Archive for December, 2007

Winter Surf !


I snapped this shot near Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, about 70 miles south of NYC on Friday morning. Numerous Northeasters create great surf in the winter, but full wetsuits are required for water temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

Custom License Plates

While driving up 6th Avenue the other day, I could not resist taking this picture of the car ahead of me. Guess what the guy does for a living :)


NY Motorcycle Show

Being an avid die hard motorcyclist, today was manna at the International Motorcycle Show at the Javits. Riding motorcycles has been second nature to me for nearly two decades now. I ride to work most days of the year even in NYC weather. And therefore today was a time to go and ogle and salivate at what is and what can be in the motorcycle world. Sadly, the show did not live up to my expectations. There were no completely new motorcycles this year except the kick ass Kawasaki Concours 14 and the Ducati pictured below. Here are three bikes that I took random pictures of. The last one, the scooter is for a reason in the coming year :)


NYC’s Pakistanis Mourn for Bhutto


My heart goes out to the thousands of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans, living in NYC and mourning this week, after the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

As a travel industry sales manager in the 90s, I often called on clients in Jackson Heights, Queens. I wiitnessed the tremendous rise influx of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka around the area of 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Businesses owned by, and catering to, people from the Indian sub=continent dominate that area. I, myself, have eaten many a good meal in those restaurants.

I mourn with you the passing of a truly great and courageous woman. I hope that, out of this tragedy, Benazir Bhutto’s vision will be carried out. I pray for the future of Pakistan.

Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto Assasinated

Ex Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was assasinated earlier today at an election rally near Rawalpindi in Pakistan. She had recently returned to Pakistan after a truce of sorts was announced between her and Dictator Musharraf who rules Pakistan after usurping power from a civilain govrnment in 1999.

Benazir Bhutto was the first female elected leader of any Muslim nation, and it is this singular achievement that overpowers all her wrongdoings. She was no paraih and has been in the news for amassing huge sums of wealth for herself and her family. However she was the one shining beacon of hope for a democracy in an otherwise failed democracy.

Hopefully, this will jumpstart the country out of its stupor and incite the people in non violent ways to kick Musharraf out of power and restore a real, elected leader.

For more on the spot reporting head over to Metroblogging Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Swooning for Sweeney

Photo from

Sometimes anticipating a film’s release leads to impossible expectations. Not so with Sweeney Todd. Ever since I heard about Tim Burton directing this film and its powerhouse cast, I had been counting the days until I could watch it. Having been a long-time fan of the Sondheim musical, I hoped the movie would do it justice and it did.

We went to see the film last night in Midtown. With a packed house, I was glad I bought tickets ahead of time. The movie thankfully skipped the chorus verses sung throughout the show (which I didn’t think would work in a film), and began instead with rather gruesome opening credits and an instrumental prologue. The strong cast did not disappoint. Helena Bonham Carter played a dark and desperate Mrs. Lovett. Her version of this role was a little younger and sexier than usually portrayed in the musical, but I thought that worked well. While her voice could not compete with Angela Lansbury’s (who originated the role on Broadway), her acting, as always, was intense and spot-on. Alan Rickman was sufficiently evil and disturbing as the judge, although the film sadly omitted the song where the judge really displays the depth of his sick character. And then Johnny Depp – brilliant, as always. Not only did he impress me with a rather decent voice, he managed to play a disturbing Sweeney that was both sadistic and sympathetic.

Safe City and Jail Nightmares

Just this week NYC announced that crime is down to a record low in 17 years and how the city has evolved into a really safe city. Now that statement has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Yes murders and killings may be down but regular vandalism is not. Ask any car owning resident of Clinton Hill or Fort Greene ! Ok, so no more digression.

However this story on Gowanus Canal, shows us another seedier, murkier, darker underside of the justice system and the police in general. A woman was arrested because there was a warrant out for her for having a dog unleashed on the road. She sends in a detailed account

because she was horrified at the conditions at the Brooklyn Central Booking on Schermerhorn Street between Smith and Boerum Place.

The R word comes up in her account and frankly anyone who has lived in NYC has been either a victim or a witness to racial profiling over the years.


Christmas Time in the City


I celebrated Christmas in the city for the first time, this year. It was my parents’ idea to come to see me this holiday, for a change, and spend the day doing city Christmas things.

We started off the afternoon with dinner at Carmine’s. I like to go to this tasty Italian restaurant with my parents, since there’s plenty of food there for my mother (an unadventurous eater) and the service is always good. Plus, I knew the place would be all decked out for Christmas with garlands and lights. I was not disappointed. We split a mixed green salad and two family-style entrees, Chicken Parm for the meat-eaters and Pasta Pomodoro for me and my mother. We finished the meal off with bread pudding and cappuccinos. As always, everything was delicious and the restaurant’s atmosphere was lively and warm.

On Christmas — Hundreds of Jews with Nothing to Do


Today is Christmas and I am Jewish. As popular legend has it, Jews are supposed to eat Chinese food on Christmas. Had my sister not married a Christian with a Christmas tree, and started throwing an annual Christmas get-together at her house in the suburbs, I might be digging my chopsticks into moo shu myself.

Which brings me to one of my fondest Christmas memories: The Big OnionChristmas Day Tour of the Jewish Lower East Side. Now in it’s 17th year, this tour has become a Christmas Day tradition. I decided one Christmas Day, with no other plans, to join this tour, which was in its second year. I read about it in Time Out NY and figured “why not”, and thought it might be nice to hit Chinatown afterward.

So I stood at the meeting spot of the tour,with about 300 other people on the corner of Delancey and Essex, in front of the Olympic Diner, which probably ran out of coffee. Evidently, the tour had only attracted a crowd of one-tenth this size the year before. But word of mouth and the mention in TONY had brought a crowd which exceeded all expectations. Our three or four tour guides explained to the mob that, with one guide for every 15 people, they needed to rouse out of bed, about twenty more Columbia University graduate history students to accommodate the throng that showed up.

It was a freezing day and we must have been an interesting sight. By now, the crowd had spread out all over that south side of Delancy from Essex all the way to Christie. Suddenly, a van of people which had just come over the Williamsburg Bridge, stopped to look at the “huddled mass”. One of the passengers stuck his head out the van window and asked what was going on. One of the women yelled back “WE’RE A BUNCH OF JEWS WITH NOTHING TO DO FOR CHRISTMAS!”

Donate a toy, get a hug from a lizard

Jenni makes friends with the LizardmanNormally I avoid Times Square and its gaudy brightness like the plague; however, I just returned from that area for a very special, very green reason. My friend the Lizardman is there helping Ripley’s do a toy drive. Ripley’s is a perfect place for him, as they have an “Odditorium”, and it’s not every day that you see a lizard the size of a grown man walking around, upright on two feet no less! In any case, if you bring a toy to the toy drive, you can get your photo taken with him for free, just in time for you to send your holiday photo to grandma. Make sure to ask him to stick out his forked tongue. Grandmas love that shit.

Today (Sunday) is the last day of the toy drive at Ripley’s Believe it or Not on 42nd Street. The Lizardman will be there from 2-8. If that’s not a reason to brave Times Square two days before Christmas, I don’t know what is.

Photo credit: NYC Metblog’s own Melissa.

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