Archive for October, 2008

The most important date of the year, November 2nd

I know Fern’s already done an incredible job of posting about the Marathon, but it’s my birthday and I feel this subject is so important that it needs 2 posts.

Not since the last NYC Marathon have I seen / heard such great hype about the NYC Marathon. This year, the marathon happens to fall on my birthday. So, as a New Yorker who truly commits himself to never exercising and rarely doing anything active, this date can also be a bummer since it’s hard to maneuver around town. But at least, it’s better than what happened on my birthday in 2004—America re-elected W.. Although, after just having seen Hacking Democracy & learning more about voting machine tampering, I don’t know if I really write that W. was elected.

Back to the marathon, the NYTimes has done an excellent job of mapping out the marathon’s course so that if I do elect to go out for my birthday, I know what roads to avoid when driving. The thon, as I like to call it, spans all 5 boroughs of the city. A few of my friends are running in it and 26 miles sounds like a piece of cake, but if you think about it, that’s a long freaking way. And this year, about 40,000 people will be running and several others watching.

I like to think that it’s a celebration of my life. Thank you all. I am honored.

NYC Marathon This Sunday November 2nd

martineric/wikimedia commonsAs almost everyone knows, the NYC Marathon is on for this coming Sunday, November 2. I always watch it on TV, but it’s very exciting to watch it in person! However, you have to be familiar with the route and schedule of the runners in order to catch it in any of the five boroughs. The best website is : the official website of the ING NYC Marathon/NY Road Runners
Especially for newcomers to the city, visitors, or anyone otherwise new to Marathon viewing, you want to check out the website so you don’t go to the wrong place at the wrong time [or the right place at the wrong time]

How the world sees NYC and the U.S.

80's forevaaa

80's forevaaa

As the 2008 elections come closer, it is now more clear than ever before that the world has an important stake in this election. So, coverage of the U.S. economy and events are primary content for many international news channels. A particular channel called Zee News is broadcast via satellite into the homes of many Indians in the U.S. While they seem to do an OK job on capturing Indian sentiments on the U.S. situation (they interviewed parents with kids studying in American universities last night) when they tried to get the U.S. point of view, their footage was limited to B-roll (video you see when there is voice over going on in a newscast) from the 1980s.

How did I know that the footage was from the 80s? Well, they showed Wall Street with people that looked like our friend in the photo to your left. Lots of people looking like him were walking around and the analog quality footage, graffiti reminiscent of a scene from “Coming to America” sprayed on the back of a newspaper van were also key indicators that we were watching OLD footage. After this, they cycled through footage of Capitol Hill and some other random 80s shots of U.S.—completely unrelated to the topic at hand. So, is this how the world views the U.S. still? I hope not.

Unfortunately when I watched the Zee News cast, I was at an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Queens with no one to share the comedy with. I’m glad I have you beautiful people to do that with here. If you want to see more 80s photos, go this blog.

Thievery on the rise

Whether you’re living in an apartment building on the Lower East Side or in Williamsburg, thievery is on the rise. On 3rd street in the LES, a friend’s residence is being terrorized by a live-in tenant who steals packages. The super has seen this person eyeing packages that belong to other people and then they disappear.

A vegan ice cream shop owner just had his bike stolen last week. Then he found the same bike a few blocks away chained to a post. The cops told him that if it was his, he could clip it and then he did. Just a few more days later, he parked the bike outside (where it was initially stolen from) and found the perp trying to re-steal the bike claiming that it was his own. But thieves are often liars too and the bike is, for now, safe.

Why is thievery on the rise? Is it due to the weakened economy? What the hell is going on here people? Is Bloomberg’s third term going to help? Damn you thieves and your lying.

Seagull in the City

Photo from

I went to see Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, starring Kristen Scott Thomas. A long-time fan of the play, I’d never seen it on the stage and was excited for this London-born (Royal Court Theatre) version to come to Broadway.

After dinner at good old Don Giovanni’s, we headed over to the theater a few blocks away. The scenery was perfect: minimal, yet set the mood. The first act set consisted of several trees dappled on the side of the stage and the side of a house.  As the actors took their places, you could almost feel the cold of a chilly, Russian evening (actually, it was pretty freezing in the theater, so you could feel it).  The costumes were stunning and perfect, making me envy these bored Russian aristocrats. Set, costumes, and characters came together to draw the audience into this production. (more…)

A drug dealer wants my car

I was parked on 1st avenue between 1st and 2nd street on Sunday. I own a Honda Civic White 4-door DX from 1996. As I stepped into the vehicle a man approaches me with my door wide open. Being broad daylight and with ample public around me, I knew this could not have been a car jacking.

