Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

Upper East Awesome

I was out having dinner the other night in Manhattan when a super awesome diner reared his drunk head. My wife and I were sitting down to enjoy our meal and became aware of a “situation” at a near by table. It seemed drunky crow, old man booze hound was getting into an argument with, what was later to be determined as, his ex wife. Sweet. There is fairly constant uncomfortable arguing going on when old man awesome starts arguing that yes, in fact, he does have a trust fund. This is met with stern opposition from his plastic surgery laden ex. Clearly, she believed his trust fund was not a reality. We went back to our meal. When their check came it was discovered that although Mr. Super Awesome had yakked his first coarse of veal scallopini onto his plate, his ex was certain that he had not finished his rather expensive fish entree. Therefore he shouldn’t have to pay for it. I mean this is a logical thought right? I didn’t finish it, so I don’t have to pay for it. Clearly having a trust fund entitles one to many things, like this nice restaurant perk! At this point the restaurant staff is keen on getting this inebriated couple out of their establishment. On their way out, Mr. and Ex Mrs. Awesome share a private moment where they play tug of war with their umbrella. Isn’t love (and large amounts of booze, trust fund money, and awesomeness) grand? Sometimes I get the feeling that some New Yorkers feel very entitled to things. Often it is something that they assume they deserve and act very rude when confronted with the idea that they do not.

NYC closed for business due to a little snow.

Starting yesterday the city got scared about the impending Snowpocalypse. Schools were preemptively closed. Many businesses decided to not open. The Trader Joes on 14th st. had a line wrapping around its aisles twice instead of the normal once. You’d think they had predicted the biggest winter storm in the last 50 years or something. What was the real forecast? 12″-18″. Really? I was expecting at least 4 feet everyday for a week with all the hubbub associated with the storm. If I am not mistaken we don’t live in Texas, right? I mean c’mon, my bank closed at Noon today, America’s most convenient bank my ass. One day of snow should not render the whole city shut down. Snow sucks for a lot of reasons but to shut down business in a North Eastern city that has 4 seasons and a historically cold and wet winter? I am ashamed of you NYC. I would have expected a big finger to the sky, but instead we got snowmen on the sidewalk.


New York Cares coat drive

Every year that I’ve lived in NYC, I’ve seen these coat drive ads and occasionally donated a coat. This year, after looking through my closet and marveling at the number of coats I don’t need, I decided to not only donate a coat, but run my own coat drive in my building.

If you have coats to donate to the New York Cares coat drive, you can do so at public donation sites around the city – just plug in your ZIP code to find the closest one. Or, you can host your own coat drive by registering on the New York Cares site. Registering doesn’t make your coat drive location public, it just lets the New York Cares people know that you’re hosting one. Once the drive is over, you deliver the coats to their Manhattan warehouse. Simple, and gets warm coats to people in NYC who need them.

New York Cares also has a blog, which is currently covering the coat drive, but also has information on other ways to volunteer and give back to the community. Do you volunteer with New York Cares or another NYC organization? Tell us about it in the comments.

Taxi television fail

I am not a fan of the touch-screen televisions present in NYC taxis. They’ve been there for a couple of years now, and fortunately have an “off” button so you don’t have to listen to the incessant yammering of people trying to get you to watch their shows or buy their crap (I get enough of that if I turn on the tv in my own home, thankyouverymuch). However, occasionally I have had the misfortune to get into a taxi in which the off button does not work. Since the button is on a touchscreen, I don’t know if it’s that so many people have touched the off button area that it has become worn out, or because the software is crappy*.

But every so often I get into a taxi that has something this on the screen, and it makes me giggle a little.

*After seeing what’s onscreen in the photo, I have reason to suspect the latter.

Taxi TV fail

Taxi TV fail

What’s on your plate Mr. Mayor ?

Bloomberg tucking into a slice of pizza

Bloomberg tucking into a slice of pizza. Image copyrights Mary DiBiase Blaich for The New York Times

The NYTimes has a front page (web) article on the eating habits of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now this would be a waste of valuable e-newsprint, one may say. However the article brings into sharp contrast the positive motions the Mayor brings into the realm of public health, while at the same time having a completely different set of personal standards.

The article talks about the Mayor’s affinity for (of all things) salt.

Mr. Bloomberg, 67, likes his popcorn so salty that it burns others’ lips. (At Gracie Mansion, the cooks deliver it to him with a salt shaker.) He sprinkles so much salt on his morning bagel “that it’s like a pretzel,” said the manager at Viand, a Greek diner near Mr. Bloomberg’s Upper East Side town house.

This is while the city wages a battle against sodium. There are directives in place recommending restaurants reduce salt consumption by 20 %.

Some may raise a stink about the so-called “double standards” from the Mayor. And in this election season, I would not be surprised if it does. However what the Mayor in his own personal time is no one else’s business.

