Friday, April 28, 2017

Now Available: "Leaving New York" on Amazon KDP

As previously announced, the big day has arrived! Yes, after four years of intermittent toil, yours truly, Mr NYC, has published his first novel. 

It's called "Leaving New York" and it's a road trip story about two friends set in the spring of 2011. So, if you're in the mood for an entertaining story and a little early nostalgia for the Obama era, this novel's for you!

Here's the little advertising spiel that better describes the book:

Calculating route . . .

Newly thirty, newly single, stuck in a boring job, and living with his father, Tommy Sayles is in the fast lane to nowhere.

But when his pal Eric Steinberg blows into town, unexpected events lead them to toss aside their lives and go on a wild road trip. Along the way, the friends encounter old acquaintances, new lovers, strange characters, big challenges, and unexpected joys. And yet, as they travel into an exciting future, the past isn’t far behind.

Journeying from the streets of New York City to the rolling terrain of the Midwest, barreling through the haunted underbelly of the South and the alluring danger of the West, going all the way to the sexy outrageousness of the Coast, Leaving New York is an unforgettable ride into the soul of America.

Friends can take you anywhere. 

You can buy it now on Amazon KDP at Leaving New York. Thanks! Hope you enjoy!
 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The End of "Girls"


I haven't written a lot about the HBO series "Girls" on here, the Brooklyn-based dramedy about four twenty-something women living in NYC. I was a fan, if not a big fan, of this show but it was always well-done, very funny, and quite insightful about the crazy minefield that is one's twenties.

Seeing it in my thirties gave me a grim satisfaction at having survived this miserable time. The thing about one's twenties, if you make it out, isn't so much that you've survived it but that you've been defined by it -- and will be, for the rest of your life.


Now it's over (the final episode debuted last night) and something occurs to me: the ending of "Girls" really marks, to me at least, the end of the Obama era more than the actual end of the presidency did. There was something about this show -- namely, its youthful energy, its cosmopolitan attitude, its celebration of tolerance -- that was reflective of that optimistic presidency.

The fact that "Girls" overlapped the very end of Obama's first term and the entirety of its second makes it a show firmly rooted in that time; that its final melancholic season occurs in the first days of the Trump nightmare shows that "Girls", like the Obama presidency, was a special thing that can only last so long. Eventually, darkness falls. Your youth ends. And then you go on. 

Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier - Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NY, April 15 1947


Friday, April 7, 2017

Announcement

You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging much lately and the reasons are simple: I have two kids, a full-time job, a marriage, and a life. But there's another reason -- I've also been writing a book.

That's right, after ten-plus years of blogging, and four years of on-and-off effort, I've finally finished composing a novel that I've very proud of and can't wait to inflict on the world. 

The book will be released via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing within the next few weeks (I'm aiming for the end of this month). Needless to say, once it's published, I will post all about it here (quite often) and include a link so ya'll can purchase a copy and hopefully even read it. 

So get excited (or not) and check back here at the end of April. Thanks!  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ten Years of Mr NYC

Well, it had to happen sometime: ten years ago today, yes, a full and complete decade, Mr NYC debuted here on the interwebs. 

Can you believe it? Neither can I.

If you'd like to read the first, inauspicious blog post, you can go here to get all nostalgic. 

I could get all boring about this so I won't. I could go on and on about what ten years of Mr NYC "means" but I don't kid myself -- it probably doesn't mean all that much. I will, however, note the following ten things about this blog in its ten years of existence:

1. Most blogs don't last very long but this one has lasted a decade -- not a bad achievement.

2. This blog has been viewed over 300,000, more than a quarter of a million, times. That's roughly the population of Iceland. Pretty cool, huh? (Pun intended.) The blog is regularly read by over 1,100 a month. That's a good "traffic" jam."

3. There have been more than 1600 posts all written, for better or worse, by yours truly.

4. This blog has been read all over the world -- the United States, Germany, France, Ukraine, China, Russia, the UK, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Poland, Turkey, Canada, and others.

5. This blog has survived three presidents, three governors, and two mayors.    

6. We have done interviews with all sorts of NYC characters like Kenny Kramer, Kurt Anderson, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Richard Bey, and others. 

