USA Network

I first heard about “Temptation Island” from, of all people, Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback and current co-host of the New York sports talk radio show Boomer and Gio. Esiason and his co-host, Greg Gianotti, are both fans of the show, and on my brief morning commute, around 7:45 to 8:00, I catch their show — which recently, has strayed offputtingly often from New York sports to the latest goings-on on “Temptation Island.”

Temptation Island is a reality show, airing on USA Network, and its name is more or less self-explanatory. Four couples are whisked away to a tropical…


Joe Flacco isn’t a quarterback who’s going to cost the Jets a draft pick, if ya know what I mean.

There’s a scene from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a delightful Amazon comedy, that’s been on my mind lately. Abe, the title character’s father, has been arrested at a Lenny Bruce performance, and he’s now hoping to turn himself into a free speech martyr. Then his lawyer comes in.

“Brace yourself, Abe, I got bad news,” he says. “That was the DA. They’re dropping the charges against you.”

“No!” says Abe.

“They’re going through their files and dropping charges for insignificant, victimless crimes,” the lawyer says. “Yours was one of them.”

“Insignificant?” Abe says. “No, we’ve got to fight this!”

“Abe,”…


Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

MANHATTAN — It was everywhere. In the stairwells, in the concourse, in the seats. Even before the first jump ball was thrown, you could hear it. When the Mavericks jogged onto the court for warmups…when Kristaps Porzingis took a layup…when the teams lined up for the national anthem…

“KP sucks! KP sucks!”

He was back. The former unicorn, Knicks savior, more recently the oft-injured apparent malcontent, was returning to New York in his new uniform. Obviously, it was going to be ugly. Around the Knicks, it usually is.

The crowd was amped. Primed. You could sense it. “Traitor!” someone shouted…


As the Sunnyside Yard Master Planning Process draws to an end, and potential groundbreaking gets closer every day, supporters and opponents of the project are still having trouble talking to each other. Despite some small successes, on the whole, the gap between supporters and opponents of the project has proven difficult or impossible to clear.

“There are no supporters,” said Patricia Dorfman, a Queens activist and vocal opponent of the project. “They all don’t want the yards.” Pressed for clarification, Dorfman was adamant that she was speaking literally. She had never encountered a single supporter of the project.

Kacy Knight…


Almost two hours into the September 4th meeting of Queens Community Board 2, Arthur Tarley, who calls himself a “son of Queens,” stepped up to the microphone during the public comment period to denounce plans for the Sunnyside Yards development.

“The working people, tenants, and frontline communities can’t afford a Sunnyside Yards development,” he said.

The proposal is a plan to construct a deck over the 180-acre railyard in Sunnyside, creating new land for developers on which to build. …


Ruben Arnov has been a barber since 1985. For the last ten years, he’s owned and operated Ruben Barbershop in Woodside, Queens. His says his rent has steadily increased by about 120 dollars every year, and he has a family to support, which means he has to work on Labor Day. But he’s not upset about that.

“Another day, what are you going to do?” he asked me as we sat on a long bench behind the three barber’s chairs in his shop. “I like to work! That’s the bottom line.”

Arnov says he got his start as a…


Between 60th and 61st Street in Woodside sit a Rite Aid and a Duane Reade. Meanwhile, within four blocks are four small pharmacies: Zarchy Pharmacy, Tazmi Pharmacy, Woodside Chemists, and JMD pharmacy.

Small pharmacies have declined nationwide. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, last year there were 21,909 independent pharmacies in the United States, down from 23,029 in 2012 and approximately 24,500 in 2006. But among the small pharmacies that remain, at least in Woodside, being small can be a blessing and a curse.

Customers shop at small pharmacies because of “homey personal service,” said Salma Rahman, pharmacist at…


WHEN I WAS seven, or thereabouts, I changed a lightbulb. It fell from a fixture in the kitchen and landed on the floor, somehow still unbroken, and I followed my mother’s instructions to turn off the light switch and screw in the new bulb then turn it back on. The entire time, if you can imagine, I had no idea that I was actually learning to dance like an Iranian.

Now, on the other hand, I know it all too well. I know it because I’ve been told by several people, fewer than half of whom I’ve actually known, that…


Out of a combination of love of baseball and proximity to Boston, I have been to Fenway Park three times this week. Each time, the same question pops up, and each time, I can’t help but think of the same answer. The question is, how the heck do the Red Sox do it? The answer, I think, is more or less that they do it by being the Red Sox.

I mean, look at this team. The lineup is full of stars. The bullpen is full of big arms with E.R.A.s in the ones and twos, even if some of…


I was sitting on a stool in Terminal D at LaGuardia Airport. It was 10:00 p.m., and because of thunderstorms in the area, I was still waiting for an 8:50 flight to Detroit. I was staring at the iPad bolted into the table in front of me, watching one 15-second video after another. Each video awarded me 200 coins to gamble in video blackjack. I play every time I’m at LaGuardia, and I’m hoping I can rack up enough reward tokens to one day redeem them for something impressive.

Next to me, four Canadian people were talking across the table…

James Schapiro

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store