Nonfiction

Some works of nonfiction and long-form essays I have had published in various outlets.

 

A Puerto Rican in a Jewish Kitchen

Published by Life and Thyme

My parents’ home in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, is a house that has been passed down through the generations, from my mother’s grandparents to us. Several incarnations of Jewish mothers and grandmothers have taken their turn in the kitchen, serving up stuffed cabbage, matzoh balls, and chopped liver.

When it comes to my immediate family, however, my father is the head chef, making him the first Puerto Rican cook to ever preside over the space. The audience has remained pretty much the same; with my father’s blood relatives living in Puerto Rico, it is my mother’s family who comes over for dinner. Which means that not only is my father the first Puerto Rican in the kitchen, but that he has spent over 30 years feeding Hispanic food to a table of Jews.


My Hairy Legs and Me: A Puberty Story

Published by A Woman's Thing

When I was a child my thick hair was a stunner. As the daughter of a dark Latin man and a blonde Eastern European woman, I hit the genetic jackpot and was blessed with a head full of brown springy curls, regularly collecting compliments from adult women who lamented their thinner locks.

Then I entered the double digits and my pending preteen puberty hit me like a ton of bricks. My thick-hair genes became less envy-inducing as they affected various places across my body, causing fuzz to shade my upper lip and cloud the space between my eyebrows. The hair became particularly noticeable on my legs, growing in dark just as I was transitioning into my second year of middle school.


Out of the Box, Off the Wagon

Published by Life and Thyme

White bread, ice cream, powdered Macaroni and Cheese, salted butter, Captain Crunch, boxed cake, mini-doughnuts, and cheese doodles: I sat surrounded. The couch was littered with items chock full of high fructose corn syrup and simple carbs, chemical dyes and artificial sweeteners. My fingers were sticky from the Rice Krispies Treat that I clung to like life-saving medicine. I was a thirteen-year-old maniac—an addict who had been clean until now. And I was working hard to make up for lost time.


Picking Up The Pieces

Published by Narratively

“We are out of sliced ham,” my mother said over the phone. “That is our chief concern at the moment.”

It was ten a.m. on October 29, 2012, and my parents and brother were making breakfast in Zone A. Hurricane Sandy was on her way and the residents of Manhattan Beach, a Brooklyn community located on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Sheepshead Bay, had been told to evacuate. My family decided to stay, as did most of their friends and neighbors.

“If a tree falls in the house,” my mother said, “we want to be here to hear it. You get it Gabrielle? It’s a joke.”

I got it. But it didn’t make me any more comfortable with them staying there, particularly as I sat in my Williamsburg apartment watching NY1 newscasters practically pee themselves with fear over the coming storm.


Stoop Stories

Published by Narratively, MAY 27, 2013

It was a hot August day during the summer of 1993 and we were bored. My brother Joshua and my cousin Jonathan were five years old and I was nine.

“Let’s sneak up on grandma,” I suggested. My younger family members agreed, as they did with whatever I suggested. So goes the power of being the oldest.

I guess I really should have known better. A nine-year-old should know that scaring an old lady is not the most constructive way to pass a summer day. But I didn’t. Or if I did I didn’t care. In fact I wouldn’t come to that conclusion for another handful of years.


Breakfast with Bowies

Published by Narratively, JANUARY 3, 2013

Bowie Ball 2011—a high-spirited night of free glam rock makeovers, gender-bending and live shows from David Bowie tribute bands—was held at Le Poisson Rouge, an artsy lounge in the West Village. My friends and I go every year, honoring the individual childhood crushes we each developed while watching and re-watching the 1986 cult hit Labyrinth.