man of the house.

Smithsonian: Hacker

Hacker basketball players are not used to flashes of greatness. In April 1997, my essay on an unusual night in the career of a certain hacker basketball player appeared in Smithsonian. Please see: Hacker

Newsday: Filenes on Broadway

For a transplant, there was something both comforting and embarrassing about the appearance on Broadway of a satellite of the famous Boston mainstay Filene’s. In November, 1993, my essay on that feeling appeared in Newsday. Please see Filene’s.