Skip to content

Monthly Archives: November 2010

New York City’s Christmas Tree Vendors.


The first of five pieces I wrote for Gothamist on NYC Christmas tree sellers went up today… if you have stories or tips send them my way, as I’ll keep tinkering with the later pieces as the season progresses.

“Every Part Must Sing.”


A friend spoke to me about writing polyphonic music – “It must come together, of course,” he said.  “But also individually, every part must sing.”  I keep the same principle in mind constantly when writing a novel, with its counterpoint plot lines.  Here’s the Rolling Stones song “Shelter”, fascinatingly taken apart track by track.  Fabulous […]

The World’s Toniest Prison Site.


I walked all day in the city yesterday, starting at 86th street on the East Side and walking up to 125th and Broadway, then all the way down Broadway to Penn Station, talking to all the Christmas tree vendors I met.  The main thing I learned is that they’re undocumented migrant workers and very shy […]

Rules, rules, rules.


“The less advanced society is, the more it is fettered by ceremony and ‘etiquette.’” – Richard Burton

Invitation to Crumpled Press 5th Anniversary Party.


On Saturday December 4th the Crumpled Press will be celebrating its first five years with a party at Cabinet Magazine’s space in Brooklyn.  Tony Grafton will be talking, I’ll be reading, and Regina Granne will be exhibiting.  Polymath D. Graham Burnett will be moderating.  There will be music by the Matt Panayides group.  There will […]

Reginald Foster in Milwaukee.


A very nicely done segment which aired on the Milwaukee Fox Affiliate, about the American version of Reginaldus’s Latin experiences. The class shown is the Third Experience. I will confess to little jets of pain when I see Reginaldus’s body so laid low by time – when I first met him, you could not convince […]

November in the Mountains.


In fermento sodalitas.


You know you’re living in the Catskills when in your no-plumbing residence you have not one, but two home-fermented drinks given to you by neighbors.  On the left, a beer flavored with locally scavenged mugwort, and on the right, a hard cider from locally scavenged apples – the American colonial drink par excellence.  Emerson calls […]

Mark Carr, the first New York City Christmas Tree Seller.


I started talking to the guy who runs the town dump about Christmas tree selling in New York City – mostly the province of Quebecois – and he said, “You should take a look on my website.  I wrote a couple of pieces about Christmas tree selling in New York City – its origins and […]

Staten Island’s turkeys.


Staten Island’s wild turkey population came up in the news again recently, and Gothamist posted about it, using a photo of mine that captures the phenomenon perfectly: wild turkeys stalking through a complete suburban landscape.  It amazes me continually how unique Staten Island is as a part of New York City – the subject of […]