Chinatown, Detroit

August 3, 2016

At the intersection of Cass Avenue and Peterboro Street are the remnants of the second Chinatown of Detroit, Michigan, which relocated there in the 1960s before it and its last restaurant closed in 2000.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from Taiwan: A Western night in an Eastern city


Of all the food joints in all of the districts in all of Taipei, Dave wants to meet at a thoroughly American establishment.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from Taiwan: Atop the Ci-en Pagoda

2013-03-26 17.29.26
The inscription in the ground says that it’s 570 meters to the pagoda. The brick tiles of the path are smooth; the soles of my shoes slip on them, the tips catch in their gaps. I tread carefully but decide I’m in a hurry. It’s late afternoon, nearly dusk, and though the mountain air is brisk, my t-shirt clings to my chest.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake does the Harlem shake

Wednesday morning, my dad and I are driving along a mountain road overlooking Sun Moon Lake when my uncle’s sedan undertakes a maneuver I heretofore have assumed only possible by Usher’s ankles. For about a second, it feels as if the left rear tire is veering toward the left while the rest of the car is moving toward the right. Confused, we look behind us, expecting to see a ditch, the corpse of whatever we ran over, or the left rear tire popped off its axle and rolling idly away. I see a slight bump in the road and assume that was it and wonder whether years of aggressive Taiwanese driving have finally taken its toll on the vehicle’s suspension system.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from Taiwan: channeling Tom Hanks from The Terminal, or how bad I am at international traveling

Greetings from the future.

It’s spring break, and I’m on the other side of the planet in Taipei, Taiwan. I wasn’t quite sure that I’d make it; I woke up with a sore throat Friday morning that turned into a raging migraine and a case of the shakes that kept me from getting much rest Friday night. (Trying to sleep through the impromptu karaoke party in my living room didn’t help, but that’s a story for another time.)
Read the rest of this entry »


First thing I noticed was the seagulls.

Fatter, stronger, etc., than any seagull I’m used to!

You’d think they get self-conscious or cocky about it or something, but then you remember that they’re just seagulls, so they probably don’t think about these things too much.

It also rains a lot. I also noticed that. I think the seagulls notice it too since they fly around and kind of hide in window ledges looking inside with cocked heads to see what we’re up to, like “what are you doing in there?”

When the sun comes out, the sky is gold and red and rainbows from all of the rain. I also think the seagulls notice this. They start hopping around on the edges of buildings more and flying and peeking in windows less. They probably figure it’s going to rain any minute, so I had better get my hops in while I can.

Dispatch from the home front: Financial District

The streets all smell like gasoline. Many are still wet. Some are covered in sand–sand, on the island of no beaches.

The traffic jams of black cars and dark suits have been replaced by ConEd trucks and haz-mat suits. Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from the home front: hurricane watch

Sandy’s coming to town. Hey girl.

Red Hook is mostly deserted, the blocky homes and project buildings and warehouses quiet but for the steady sibilance of the wind. Even though we’re in an evacuation zone, we see the occasional straggler, and I’m certain that the walls here shield plenty of stubborn souls. The streets are littered with yellow leaves and fragments of trees. Road signs quiver, wobble in the wind. Power lines undulate. Our jeans speckle at first before clinging to our knees, shiny. My vision is mottled by the droplets on my glasses; I squint but it doesn’t help much. Everything is grey grey grey.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dispatch from the home front: Labor Day morning

It’s beautiful and grey out today. The breeze swirls the flag outside my apartment and sends gusts of wind through my living room window.

Last night, I woke up at around 3 in the morning to rain and a faint sound of knocking. I realized that Adam, a friend staying for the weekend, must have gotten locked out.

After I let him in, I had a hard time falling back asleep. The channels of my brain throbbed from the whiskeys I drank earlier in the evening. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles played in an endless loop through my mind at an obnoxious volume.
Read the rest of this entry »

Island Walk

I emerge at the 215 St stop off the 1 train. I’ve never been here before. It’s familiar but strange, and I wonder whether I’m still in the city. A bridge looms in the distance. Yonder, the Bronx.

I’m armed with a notebook, some pens, and a book, Waterfront by Phillip Lopate, along with a head full of jumbled thoughts and unreliable memories. The daunting expanse of summer awaits me, but first, the daunting expanse of this island. Mannahatta. “Place where timber is procured for bows and arrows.” “Place of general inebriation.” “Island.”

It’s a balmy Monday in June. Before long, in two days in fact, the fury of the New York summer, hot and sticky, is expected. It’s forecast to be in the 90s by Wednesday, but this day is just fine for a walk, a half-marathon stroll along this island, tip to tip, park to park, Inwood to Battery.
Read the rest of this entry »