An Insider’s Account of the Woman Who Fooled New York

Book review: My Friend Anna, by Rachel DeLoache Williams (Amazon / Book Depository) If you’d asked me before I met Anna, I wouldn’t have thought I lacked this type of common sense. I was skeptical of strangers, suspicious of new people. But I didn’t see Anna coming. She slipped through my filters. You read about those characters in books, you see them in movies, but … Continue reading An Insider’s Account of the Woman Who Fooled New York

Old New York’s Pirate and Gangster Legends Come Alive in a New History

Book review: The Last Pirate of New York, by Rich Cohen (Amazon / Book Depository) Author Rich Cohen’s father told him unusual bedtime stories: gangster tales. He opens his account of a murderous New York pirate by explaining his fascination with this subject, then allowing the story to take over in this concise account of a specific man, event, and moment in time. He wanted … Continue reading Old New York’s Pirate and Gangster Legends Come Alive in a New History

The Subtle Joys of Traveling Alone

Book review: Alone Time, by Stephanie Rosenbloom Amazon What follows are impressions of four journeys; a love letter to loners, to witches and shamans, to those who cherish their friends, spouses, and partners yet also want alone time to think, create, have an adventure, learn a skill, or solve a problem…find your “thinking path,” to discover what you want from your own solitary moments. New … Continue reading The Subtle Joys of Traveling Alone

Observational Essays on Neighbors, Health, Gossip Girl Gossips, and Sometimes the Mundane

Book review: Look Alive Out There, by Sloane Crosley (Amazon / Book Depository) Sloane Crosley’s new essay collection is the first of her work I’ve read, despite her popularity, particularly for her personal essays, and having recognized her name when she made a cameo on Gossip Girl (I’ve recently admitted my shame over this, let’s not dwell on it.) I definitely needed a lighthearted essay … Continue reading Observational Essays on Neighbors, Health, Gossip Girl Gossips, and Sometimes the Mundane

Obsession on the Upper East Side

Book review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me, by Piper Weiss (Amazon / Book Depository) In this Gossip Girl meets true crime hybrid memoir, the story of Gary Wilensky, private tennis coach to wealthy Manhattan teenagers who made a thankfully unsuccessful abduction attempt of one his students, is recounted alongside the author’s growing pains. She had been his student too. In spring of 1993, Wilensky tried … Continue reading Obsession on the Upper East Side

Inside a Manhattan New Age Cult

Book review: The Cult Next Door, by Elizabeth Burchard Amazon When cults make the news, it’s often because they’ve done something awful on a compound somewhere, or in the jungles of Guyana. This memoir shows the mesmerizing power of a cult close to home, one that forms in the heart of a major metropolis, in one of Manhattan’s poshest neighborhoods, and for decades ensnared members in a cycle of … Continue reading Inside a Manhattan New Age Cult

The Minutes of An American Tragedy

Image of World Trade Center fog, November 1998. By Flickr user Beija (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija/243997357) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons   Book review: 102 Minutes, by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn Amazon From the moment the first hijacked plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, 102 minutes passed before both towers ultimately collapsed. As we know all too … Continue reading The Minutes of An American Tragedy

Art, Movies, Men, and Manhattan in the 50s

Book review: The Men in My Life, by Patricia Bosworth (Amazon / Book Depository) Patricia Bosworth is a biographer, best known for her books on actors and artists like Montgomery Clift and Diana Arbus; her biography on the latter was the basis for the film Fur. But before she became an author and journalist, Bosworth was a model and actress working in 1950s America. It was a very … Continue reading Art, Movies, Men, and Manhattan in the 50s

Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers

Book review: Rules for Others to Live By, by Richard Greenberg (Amazon / Book Depository) These loosely connected (very loosely) essays and comments require a certain dry, dark, cynical sense of humor to really enjoy them. I did enjoy them though, for the most part. The audiences is definitely New Yorkers, and I can imagine these might not find broad appeal outside of a certain set of … Continue reading Observational Humor for Cynics and New Yorkers

When the Upper West Side Was Seedy

Book review: Closing Time, by Lacey Fosburgh (Amazon / Book Depository) Page turner about the 1973 murder of a schoolteacher on New York City’s Upper West Side by a troubled drifter. I haven’t read the book or seen the film Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which immortalized the case, and didn’t know much about the case itself. One detail had always stuck with me from whatever … Continue reading When the Upper West Side Was Seedy