Train Platform Dream

The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Ashe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. She stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.

What The Hamptons Is & Isn’t

When people tell you about their weekend in the Hamptons, remember that the truth of it is all traffic…neighbors blaring Katy Perry…the construction next door…as well as 45-minute deli lineups. And, only if they’re lucky, maybe 10 minutes of what they claim.

Overlooked New York: Knickerbocker Post Office

New York native Washington Iriving coined the name Knickerbocker in his 19th Century writing to exemplify the New York character – graceless, indomitable freethinkers – and soon enough the name dotted the city. The Knickerbocker name is ingrained, especially in the older corners, such as the Knickerbocker Post Office, an old brick building on East Broadway in Chinatown. The Google reviews on are less than positive: “Lack of Customer Service! wasted my morning!” “Very negative experience with staff” “The package was either lost or stolen in this USPS location.” Knickerbockers one and all.

Lady Smashes Cell With Old-School Receiver

She didn’t look that mad as she turned toward the phone booth, cell phone in hand, and then placed it on the dirty metal grill where the phone books used to be. That’s when she let it have it – one phone on the other – bringing the pay-phone receiver down like a hammer, once and again, until her cell toppled to the ground, appropriately smashed. She wasn’t done. The pay-phone receiver still swinging, useless, she picked up her cell, and walked ahead, muttering, all the way to the corner, and carefully, angrily, shoved it down between the grill of the storm sewer. “Try calling me again! You try that!” She vanished, phone-less, into the subway station.

Overlooked New York: Liberty Park

Liberty Park has recently been opened atop the parking garage immediately south of the 9/11 Memorial in Downtown Manhattan.It has the same design aesthetic as the Chelsea Highline but is much less crowded, although it is also marred by an excessively almost angrily worded memorial, America’s Response Monument.And so, while the crowds of the 9/11 Memorial may not be here, this statue can give the feeling of impending doom

Overlooked New York: African Burial Grounds

North of City Hall and the World Trade Center Memorial is a spot much less frequently visited: The African Burial Grounds National Monument. Africans – enslaved and “free” – were buried here, outside the boundaries of what was then called New Amsterdam in 1690-1794. The grounds were rediscovered in 1991 during the planned construction of a Federal office building. It’s as good a place as the 9/11 Memorial – and far fewer people.

Safe on the Island

I’ll write a book where people scavenge and socialize far from home and then, in the later hours, scurry back to their island. It’s going to be called Safe on the Island.

Overlooked NYC: Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel

What do Fatty Arbuckle, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Irving Berlin, Joan Crawford, Mario Cuomo, Judy Garland, John Lennon, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Igor Stravinsky, Mae West, The Notorious B.I.G, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ayn Rand all have in common? A funeral service at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on the corner of Madison and 81st Street – just two blocks from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. As far as funerals go, this appears to be the last place to be seen.

Battery Park Rally Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

This was my first political rally, complete with chants – No Hate, No Fear! Refugees are welcome here! – signs and speakers. New York politicians showed up in force: Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, Mayor Bill De Blasio, Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Adriano Espaillat, along with a host of city council members. The only thing that Trump’s despotic methods have managed to achieve so far is galvanize the opposition against him; the past indifference – liking, tweeting and such – has evolved into activism, protests appearing everywhere in the country and around the world. What wicked thing has he in store next? Week two has only just begun.

Making Grilled Cheese for Claus Meyer

I am not a cook. I only make one thing: grilled cheese sandwiches. I mentioned my grilled-cheese sandwich abilities in passing during a party, and truth be told, I wasn’t really aware of who I was talking to, nor even really what I was talking about, but I did not tell the person before me, Claus Meyer, that I was good at making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Surprisingly, he seemed interested. “I would like to try that.”

Shortly thereafter I had learned who he was, that he was a famed chef and restauranteur, co-founder of Noma in Denmark, voted best restaurant in the world four separate years.

“You say it is a good sandwich. I would like to try them too.”

And so we invited Claus and his wife for dinner, and, yes, I made my grilled cheese sandwiches, or “cheese toasts” as he called them. And he liked them. “The bread is right. It is crisp. The cheese is perfectly melted.” He had three pieces. “Yes, they are very good.”

My secret you ask? Well, I’ve just started working on my book, Melted Just Right which should be ready in the fall of 2017.