My First Public Event, Hosted by Untapped Cities

May 4th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The first public event for my new book Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York is on May 16, from 6 – 8pm. Untapped Cities, is hosting a presentation, Q&A and book party inside the historic Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea, a New York City landmark located along the Hudson River.

PRICE: FREE for Untapped Cities Insiders, $15 for the public
CAPACITY: 74 guests. Spots allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Please, please consider attending! It would be nice to have friendly, familiar faces in the crowd!

As the rents skyrocket in my neighborhood, one by one businesses shut down and leave behind empty storefronts that don’t get filled because who can make a go of it with rents like these?? Someone wrote their comment on what was left behind in my former newspaper/magazine store. It was sad, but I no longer read print versions of newspapers, and the magazines I used to love are largely gone or are not so lovable anymore. (You can see my reflection in the window.)

Grace Church’s Magnolia and Cherry Blossom Trees

May 3rd, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

They almost look like the same tree. This is the cherry blossom tree, which is currently in bloom.

This is the magnolia tree which was in bloom a couple of weeks ago.

Magnolia Tree, Grace Church, New York City

Should We Bring Back Asylums?

May 2nd, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I was on The Colin McEnroe Show today talking about Trump’s suggestion about bringing back asylums.  It’s a vitally important issue to discuss, and the guests on the show made some very key points.  They were great.

I’m sorry that I didn’t make one particular point, I started to but I must have lost my train of thought. It all comes down to money. When we talk about asylums we’re talking about the poor and middle class. The rich have their own, private mental health facilities. The problem is it’s expensive to do this well. If you don’t spend what’s needed, and that’s a lot, you will have a repeat of what we had in the 19th century. And given the current political climate I don’t see a lot of money going into a public healthcare program.

I never found pictures of the inside of the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, nor could I find pictures of the buildings known as the Madhouse, the Lodge and the Retreat. But in the corner of one very idealized drawing of the Lunatic Asylum I found what I believe was a drawing of the Madhouse. (Quick backstory: I just wrote a book about Blackwell’s called Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, & Criminal in 19th-Century New York. It comes out on May 15.)

Here is a pulled back view of the drawing. The building I believe is the Madhouse is on the left.

Lunatic Asylum, Blackwell's Island

A Window of Wonder … Bread

April 29th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

There are a lot of empty storefronts in my neighborhood, because the rents are too high to maintain a sustainable business. I keep hoping for the return of laundromats and delis and diners, but that will probably never happen. Unless a longterm depression hits.

But I loved all the loaves of Wonderbread in the window of this recently closed business.

Owning Cats is Not For the Faint of Heart

April 26th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Last night, while in the living room resting, I heard something fall in the bedroom. I wasn’t concerned, because the cats knock things over ALL THE TIME. It’s their favorite thing, knocking things off other things. But for some reason I thought I should check. Thank god I did. One of the panes in my windows was broken and they’d managed to pull in the piece of glass, which I found on the floor. They definitely could have squeezed through the hole that was left, and gotten outside the window. It’s one of their most cherished dreams. Outside that very window is a favorite pigeon hangout spot. The cats sit in this window all the time watching them.

Here is Bodhi sitting in the window with the piece of glass duct-taped back in (and nailed). Please scroll down to see the danger they faced.

There’s only the tiniest of ledges and it’s five flights down. Jesus. I’m losing it just thinking about it. What if I had walked in when they were halfway through?? It would have startled whoever it was and he would have freaked and jumped.