Tag Archive for nyc

Snowzilla, Part One, plus a manifesto

These are some of the photos I took this morning in NYC. Yes, I was out. I go to the river every morning before I start work, by which I mean, every morning. The exceptions are morning when I have some early appointment, but the exceptions are not weather. Weather is part of the point.

Because I learned this in a sudden epiphany years ago: gorgeousness and pleasantness are not the same. What happened was, I went with a friend to Storm King Art Center. It was summer, July or August, a very hot day. Storm King’s a vast outdoor sculpture park, conceived and operated to present, well, vast outdoor sculptures. We’d been roaming over the rolling hills for about half an hour, sweating as we ambled from diSuvero to Noguchi, when it started to rain. My friend was all for running into the small house they use to show small works. But this was just a warm rain, no thunder, no lightning, and we’d been so hot and sweaty. And a Henry Moore was glistening white and wet in the distance. My friend went in; I stayed outside, meandering around on the soggy grass, seeing the glistening Moore, watching drops plink into puddles in Noguchi’s carved stones. And I realized: physical discomfort is unavoidable, and everywhere. My back hurts after a couple of hours at my desk. I have to grab for air playing basketball. Nothing, as long as I live in this physical body, is without cost. So why not get wet in a fabulous rain near plinking Noguchis?

This philosophy has served me well. I got to see double rainbows in Mongolia after a cold wet night.


I tramped through — and fell down in — slippery mud in the terraced rice fields of Yunnan, and I saw this.


And I went out today in Snowzilla, and found many things.

Outside from inside, just before I left.


Snowplow tracks

The river near my bench

Light and its reflection


Sledding kids (what a good daddy they have)

Trees and wall



I wasn’t at the river alone

Hard-working building super

Fourth Saturday

Wind gusts, tires’ chains clink,
Snow tapping on jacket’s hood,
Snowplow’s mighty roar.

Horizontal rail,
Slanted snow, roiling river,
Twirling windborne leaf.

Sledding children laugh,
Spin down pine grove’s slippery hill,
Tumble into drift.

Second Saturday

Tower on far bank
Glows in shaft of morning sun
Against charcoal sky.

Tide at highest point.
Just twelve pilings visible.
Hundreds more submerged.

No ships. Slow south wind.
Long low swells slide into shore,
Slip along seawall.

Hey, NYers! Here’s a book worth winning!

Not mine, not Eating in Translation’s, but Oxford University Press’s SAVORING GOTHAM.  You win it at Eating in Translation, one of my favorite websites, so check out the contest rules.  It makes a great holiday gift.  As does, of course, a 2016 SJ Rozan Calendar.

Happy holidays!


Fiftieth Saturday, one day late

Pair of soccer balls
Float slowly on river's glass,
Glow in morning sun.

Two paddling gadwalls
Slicing through waveless water
Raising tiny wake.

Long low swell rolls in,
Angles against seawall, breaks,
Single wave rolls out.

And don't forget your 2016 SJ Rozan Calendars!

Perfect for every room in your house.
Also, your friends' houses.
Every room.

I Love New York

Construction site coffee break.

Hardhat #1 takes out cigarettes.  “Hey,”  he says to Hardhat #2, already smoking.  “You got a light?”

Hardhat #2 takes out matchbook, strikes match, holds it out, lights Hardhat #1’s smoke.  “Thanks,”  says Hardhat #1.

Hardhat #2 shakes match out, claps Hardhat #1 on the back.  “For you, buddy, I’d burn this whole fucking building down.”

I love New York.


A short course in the short story

Some of you have asked whether I teach workshops in NYC.  Well, this winter I will.  I’m teaching a six-week course in The Crime Fiction Short Story, Saturday mornings starting Jan. 23.  Details on the CFA website, so check it out and come on down.

I Love New York

Into my subway car today come the doo-wop guys, who play the subway a lot.  They four-part their way through “Jingle Bells.”  The only people who put money in their little silver shopping bag besides me are the grinning young Asian guy with his hair in a man bun, and the Sikh in a purple turban.

I love New York.

Forty-ninth Saturday

On wrinkled river
Helicopter's shadow slides,
Ferry's white wake froths.

Tall construction crane
Looms over trees, low buildings:
Iron dinosaur.

Dog jumps on next bench,
Sticks cold nose in hand, wags tail,
Refuses to leave.

And don't forget your 2016 Calendars!

River report

Lots of fog in the past few days, much of it beautifully low-hanging enough to dissolve the tops of the towers on both sides of the river. Cormorants huddling on the pilings, gulls swooping, and a red-tail who seems to be making the neighborhood his home. Fingers of gold leaves from the locust trees lying in criss-crosses on dark wet stone. This morning, sudden silver bursts of fish jumping from the water right in front of my bench. I watched for a while hoping they were being chased by a seal who’d eventually surface. Seals from New England do winter in Jamaica Bay, but they don’t often come this far up the Hudson. I’ve only seen one here, about four years ago.  Did not see one this morning.  In the end I had to admit the predator was probably just a bigger fish.