Tompkins Square Park, Southwest Entrance

Fourth of July, midday.

Tall skinny guy in a straw fedora and sandals crouched on the pavement by the park entrance, repeating to everyone who passes him by:

Skinny Guy: You wasn’t born a monster, but somehow you got vexed, and you turned into one.  You wasn’t born a monster, but somehow you got vexed, and you turned into one.  You wasn’t born a monster, but somehow you got vexed, and you turned into one.  You wasn’t born a monster…

Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whole Foods, East Houston between Bowery and Chrystie

Damp-haired guy, just off work in a trench coat, button-down, and tie.  On his cell phone in the express check-out line carrying a basket full of groceries.

Guy: (serious, sotto voce) Just tell me what’s wrong.


Are you mad at me for getting the sea bass?


You’re not going to eat it, are you.


I can tell that you’re not.


What are you going to do to me, then?



Fine.  I’ll find out when I get home.

He snaps his phone shut.

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 11:29 pm  Comments (4)  

55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues

Grizzled middle-aged guy in two winter jackets and a ski hat falls in step with me as I’m walking through the rain.

Guy: (low, sonorous) Hey there.  I’m trying to get a cup of soup.  Can you help me get a cup of soup?

Me: Oh I’m sorry, man, I wish I could.

Guy: And I wish I could take you to Sicily.

Me: Sicily?

Guy: If you woke up with me tomorrow morning in Sicily we could have breakfast together.

Me: Actually, that sounds pretty nice.

Guy: You know it would be.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Mercer Street between Bleecker and East 4th

Stoop-shouldered reedy guy in black skinny jeans and black hoodie; short, curvy girl in black skinny jeans and black hoodie.

Reedy Guy: (mellow drawl) I’ve developed like…this whole metaphor for it.  Do you want to hear it?

Curvy Girl: (clipped) Um, sure.

Reedy Guy: So like, the internet is like, God, right?  Like the supreme omnipotent being. And below that you have your networks, networks are like the physical ground we walk on, like…

Curvy Girl: The earth?

Reedy Guy: Right, like the physical ground of the earth.  Then you have your hackers,  who are prophets and demigods.  Or no, programmers are demigods and hackers are prophets.  And then below them you have your priests, two kinds of priests, one kind is like…celebrities, who control like the aesthetic environment of the internet, and one kind is like…um…you know those people who like, make things happen?  Who like move huge waves of people from one place to another on the internet?  Like when the Friendster collapsed these people moved everyone over to MySpace and Facebook?  Those people are like priests, and celebrities.  And then below that you have your average users.  So in this world social networking sites are like the temples, because you go there to like worship um…the reflection the priests show you of the omnipotent being.  Which is the internet.  Are you like…getting this?

Curvy Girl: I’m trying to follow it.

Reedy Guy: It doesn’t necessarily have…meaning.

Curvy Girl: Have you told this to Sean?

Reedy Guy: Dude, you know I can’t tell this to Sean.  I do not talk about this kind of thing with Sean.  It would fuck with him uncontrollably.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  

All Over New York City…


The Five-Borough Read
Thursday, 3/19

BROOKLYN:  Central Library, Dweck Center, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
Gayle Forman
Jenny Han
Leslie Margolis
Abby Sher
Matthue Roth
Robin Wasserman

BRONX:  Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Road, Bronx
Coe Booth
Madeleine George
Paul Griffin
Brian Sloan
Melissa Walker

MANHATTAN: Countee Cullen Branch, 104 W 136th St
Matt de la Pena
Daphne Grab
Mary Hogan
Barry Lyga
Carolyn McCormick

MANHATTAN:  Jefferson Market Branch, 425 Avenue of the Americas
David Levithan
Bennett Madison
Laura McLaughlin
Billy Merrell
Marie Rutkoski

MANHATTAN: Webster Branch, 1465 York Avenue
Lisa Ann Sandell
Courtney Sheinmel
Rachel Vail
Cecily Von Ziegesar
Martin Wilson

QUEENS:  Far Rockaway Branch, 2002 Cornaga Ave, Queens
Tara Altabrando
Laura Dower
Heather Duffy-Stone
Aimee Friedman
Eliot Schrefer
Siobhan Vivian
Rita Williams-Garcia

STATEN ISLAND: St. George Library Center, 5 Central Avenue
Kate Brian
Judy Goldschmidt
Michael Northrop
Micol Ostow
Lynn Weingarten

The Biggest Teen Author Signing EVER
Sunday, 3/22, Books of Wonder, 4pm
Join over 40 authors for a signing extravaganza as they take over Books of Wonder, sign books, and converse with fans new and old.  An incredible event that is sure to go down in book-signing history.
Authors include:
Nora Baskin
Jessica Blank
Judy Blundell
Coe Booth
Elise Broach
Susanne Colasanti
Sarah Darer-Littman
Matt de la Pena
Heather Duffy-Stone
Gayle Forman
Aimee Friedman
Madeleine George
Maureen Johnson
Kristen Kemp
Justine Larbalestier
David Levithan
E. Lockhart
Barry Lyga
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah MacLean
Megan McCafferty
Laura McLaughlin
Neesha Meminger
Billy Merrell
Blake Nelson
Micol Ostow
Matthue Roth
Marie Rutkoski
Lisa Ann Sandell
Courtney Sheinmel
Abby Sher
Brian Sloan
Rachel Vail
David Van Etten
Ned Vizzini
Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Cecily von Ziegesar
Melissa Walker
Robin Wasserman
Scott Westerfeld
Suzanne Weyn
Maryrose Wood
Lizabeth Zindel

Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Gate 4, Terminal 7, JFK

5:15 a.m., Christmas Eve.  Two twentysomething white girls in ponytails, pea coats, and Uggs clutching Starbucks.  Girl 1’s final destination: Phoenix; girl 2’s final destination: Boulder.