7. Since this blog started, I got married, had two kids, and bought a house  

8. The most popular blog posts around about Alison Steele, Film Forum, and Rao's. I've never been able to figure out what makes a popular post.

9. Readership for this blog seems to spike in the middle of the month for some reason. Still don't know why.

10. I've made some money from this blog but still need a day job.

So I hope you've enjoyed the ten years of Mr NYC. I hope they'll be ten more.

To be continued! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jimmy Breslin RIP

Jimmy Breslin, the famous newspaper columnist and quintessential New Yorker, died this past weekend. His regular Daily News column reigned like a lion in the second half of 20th century NYC. 

Breslin wrote about everything and everyone, and he did what all great journalists should do: he afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. He tortured corrupt politicians and businessmen with withering words and he reported on the humanity of the common man, the regular Joe. He was a gumshoe reporter, a deadline hack, a chaser of headlines, a man of the newsprint that dirtied your hands while opening your mind and touching your heart. Sure, he won a Pulitzer Prize, hosted Saturday Night Live, and published books as well but that never changed him or the focus of his writing. He was a New Yorker and a writer through-and-through and that was probably enough for him.

Needless to say, for a reporter and a New Yorker who was so influential and popular, the tributes are pouring in. You can read some of them here and here and here. And in this age of social media and screaming heads on cable news, this city may never see the likes of reporters like Jimmy Breslin again.  



Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Day Without Women NYC


Et in Bohemia Ergo

NYC is the epicenter of wealth, glamour, culture, and power but it has also long been something else -- the capital of Bohemian American.
This city has always attracted the freaks and the funky, the artists and the thinkers, the dreamers and the strivers, and the weirdos who just want to "hang." Long before any place -- New Orleans, San Francisco, Austin or Portland, Oregon -- challenged us for the place where la vie Boheme thrived, this city, more than any other, was where Bohemians flocked.

Not all Bohemians are created equal, of course. Roughly categorized, Bohemians broke down into the following:
  • Nouveau: bohemians with money who attempt to join traditional bohemianism with contemporary culture
  • Gypsy: the expatriate types, they create their own Gypsy ideal of nirvana wherever they go
  • Beat: also drifters, but non-materialist and art-focused
  • Zen: "post-beat," focus on spirituality rather than art
  • Dandy: no money, but try to appear as if they have it by buying and displaying expensive or rare items – such as brands of alcohol
Today, NYC is less friendly to traditional Bohemians (except for the Nouveau). But these two articles, one about the late Andy Warhol, another about the Chelsea Hotel, seek to put the Bohemian experience in NYC into some context and how this city might, just might, be able to retain its spirit in the era of the gentrification onslaught.



Keep NYC weird!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Smithereens

If you love NYC, you love movies about NYC, especially those that depict a real-life, on the streets, brutally honest version of it.

I can't think of a better example than director Susan Seidelman's 1982 independent movie Smithereens. Set in the East Village during the dying days of punk rock, Smithereens is about a young woman, a New Jersey-transplant named Wren, who has no money, no real friends, no particular talent (musical, artistic, or otherwise) who is trying to become part of a scene that doesn't want her. She gets kicked out of her apartment, tries to hook up with a failed rock star who mostly ignores her, and toys with the affections of a young man from Montana who lives in a van. This is a story about a nobody from nowhere destined to become nothing. It's both sad and poignant, a reminder that not all stories have happy endings.  

This movie was made for almost no money and doesn't star anyone famous, but it's a fascinating look at downtown NYC at a time when the city was dirty, dangerous, and fun. It's about people living on the fringes of the city, barely surviving in a Manhattan where you still could, some way or another, afford to starve in. It's the NYC that exists today only in memory, the city some still yearn for, that others are glad is good and buried. It's also one of the earliest independent movies, made outside the studio system, launching Susan Seidelman's career (her next film was Desperately Seeking Susan that featured a young singer named Madonna), culminating in the 1990s movie renaissance with directors like Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino. 

If you liked the Coen Brothers Inside Llewin Davis, another great movie about a homeless aspiring musician (it came out in 2013 but is set in 1961 Greenwich Village), you should check out Smithereens. It'll remind you of what this city was -- and what it's still about today. 
Seidelman herself reflect on her movie in these two great interviews: