New York City Residents

Bagels and Genres

Conversations about bagels have something to teach us about the nature of genres and the study of material culture. I realized this a few years ago as I was sitting in an Einstein’s Bagels in Las Vegas that was decorated with standardized murals imitating 1930s Bauhaus design. I remembered a conversation with a friend a decade earlier about the authenticity of modern-day bagels—or lack thereof. But as I glanced at the “traditional” preparation with lox and capers alongside the sun-dried tomato variants, it occurred to me that it might be a false competition.


“Unwittingly,” writes New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta, “I have turned into a student of light. The August light that envelops the beaten-down old streets of Red Hook, I have learned, is more melancholy than the morning light during lilac season in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The sun sparkling on the crown of the Chrysler building is whimsical, ‘like a woman dressed for a party at high noon.’”

Petanque in New York

First practiced in New York City in the 1930s (Pilate 2005, 109–10), the bowling game petanque has become visible in the public spaces of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, next to frisbee, badminton, volleyball, and tai chi. Today, this urban game is played by players of French origin (binational and expatriate), French-speaking immigrants of African origin, and increasingly numerous English-speaking players. This article uses ethnographic data I collected in 2009 and 2011 to describe petanque play in New York City, including different playing areas, the history of local petanque clubs, the hot moments of the annual calendar, ordinary practice, and the personal journeys and motivations of the players.

K’s Ghost City:

Anyone who has lived in New York for any time
soon becomes aware of “Ghost Sites,” places too soon
relegated to memory. As part of City Lore’s Place
Matters project and the Census of Places that Matter,
we struggle with how to think about and address
vanishing sites, especially during this COVID-19 era.
Our longtime friend, writer Kathryn Adisman has a
unique take on the subject, and we invited her to contribute
to City Lore’s guest blog for us, which we share
here with Voices, focusing, in part, on Bleecker Street
in the West Village.


OK, maybe we’re not the “best book group” in all New York. But back in 2004, author Wayne Barrett nominated us to the Village Voice’s annual “Best Of ” list, and so the name Best Book Group (BBG) stuck… Alex Herzan and I were having a sushi picnic …. when this idea was hatched. I mentioned to Alex that I had decided to mark my 10th anniversary as a New Yorker by reading a year of books about NYC. I hadn’t come up with a list of books yet, but I had decided to start with Ragtime. Alex was excited about my plan and had the great idea to make it a book group.

A Visit to City Lore’s Archives

In September 2022, City Lore, located in Lower Manhattan, had a visitor who told us that she believed we might have a photograph of her mother in our archives. The image that she was looking for showed her mother working at their family-owned vegetable stall in New York City’s Chinatown, shortly after her parent’s immigration from Hong Kong in the 1970s. Fortunately, she knew who had taken it.

An Inside View of Contra Dancing in Brooklyn, 2015

Brooklyn Contra is the latest addition
to a contra dance subculture that for over
half a century has been hidden in plain
sight among the glittering distractions of
New York City. The latest contra dance
growth spurt started some 15 years ago at
the Manhattan contra dance series, when
an influx of younger dancers arrived on
the scene and kept coming back every week
for more.


Most New Yorkers recognize … the heart of New York
City is not only found at the Met or Lincoln
Center, but in the hustle and bustle, the
c acophonous mix of ethnic groups, social
classes, folk, pop, and high art….With passionate interest in what’s distinctive
and local about New York, we have
issued, for the fifth year, the People’s City
Report Card 2015.


Community anchors – the organziations that communities create in response to the conditions in whih their members live – are incubators for vibrant cultural activity and are critical to the cultural ecology of American cities. The authors identify three organizational typologies – religious institutions, social clubs and mutual aid societies, and small businesses.


The New York Community Garden movement which began in the 1960s spawned over 800 community gardens by the 1980s. Today, community gardens comprise the subject and sites of intense public debate.