Fran Rose Schumer

A Nine-Year-Old New Yorker

Well, lah di dah, I was that one,

nine years old and living 

in 

New York. Brooklyn born,

we called Manhattan the city.

Downtown was Fulton Street,

A&S. And yes, I did read 

the Eloise books, though 

I never 

set foot in the Plaza. 

And 

surely I didn’t have a Nanny.

But I had a mommy, and she

loved me too much to let me

stay in school without her.

We took the D train, or 

drove, 

into the “city” and 

shopped 

in B. Altman and ate

lunch 

in the antebellum style 

Charleston Gardens 

or 

The Bird Cage in Lord & Taylor, 

where I swooned over stories 

she told me, or that I told her, 

eliciting like a snake charmer 

love from her bottomless, wet

brown eyes. How prophetic 

that the names of both those 

restaurants suggested entrapment, 

slavery, prison. I found a book 

later by Hilda Bruch, also 

prophetic, about how young 

girls develop anorexia. It was 

called The Golden Cage. 


Fran Rose Schumer’s poetry, fiction, personal essays and articles have appeared in various sections of The New York Times, including Op Ed, Book Review and Sunday Magazine; also, Vogue, The Nation, The North American Review, The New Verse News and other publications. She was the winner of a Goodman Loan Grant Award for Fiction from the City University of New York. She is the writer of Powerplay (Simon and Schuster; NYT bestseller) and author of Most Likely to Succeed (Random House). She lives and teaches writing in New Jersey and on Martha’s Vineyard.