Brooklyn Poetry Feature: An Ode to Brooklyn Bodegas

By Christine Stoddard |


Illustration by Christine Stoddard.

5 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 12 a.m., the sight is much the same.

Behold, the faithful shop of city yore,

but still like the old days in this borough.

Not yet transformed by the wave of corporate magicians

and their wands summoning

chain after chain

and franchise after franchise

in Manhattan.

We prefer the grime and grit here.

The Brooklyn bodega welcomes you from

Greenpoint to Bed-Stuy to Sunset Park to Sheepshead Bay,

from Williamsburg to Crown Heights to Canarsie.

Enter the temple of pork rinds, popcorn, and plantain chips.

Row after row of sodas and energy drinks and beers beckon you.

Buy one snack or many and the boring necessities, too:

toilet paper, bleach, sponges, tissues, dish detergent.

Stay clean at any hour, or clean enough.

You don’t owe your landlord sparkles.

Order your lamb over rice,

your pastrami on rye,

your sopping mozzarella sticks.

The wait respects a New Yorker’s pace.

Go, go, go, go, go, go.

The guy grills faster than

the subway during rush hour.

Chop, chop, sizzle—

“Roll or hero?”

“White sauce?” “Hot sauce?”

Time to rush out, stuff your mouth as you bound through the streets.

Say good-bye for now, until back you come. Always come back.

The bodega is a humble place. A familiar place.

A place so entwined with thoughts of home.

Illustration: Turkish Delights

By Christine Stoddard |

Illustration by Christine Stoddard

The above illustration was published with the following blurb in the March 7, 2024 print edition:

In this week’s issue, we have a feature on the Turkish restaurants in South Brooklyn. Do you want the regional and ethnic cuisine of your neighborhood featured in the newspaper? Do you have a favorite chef? Dish? Or do you know a restaurant owner with a fascinating story to tell? Send your tips, nominations, and love letters to editor Christine Stoddard for consideration. Essays about specific dining experiences will also be considered.

The Average New York Worker Predicted to ‘Burnout’ on June 20th 2024, Finds Study

• This burnout date happens 172 days into 2024.

• Lawyers experience burnout the soonest; those in energy the latest.

• New interactive map for the predicted burnout days for workers in each state.

A screenshot of the Software Connect interactive map on burnout, with the mouse hovering over New York State.

In an era where digital connectivity knows no bounds, countless workers find themselves trapped in a seemingly endless workday. Remote work, once seen as a liberating evolution, now chains many to a cycle of perpetual availability. With smartphones pinging after hours with emails and schedules, the division between work and rest blurs into obscurity.

To rub salt in the wound, IT sheriffs track the clickety-clack of productivity—or lack thereof. Yet, this relentless grind exacts a heavy toll: chronic workplace stress. Manifesting as extreme exhaustion, a growing resentment toward one’s job, and a marked drop in performance, these symptoms herald the onset of burnout – a state that straddles the line between stress and a depression borne of overwork.

Illustration by Christine Stoddard. recently conducted a survey of 3,000 workers, which sought to pinpoint the day the average worker succumbs to burnout. Alarmingly, the threshold is crossed just 183 days into the year, by July 1st.

But for legal professionals, the sprint to burnout ends even sooner. By June 10th, lawyers are already throwing in their briefcases, and who can blame them? With notoriously long work hours, they’re in a league of their own when it comes to occupational exhaustion. In contrast, energy professionals demonstrate remarkable resilience, burning out the latest. By July 18th, while others are faltering, those in the energy sector are still going strong. With the critical responsibility of maintaining our power supplies and often working in challenging conditions, they manage to stay powered up longer than anyone else.

Regionally, Delaware’s workers bear the brunt of burnout earliest, by March 19th, while those in New York encounter it later, on June 20th – a full 172 days into the year.

Software Connect has created an interactive map showing the predicted burn out days for workers in each state (click on ‘embed’ to host the map on your site)

“In the current landscape, where technology has rendered us constantly accessible, the pressure to perform is relentless,” states Jeff Budiac from Software Connect. “Our survey reveals a troubling trend towards a nation on the edge of occupational burnout. It’s a clarion call for a re-evaluation of work-life balance in the digital age.”


Fun Facts about Pigeons, the Unofficial Winged Mascot of New York City

Pigeons are birds that make up the family Columbidae (order Columbiformes)—though not all pigeons are graduates of Columbia University. Some went to NYU.

