Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A walking tour of the Brooklyn Dodgers

Nearly one third of all World Series baseball games have been played in New York City. Twenty-eight of those games were played in the confines of tiny Ebbet’s Field (4.5 acres in size compared to Yankee stadium’s 11), formerly in Flatbush, and once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers. No longer a dollhouse-sized ballpark, the historic park was replaced by towering brick apartment buildings, and is now an area referred to by realtors as Crown Heights. 

The Municipal Art Society tour of Jackie Robinson’s Brooklyn began along the waterfront, in Brooklyn Heights, facing the Manhattan skyline. As we looked across the East River at the Wall Street beacons, we glanced over at our equally towering tour guide, Peter Laskowich, in navy khakis, heavy thick soled black oxfords, and a blue hat with an NY logo. With copious notes, on striped yellow legal paper, held close in his right hand, Peter started us deep into the story of Robinson and the Dodgers: “The Dodgers are not welcome back in New York,” he said. “They left, so we hate their guts.” His words may have felt like the hazing those scrappy Dodgers experienced while they lived in the shadow of the “big city.”

Read the full story. Originally published on Untapped Cities New York.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Author Interview: Leanne Shapton

Illustrator and author, Leanne Shapton, wrote Swimming Studies, an endearing book about the life of a swimmer trying to make it to the Olympics. It nicely fits in drawings, photographs and written memories. I interviewed the author a few weeks before she won the 2012 NBCC award for autobiography and you can listen to it here. Her past works include Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Relativity of Small (Or, the Affairs of Men): Two Novellas

Book review

Panio Gianopoulos
A Familiar Beast
(NOUVELLA, 2012)

Carissa Halston
The Mere Weight of Words

Stories of male infidelity have been around since the first recorded narratives, and we continue to find new ways to tell them. Here from the small press universe are two novellas, each compelling tales of complicated relationships, which succeed in different ways.

A Familiar Beast by Panio Gianopoulos (Nouvella Press) is just a little bigger than a passport, but the design elements—a heavy, seemingly impervious cover and an illustration of giant deer antlers cupped around the title—are metaphorical pointers to the rigors of daily life.

On page one we meet Marcus, set adrift after cheating on his pregnant wife with a coworker at his father-in-law’s structural engineering firm. He knows not what to do nor how to carry on. We learn of Marcus’ indiscretion via former friends, who are forced to take sides in a battle of the sexes that Marcus has clearly lost. With nowhere to turn, our disgraced narrator laments those who “leaked their derision like potted plants overfilled by amateur gardeners.” Gianopoulos’s exacting prose had me re-reading lines and laughing along with the narrator—even in his misery.

Read the full review, originally published in The Brooklyn Rail.