Category Archives: Reimagineers

the things i like to write about (are weird)

From time to time, when I am writing, I have this thought—which I occasionally post on FB:

“sometimes i sit down and i write some shit and i think, holy mother of G-d i am a sick, terrible person. at least i’m thin”

Usually in those exact words . Anyone who knows me knows that i write a lot (despite not having posted here in about a week—srry!), both for a living/school and in my free time. It’s like that quote from Karn’s piece about cigarette smoking in NYC—”I won’t be able to quit. It comes from inside me”

I’ve gotta tell you, the shit i write for work is bad enough (Tamil Tigers, stabbings, rape/murder and a measles epidemic, and that’s just this week), but in spite of or because of this, the shit i write after work is even worse. Sometimes I read through what I’ve written for the night and then i think, motherfucker, i need some valium or a quarter of a xanax or something. Because of course I’m really not writing about these things—I’m writing about a doomed love affair and a laundromat chain and some IED taxi cabs—and yet they come out of me. Which is why if the Kindle ever generates a tag-cloud for fiction, I’ll have to throw myself from the Verrazano Bridge.


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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Bibliomania, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Coney Island, India, Israel, it's a small world, Reimagineers, Sri Lanka, Taxis

The Reimagineers, Chapter 11: Sept. 7th, The Coney Island Apocalypse

I’m already several chapters past this, but it felt like a good time to share. Cuz I FELT LIKE IT, motherfuckers

Look up.
There in the sky, ten thousand feet straight up from here, a four-and-a-half year old refugee with thick plastic glasses will see his first American seagull. He will press his nose to the glass, watching an almost imperceptibly small white figure soar and dive towards the red metal arms that reach endlessly up out of Brooklyn. If the Rx is good he may see the lean stripe of yellow beaches, punctuated here by the Steeplechase Pier jutting half a mile into the Atlantic, and behind it, Deno’s Wonderwheel (and almost certainly the projects beyond). As the plane circles terrifyingly earthward, he will squeeze his eyes shut and dream that unspeakable secret dream, a Made-in-China Yankees cap—preemptively bought—clutched in his sticky brown fingers.

If you, like us, naturalized through JFK instead of Ellis Island, then Coney Island’s Eiffel Tower was almost 100% absolutely the first American thing you saw. The French should errect a new goddamn plaque.

Every summer we return here, spilling out of Ocean Parkway and West 8th Street and Stillwell Avenue, Bangladeshi and Dominican and Cantonese alike; blacks from the West 27th Towers, from Coney and Flatbush and Bushwick; the Russians from their garish pink condos and their bungalows in Brighton; the Persians from the newly redoubled single-family’s in Gravesend, Mexicans and Chinese from the cluttered 5-family brownstones in Sunset Park; the Lubavich and the Islanders from the squat apartment houses of Crown Heights, and the hipsters, like some 11th plague, from the $2,000 a month one bedrooms of Williamsburg, their Canons trained on us like M-16s.

Last week, Astroland Amusements and the developers who own their concrete reached an impasse. Starting tomorrow, the poured plastic wildlife, the space needle and the haunted house and King Neptune water flume will be all leveled, auctioned and removed.
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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Bibliomania, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Coney Island, it's a small world, MUMBAI, Reimagineers, Taxis

The Reimagineers, Chapter 10—The Cyclone Cycle

In life, Mr. Mohammad had been 5’3”, though death, he was 5 inches even. Mr. Ajaz had been taller, almost 5’7”, with vehement mustaches and a wife who washed cotton shalwarz and kurta pajamas and yellowing undershirts ($3 the pack on Kings Highway) every Tuesday and Sunday afternoon at the Tel Aviv Coin-Op on CI Avenue, both of which survived him. Both Messrs. had lived in Karachi for two-dozen-years before that dream tore into their hearts, burrowing between the left and right ventricle, the longing to emigrate like a piece of fine silver wire threaded between the fibers that tugs, feather-light, at the mortification of la vida cotidiana. A wire whose far end is tethered to the Made-in-India manhole covers of New York, the city that will do and make and be everything, where the Crown Vic yellows and boxy Islamic centers of moldering brick replaced the dust and turrets and the goat curry that describe post-card Karachi.
Or at least, that’s how I imagine it.
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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Bibliomania, Immigration, Reimagineers, Taxis

New Year’s Miracles (not so much)

The first post of 2009 comes in the form of a warning: be careful what you wish for. Or, more precisely, be careful what you write about—it might just come true.

First, there’s the tragedy of 61-year-old livery-cab driver Khadim Bhatti, who was killed on the job in Coney Island  Wednesday morning in pretty much the same time, place and manner I’ve been writing about fictional Pakistani Gypsy cab drivers being killed in The Reimagineers. (Click through the Reimagineers category tab to read excerpts).


Also interesting, though far less sinister, the Yiddish karaoke party I wrote about for the Times is now online in the form of an unmissable YouTube video. 

3rdworldimagineer, where amazing happens.

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Coney Island, Immigration, Reimagineers, Taxis

Top 5 Reasons G-d Invented the SuperCycle

They booted Ada’s cab. I sat on the hood, my hair exploding around me in the humidity, sucking down HiTar after HiTar and scribbling an update in my notebook while Adelaida paced the sidewalk, screaming three dialects worth of profanities at the 311 Operator. “…Roy is the third victim perpetrator New York City taxi driver to die in a string of recent explosions incidents that began this July in Brooklyn. Police would not say whether the explosions are related.
“You cunt-licking ass clown, I’m gonna put a boot on your fucking face,  you shit-eating donkey-fucking bhenchod.”
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Filed under nanowrimo08, Reimagineers

No. 1 Herb

“A Dominican dork can stand for everybody“—Junot Diaz, Oct. 3rd, 2008

How fucking imagineery is that? This is my post-post (ok, week late) breakdown of the New Yorker Festival “Where I Come From” lecture, with three of my favorite lit dorks, Sherman Alexie (a Spokane Indian) , Shalom Auslander (an ex-Orthodox Jew), and of course, Junot Diaz (A Dominican New Jersey transplant). It’s lame to include the race markers here, but if you don’t know the crew, it bears later.  In keeping with the spirit of the lecture, and probably with the fact that none of my pictures turned out, I am including lots and lots of %$&*^, et al. If you want a more stayed report of the event, you can check out the New Yorker offical wrap-up. But personally, I think they missed the fucking point.

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Filed under 3rd World Imagineering, Reimagineers, The Liberal Media

On Tolstoy

“Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему.”

Лев Толстой, Анна Каренина

We are not a family, any of us, only a clumsy parody of one, our unhappiness only a facsimile of others’

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