August 12, 2012

No Matter Where I live in this Beautiful Country, I am a New Yorker at Heart—Fran Orenstein

Welcome Dr. Fran Orenstein, award-winning author of novels, short stories, and poetry.


And indeed, it is an exciting place to live and to visit. Last year I shared upper New York State, now it's time to explore the marvels of downstate, namely New York City, which sits at the bottom tip of the state, surrounded by water.
It was originally founded as New Amsterdam by the Dutch in the 17th century, after the Dutch explorer, Henry Hudson discovered the area and sailed into a perfect the harbor and up the river named for him. New Amsterdam was a thriving seaport, eventually coveted by the British. Outnumbered by the famed British Navy, the Dutch did not fight and turned it over. The British renamed it New York, but many locations still retain the original Dutch names.
Today it is the major cultural center of this country with a thriving seaport and famous landmarks. People often refer to Manhattan Island as New York City, but it is only one of five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island the make up the whole of New York City.

Manhattan is the cultural center, with its theater district, Lincoln Center's music, ballet and opera, a wide variety of world-famous museums, and a number of well-respected colleges and universities, and of course, Central Park home to Strawberry Fields, outdoor theater, the zoo and wonderful walking paths.

I was born in Brooklyn, home of Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Nathan's Hotdogs, the old steeplechase, the parachute, and the miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Part of my childhood was also spent in The Bronx near famous Yankee Stadium. The Bronx boasts one of the best zoos in the world and a magnificent Botanical Garden. Staten Island is a suburban world unto itself and until the bridge was built, was accessible only by ferry from lower Manhattan.  Queens boasts a variety of ethnic cultures, including wonderful Greek cuisine in Astoria, and Shea Stadium, home of the Mets. It is also the gateway to Long Island, the long spit of land where the rich and famous go to play at the Hamptons. Long island has wonderful beaches and many lovely towns and villages.
This year Sleepytown Press will release my book of poetry, Reflections. This is one of the poems.

The Bronx, NY – 1947 to 1952

apartment houses brick red to yellow tan
flowing downward from the Grand Concourse
hills at a forty-five degrees angle
great for sledding in winter

treacherous to homebound commuters
slipping and sliding down,
hanging onto the sides of the buildings
to slow the increasing momentum

A thrill for a child nose, pressed against the window

hills so steep that parked cars slid
out of their spaces and descended
faster and faster until they hit the bottom
and whatever was in the way

wide and elegant, the Grand Concourse
split the Bronx like a white line of scalp
parting the waves of hair
cascading down a woman’s shoulders

the Yankee Stadium stood as a beacon
for diehard baseball fans
awed by the amazing feats
of Joe, Mickey, and Roger

                        The secret heroes of boys, the secret fantasies of girls

sneaking into Yankee games under the turnstiles
guards turning a blind eye to a couple of kids
starting at the top of the bleachers
moving down to seats behind the dugout

the Stadium dominated the west side
under the El of the IRT subway
where travelers could sneak a peak at the game
from the elevated station at 161st. street

the train rattled into the station
they looked wistfully behind
before stepping on board to the City
their minds still sitting in the bleachers
I also wrote a ‘tween mystery series, for boys and girls, The Mystery Under Third Base and The Mystery of the Green Goblin, and a stand-alone novel of pre-adolescent self-image, navigating 7th grade, and bullying, Fat Girls From Outer Space.
I have published two YA historical romance novels, The Spice Merchant’s Daughter and The Calling of the Flute, and The Book of Mysteries about two boys in Manhattan who find a disappearing bookstore in this YA fantasy of three novellas.
Please visit my website, and check out my books and blog. 
(Pictures Provided by Author)


  1. Hi Fran,

    Thanks for sharing a part of NYC history…I especially enjoyed the rich imagery in your poem about The Bronx! Wishing you the best of luck with your new releases,


  2. Reminded me how long it's been since I visited the city and why I should plan a trip. Loved the poem, too, Fran.

  3. Thanks folks for your kind comments. New York City is someplace it's hard to forget.

  4. Inspiring, as always Fran. Love reading your posts.

  5. Good Job Fran, nice to know more about your and the vision that is New York in my mind - some day I hope to visit.

  6. I teach middle school. I need to check out your books. I live one state over from NY and went to college in Binghamton. Ne York is incredible
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  7. As usual, Fran has a way with words. I have read several of her books and enjoyed them all. I think I should visit New York!

    Lila L. Pinord

    Author of:
    In Time
    Evil Lives in Blue Rock
    Min's Monster
    and Skye Dancer


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