Girl 1: The last time I was here I was like going to L.A. and there was this guy in front of me in the line with like all these bags, all these like gold Louis Vuitton bags, like the soft luggage?

Girl 2: A guy with gold bags?

Girl 1: (confidentially) Like, a black guy?

Girl 2: Oh.

Girl 1: And the lady at security was starting all this shit with him, she said to him, “You need to smile more, why don’t you smile more?” And this guy from security came over and like leaned in and said something to her, we were all like what’s he saying, someone was like, “He’s saying it’s a famous rapper”–it was Kanye West.

Girl 2: No way.

Girl 1: Like, you do not tell Kanye to smile more.

Girl 2: Um, no.

Girl 1: I mean the lady said it to him like three times, “You should smile more, you need to smile more.”  Even if you’re not a rapper it’s like, get out of my biz.

Girl 2: Seriously.

Girl 1: Then we went through the line and I felt like I had to say something, I was like, this is my chance to say something to Kanye, while we were putting our shoes back on I said, “This is the fun part, putting your clothes back on.”  He was like, “Ha ha, yeah.”

Girl 2: Oh that’s the worst.  Well nothing’s worse than when we were in Hawaii and we hit Rosie O’Donnell with our umbrella.

Girl 1: On purpose?

Girl 2: No the trade winds like picked it up and smacked her with it.  My dad didn’t know who she was, he was like, “I hope you have good insurance.”

Girl 1: As much as that lady starts shit with people and mouths off she better have good insurance.

Girl 2: I guess I don’t mind if people have strong opinions, but people have to know when to shut up.

Girl 1: And she never does.

Girl 2: Yeah.  I guess it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

6th Avenue at 10th Street, Jefferson Market NYPL

Teen Author Reading Nights for Spring 2009:

January 7 2009, 6:00-7:30:

Claudia Gabel, Friends Close, Enemies Closer

Bill Konigsburg, Out of the Pocket

Micol Ostow, Golden Girl

Marie Rutkowski, Cabinet of Wonders

Eliot Schrefer, School for Dangerous Girls

February 11 2009, 6:00-7:30:

Madeleine George, Looks

Sarah Mlynowski, Parties and Potions

Robin Palmer, Geek Charming

Lynn Weingarten, Wherever Nina Lies

March 4 2009, 6:00-7:30:

Donna Freitas, The Possibilities of Sainthood

Sarah Maclean, The Season

P. E. Ryan, In Mike We Trust

Heather Duffy Stone, This Is What I Want to Tell You

Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

April 1 2009, 6:00-7:30:

Gayle Forman, If I Stay

Sarah Darer Littman, Purge

Neesha Meminger, Shine, Coconut Moon

Michael Northrop, Gentlemen

Lisa Ann Sandell, A Map of the Known World

Elizabeth Scott, Someday, Maybe

…All Teen Author Reading Nights are held at the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library, 425 6th Avenue at 10th Street, New York, NY.

Published in: on December 20, 2008 at 11:06 pm  Comments (3)  

1st Street between 1st and 2nd

Late night, light cold rain.

Tall blond guy, six foot four or five and lanky, in a windbreaker and skinny jeans, carrying four Key Food bags full of groceries, pitching and swaying his drunken way down the block.  He stops, billows forward, reels back and then collapses backwards onto the sidewalk, groceries tumbling onto the wet ground all around him.

He rolls over onto his hands and knees, gathers his food, gets heavily, unsteadily, to his feet.  Looks around him.

Blond Guy: (confidentially to no one) I’m glad only four people saw that.

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 4:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Whole Foods Union Square, 14th Street and Broadway

Scrawny hipster boy in plastic-rimmed glasses and a hoodie sits across the table from delicate, scarf-draped Euro hipster girl.  They eat vegetarian pizza and chat haltingly.

After a long pause:

Hipster Boy: I had a girlfriend once who played the accordion.  She wouldn’t let me tell anyone about it.

Hipster Girl: That’s crazy.

Hipster Boy: She was a music major.  She swore me to secrecy.

Hipster Girl: That’s crazy.  If I had an accordion I would strap it on and go out on my balcony and play and play.

Hipster Boy: Yeah, I’d take it on the subway.

Hipster Girl: Oh no that’s crazy.  I need to be away from people if I am going to play the accordion.  I need my balcony.  I need my comfort zone.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

14th Street between 1st and 2nd

Two young choady dudes–ringer Ts, long shorts, flip flops–ambling easy through the cool July morning.

Choady Guy 1: You know how like girls will get their periods and then if they’re like living together all of them will start to get their periods at the same time?

Choady Guy 2: I heard of that, yeah.

Choady Guy 1: It’s like, one girl’s flow will be the strongest and she’ll like overpower the weaker ones.

Choady Guy 2: Yeah, yeah. (pause) But how do they know when to start? How do they know when the one girl’s having it, like by scent?

Choady Guy 1: (serious) No it’s weird, it’s like, more subconscious than that. You’ll see girls where one of them will have their period and the rest of them will just like, start having their period even though they don’t know why.

Choady Guy 2: Weird.

Choady Guy 1: I know, it’s a weird kind of awareness that they have.

Published in: on July 11, 2008 at 2:52 am  Comments (1)