Though I’ve recently begun posting some of my published work so it can be found more easily, or at all, on the web, Bitter Conceits is a blog page I initially established so that I could write a bit more seriously about such matters as cross my mind that I might once have actually published, when there were sufficient venues in which to do so, or, after that, dumped in posts on social media, where I’d never see them again.  I’m also interested in making the rubric “i before e except after c” a lasting and significant part of my life.

Feel free to contact me here or via email at passaro.vince@gmail.com.

My biography (copy and deploy at will):

Vince Passaro is the author of the novels Crazy Sorrow (Simon & Schuster 09/2021) and Violence, Nudity, Adult Content (Simon & Schuster, 02/2002), as well as numerous short stories and essays published over the last 35 years in such magazines and journals as The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Times (London) Sunday Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Village Voice, The New York Observer, Esquire, GQ, and Harper’s Magazine, where he is a contributing editor. His work also has appeared in many distinguished literary journals, such as Agni, Open City, Boulevard, Story, New American Writing, and online at salon.com and mrbellersneighborhood.com. His numerous book reviews as well as his culture and film criticism have been published in dozens of  daily newspapers and weekly and monthly magazines — a large, sad portion of which are now defunct.  He has taught literature and creative writing at New York University, Columbia University, Hofstra University, and Adelphi University.


  1. One beautiful irony of the Travis Bickle image here is that the garage in Taxi Driver was located in Hudson Street and 10th Street. It was torn down to make way for condeminiums, with a Rite Aid on the ground floor. And though all Rite Aids are kind of the same (but each CVS is a CVS in its own unique way) I always associated the Rite Aid in Hudson street with your excellent essay Brezhnev at the Mall.


    1. Background for the Travis Bickle pic: after leaving my first marriage I kicked around a bit staying with various folks until I found a place I could (putatively) afford, a total shit hole in a tenement on Amsterdam just north of 133rd. Three rooms in succession, ten feet by ten feet parlor, ten feet by six feet kitchen and ten by seven bedroom. No closets. In the cold weather, kids hung in the stairwell at night smoking blunts and drinking Hennessy from the 1.5 liter jug. Morning would see onthe landings and windowsills thereof mounds of shredded tobacco pulled from the blunts, and many plastic cups with remnants of the VSOP. Total dump. $800 a month. The Dominicans — who mostly populated the place along with meso-Americans on the more upper floors (those guys left at 5:30 or 6.a.m. for work, while the Dominican gents usually came downstairs about ten to put a kitchen chair out on the sidewalk so they could sit and play dominoes and consider the problems of the world…) — all thought I was a cop and would say so in Spanish from time to time while I was passing by. FInally one day I turned and said “Piensen ustedes que un cop viveria aqui? Cops viven en Long Island.” Spanish was likely wrong — my Spanish invariably is, but they laughed. ANYWAY back to Travis. One day shortly after I’d moved there, I watched the special edition DVD of Taxi Driver that my son John had gotten me for Christmas. And suddenly I saw: even Travis Bickle had a nicer fucking apartment than I did.

      Also of interest: the bonus feature material at the end of the DVD revealed that ALL the interiors (Travis’s apartment plus the stairwells and apartment where he goes to shoot everyone and liberate Jody Foster) were shot in a condemned building on 88th or 87th and Columbus; they showed how the film crew cut a kind of serpentine swath through the floors of the fourth or fifth story of the building to build tracks on which the camera rolled, shooting straight down, to do the famous tracking sequence at the end of the picture (Travis bloody on the couch, asking by gesture for the cops to shoot him, across the room, the cops so artificially still-posed in the doorway, guns pointing, down past bloody trails and dead bodies in the stairwell, finally out the door of the building onto — anomalously, E 13th street… Etc. Unfortunately they cut through something that caused the building to start to collapse. That put a quick finish to the shooting.

      Take away: Travis Bickle had a nicer place than I did. Notably.


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