Even with all the excesses of salt, bacon and what not, the Mayor, at 67, weighs what he did in his college days. How many people can claim to do that. ?

I think the real story here is that he indulges in “sinful” eating but also exercises self-discipline by exercising and balancing his food intake on other days.

The only thing that irks me is salt on a bagel. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth :)

Chicago Deep Dish or NY Thin Crust?

I was recently in Chicago and ate a lot of deep dish pizza. This is something Chicago is known for and I, a pizza fanatic, was fully aware of. After eating some deep dish at a friends home one night he asked how it compared to NY thin crust. I had to admit to him that the deep dish was unique and amazing and I loved it. Then I had to tell him that it didn’t compare in my mind to the coal fired brick oven pizzas made in NY. What can I say, I’m an East Coast kind of guy. NY pizza is king in my eyes, the crisp crust and fresh ingredients that you taste with all the lush flavors they hold. What about you? Don’t be shy, tell us how you really feel.

Fresh Poetry While You Wait

Ana writes fresh poems

Ana writes fresh poems

Just as I was enjoying the reduced foot traffic due to the July 4th weekend, I bumped into Anayvelyse. She was set up with a typewriter and a bench, ready to create poetry for a suggested donation of $2.

Situated around the Union Square area (University Pl. between 13th and 14th streets), Ana writes off the top of her mind to busy New Yorkers who need a little refreshing kick that only poetry can provide.

After reading yesterday’s NYTimes piece about how street vendors fight off each other in NYC, I was wondering how Ana avoids that situation, I did not have a chance to ask her when we met. But she did tell me that police does not bother her since she’s not actually selling poems, but requesting a suggested donation. After hearing some of the worst singers known to man performing in Union Square and invading the subways with their horrific tones; the poetry is a welcome, soothing change.

Here’s a sampling of what she’s capable of:

To the rooftops of this barren city, as if gazing down
down below. Moving, aerial, fluid, the pedestrians
marching below. Coming as if from all sides, pushing
towards the real of the city. I see them below, as
they rant in their step, an endless flow of presence,
a sacrifice to the streets.
So go get yourself a fresh poem while you’re out!

Rally for solidarity with people of Iran tonight

Tonight in Union Square at 7 PM there will be a rally for the support of the Iranian people. As you may have seen on the news, since the recent presidential election in Iran, in which incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad purportedly won, there have been protests and riots throughout Iran alleging election fraud. The rioting and subsequent military crackdown on the people of Iran, as well as the attempts at internet censorship that have plagued Iranians trying to get word out about what they are going through, has motivated people throughout the world to support them. Tonight, along with the rally in Union Square, there will be rallies in DC, Philly, Portland, Iowa City, and Irvine, CA.

More info on the protest rally here. If you’re not on Facebook, the info is: tonight, Union Square, 7-9 PM. Flyers for printing can be downloaded here. The organizers are asking that those attending stay on the sidewalks on the south side of Union Square and not in the actual park, and that they bring candles to remember those who have been killed or injured in Iran during the past week.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

The Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe hosts some really kick ass events. Last week my wife and I went to see writer extraordinaire Neil Gaiman and musician Amanda Palmer read/perform together. Neil, ehem, Mr. Gaiman read a new, yet to be published, short story. Amanda performed vigorously and stared lovingly at Neil as he read. I snapped a few photos, enjoy.



housing works

Give my regards to Broadway

Starting today, the city has begun closing down several blocks of Broadway in midtown to vehicular traffic. This is part of the mayor’s plan to try and ease midtown traffic congestion. Broadway will be closed to vehicles and open to pedestrians and bicycles only from 42nd-47th Streets and 33rd-35th Streets. Permanently.

As one might imagine, the change has been met with mixed reactions. Honestly, I had no idea about it until a few days ago when I read about the closure at Curbed – and as evidenced by the NY Times article about the closure, apparently some pedicab drivers were unaware as well. I expect cab drivers to be pissy about it, especially the ones I’ve had lately who complain about the traffic (which requires its own blog post entirely), and I expect the tourist masses to embrace it.

It seems as though the city is approaching this cautiously, blocking off the closed blocks of Broadway with orange barrels instead of installing concrete or other more permanent barriers and gauging how the closure will be received by the public. I’d imagine that it will be difficult for some businesses on the closed blocks to get deliveries, but they’re still working all of the kinks out.

What I really want to see is what Broadway, 7th Ave, 47th Street, and 35th Street look like on Tuesday morning, when all the people who are crazy enough to drive to work return from the Memorial Day holiday. Anyone want to volunteer to take photos? Post photo links in the comments. Best angry cab driver photo wins a freakin’ awesome Metroblogging t-shirt.

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