Archive for August, 2008

Bowery Flophouse hearing this week

I can’t find exactly when the hearing is, I believe it is this week though at City Hall. A hearing on whether or not the White House Hotel – one of the last remaining flop houses of the Lower East Side, can be renovated or not.

Usually these things are simple. A hotelier comes along tears down a building – places its residents in other places. But this time around, it is not that simple. What’s happening at the White House hotel is that the landmark folks – people that decide whether or not a building holds historic value – have stepped in.

They’re saying that the White House hotel may be a historic landmark and therefore cannot be torn down. Or at least, the facade would have to be maintained before anything happens. So they’re going to decide what happens next week.

From what I understand of flop houses and hoteliers, this is one of those battles that will continue being fought until people lose interest in NYC and forever invest in countries like Dubai.

Spicing it Up

Photo from

I tried out a new lunch spot today in the West Village. When my lunch companion said she craved something spicy, I suggested we go to a place I’d passed many times but never visited – Spice.

With a funky decor, Spice has a modern feel. This restaurant serves all the Thai favorites – including many spicy options and vegetarian choices. Like Cafetasia, this establishment has a lunch special of an appetizer and entree for a good price. I got vegetable dumplings and a black, broad noodle dish with tofu, while my friend opted for something a bit spicier. The food came fast and, while not the best Thai noodles I’ve had, was definitely tasty. The bill was a happy $15 for us combined, making this spot a place I could certainly afford to revisit.



Maybe it’s just me, but this summer has been pretty awesome in terms of overall weather condition and everything. I just loved it over here in your city [NYC]. This is one of my favorite snaps which I took walking across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Even though I have to go back and I do look forward to people over there in Berlin, I am also gonna miss this place a lot, lot, lot, …

The Odyssey, starring You?!

No, it’s not Fringe week just yet. Don’t get all Shakespeare-eyed on me and reminisce about those days you became an unpaid stage hand just so you could watch the gritty and real life of off-off-Broadway productions. Don’t think of that time you did gigs with your band for free drinks. Don’t even try to recall the PA gig you did on the Sopranos in hopes that some day you will make Second Second Assistant Director.

No. Forget those dreamy gigs you’ve taken in the past. Live in the now. Let’s snap back into reality as Eminem would say. It’s time to take a deep look at your wallet, your pocket, your bank account and measure it against your lifestyle.

Are you living with more than 2 people you’ve never met before you started living here? Are you working multiple jobs and having barely enough time to sleep? Do you survive on Cup of Noodles and Mac n’ Cheese? Does the thought of free food still excite you?

It seems that a lot of people did take into account all of the above and the big moves have finally started. A few of my personal friends have done so, but this New York Magazine article proves it: people are fleeing NYC for more affordable places where their dollar goes farther. Places like Buffalo, NY – imho one of the biggest architectural nightmares ever. But you know what? It beats sleeping on an air mattress.

Are you moving?

When does this train come?

One of my biggest issues with the subways are that you never really know when they run. When taking a bus, there is always a schedule at the stop which gives you an estimate as of when a bus might come, but I did not see something like that on the subway – maybe yet.

Of course I could check out the tripplaner website beforehand, but let’s reserve my beef with the tripplanner for another blog post.

So while I am really glad that the subway system runs all around the clock, I have also found myself numerous times standing on a platform in the middle of the night wondering when my dear train comes to bring me home. Just add to the uncertainty of time, the uncertainty about the overall service (“It’s the weekend, does the 2, 3 stop here?”), rats and all kind of weird people to make this experience a lasting one.

Last weekend I went out with some friends in Williamsburg and to get their I took a L-Train from Manhattan to Bedford Avenue and I noticed that the L is the first one of all the lines I’ve used that actually displays the time of when the next train runs right on the platform. At least in Brooklyn.

And while I was waiting for the the train at Spring St, they kept announcing an ETA for the next train every three minutes. Not that you need it so often, but it’s still a nice service.

So this is still pretty rare for NYC and the system is probably a pilot. All the people I talked to about it so far were joking about the MTA raising prices soon to compensate the spending on the panels. ;) Even though I oppose raising the prices (Of course!), I feel like this system is long needed.

Does anyone share my enthusiasm and know more?

Stay classy, NYC van driver

Stay classy, NYC van driver

Originally uploaded by kmcgivney

On Friday as we headed out of town to visit family, we got stuck in some really bad traffic on the FDR due to an accident. Luckily, we had some reading material generously provided by the fellow in the van in front of us.

If you can’t see it, across the rear windows of his van reads the poignant and poetic statement, “USA LOVE IT OR GET THE F..K OUT”. His flowery, almost musical language continues on the door panel below with, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE SIGN CALL 1-800-EAT-SHIT”. Truly a man of conviction and purpose, he also drew upon his artistic creativity to place a rubber chicken inside the door so that its body hangs out, with a sign describing who he is portraying for those without his pure, artistic vision: “OSAMA B.”

I’ve seen vans that claim to be art cars before, but never have I seen such a brilliant translation of performance art on a moving vehicle before. I hope you take your show to Broadway one day. Bravo, sir.

Brideshead Returns

Photo from

Having been a big fan of the 1981 mini series, I was excited to hear that Brideshead Revisited was coming to the big screen. Not able to persuade my husband to accompany me, I went to Chelsea Clearview Cinema with a friend (fittingly from England).

Visually stunning, the film travels from historic Oxford to the title country estate to Venice. Reminiscent of Atonement, the story similarly takes place among the English aristocracy around the onset of WWII and the clothes are fabulous. The plot revolves around a young painter’s involvement with a wealthy, Catholic family and the love triangle that develops as a result.


Cream Cheese

Things in my beard

I got a bagel this morning from Pick-A-Bagel on 23rd and 3rd ave. and I realized something, bagels and cream cheese just do not mix. I am still finding bits of it hours later. Yum! You can also ‘toss your own salad’ there, as their sandwich board states.

How to Find a Quality Public Toilet While Roaming the City

Okay, where were these people in the early 90s when I was an airline and hotel sales rep with a bladder the size of a pea? I know — TMI !!

Anyway, if you’re out and about, and gotta go, you have a google for toilets. Called Diaroogle

there\'s help if you gotta go while on the run

there's help if you gotta go while on the run

, they describe themselves as “The Premier Toilet Search Engine”, and go on to say that they cater to “the discerning, on-the-go defecator who is brave enough to use a public bathroom, but still demands a hygienic and private bathroom experience.”

You can access from your cellphone [more likely the situation], or check it out on your laptop. Oh, and they ask for input from users, and focus on the nicer toilets in town. My advice as an experienced pro– find a hotel or a Starbucks

Naps in Central Park are rejuvenating

There were some chores to be taken care of today. Some mundane tasks, but they happened to be on Central Park East. And any task that’s on CPE is OK by me. The neighborhood is filled with the sort of NYC essence you’d find in a Woody Allen film or a Neil Simon production. Something about the place just exudes classic New York.

I feel it has a lot to do with the preserved buildings. Especially the ones that are open to the public like the Frick Collection. Or just the tree-lined sidewalks that overlook the Central Park Zoo.

So I meandered into the park from 6th avenue and after going over a gazebo, some picnicking folk and taking in the skyline from different angles, I just found a nice boulder to rest my butt on and looked at the Victorian Gardens. It was filled with kids – sounds of laughter, screams, and laser-like noises in the distance from below and sounds of honking, sirens, and horses to the side.

A live unadulterated stereo of New York City. Perfect place to take a nap. It was awesome.

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