City People

Family Matters on Court Street

Family Matters on Court Street by Ben Gibberd

Marilyn K. Yee/New York Times

Father and son, Jimmy and Carmine Cincotta, in their Brooklyn produce store. Jimmy has been “peddling” since 1939 as a 13 year-old and was the borough’s last vendor to retire a horse and cart, in 1970.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Look Who’s Talking

Brooklyn Up Close: Look Who's Talking by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Daniel Barry

“Calling all of my spirit guides of the highest order. Are you there…?” Sue Pike, animal communication expert, channels a client.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

A Postman Who Rings Twice and Sometimes Even More

Boerum Hill: A Postman Who Rings Twice and Sometimes Even More by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Joyce Dopkeen

Stanley Theodore, mailman on the same Brooklyn beat for 24 years, loves the neighborhood as much as it loves him. “When I hit the streets,” he says, “I’m the happiest person there. I come outside and maybe I’m tired or maybe I have a problem at home—once I hit the streets, it’s all gone. I feel protected here.”

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

In a House of Blues, a Safe Harbor

In a House of Blues, a Safe Harbor by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Kitra Cahana for The New York Times

Victor Roland, 63-years old and developmentally disabled, hasn’t missed a night in ten years at Bleecker Street music joint Terra Blues. Sometimes he even gets to play on stage.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Close Your Eyes and Think of England

Close Your Eyes And Think Of England by Ben Gibberd

Illustration: Victor Juhasz

2005 essay on the British invasion of Brownstone Brooklyn. “It’s not just the cacophony of British accents, it’s the creeping growth of Brit establishments. Bars have mutated into pubs, with darts, microbrews, trivia competitions and even cheese-and-onion-flavored crisps. Fish-and-chip shops do booming business, and food products (American friends might dispute the term) like Marmite and spotted dick are available in local bodegas and supermarkets…”

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Thanks to Victor Juhasz for the illustration.

Saints, Lovers and Others

Saints, Lovers and Others by Ben Gibberd

Ruby Washington/The New York Times

“Semi-retired” blacksmith Tony Cuonzo in his Brooklyn workshop for the past 40 years. Widowed, and with time on his hands, he now fashions vast dinosaurs, saints, devils, kissing couples, and anything else that comes to mind.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Car Choreography

Car Choreography by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Robert Stolank

John Trombino, manager of the J & L parking lot in Brooklyn, juggles his “dailies” and “monthlies” with virtuoso skill, ensuring no one gets blocked in. Most of the time, anyway.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

A Squall on the Horizon

A Squall on the Horizon by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Cary Conover

The changing fortunes of the historic Keller Hotel in the far West Village mirror the fortunes of the neighborhood itself. Once a respectable refuge for seaman, then an SRO and home to a notorious gay bar, it was finally abandoned in the 1990s. Outside the safety of the Village’s landmark district, it now faces a controversial new fate as high-end housing.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

‘A Night That Made You Believe in Humanity.’

'A Night to Make You Believe in Humanity' by Ben Gibberd

Photo: The New York Times

Twenty people were killed when a plane bound from La Guardia to Miami crashed on Rikers Island in 1957. Prison inmates and guards braved the flames to rescue 81 others, and many prisoners’ sentences were commuted as a result.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

The Park Lady

The Park Lady by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Richard Perry

Kathleen Henderson, a.k.a. “The Park Lady” of Carroll Park, Brooklyn. Officially, a “playground associate” in Parks Department jargon; unofficially, the face of summer for countless children. Only her own kids thinks she’s totally uncool.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Spots Before His Eyes

Spots Before His Eyes by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

73 year-old retired mathematics professor Bruce Chandler has a surprising theorem about cars and the city: “New York is a parking paradise,” he says simply. Put to the test, he proves his point.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Who Hurts?

Who Hurts? by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Nicole Bengiveno

2005 essay on the winners and the losers in Brooklyn’s frantic gentrification. “The problem with calling Brooklyn ‘new’ is that it diminishes the value of all that’s been here for a long time,” says one long-time observer and neighborhood advocate.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Taking Refuge Beneath Memory’s Gaze

Taking Refuge by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times

Strauss Park, a neat little triangle at 106th Street and West End Avenue with a bronze statue of Memory, is increasingly becoming a dormitory for the homeless at night despite claims by the city street homelessness is drastically declining.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

Democrats on Ice

Democrats on Ice by Ben Gibberd

Photo: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Mona Sutphen and her husband Clyde Williams in their Harlem apartment. Both served under the Clinton administration, and both, like many former Democratic administration members, now find themselves exiled from Washington in New York. “I mean, it’s not that I wouldn’t go back for certain kinds of jobs,” Ms. Sutphen said. “But it would have to be the kind of job you just can’t turn down,” her husband added. Both are now back in Washington, where Ms. Sutphen is Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House.

Read the complete article in the New York Times.

It’s Quirky, It’s beloved, and It’s Closing

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/For The New York Times

The news began to trickle out just before Christmas via a flurry of horrified Facebook postings and shocked exchanges over lattes and bagels: the Victory Cafe, a tiny hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, was being evicted by its … Continue reading

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