nilesite writes


New York, New York, USA
January 08
The Backpack Press
Pilgrim, writer, photographer, mom, singer - author of "A Marshmallow on the Bus: A Collection of Stories Written on the MTA."


Nilesite's Links
AUGUST 12, 2014 9:55AM

The Subway at the Lake

The subway doors open at Columbus Circle
and the air on the platform
is suddenly fresh.

Trees from Central Park,
the dew of the morning,
the warming heat of August 
coming up from the damp grass.

And I am back at Indian Lake,
at my grandpa's place… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2014 10:21PM

Weed Me, Seymore!

It starts out innocently enough. There's weeds and they grow along the route I take to work these days.


Cool tree, cool shadows made by the cool tree.  And a handful of weeds growing around the base of the cool tree. You can walk by the tree, marvel at… Read full post »

JUNE 10, 2014 11:45PM



I’ve been looking for a place. I need a place where I can sit when I need to shut out whatever is chasing me. So I have started interviewing churches to see if any one of these lovely buildings has what I am lookingRead full post »

JUNE 5, 2014 12:07AM

Don't Even Think of Parking Here

Parking is at a real serious premium in this stretch of Queens where I am working now.  It's only two stops out of Manhattan, but the neighborhood relies on real life commerce, not pedestrian traffic and strollers.  You see one loading dock after another, with vans, trucks, piles of pallets… Read full post »

the red chair


Picture a comfy chair.  You can kick back, have a tea, watch the world go by. No worries except where to toss that tea bottle when you're done.

No wait, you can just leave it on the seat. 

Because your comfy chair was tossed and then retrieved… Read full post »

159th Street Tree

It all started in the Bronx.  I had heard about the Million Trees initiative that was started under Mayor Bloomberg but I had no personal experience with it.  Until last week when I spotted this new tree.

I had written about this very tree well last fall, when my… Read full post »

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Downpatrick church

I'm not a Guinness drinker so I don't take pictures of bars and I have eaten so many loaves of soda bread in my life that I don't even make it anymore.  I don't wear green - well, sometimes I do, not always.  And even… Read full post »

MARCH 11, 2014 2:13PM

Today in NY: The Man Who Unraveled

I was about to settle into reading my new book. It's a prize winner and the writing is captivating, but a man entered the train at Columbus Circle and I never got back to my book.

Not tall, not slim, he looked like he might have been running late.… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 23, 2014 8:47PM

The AWESOME Power of Open Salon

Remember this?


This is the ineffective, sadly misspelled warning to drivers - not unlike the owner of the white van pictured here on the right side of the photo. 

"Do not blook" - meaning, "for God's sake and saints preserve us all, I can't get out of my… Read full post »

Well, that was interesting.

When I got up this morning, I had the dire forecast on the TV and the view out my window.  Didn't look so bad, so I ventured out. 

So I am sharing my commute from the Bronx, through Manhattan, to Queens where the ice and wind nearly… Read full post »

JANUARY 27, 2014 9:25PM

How to Ride the NYC Subway

My commute has changed.  I say this with more than a twinge of sadness for my former four buses per day.  I miss the bus like crazy - but, given the distance I have to cover now, taking a bus is no longer an option. I have gone from taking four… Read full post »

JANUARY 15, 2014 10:35AM

Hot Dogs and a Dance

It was really cold last week and I was on Broadway just opposite Grey's Papaya, the iconic hot dog place on the corner of 72nd Street. I didn't want to spend much time or money on lunch so I ducked in and found myself in the midst… Read full post »

JANUARY 9, 2014 11:24AM

Next Bus Please

the empty bus

It was a tiny bit warmer this morning, but still not comfortable if you are standing on a street corner, waiting for the bus.  It's the one real deal breaker.  It can be warm enough walking, or warm enough on a subway platform, but there are corners… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2014 4:42PM

At the Back Door of the Bus

I took the bus from Manhattan to the Bronx this afternoon.  The weather is getting pretty strange and I decided to work at home instead of the library.  It's one of my regular buses and the route is something

Read full post »
DECEMBER 30, 2013 10:29AM

Gloves Gloves Gloves!

This morning, I had errands to run.  Not my typical commute to Manhattan at all.  I dropped off my dry cleaning at the place where they read the Bible all day in Korean and my laundry at the little place out the back door that's painted orange.  Then I caught my… Read full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2013 11:00AM

Christmas Light

  Rockefeller Center December 2013

The River sums it up for me.  I wish I had a river I could skate away on.  

It happens every year.  There are holiday parties I love to go to and others that are painful.

Read full post »

There's this coffee cart. When I am waiting for the bus, I stand on the sidewalk and face this cart from across the street.  It's directly across the street from my first bus stop in the morning, in my direct line of sight.  Unavoidable.  And it's hugely misspelled.
DECEMBER 11, 2013 3:16PM

Is it Time for a Bucket List?

Is it time for a bucket list?

I always associate bucket lists with people dying.  It's from that Jack Nicholson movie.  You wander around checking things off a list, getting things dome, getting happy, and then you die.  

So, what makes me think today is the day to put… Read full post »

DECEMBER 5, 2013 9:55AM

All On the Way to Work

Foggy today.  The temperature is higher now than whatever normal is these days and the air was thick with the anticipation of rain or a cold front or something that was still taking form this morning as I walked out to catch my bus. 

Coats are darker now, too.  There… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2013 11:37AM

My Thanksgiving Prayers

Dear God -

Thanks for everything, but in particular, the following:

1) Thank you for my children.  Despite my concerted and muffed up efforts, they are all turning out to be quite wonderful.  They are nearly all grown up now and they are just a way, whole lot better… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 20, 2013 3:02PM

A Fresco Speaks for Women?

So there's all this hoopla about the newly restored 3rd c. tomb frescoes in Rome. Why? Because it looks like the images depict a service, obviously Christian, being performed by a woman.

Here's the thing: so what?

There could be all… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 13, 2013 4:29PM

Little Notes Under the Door

Written communication has come a long way, you might say, from the quill and the ink stand, the parchment and the wax seal.  But even though we spend way more time typing our thoughts on a keyboard, little notes still get through.  Sometimes they are posted with stamps, the way people… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2013 10:20AM

What's "Not" Hot in NYC


If you want to stay on the cutting edge of what's hot and what is decidedly not hot in New York, you need to keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground.  You listen to random conversations on the bus, you see what playbills tourists/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 26, 2013 5:59PM

The John 14:6 Guy in Harlem

the car

There is this guy.  I watched him the other day.  He was leaning into the passenger side of a decorated car parked on Broadway where there was a pile of white papers and some Scotch tape.  Then he stood next to the open door and looked around,/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 13, 2013 5:53PM

Taxi Driver

Driver:  "Hi, how're you doing?"

Me:  "Fine, thank you.  I just want to get to Yankee Stadium.  Thank you."

Door shuts, I swap off the irritating video that plays into the back seat of the cab and I pull out my phone to check, well, to check everything.

Driver:  "There's lots… Read full post »