The first year that Dr. Pepper sponsored the Central Park music series was 1977.

My first live “pop music” concert was the Manhattan Transfer in 1977. Not exactly Van Halen with Journey as an opening act, but it unlocked the door to attend thousands of subsequent shows featuring all genres.

In my defense, the event fell at the end of a day trip as part of a “teen tour” from New Jersey into New York City. Balcony seats were $2, so I can’t blame the organizers for grafting it onto that Wednesday’s outing.

After two not-so-thrilling sleepaway camp experiences, I vetoed going back to either location. Not wanting me to rot on the couch…


The first time somebody remarked, “Wow, you’re really politically active,” I was taken aback.

To my way of thinking, if you’re politically passive, you’re avoiding civic responsibility and letting other people do the heavy lifting. Similar to the story of the Little Red Hen, you’re sitting on your butt playing the fiddle, harmonica, or Jew’s Harp (look it up) while I study the issues.

One of my most prominent childhood memories is being in an A&S department store in New Brunswick, NJ when I was 10 years old. As my mother shopped, I wandered into the television department, where the…


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Who doesn’t love ice cream? I developed a lactose intolerance in college, but I still couldn’t quit the delicious, dairy-based product. Even after a host of almond, rice, tofutti, and soy-based alternatives hit the market, I still found myself craving the real thing.

When my brother Evan managed the local Häagen-Dazs franchise, I stopped in occasionally for two scoops at a steep employee discount. But only if the owner, a short, balding fellow named Stu, wasn’t around. In which case, Evan would shake his head furiously and motion for me to make a quick exit.

Stu owned other Häagen-Dazs franchises…


Composite: Getty Images

I found myself single again a few years ago, at age 53. My early attempts with online dating sites were neither pleasant nor pretty. Mistakes were made. Presently, I’m moderately happy with responses to my profile. But I still view things that are frustrating and easily correctable. In that spirit, I decided to share some thoughts about improving your online dating game in your 50s.

Most of what I’m suggesting is common sense (and relevant for all age groups). However, as you get older, it’s more important to adequately tailor your profile. …


Composite: Getty Images

I found myself single again a few years ago, at age 53. My early attempts with online dating sites were neither pleasant nor pretty. Mistakes were made. Presently, I’m moderately happy with responses to my profile. But I still view things that are frustrating and easily correctable. In that spirit, I decided to share some thoughts about improving your online dating game in your 50s.

Most of what I’m suggesting is common sense (and relevant for all age groups). However, as you get older, it’s more important to adequately tailor your profile. …


Image credit: GoGraph

“Can I trust you with something private?

A cold sweat formed on my brow. The back of my neck grew damp. My palms moistened.

Stella (not her real name) was a coworker whose group crossed tasks with my department. In addition to office meetings, we went out to lunch. Over time, Stella and I developed a workplace relationship. That expanded into couples dinners with me and my (then) wife. We were even invited to her wedding.

Stella had a complicated upbringing and internecine family feuds with her sister and brother. Over a 25-year period, she learned things about my past…


Manning my post on NYC Primary Day 2021

The voter tried inserting his ballot on either side (even though the scanners record both images) and on a second machine. Each time, the error message screamed that there were incorrect markings.

Scanner inspectors are supposed to only handle ballots at the discretion of the supervisor, but the man was getting agitated. This was a waste of his time, he declared, and demanded that I look for these so-called “incorrect markings.”

On the back of his (Republican) primary ballot, there was a section on top separated by a dark black line, with an all-caps warning, “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” A…


Image credit: Hiné Mizushima

My enthusiasm for formal education rose and fell like Icarus. The Bell curve occurred when my nascent steps into public performing were slapped down by bullying in the seventh grade. Until then, I was inherently a studious kid. The same principle has held true with both of my sons, a point that reverberated during a recent dinner conversation.

My 10-year-old is days away from graduating from fifth grade. He leaves elementary school to attend middle school in the fall, genially accompanied by a handful of his current classmates.

Last week, he remarked that — due to the dwindling number of…


Image credit: Eric Allix Rogers/Flickr

Homeowners are taught to be obsessive about their lawns. It’s like the diamond industry has brainwashed couples that without an expensive engagement ring, your relationship is doomed. Doomed!

Without vigilance, the best-kept, regulation-height, precision-irrigated, postcard-perfect greenery will brown. Nasty dead patches will develop. Soon you’ll be the scourge of the neighborhood. What’s wrong with you, dude? If you can’t afford a timed underground watering system, break out the hose and get on your toes!

My father joked that he didn’t need to pay for irrigation because he had four sons who could water the lawn (Although in the long run…


What is it with teenagers and umbrellas? Or rather, what is it about umbrellas that repels teenagers?

I grew up in the era of mothers putting galoshes (or “rubbers”) on their kids’ feet when they headed out the door in the morning, whether it was a monsoon or merely a 10 percent chance of drizzle.

My friends and I were all sensible suburban tykes. We didn’t think we’d melt, like the Wicked Witch of the West at the end of The Wizard of Oz. If our parents said “don’t dress stupid in the rain,” we listened.

On an overcast day…

Jeffrey Cohen

Father of two, longtime writer and crank.

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