Stories from the Stoop is available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audio versions.
Stories from the Stoop features seven unforgettable true-life adventures; stories told with humor, grit, and candor that will fill you with hope and remind us that we are all in this together.
Within these pages, you’ll see life from a new perspective—through the eyes of a young boy—straight from his 1960’s Bronx stoop. This small piece of real estate made of granite, memories and dreams, his window to the world.
It was Steve Bernstein’s fortuitous and profound friendships—many of which crossed boundaries of race, gender, and religion—that enabled him to navigate these tumultuous times and develop a hopeful perspective on life. Without his dog, Wolf, Steve would not have survived the wrath of a street gang. On the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, it was Anthony who recognized how dangerous it was for Steve (the only white kid on the basketball court that April evening) to be outshooting hoops. An epic bike trip with Joe breathed life into Steve’s dream to be free, a lifelong friendship that only 9/11 could extinguish.
Stories from the Stoop is a triumphant and tender coming of age journey that will capture your heart and feed your soul. Steve’s voice, spare and street smart, resonates across age and ethnicity, to offer the possibility that life circumstances need not predict destiny. All you have to do is find enough courage, compassion and chutzpah to win out.
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
“When I was nine and my sister Amy was twelve, my mom sat us down in our living room, which also served as the dinette and our parents’ bedroom, and announced, ‘I can no longer be your mother’.”
“I wasn’t quite awake, wasn’t asleep either when I heard the yelling and screaming. It was around midnight. I knew it was my dad. I hopped off the top bunk and found myself half dressed with my Louisville Slugger in my hand.”
“Wolf was all I had in the world to help me survive what I was starting to believe was my last day. I walked back to the stoop, the neighbors watching, eagerly waiting for the show to begin. I was in agony.
As I stood waiting on the sidewalk, I had to hold Wolf’s leash tight and pull up hard on his neck with a steady pressure while he sat, glued to my side. My mind was clear, my heart was racing. I was sweating just a little. I blocked out everything around me and just stood there, solid, outwardly emotionless in front of my stoop, leaning with my back against the brick column, pulling upward on the leash with all my strength, keeping Wolf sitting upright, the chain wrapped double around my fist, Wolf, literally attached at my hip. Both of us frozen, him with his tongue hanging out to the side, his teeth in a snarl, his eyes, one blue, one brown, looking wild and crazy. An image of toughness, real or contrived, maybe a little of both. We just waited.”
COMMENTS FROM READERS
“A captivating read from start to finish! I felt myself there on the streets of the Bronx, alongside young Steve; rooting for him, crying for him and sharing in his adventures with his friends and his beloved dog, Wolf. This story is filled with colorful, vibrant and heartwarming characters that you’ll want to know better, I know I do. Steve Bernstein is a master storyteller and I can’t wait to read his next book!”
“This book brought me to tears and to belly laughter!”
“Touching! Creative! Hopeful!”(HS counselor)
“These stories are so authentic and so moving, I couldn’t put it down. They bring back an incredibly important moment in New York City history, and the history of our country. I recommend it for anyone looking for a really fascinating read!”(writer)
“I laughed, I cried. I got to know Steve Bernstein through these amazing stories. He is a wise, compassionate, and generous soul. Sharing his experiences with us expands our collective humanity and inspires us to become our best selves.” “Your book made me realize I want to write too.”(HS student)
“This book was magnificent. I ran the gamut of great sadness, calmness. warmness, and happiness.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The complex experiences of neighborhood boundaries and the intense territorial rivalries/loyalties are familiar to me from growing up on the south side of Chicago during the same era. I was particularly moved by the relationship with Anthony and how it evolved. Steve’s neighborhood was much rougher than mine for sure, but I too observed the shift in relationships as the political climate changed and folks took sides, or left their identities behind during these shifts. The fluid progression to various levels of understanding of one’s world and one’s place in it was beautifully narrated. I especially liked the sporadic pauses where he listens to, and hears, how he is perceived by those around him. I look forward to more writing from this author!”
“Mister, if books are like this, I’m gonna start reading!”(HS student)
“What a fantastic first release by this upcoming author! Stories from the Stoop breathed life into an era and area I connected little with, until now. This author has a knack for writing in a way that packs emotion, style, and authenticity with succinct efficiency.”(writer)
“I laughed out loud more than once thanks to Bernstein’s knack for straightforward, no-nonsense descriptions of his boyhood adventures such as his Bar Mitzvah, his African-American and Puerto Rican buddies sitting stiffly in the front pew, decked out in yarmulkes and fringed prayer shawls.”(professor)
“These stories will captivate you, you will feel like Bernstein is sitting across from you sharing his life with you.”
“I see the story like a movie in my head when you read mister.”(HS student)
“This book is one of the best I’ve ever read and I’ve been reading for about 75 years. It is an extraordinary chronicle of an extraordinary person who grew up in the rawest of circumstances. Most of those who read this outstanding book will agree that this book sends the message that we must be compassionate and tolerant if this planet is to survive.”
“I couldn’t put it down. I finished it over the weekend. I love your stories. I got to know the kid in you.”(HS principal)
“I don’t know where to start on this book except it is truly a magical piece. The author takes you back in time to the mid-60s growing up in NY and sends you right back in time. Every story is full of adventure, grabbing your attention with force.”
“Wait a second! Are these true stories? Is that Steve you?”(HS student)
“I love your book. I gave it to my father who is from the Bronx a generation before you.”(HS administrator)
“Well worth the read and opportunity to examine the things that have made the biggest difference in his and perhaps our own lives.”(writer)
“With Steve, you feel the Bronx of the 1960’s, sharp and brilliant. You are there. Steve is a storyteller and a pure writer. From a bent rim basketball hoop to the stink of the bars his father dragged him to, all of your senses are triggered by his rich, descriptive writing. A classic.”(HS teacher, Brooklyn)