The most common pigeon in New York City is the rock dove, or Columbia livia. Some people prefer the term sky rat.

Doves and pigeons are cousins, with doves generally

Illustration by Christine Stoddard.

being smaller and pigeons bigger. Exception: the white domestic pigeon. You know, the Jesus kind.

All pigeons strut and bob. It’s not scientifically known if all pigeons boogie.

Pigeons are monogamous. There is no known dating app for pigeons.

The mama pigeon lays two eggs at a time in a nest. This is just a plain cute fact. Please don’t try to make it cuter because you will fail.

The mama and papa pigeon take turns incubating the eggs–Mama at night, Papa during the day. Equality!

A young pigeon is called a squab or squeaker. You also shouldn’t try to come up with something cuter. Those are cute enough.

All species of pigeons are edible. It’s up to you to decide if you want to go there.

Pigeons poop on monuments. This is just known. Ask a toddler. But we needed another fact to fill up this column. That’s how designing on deadline works.

Sources (for the real stuff):

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, NYC Parks, Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds (London: Merehurst Press).

How to Report Dead Animals in Public in New York City

By Christine Stoddard |

Illustration by Christine Stoddard.

More wild animals die during the winter than any time of year. So what do you do with a dead animal if you spot one in public in any of the five boroughs? According to 311, the official website of the City of New York, here’s the action you should take:

   • Call 911 if a dead animal is blocking traffic. For a dead animal that is not posing a threat to traffic, call 311 or 212-639-9675 for assistance.

   • Contact the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) if you find the dead animal on the street or sidewalk. There is a form on the 311 website at

   • For a dead animal sighting in a city park or public beach, report your complaint to the Department of Parks and Recreation, also through the 311 website. For a dead animal in a New York State or federal park, contact the park directly.

   • To report large groups of dead fish in a body of water, call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Local Fish and Wildlife Division, at (631) 444-0714 during business hours.

   • To report a cluster of dead birds, call the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) for help. This includes 3 dead geese, swans, ducks, chickens, or turkeys, or 10 or more of other types of birds. Some of the birds may be collected for West Nile Virus testing.

   • The New York Police Department Harbor Unit will respond to reports of dead animals other than birds and fish spotted in large bodies of water, such as a river or bay. Call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) for help.

Your Handy-Dandy 2024 Alternate Side Parking Guide

By Christine Stoddard |

The following was printed in the Jan. 4, 2024 edition of the paper:

© Christine Stoddard

Monday, Jan. 1: New Year’s Day

Saturday, Jan. 6: Three Kings’ Day

Monday, Jan. 15: Martin Luther King Day

Friday, Feb. 9: Lunar New Year’s Eve

Saturday, Feb. 10: Lunar New Year

Monday, Feb. 12: Lincoln’s Birthday

Wednesday, Feb. 14: Ash Wednesday

Monday, Feb. 19: Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day)

Sunday, March 24: Purim

Thursday, March 28: Holy Thursday

Friday, March 29: Good Friday

Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11: Idul-Fitr (Eid Al-Fitr)

Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April. 24: Passover

Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30: Passover (7th/8th Days)

Thursday, May 2: Holy Thursday (Orthodox)

Friday, May 3: Good Friday (Orthodox)

Thursday, May 9: Solemnit of the Ascension

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day

Wednesday, June 12, and Thursday, June 13: Shavuoth (2 Days)

Monday, June 17, and Tuesday, June 18: Idul-Adha (Eid Al-Adha)

Wednesday, June 19: Juneteenth

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day

Tuesday, Aug. 13: Tisha B’Av

Thursday, Aug. 15: Feast of the Assumption

Monday, Sept. 2: Labor Day

Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4: Rosh Hashanah

Saturday, Oct. 12: Yom Kippur

Monday, Oct. 14: Columbus Day

Thursday, Oct. 17 and Friday, Oct. 18: Succoth (2 Days)

Thursday, Oct. 24: Shemini Atzereth

Friday, Oct. 25: Simchas Torah

Friday, Nov. 1: Diwali and All Saint’s Day

Tuesday, Nov. 5: Election Day

Monday, Nov. 11: Veterans Day

Thursday, Nov. 28: Thanksgiving Day

Monday, Dec. 9: Immaculate Conception

Wednesday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day

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