Monday, December 31, 2007

Blitzer and Cafferty on Mike Bloomberg

President Bloomberg?

Apparently our Mike, Mayor Mike Bloomberg that is, is seriously thinking about running for President. People are "talking" and Mike's aides are "laying the groundwork." Basically, he's gonna run but doesn't want to go on the record about it yet. How naughty of him.

Hmmmm ... so if it's Rudy vs. Hillary vs. Mike next year, it'll be a New York Subway Election, the likes of which American politics has never seen.

Can you imagine those three raging egomaniacs on stage during a debate? It might just cave in.

As a proud New Yorker, I'm not sure if I should be thrilled or scared by the prospect of this. We shall see.

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Times Square Ball Drop 2006-2007 New York City (Clean)

Hard to believe it but yet ANOTHER year is done and gone.

It's been a pretty good year for Mr NYC, after all, a year ago this blog didn't exist and the world was the less for it. (Wasn't it?)

Anyway, it wouldn't be New Year's in NYC without the Times Square ball drop so here's a great video of it from last year.

Why anyone would go to Times Square in New Year's is beyond me. It's an absolute mess. I was there on New Years 1993-1994 and 1998-1999, both times for reasons beyond my control. It's really better to watch on TV. It REALLY REALLY is.

Who knows who's poor? Why a billionaire of course!

Our lovely mayor, Senor Bloomberg the billionaire, wants to create a new "formula" for deciding who is truly poor in this town. Makes sense, since being poor in NYC is not the same as being poor elsewhere. Apparently the federal government formula just ain't cutting it. Big surprise I know.

Bloomberg Seeks New Way to Decide Who Is Poor

Monday, December 24, 2007

WPIX Yule Log

WPIX Yule Log Intro (1986)

Ah, Christmas Day in NYC can only mean one thing - the Channel 11 Yule Log. Since 1966, this has become a city tradition. Since so many NYC families live in apartments and don't have fireplaces, this is their substitute. And at Mr NYC, we're bringing it to you a day early.

Here's the intro for the Yule log from 1986 - it vanished in the 1990s but it's back and now in the 21st century its probably more popular than ever.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rob Thomas - A New York Christmas (LIVE)

The Play's the Thing ... on Broadway

Interesting article in today's New York Times by Ben Brantley about the "comeback" of dramatic theater on Broadway this year.

A Dramatic Comeback for the Play

It's quite true: this has been a great year not just for plays but for serious, sometimes disturbing drama on Broadway. This year alone I saw "Journey's End", "Talk Radio", "Frost/Nixon" and "Cyrano", "Grey Gardens", none of which were feel good shows. And I still want to see "The Farnsworth Invention", "Rock N' Roll", and "August: Osage County."

If anyone out there has seen any really good plays this year, please let the Mr NYC readers (both of them) know about it.

Let's hope 2008 is as good!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Review: "Cyrano"

Well it's been a while since Mr NYC went to the theater so it was a quite a joy to go back recently and see Edmund Rostand "Cyrano" at the Richard Rodgers Theater.

First, the plot: written by Edmond Rostand and set in 17th century France, nobleman solider Cyrano de Bergerac is a great wit ("My panache!") and ever greater warrior. He loves the beautiful Roxane but his unusually big nose makes him feel unworthy of her love. Roxane in turn loves Christian, another soldier, a sweet man but not the sharpest sword in the army. Sublimating his own desire, Cyrano helps Christian woo Roxane with beautiful words that Christian himself cannot conjure up. Cyrano's genius helps Christian win Roxane's hand in marriage but then war and personal tragedy intervene. In the end, we see what a tangled web love weaves.

Second, my review: directed by David Leveaux ("Jumpers"), this new Broadway version stars Kevin Kline ("The Big Chill", "A Fish Called Wanda") as Cyrano, Jennifer Garner ("Alias", "Juno") as Roxane, and Daniel Sunjata ("Rescue Me", "The Bronx is Burning") as Christian. It is a fun, rollicking, beautifully-staged production and the performances, including Chris Sarandon ("Dog Day Afternoon") as a scheming Count, are uniformly excellent. While Garner and Sunjata play their roles with great delicacy and respect, this is really Kline's show. It's the kind of big, scenery-chewing performance that he gave in movies like "Soapdish" and that won him an Oscar for "A Fish Called Wanda."

The play is a little long and the production is sometimes over the top but if a show makes you feel spiritually enriched when you're walking out of the theater, then it's a good show. This "Cyrano" does that.

Cyrano on Broadway

MTA Metro Card Price Hike

The MTA just announced that the price of the monthly unlimited Metro Card is going from $76 to $81. Let Mr NYC help you with the annual economics of this:

$81 x 12 = $972

$76 x 12 = $912

$972 - $912 = $60

So it's gonna cost us monthly unlimited riders an extra $60 a year - $60 we might otherwise spend on ourselves or those we love (or would like to love).

The regular fare for a single ride will remain at $2 so us NYC residents will basically be subsidizing the tourists.

Welcome to NYC 2008. Egads.

Cheap (Relatively) Japanese Food

NYC being Yuppie central, Japanese food is quite popular here, natch. Problem: it's expensive, very expensive, thus its status an a socioeconomic thingy-mcbob. But there are a couple of places where you can find really good Japanese food at reasonable prices.

Tenzan: located on 73rd and Columbus Ave, this is a busy but pleasant place to get excellent food. The miso soup was incredible and the sushi/sashimi plate I got was really tasty and filling. (My only gripe: for platter dishes, you have to choose between either soup and salad - you don't get both. It costs about $25.) Because it's not expensive and located in a busy area, it's best to make a reservation on a Friday and Saturday night. This has to be the most wooden restaurant I've ever been to and the lighting is rather overdone. But still, this is easily the best deal you'll get for Japanese food on the Upper West Side. It's a real find.

Gowasabi: if you happen to be in Astoria, Gowasabi is your best bet for reasonably priced Japanese food. There are actually two locations and you can get a big sushi and sashimi plate WITH miso soup and salad for less than $22. It's not quite as good as Tenzan but still pretty fair. And on Friday and Saturday nights, they have someone play the piano. It's quite nice.



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sex and the City Movie Official Trailer

It's coming ... ahhh ....

Carvel holiday spots

If you grew up in NYC in the 1980s, then you remember these cheezy, silly, great Carvel Ice Cream commercials. That voice - that memorable, phlegmy voice - is actually old man Carvel himself (who died in 1990 and may have been murdered but that's another story).

Lloyd Lindsey Young - Critter Diner

Oh, what a treat. They just don't have fun weathermen like Lloyd Lindsey Young anymore. Today weathermen/ladies are all blow-dried, smiley, and "safe."

Lloyd, we miss you.

"Because everyone loves New York in his own particular way"

New York Magazine, that weekly bible of cosmopolitan Gotham, has published its annual "Reasons to Love New York" issue. There's some interesting insights and reflections from the ordinary and not-so ordinary citizens of this great burgh. Enjoy.

New York Magazine

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Greed Is Good

Greed is (Still) Good: "Wall Street" at 20

Right on the heels of the two decade anniversary of The Bonfire of the Vanities comes the 20th anniversary of Oliver Stone's ode to 1980s New York capitalist excess, Wall Street.

Wall Street's plot has become legendary, both on Wall Street and in the American capitalist system in general: young trader Bud Fox comes under the wing of money titan Gordon Gekko. Together they annex the competition and make more money than anyone would ever dare dream. Of course it turns out that Gordon is crook, in fact - GASP!!!! - the whole Wall Street/American capitalist thing is a giant con game where the rich get richer, the poor get screwed, and lots of people end up in jail. Throw in a woman, a hot designer Darien, and you gots yourself lots of excitement while learning deep values. In fact, in that regard, Wall Street is - pun totally intended - quite a deal.

This movie was the cause celebre of 1987 for it was in many ways the ultimate indictment of its time. "Greed is good" seemed the perfect motto of the era, a time some people look back on today with odd nostalgia. But in many ways Wall Street now is a bit quaint. The go-go 1980s was more than super-seeded by the go-go-go 1990s. Also, the real-life corporate scandals of Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken were just warm up acts for Ken Lay and Bernie Ebbers, et al. Plus ca change, I guess.

And while NYC would go on to thrive in the 1990s and 21st century more than it had in the 1980s, Wall Street itself, at least its image as the ultimate financial powerhouse, has diminished. Today, places like Silicon Valley, China, India, not to mention the dorm rooms of college students inventing things like YouTube and Facebook, are the new frontiers of money. Most of all, New York has changed a lot since 1987. In one scene, Bud is embarrassed to admit he lives on the Upper West Side, insisting he plans to move to the Upper East Side as soon as his ship comes in. Today, the old East Side/West Side rivalry is gone: you have to big rich to live in either of those neighborhoods so that class tension just doesn't exist anymore. Also, the East Side today has lost of a lot of its snobby, elitist cache. Today's new wealth wants to live in Soho or Tribeca, in big hipster lofts, not snotty high rises.

Wall Street was a petty big hit when it came out and Michael Douglas won the 1987 Oscar for Best Actor. This was Stone's follow up from Platoon and it cemented his reputation as an important director. It was also one of his last conventional-type movies. He would go on to make make hyper kinetic visual ballasts like Natural Born Killers.

But as a movie and social commentary Wall Street still holds up after 20 years. And in many ways, quaint though it may be in the aforementioned ways, its lesson are more timely than ever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Big News Day!!

Who cares about wars and presidential campaigns when today, right here in NYC, you've got:
  • Bloomberg making a splash in Asia
  • Major transportation news (subway fares going up, traffic schemes being hatched, JFK getting reigned in)
  • An East Village artist being celebrated
  • The Domino plant in Brooklyn getting landmark status
  • The 125th anniversary of the birth of New York City's greatest Mayor Fiorello La Guardia
Seriously, could this town generate any more news?

Happy birthday Little Flower.

New York Times


God Bless this city ... and the N line in particular.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oh Danny Boy, the Private Sector is Calling

Big news day here in NYC - in fact, it's so big, you should really check out today's New York Times metro section.

The New York Times

Robert Chamber's lady friend took a plea, there's not one but THREE subway stories, the city is trying to keep water bills low, and that's just the very, very short version.

Probably the biggest news of the day: Dan Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor Extrodinaire and Mayor Bloomberg's right-hand visionary, is resigning to become president of ... Bloomberg LP.

A Would-Be Robert Moses, Doctoroff had ideas of bringing the Olympics here, building a West Side stadium, developing Hudson Yards, creating an Airport village, rezoning parkland, and helping to create PlaNYC. He accomplished some of these things, failed at others, but definitely left an imprint. Glad we had him.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

East Side, West Side

Two stories from today's Times that I think sum up l'essence de NYC - stories about how this town is both a place of cold reality and utter fantasy.

First, one story about West Side development, extending the #7 subway line vs expanding Hudson Yards (Schumer wants the city to spend money on the #7 line while Team Bloomberg wants to spend it on Hudson Years. Schumer's right - the #7 is a much more urgent, long overdue project; Hudson Yards is a good idea but a lesser priority IMO).

City Urged to Rethink Rail Access to West Side

Second, an article about the filming of "Gossip Girl" on the Upper East Side, and how the show and it's true life milieu are all but indistinguishable (one would hope, since verisimilitude makes or brakes any show, particularly one about NYC).

Awaiting a Glimpse of Their ‘Gossip Girl’ Kin

In NYC, something's ALWAYS going on.