"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: new york story

Respect Due

I don’t thank you guys enough, the regulars who come by to add their two cents. But yesterday’s food post about greasy spoons made me proud that I run this blog. I love it when a topic engages you guys. Sometimes, it’s about the Yankees and baseball, or life in the city, or a movie, or food.  

I learned new things reading through the comments yesterday and relished the banter. Made me stop and appreciate the moment.

Thanks for helping make this site what it is.

Fruitcake Follies

I needed a winter hat and for Christmas my mom gave me a fruitilicious one.

“I thought you would like the colors!” she said. She quickly added that I could return it if it wasn’t my style (isn’t it great how you can spot European colorfulness a mile away–even though she bought the hat in Vermont.)

Anyhow, the hat is ridiculous but I need to keep my keppy warm so I’ve been wearing it.  I like to ask people, sotto voice, “Be truthful,” and then I whip out of the hat, “Do I lose my street cred with this hat?”

Some people say, “No, it’s fine,” while others don’t skip a beat, “Yes, you sure do.” It’s not that the people who say it looks okay are lying–though some might be–it’s just a matter of taste.

Last night, Jon DeRosa went out for a meal and I asked him if the hat made me lose my street cred.

“Yes,” he said, “but you get some of it back just by having the balls to wear it.”

My man!

New York Minute

I listened to a street musician/comedian on the subway last night. When he was finished with his song he said, “I take donations and child support payments. I take spare change and chump change, folks. I take tax donations and college credit. Thank you. I take cell phone minutes.”

The last one got me.

I'll Stop the World (and Melt With You)

Yesterday was the 10th annual No Pants Subway Ride in New York. Man, and I had to stay home (click here for more photos).

Meanwhile, peep this cool New York City Subway Moment by Emily Lemole Smith.

[Photo Credit: News.com.au and Liptick Alley]

I'm Walkin' Here

I went to pick up chicken soup in my neighborhood last night and when I went to pay I wished the cashier a happy new year.

“Got any resolutions?” she said?

“Yeah, to be kinder to myself.”

“Oh,” she said, and looked at me. “That’s really cool.”

I surprised myself with that answer. Sometimes, you are honest when you don’t mean to be.

I walked outside and the street was clogged with cars. One guy, four cars behind the putz who stopped in the middle of the street, started leaning on the horn. “That’s not going to help,” I said to nobody.

I walked across the street and saw a man in a wheelchair yell, “That’s not going to help!”

I smiled as I walked past him and shrugged, “Sometimes, people can’t help themselves I guess.”

The man glared at the traffic. “Moron.”

“Yeah, you know it’s just so tempting, though. You are irritated, stuck in traffic, it’s the end of the day, and you’ve got that horn right there. How can you not press it?”

“Well, I’m tempted to throw a brick through a window but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do it.”

“Point taken.”

New York is a funny town.

[Picture by Bags]

Closed and Open for Business

I went to the movies on the upper west side yesterday afternoon and stopped into the big Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Center. It was the final day of business for B&N at that location. Depressing. Then I walked uptown on Broadway and at 72nd street, I found this treasure trove:

Hot dog.

…and Happy New Year.

Any Excuse to Think About the Old Penn Station

Nice post on the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s work over at the New Yorker’s Photo Booth.

Here’s more:

And You Knew Who You Were Then

From the New York magazine archives, here’s a 1969 piece by Nicholas Pileggi on the Renaissance of the Upper West Side:

Five years ago the West Side of Manhattan was considered such a dangerously blighted area that invitations to parties on Riverside Drive were often rejected, large rent-controlled apartments were voluntarily given up and even Chicken Delight wouldn’t deliver. Today, while many of the area’s most critical problems remain, an unmistakable mood of confidence has replaced earlier premonitions of doom. Merchants, real-estate men, bankers, theatre owners, city planners, restaurateurs, newsdealers and the trustees of private schools all agree with what Mayor John V. Lindsay admits privately: “The Upper West Side is probably enjoying more of a renaissance today than any other single neighborhood of our city.”

In the 64-block-long area west of Central Park between Columbus Circle to the south and Columbia University to the north, the evidence is visible. Not only are there new low-and middle-income housing developments now where the rubble of abandoned buildings and slums stood just five years ago, but hundreds of the area’s crumbling rooming houses have been renovated to accommodate increasing numbers of middle-class tenants, and even a few of the neighborhood’s middle-European rococo hotels have been steam-cleaned. The same kind of young, successful and relatively affluent middle-class families that moved to the suburbs 20 years ago and to the East Side 10 years ago are moving to the West Side today, and while the neighborhood still has an ample supply of teenage muggers, parading homosexuals and old men who wear overcoats in July, the over-all mood of the area seems to have changed.

…Statistically the West Side’s 1968 crime figures place the area in the unenviable top third of the city’s 76 precinct-house totals. The 20th Precinct on West 68th Street and the 24th on West 100th encompass most of the Upper West Side, and their combined records show 36 homicides, 86 forced rapes, 8,478 burglaries, 1,097 felonious assaults, 3,233 robberies (muggings and stickups) and 6,762 larcenies (mostly pocketbook snatches) last year. The bulk of the West Side’s street crime today is the work of roving bands of 14-to-20-year-olds who mug, jostle and threaten their victims around or near the neighborhood parks during the evening and early morning hours. The effect of these crimes, committed, it sometimes seems, on everyone, or at least a friend or relative of everyone on the West Side, has been to create an atmosphere in which sudden noises produce quick frightened looks.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

[Photo Credit: Christian Monotone]

Saturday Night in November

On the Go…

[Picture by Bags and Marianne Rafter]

Nothing's Got Plenty of Me

When I finished reading the Daily News this morning on my way to work, I kept busy thinking about my day, and looked at a kid sitting across from me, music bleeding out of his cheesy earphones. The 1 train was creeping, not zipping along, starting at 191st street. When the train limped  into the 157th street station I noticed a heavyset female police officer in our car and fantasized about her taking out the kid with the loud music.

Then I saw  a crowd of people on the uptown platform. When our train stopped and opened its doors, the officer spoke into her walkie-talkie and stepped off the train. I looked out of the window again and saw a young man, shirtless, sitting on the uptown platform, his legs dangling over the tracks. The crowd gave him plenty of room. An uptown train was stopped about fifty feet away from him. The man had a hard look on his face and he looked straight ahead or down, I couldn’t figure out which.

A woman next to me turned to her companion and raised her hand, indicating that the man was drunk. Maybe he was, or just stoned or maybe crazy. Most of the people in my car stood up to see what it was all about. Then, they returned to their seats, exchanged glances with a neighbor and went back to their book or the paper or thier music and texting.

Once our train left the station it started to move quickly again. I forgot about the annoying kid and his music and thought about the guy on the track.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver