March 6, 2012

Gotham Hijinx

Ah, New Yawk City.

First, there’s this:

Nothing beats the New York Daily News headline here: “Her agony of de-feet!” Ah, puns.

Anyway, Brooklyn woman Kate Wilson is fighting a $50 summons she got for putting her injured leg up on the subway seats next to her. During rush hour, this would be a different issue, but Wilson insists there were empty seats all over the car. Also, her leg really hurt.

As one cop began to write her a summons for obstructing seating, Wilson tried to reason with the officers and told them she ran 4 miles through Prospect Park the day before.

It’s unclear if Wilson cares about the fine, or is just concerned with the principle of the matter. Either way, she did her best to talk her way out of the summons — and failed.

“I asked them if they had bigger fish to fry,” she recalled. “The police officer said, ‘Yeah, but we’re frying this one now.’ ”

Wilson, who works as an administrative assistant in the city, said she finally just bit her lip.

“It was a waste of resources,” she said. “I can’t help but believe this is happening to other people, but nobody comes forward.”

There’s a lot of this kind of thing going around under the auspices of the Bloomberg Administration, whose first priority seems to be to wrest every dime posible from the grip of the New York resident-at-large through penalties, fines, taxes, permit fees, etc.

Personally, I think any cop who would enforce a law such as that described in the above linked article under those circumstances (an almost empty subway car in which the “victim” is interfering with no one by putting her foot up) would be well suited to serve a more totalitarian regime, such as that of Fidel, or maybe Chavez. Such fascistic policemen certainly don’t belong in a free country, but I suppose that’s just one gal’s opinion.


Recently, a friend and I, out for dinner in Manhattan, were strolling past Carnegie Hall and, near a corner, we espied a homeless person bundled beneath a heavy coat and a hat against the cold with a large cup in front of him/her for “donations”.

The figure was so pitiful, I couldn’t help but drop a ten dollar bill into the cup.

As we walked on, my friend remarked that between the hat and coat, we couldn’t even see the homeless person underneath, and amused by a sudden thought whose zaniness probably comes from too many years, on and off, of exposure to Seth’s peculiar sense of humor.

“There’s a way we could make a pile of easy money,” I quipped, “we could buy a whole bunch of hats and large baggy coats at a thrift store and set them up around Manhattan, to look just like our undomiciled friend back there, each with a “homeless & hungry” sign and a cup in front of it. Passersby will assume there’s a needy person underneath each one and put money in the cups, and all we’d have to do is go around periodically and collect the money from each cup!” :-D


And then there’s this one from the N.Y. Post:

It’s the job that keeps on giving.

Area longshoremen — including as many as 10 relatives of the late Vincent “The Chin” Gigante — pocket huge bonuses on top of their already overtime-bloated paychecks, according to Waterfront Commission records.

Those bonuses are guaranteed by union contracts — and were as high as $20,000 per worker last year, the commission said.

Ralph Gigante — The Chin’s highly paid dockworker nephew — somehow scored a deal with his employer to get an annual bonus worth 8 percent of his previous year’s gross pay, according to his testimony to the commission in 2010.

Not bad for a guy who — in another back-door dream deal reported by The Post yesterday — is paid pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long.

Gigante, whose hourly rate is $36, made $406,659 in 2011, including bonuses.

He’s not the only Gigante getting paid handsomely to work on the New York waterfront, which receives billions in public money for infrastructure upgrades from the Port Authority.

Nice work if you can get it.

….Included in that number is Robert Fyfe, one of The Chin’s sons-in-law.

Like Ralph Gigante — one of the highest-paid employees at the port — Fyfe is a union shop steward, according to testimony in commission hearings.

Fyfe’s wife — The Chin’s daughter — Yolanda insisted to The Post her husband makes an honest living.

“Like everyone else, we are living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “It’s not like we have any connection to anything.”

Right, of course.

There are similar stories on an almost regular basis of such “quite fortunate” individuals in New York in a wide variety of areas in both the public and private sectors.

Paycheck to paycheck, honest living, heh heh heh…

by @ 5:59 pm. Filed under Hmmmmmm...., New York

August 25, 2011

New Yorkers? Sheep?

You betcha!

One thing Seth has said in the past that he liked about California is that on election day, Californians get to vote on the passage of issues that concern them. They get propositions to “yea” or “nay” on the voting ballot. When something really socialistic passes out there, it generally means that that’s what the people want, what they voted for, but at least you can know that right or wrong, it’s what the majority of the people wanted.

That, whether the result is good or bad, is democracy.

New Yorkers, however, prefer to simply elect others to do all their thinking for them, then kvetch when taxes are raised or oppressive laws are enacted, then simply grit their teeth and go along with whatever it is.


There is California, supposedly the most gay, most liberal state in the nation last year voting down an initiative to legalize marijuana, and… wow, the people also continue to vote down a same sex marriage amendment, while here in New York…

…the politicians get to make such decisions in their “smoke filled back rooms” with or without the approval of the sheep majority.

Even the Republicans in New York (these people are desperately in need of a visit from the Tea Party) are sheep, to judge by what they’ll tolerate from Republican politicians here.

From World Magazine (a Christian publication):

New York conservatives were thinking through their next steps after four Republican state senators on June 24 joined Democrats in a 33-29 final vote that made New York the sixth state in the nation (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage. The new law, which takes effect on July 25, will double the number of people now eligible for same-sex marriage in the United States.

Conservatives are likely to hold responsible at the polls the four Republicans who broke ranks to vote for the bill, along with majority leader Dean Skelos, who sent it to the floor for the final vote. But they are equally outraged by the closed-door tactics used to bring the controversial legislation to a vote—and what it means for future deliberations in a statehouse where Republicans hold only a slim majority in the Senate.

“All lobbyists were shut out for two weeks, then it was rammed through the voting process,” said Duane Motley, a pastor who is founder and senior lobbyist of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom. During the vote, he said, state troopers guarded the chambers, with senators locked in while the public remained locked out: “They [Republicans] even let Cuomo’s chief of staff on the floor to hurry the process so it was done for 11:00 news.” Governor Andrew Cuomo orchestrated the campaign and brought together unlikely allies who may bolster his Democratic base—and national profile for a 2016 White House run.

Motley said lawmakers also failed to follow normal rules of debate on the question of a religious exemption. “This was the executive branch telling the legislative branch how to operate,” he said, something he’s not seen in 29 years of closely following statehouse politics.

The entire column can be found here.

For all the blustery toughness associated with our fellow New Yorkers, that’s the long and short of it: They’re sheep, and elect politicians not to serve them, but to lead them around by the nose.

by @ 12:46 pm. Filed under New York, The Fact Of The Matter...

June 1, 2008

In Response To Statements Made…

…by folks who have not yet had the pleasure of visiting Gotham but believe rumors they’ve heard, I have searched New York City diligently for evidence that it is indeed a “concrete jungle”.

What I found instead is a long, wide green rectangle that dominates the map between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, 59th Street and 110th Street called Central Park.
The Great Lawn


Strolling Further

Some WaterHmmm, no sign of a concrete jungle above, but…but wait! I did see some water! Maybe that’s what they use to mix the concrete!
Agua mas


More WalkingThen again, maybe not…

No, it looks to me like where flora and fauna are concerned, New York pretty much has its ducks in a row.Getting Those Ducks In A Row

by @ 6:58 pm. Filed under New York

May 5, 2008

Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk (Yay!), And A Few Other Items

I’ve been trying my best to stay away from politics the last few days while I enjoy becoming reacqainted with my home town.

It’s actually becoming quite fatiguing seeing “Obama this, Obama that, Wright this, Wright that” everywhere I go on the Internet. It’s like watching news sites, blogs and other media flogging the same dead horse over and over while ignoring stuff that is being pushed on us under the radar, using the Presidential campaign as a distraction.

By this time, anyone who, despite all the suffocating coverage, still believes that either Hussein Obama or Hillary Clinton belongs in the Oval Office is either profoundly obtuse, a “liberal-run government at any cost” Utopian, a jihadist, someone who despises either our Constitutional form of government and/or the American People, or a communist. I simply see no purpose in continuing to do what amounts to beating my head against a wall trying to prove a point that’s already been proven.

Especially when trying to convince liberals, who, when confronted with scientific fact or other indisputable evidence that runs contrary to their politically based “beliefs” will shrug it all off with, “That’s your opinion.”

By now, those folks out there in the middle of the road have more than enough evidence to make their own judgement as to the viability of either Obama or Clinton where the Presidency is concerned, as this time out, even the MSM has failed to hide the truth about the two Democratic candidates. All they can do is manage weak attempts at spin or try to divert public attention in what, just as Obama’s efforts to distance himself from Irreverend Wright, are proving transparent efforts, at best.

Face it, no matter which of the Democratic candidates gets the nomination, McCain will prevail in November. Any other outcome would be pure insanity.

Moving right along, on Wednesday evening I visited one of my old Little Italy favorites on Mulberry Street at Broome (they relocated about 12 years ago from a Hester Street location), Umberto’s Clam House. Since I was dining alone, I ate in the kitchen (a small counter from which you can see most of what’s going on and be served directly by the chef). I chatted with one of the owners and ate ala carte, a generous serving of linguini with white clam sauce (I watched the chef shucking a big pile of clams — yum, clams! — for my dinner, what a pro!), a basket of fresh, warm N.Y. Italian bread with butter…

Afterwards, I walked down to my new favorite N.Y. bar, an establishment that’s been in business since 1972, in a building that’s been around since before the last century, Kenn’s Broome Street Bar.

I must confess to a rather lengthy evening therein. It’s a very comfortable pub with a great staff and a good crowd of local regulars (though quite a number of European tourists also find their way there), a large menu of good food, including home-made chili con carne (one of the house dishes, for anyone who’s really hungry and reasonably gas resistant, is an open-faced knockwurst “chili dog” with cheese and a large pile of either crinkle cut potato chips or fries. Their burgers are intense and large, as are all the other items on their menu. They don’t skimp on anything. Daily specials can be anything from blackened fish to langosta and they have a more than admirable Saturday and Sunday brunch menu.

So, Thursday I was up and out early enough to meet a friend for a lunch date, and we headed for Mulberry Street. Mulberry is an Italian food lover’s heaven, more than three blocks lined with Italian restaurants, bakeries (Mmmmmm, fresh cannoli!) and cafes. We were both ready to eat at 11:30, and most of the eateries on that strip of culinary delight don’t start serving until noon.

However, La Mela seated us at an outdoor table at 11:40 and took our orders.

I had pasta in a white sauce with mussels that was awesome, and they were extremely generous with the mussels. If you’ve never had mussels in New York, you’ve never had mussels. Mmmmm, mussels! My companion had chicken scapariello, which I had a taste of and was pretty impressed. I’ll have to order it next time I go there.

Afterwards, we went down to the Broome Street Bar for a drink before parting company. Ah, Guinness!

It began to rain in the evening, so I returned to the hotel to visit my computer and catch up on some of my news reading and so forth.

Through the weekend, there was night clubbing on Bleeker Street in the west village, including a couple of hours of great Jazz at the Blue Note, wherein they serve a remarkably good lobster ravioli (all this eating, in New York, is easily offset by the amount of walking one does in the interests of really seeing the city).

A late Saturday evening dinner date found my companion and I at a neat little Italian joint at East 50th Street and 2nd Avenue called, very appropriately as they specialize in lasagna (17 different kinds, ranging from ground sirloin to prosciutto to lobster to veal and everything in between), Lasagna Ristorante. This was followed by a cab ride downtown to — where else? — Mulberry Street, for canolli and capucino at La Bella Ferrara.

Sunday morning I was down at Duarte Square (Canal & 6th Avenue) to watch the start of a bicycle Tour of New York, wherein some 30,000 participants embarked on a 2-3 hour, 44ish mile ride around the boroughs, equipped with a continuous police escort to block cross traffic. It was a sight to see, every kind of bicycle in the universe, from regular 10 speeds to bicycles built for 3, several side by side 3 wheelers (two people in reclining high backed seats peddling from relaxed positions), some crazy configs wherein there was a small front wheel and a large rear one with the peddles right above the front wheel, a bicycle that was built to resemble a Harley chopper and one individual was pulling a small wooden cage-trailer that looked like it contained his cat.

One morning last week, I took a stroll down Bleeker Street above 8th Avenue (west village), and was totally impressed by the atmosphere of the neighborhood. It is simply beautiful, lots of trees and the view down nearly every side street was profoundly green, the shops all upscale without blaring the fact. I stopped at a local cafe for a chocolate almond croissant and a capucino, sat outside and enjoyed watching the people pass by, the bird sounds and the morning aroma of spring in New York…

…then several cloudy, rainy days arrived, today being the first clear, sunny day.

On a less pleasant note, as I said above, while so many of us make a major event of every word issuing forth from the mouth of Hussein Obama and every outrageous statement uttered by his “former” Pastor Wright, in my opinion doing little or nothing to change the minds of those wingnuts who view him as some sort of messiah (face it, friends, there are a lot of incorrigible boneheads in this country who believe America is the root cause of every problem of every kind, everywhere on earth, and that only the mighty Obama can save the world), we pay less attention to issues that we really need to focus on that amount, basically, to government encroachment on our free enterprise system and the price we pay for this wholly unconstitutional series of actions.

Issues such Congress’ decision to attempt to meddle in banks’ current credit and debit card management methods, the effect the ethanol production mandates are having on food prices across the board, including starvation and food riots in the same developing nations liberals claim to care so much about (this despite the fact that ethanol production and use produce more of the dreaded C02 than regular gasoline use), and still another dreadful bi-product of the government protecting us from ourselves.

Yes, all those high taxes local governments in states like Illinois and New York love to levy on cigarettes, purportedly to “help us”, have created a black market that directly finances terrorism. I ran across the above link at a security industry website, and, in as timely a manner as one could ask for, Walter Williams, one of the most “on-top-of-things” columnists in the business, penned a spot-on piece about it.

While it’s politically popular to impose confiscatory taxes on America’s 40 million tobacco smokers, there are a number of consequences one might consider, but let’s start out with a quiz. If a carton of cigarettes sells for $160 in New York City, and $35 in North Carolina, what do you predict will happen? If you answered tons of cigarettes will be going up I-95 from North Carolina to New York City, go to the head of the class.

Smuggling cigarettes is illegal; so the next quiz question is: Who is most likely to engage in cigarette smuggling? It’s a mixed answer, but for the most part, organized smugglers will be people with a high disregard for the law. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has found that Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Middle Eastern (mainly Pakistani, Lebanese, and Syrian) organized crime groups are highly involved in the trafficking of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. What’s worse is the ATF found that some of these groups use the money to provide material financial assistance to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Read on…

People who don’t spend a lot of time in major cities might easily miss this, but immigrants from Muslim countries have, over the last several years, established monopolies over certain retail-based industries that in some other sectors would easily inspire anti-trust lawsuits. Small markets selling, among other things, cigarettes are at the forefront of this phenomenon, with convenience stores and fast food restaurants not far behind. Here in New York, pizza shops are also on the menu to some extent, as are what I can’t help but think of as “jihadi wagons”, those stainless steel carts, towed daily to their respective curbside locations, from inside which Muslims serve hot grilled food (shish kebob, etc) through a window. Often one sees them joined within by fellow countrymen, deep in conversation, with others hanging around outside. When I lived here ten years ago, many of them were owned and manned by Russians, but this no longer seems to be the case.

Nice going, politicians — levy taxes, help finance jihad. Now the Bureau and the ATF have even more on their plates, so to speak, a tax-created homeland security issue.

Say what you want about the letter of the law, I tend to agree with Williams’ opinion that,

Some smugglers are good people who differ little from the founders of our nation such as John Hancock, whose flamboyant signature graces our Declaration of Independence. The British had levied confiscatory taxes on molasses, and John Hancock smuggled an estimated 1.5 million gallons a year. His smuggling practices financed much of the resistance to British authority — so much so that the joke of the time was that “Sam Adams writes the letters (to newspapers) and John Hancock pays the postage.” Like Hancock, some of today’s cigarette smugglers are providing a service to their fellow man caught in the grip of confiscatory taxation.

In my book, the Hancock-type smuggler is a hero of sorts. Let’s look at it. During the days of the Soviet Union, Swiss watches were illegal. During our Prohibition era, the sale, manufacture and the importation of intoxicating liquor was illegal. Britain’s Navigation Acts imposed high tariffs and restrictions on goods sold to the American colonies that ultimately led to our 1776 War of Independence. The common theme in all of these acts is government seeking to interfere with, regulate or outlaw peaceable voluntary exchange between individuals.


It has occurred to me on numerous occasions and I have mentioned a time or two in previous posts that for some time, our government, and I’m talking about both parties, has been betraying us, treacherously so and purely in the interests of individual political careers by gradually reintroducing the very same governance that our founding fathers saw fit to rebel against and in so doing break away from Great Britain, and found the United States of America.

However, rather than fight it, we collectively permit this regression to pre-Revolutionary War conditions. We continue to reelect politicians who could give a rat’s backside about We, The People or about our great country — to these scumbags, the only thing America means is realizing their own personal political ambitions, getting reelected at any cost, and I have come to realize that no matter how we elevate one above the other in our esteem, you can count all the politicians in this country who entertain even an iota of patriotism on one hand.

That said, two of my upcoming activities will be to catch Clarence Spady live, and also to attend a musical play called Street Dreams (an excitedly upbeat young actress, or aspirant thereof, handed me a hand-out for the play, billed “an inner city musical”, presented by the Rosetta Lenoir Musical Theatre Academy — never heard of it — and it looks like fun) at the ATA Theatre on West 54th.

New York, YAY!!!!

by @ 6:42 am. Filed under New York, Opinion, Politicians

April 25, 2008

New York Food, Yum!

Tomorrow, I’m switching to another hotel here in New York, not because I don’t like where I’m at or the location I’m in – the upper west side is awesome – but because the new location will be closer to where I tend to spend my time and to where I want to establish a more permanent presence.

So I want to give mention to a few things regarding food up here on the upper west side.

Usually, after I get back to the hotel for the evening and am hungry or before I go out and want breakfast first, I call restaurants for delivery.

First, the best: Texas Rotisserie and Grill (since this is already New Yawk, ha ha, you can’t say “get a rope!”), on the northwest corner of 96th & Broadway.

My first day here, I happened to be strolling past and the aromas coming out of the place were heavenly, so I snagged one of their delivery menus, folded it and stuck it in my back pocket.

On the first occasion that I needed a delivery, I referred to it.

So many choices, not only where entrees are concerned, but appetizers and side dishes as well, and all coming out of one place. I’ve had their rotisserie chicken and their meatloaf, and such sides as their from-scratch mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, whipped sweet potatoes and garlic parsley potatoes, and have nothing but great things to say about all of them.

I am a major meatloaf maniac, and their meatloaf, made with beef and turkey, has got to be the best meatloaf I’ve ever gotten from a restaurant. Yum!

To boot, all the portions they serve are profoundly oversized yet under-priced from a New York standpoint.

Dessert wise, their chocolate chip cake is to die for.

And their delivery time is nothing short of amazing. The knock at your door seems to come almost before you’ve hung up the phone.

Second, the worst. Artie’s, a Jewish deli at about 83rd & Broadway.

I stopped in there for a couple of potato knishes on my second day here, and they were easily of a quality to sing songs over. So…

A couple of days later, when I was hoping to get an early start, I called them at opening time (9 a.m.) and gave them a breakfast delivery order: a Nova lox platter, a potato knish, a chocolate egg cream and two large coffees. The woman who took the order told me it would be around 15 minutes.

At 10:25, I called to ask why the food had not yet arrived. The same woman told me that the cashier was sorry, she hadn’t put the order in on time, but that it was now on its way to me. 25 minutes later it arrived, I paid for it and tipped the delivery guy and took everything out of the bag. There was no knish, though it was on the receipt.

I called Artie’s, and the same woman, in a totally indifferent tone of voice, asked me, “Oh, so do you still want the knish?”

“Since I paid you for it,” I replied, beginning to feel just a little miffed at her attitude, “I would assume so.”

The lox platter was great, generous and very filling, there was a lot of stuff included in it besides the Nova, a bagel and so forth, but when I went to drink the coffee I found it was old and burnt beyond drinkability. When the knish arrived at about 11:00, I was so disgusted I simply threw it in the trash can.

I tried calling the manager to register a complaint. I was told that he would be back in 2 days and that his name was Omar.

I tried, for a couple of days after he was supposed to be back, to get in touch with him, but he apparently doesn’t want to hear customer complaints and is always, therefore, “not there”. The mysterious Mr. Omar, in my opinion, is a scumbag who runs a shoddy business – the indifferent bimbo who runs the place on weekends probably Monicas him to keep her job and as payment for her under-the-desk services, the mutt excuses her ineptitude and lack of any customer service attitude.

Since then, I’ve looked up customer reviews of the place and find that most of them are unfavorable where service and even cleanliness of the place are concerned.

So while I wouldn’t recommend Artie’s for the dog you hate the most, I give major marks to Texas Rotisserie & Grill.

Two upper west side eateries to enjoy dining out at, both also reasonable by NY standards, are Acqua, an Italian restaurant on Amsterdam Ave at 95th that uses a wood oven and serves delicious, wafer thin crust, Italian style pizzas as well as some pasta & veal (I’ve had the aforementioned dishes there) that are extremely desirable to eat, in ways I can’t begin to describe beyond the “adjective” yum!. The other, more laid back but a must for locals-oriented Italian dining, is Perfecto, on Broadway between 92nd and 93rd Streets.

I treated a new acquaintance I met a few days ago to dinner at the latter (her recommendation). For my own part, I had had mussels in a wine and tomato sauce for an appetizer (I sampled my companion’s grilled octopus and it was excellent, as well), and my entrée was linguini with white clam sauce, while she had veal marsala. We tried one anothers’ dishes, and both were Perfecto.

Since then, I’ve tried the Sicilian pizza at Perfecto, and it is also Perfecto.

The above places (with the exception of piece-of-shit-Omar and his Artie’s) are all among the locals oriented eateries that you don’t see in the out-of-town yuppie guides, they are places that locals dine at, within the average middle class budget and every bit as good as the more pretentious “to be seen at” restaurants one reads about in the society pages., where there are dress codes, etc.

Having eaten at some of the most expensive restaurants in NY in the past, I can honestly say that these “common” establishments (we’re talking NY here, where competition is king) feature fare that is equal to or in some cases better than the places where, choked into a suit and tie when you’re not even at work, you can dine for hundreds of dollars, just to say you’ve eaten there.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather have dinner at Mike’s Pizzeria on Yellowstone Blvd in Forest Hills, Queens, than at Mama Leone’s any day of the week.

by @ 7:54 pm. Filed under Dining, Just Talking, New York, Opinion