John Rosenthal | The Sun Magazine #2

John Rosenthal

John Rosenthal has published a book of photographs, Regarding Manhattan, and is the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Fellowship. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

— From July 2018
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Most people thought Cynthia was crazy — and perhaps she was. Isn’t it crazy to park your car (a black 1958 Oldsmobile with a large, garish strawberry painted on the passenger door) anywhere you want to: on curbs, lawns, sidewalks? To sleep three hours a night and eat a stick of butter for dinner?

September 2002
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Frankie And Perry And Patti And Dean

One object in our den stands out the most in my memory, for it retains the luminous glow with which my young eyes used to surround the special things of this world: my red-and-gold Motorola record player. It sat on the card table like a plump little household god, its short, thick spindle jutting up from the center of the turntable, capable of stacking eight 45-rpm records.

June 1999

Come Rain Or Come Shine

Twenty-Five Years Of The Sun

This month marks The Sun’s twenty-fifth anniversary. As the deadline for the January issue approached — and passed — we were still debating how to commemorate the occasion in print. We didn’t want to waste space on self-congratulation, but we also didn’t think we should let the moment pass unnoticed. At the eleventh hour, we came up with an idea: we would invite longtime contributors and current and former staff members to send us their thoughts, recollections, and anecdotes about The Sun. Maybe we would get enough to fill a few pages. What we got was enough to fill the entire magazine.

January 1999
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Mulberry Street

The Story Of A Photograph

I felt tired, as if I’d just returned from a trip, a journey that had begun a long time ago, when an unknown craftsman had built a model ship, which had somehow ended up in a Mulberry Street window. The journey had been one of gradual attenuation: a ship, with its immense physicality, had been transformed into a replica, a symbol, and then the replica had been reshaped into a photograph, a symbol of a symbol. Did this attenuation, this slow dematerializing of wood and sail and sunlight, serve a purpose? And what was the next step: a leap into words, into pure meaning?

August 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Train To Westchester

When I was a child, raised less than twenty miles from Manhattan, the city was mysterious to me, and dangerous. It was the edge of the world from which some people accidentally — and sometimes not so accidentally — fell. I knew, for instance, the worst thing that could ever happen to a young boy like myself was to let go of his mother’s hand or the back of her coat in Macy’s, Penn Station, or the subway.

May 1995
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