Posts Tagged ‘nyc’

McNally Jackson Bookstore

I just got back from McNally Jackson – an independent bookstore – located in Nolita. It was packed with people talking, browsing and having food at the cafe within the store.

The store is not too big, but it’s set up in a way that captivates your attention immediately. So after 30 minutes of being there, I had yet to go over to the cafe or notice that they have a downstairs.

I left those 2 out of my experience this time around as their collection of graphic novels and books on design/architecture and various other things kept me occupied.

I was surprised I hadn’t noticed the place after being through Nolita several times. Not since Coliseum Books have I really loved a bookstore so hard in New York City.

Definitely going again and checking out the downstairs.

USAirways Hero Pilot– Let’s Hear it for Sully’s Maturity and Experience

Yesterday's "Hero of the Hudson"The first thing that struck me when I saw the photo of Chesley Sullenberger of US Airways, the hero of yesterday’s “miracle on the Hudson”? I thought: this is a seasoned professional! In a society that values youth and tries to put older [higher-paid] employees into retirement, we should be happy that experience and maturity is obviously a valued asset at US Airways, at least for pilots. Sullenberger has been flying for 40 years, and got his training in the US Air Force. You might say he is a pilot of the “pld school”.

Ever since the deregulation of the aviation industry in 1978, airlines have been notorious cost-cutters, busting unions, and forcing employees – even pilots — to take pay cuts or early retirement. Let’s all be thankful that “Sully” was not a casualty of a cost-cutting guillotine. His cool demeanor [some passengers say he was the only one not panicking], and smooth landing were the products of his maturity and experience.

In short, let’s hear it for seasoned professionals! There are some jobs in which youth is not such an asset!null

Hard to find in NYC

Some places in NYC are hard to find.

In fact, I can say with full confidence that half of the places I frequent today, it had taken me a while before finding exactly where they were located. Addresses in NYC are easy for many to follow, but I always, even as a native, seem to have trouble navigating.

For example, it took me 3 years before I found the famous Dosa Cart guy of Washington Square Park. I just saw, for the first time today, after 2 years of searching, Una Pizza Napoletana.

My current favorite ice cream shop, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is easy to find but their winter schedule is like Wednesday-Saturday. They’re having new hours starting the 21st of January.

Abraco was also tricky. I had actually been to the location before it became the best espresso shop in New York City. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what street it was on. So I clearly remember walking up and down 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 9th streets between 1st and 2nd avenue…until finally going up 7th and finding the spot. It was at least 3 trips until I found it.

The trouble is that even with Google maps some places like 9th street Espresso (which you’d think, duh, easy) will escape you because they are located inside the block where you don’t expect them to be. And the trouble with the way addresses are written for NYC, it’s like you have to guess all the time.

I wish I had a trick to tell you how to get around this – the best bet would be just to ask someone. But the other point is that many of these places are actually open, but they don’t show up when you think they would. Una Pizza Napoletana is the perfect example. Their elusive and bare bones Web site says that they’re open from Thursday – Sunday from 5 pm until the dough runs out.

The Dosa cart guy may have been there during the day when I went and visited and may just have left because he ran out of his Dosa batter.

Lula’s was closed earlier this year after it received unexpected demand and they couldn’t churn out enough ice cream to feed the hungry vegans. Abraco is tiny and so sometimes people may pass by it and miss it. 9th street espresso needed better signage which I think they got, unless they’ve had it all along and I just found it this year.

I would commend places like Veniero’s bakery for being inventive and creating huge signs with neon arrows pointing lost folks like me in the right direction. Sure, I don’t eat/buy anything from them but at least I know that they exist.

Pictures From the Edge

Next time you have time to spend, sit down and log onto Borough Edges and be ready to be totally mesmerized! Bettina Johae took 2418 digital images of the perimeter around the whole city — all 5 boroughs! From Riverside Park to Astoria/Ditmars to the Brooklyn Riviera, it’s a trip around the edges. It’s like that coffee-table book that everyone picks up and can’t put down…truly amazing!

Free Bridges — Will They Be History?

It was always nice to have the option– pay for the Midtown Tunnel and get to the Village or Midtown faster, or battle with 59th Street Bridge or the BQE, and the crowded Williamsburg Bridge — but save the toll. Sometimes, it was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, because you could burn so much gas on the BQE backup that you might as well have paid the tolland sometimes the choice was clear. But you had the choice!

Now, they want to put a toll on previously-free bridges, as an alternative to raising MTA fares. When I first heard, it seemed like a plan; we should be taking more mass-transit anyway! And of course, Bloomberg now has a platform to yell at us like naughty children — on the news, he said something like “See? I had the perfect solution — congestion pricing — and you didn’t want that” Okay, Uncle Mike — we get the point. So here’s another way we can stick it to the “bridge-and-tunnel” crowd.

But here’s what I want to know: let’s say they DO work out a method to collect tolls [since toll-booths are near-impossible, they are talking about a machine that will read your license plate, and bill the driver later — good luck!], how high do we have to raise the stakes before people WILL say “hmmm…..this is just like congestion-pricing after all. AND, congestion pricing wasn’t supposed to be in effect on the weekends anyway. Are they thinking of making the 59th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges free on weekends? My guess is “no”.

In other words, was it the intention all along to present options to the “bridge-and-tunnel” crowd [of which I am one, by the way] that turn out to be just as bad, or even worse for private cars, than congestion pricing? And how high can the stakes go, before car-dependent suburbanites will finally load their families onto commuter railroads for their day in the city? What is the tipping point when private drivers will leave the cars home?

The Brooklyn Bridge is now free, but would charge a toll under the new proposed plan

The Brooklyn Bridge is now free, but would charge a toll under the new proposed plan

Village Halloween Parade Pics

If you want to see a great picture gallery of this year’s Village Halloween Parade, click here.

Photo credit: Jeanne Fleming/Wikimedia Commons. Picture from the 1998 Village Halloween Parade. Notice the Twin Towers lit up in the background.
Jeanne Fleming/Wikimedia Commons.  Picture from the 1998 Village Halloween Parade.  Notice the Twin Towers lit up in the background..
Thank you Pamela Skillings,’s Manhattan guide.

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]

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!

Street Fairs in October — Where to Stay Away

I share the view of many New Yorkers re those street fairs. They’re a pain in the ass! I’ve eaten the last of those sausage sandwiches and funnel cakes! There was one last Sunday in my Forest Hills neighborhood, and I avoided it like leprosy! Just when you thought street fair season was over, Pamela Skillings, the Manhattan guide at, offers a schedule of the last installments of these banes of our existence. But, hey, if you still like seeing demos of must-have household gadgets, or yearn for more pad thai cooked on the street, check it out here

The Loisada Street Festival.  David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

The Loisada Street Festival. David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

NYC Schools — Hot Hot Hot in a September Heat

Many — if not most — of the NYC public school classrooms are still not air-conditioned. Newer schools have central air-conditioning, and in most of the older schools, only the principals and some administrators enjoy office window air-conditioning units. Although the Department of Education tries its best to use as many AC-equipped sites for summer programs, often they have to use non-AC sites as well. It’s not easy to motivate kids these days, but even harder in summer, and harder still in hot classrooms.

I taught in such a school up in East Harlem. The building was competed as part of the WPAduring the Great Depression. When we had a hot June, students would take Regents examsfully equipped with frozen water bottles on their desks.

So, during the last week, I have been thinking of NYC’s public school students and teachers in those hot classrooms on their first week back in the classroom. And it’s not going to be much better this week, as we hover around the 80s until the middle of the week.seal of the NYC Dept of Education

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