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Thomas Heise

is a writer and educator. His current book The Gentrification Plot: New York and the Postindustrial Crime Novel is under contract with Columbia University Press. He’s also the author of the novel Moth (Sarabande 2013), Horror Vacui: Poems (Sarabande 2006), and Urban Underworlds: A Geography of Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture (Rutgers 2011). A faculty member at Pennsylvania State University (Abington), he lives in Washington Heights.

My Beautiful City

In the spring of 2020, as the plague was sweeping the city, I found myself several times a day staring at an Instagram page dedicated to the furniture and household goods New Yorkers were tossing to the curb. Amongst the flotsam and jetsam were steamer trunks, benches of reclaimed lumber, numerous upright pianos, boxes upon boxes of books, a fainting couch with flower upholstery, glass vanities, bar stools, two Noguchi coffee tables, stand-up globes (I counted at least three) that hatched open at the meridian so you could store liquor inside, seemingly every fiddle leaf fig tree in the five boroughs, and other bric-a-brac and impedimenta and whatever else could be quickly discarded in a desperate effort to get out of New York as fast as possible.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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