Man: I like your car. It’s nice. How much you selling it for?
Me: I don’t know. How much would you pay for it?
Man: There’s damage but I’d pay $800 for it. But you can easily get $3,000 for it.
Me: Oh yeah? You think so?
Man: Yeah definitely, the damage isn’t that bad. But I gotta get my money right first. I sell (puts fingers to his lips as if smoking a joint) weed too you know? So I’m trying to get some more money man before I can buy a car.
Me: Oh ok. That’s nice. Good luck.
Man: Yeah man, but I’ll see you around. I’m always around these parts, so like if I have more money later I’ll buy your car.

Le fin.

Aliens in Union Square?

This video is the craziest, most exciting thing that’s happening in Union Square today. I’m not sure what exactly these Aliened up people want but they want something alright…and that’s either freedom of expression or maybe it’s a campaign for The Day the Earth Stood Still?

It’s too early too tell. But it’s nice being freaked out right around Halloween time.

On the Expressway

Having just flown back from a trip to CA, I was not in the mood for a trip to the DMV. But I had the rest of the day off and I forced my jetlagged self to the License Express. I’ve been living in NYC for 5 years now and still had a Jersey driver’s license with my parents’ address. Now that it was expiring, it really was time to make my NY residency official.

Located on 34th between 8th and 9th, the License Express is an easy commute for most subway lines. When I arrived shortly before 4 (when it closes!), I found the office busy, but not packed. There’s a station for everything. Station 1: you go to the Information booth, get a form, and get a ticket. Station 2: you get your vision checked, your forms checked, and get a number. Station 3: Here’s where it gets fancy. A digital board displays which counter is serving which number and a computerized female voice announces “Now serving number —- at counter —-.”

The lines (which are unavoidable) move fast and the multiple stations make the process seem speedier. The workers were oddly pleasant, something I don’t recall from prior DMV experiences.  The woman at station 2 actually told me “Good job!” when I’d successfully completed my vision test.  I’d say the full experience took maybe a half hour.  It probably differs with days or times, but if you come prepared you might find the License Express to be a pretty smooth ride.

Do You Remember NYC 1973? "Life on Mars" is Dead-On

Where were you in 1973? Were you even born yet? I was watching “All in the Family” on TV, Nixon was President, gas was well under $1 a gallon, and we listened to Cat Stevens, the Moody Blues, and Led Zeppelin on 8-track tape players. Many of us still had rotary phones, my dad’s car had big-ass fins, and some of my neighbors had been drafted to Vietnam. And “the city” was a dangerous place — 42nd St west of Broadway was one porn-show or peep-show palace after another, with streetwalkers [prostitutes] lining the streets in broad daylight. SoHo, TriBeCa, and NoLiTa were barely ideas, and the Bronx was burning! The World Trade Center was in its infancy.

If you want to go back to NYC nostalgia, or want to appreciate how far we’ve come. Or even if you are like me — secretly longing for a little of the grittiness again [oh that colorful subway graffiti!], catch tonight’s second episode of “Life on Mars” [ABC, 10pm]. If nothing else, the hairstyles are a hoot, and last week I caught a Gremlin [car] on the street. They really are dead-on with the details! Oh, and the political-incorrectness! Every young girl should note the disrespect to women, and appreciate what we burned our bras for!

On ginkgo stinko and destiny

When your car gets blocked by another car, especially when that car is an SUV in the city, you are in a jam. So what do you do? Just go with the flow. Don’t worry about it. Find the nearest coffee/tea/chocolate bar joint and relax. Enjoy yourself. Do some work remotely. That’s what it’s all about.

There’s a lot of gingko droppings (offical name Ginkgo Bilboa – not to be confused with Balboa or Bilbo Baggins) around during fall and people are complaining about the smell, but to me, it just smells like vegan cheese. Apparently it’s not pleasant to most nasal cavities.

The point of all this?  A kid walked into Abraco Espresso today and said “when I’m older, I’ll stop and smell the roses, but for now, I need to be on the run.”

What is this need? Where is it coming from? Why must we always let our surroundings control us. Why not, instead, decide when to relax and enjoy every single moment. That’s what it’s all about. Let go, let the city happen around you, and do not worry about anything at all.

Live in the moment and let the ginkgo seep into your nostrils.

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