Friday, September 28, 2007

Ben from "Lost": A New Yorker!

If you're a Lost fan like Mr NYC, then you might be surprised to find out that the creepy leader of "The Others" is actually a nice guy from New York City. Michael Emerson was a stage actor here for years and I saw him several years ago in Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" on Broadway. Here's an interview he did on the Chanel 11 morning show a while ago.

Michael Emerson (Ben on LOST) interview - CW11 Morning News

Lost: Ben and Jacks confrontation

And here's the best scene from the "Lost" season three finale.

Astor Place Cub

And talking about Astor Place, if you're ever there, check out the cube. Feel free to give it a spin like this young lady here.

Astor Place Hair

New Yorkers pay a lot for EVERYTHING - housing, food, clothing, entertainment, you name it. Transportation is getting more expensive - those lovely people at the M.T.A. just announced another fair increase (!). We even pay a lot for things that should be free, like water - oh no, can't drink it from the tap, it must be bottled - or cheap, like coffee - as Denis Leary said, you use to pay 50 cents for a cup and it was bottomless; now it's $3 a cup and mostly milk. Naturally getting a reasonably priced haircut in this town ain't easy. You must hunt in the forest.

So Mr NYC is here save you the hunt - and some dough. If you want a cheap, no-frills shear, go to Astor Place Hair at 2 Astor Place in the East Village. It's easy to find with the big great big sign out front and you just go down the stairs into a 9,000 square foot basement. There's barely any wait to get into a chair since there are seem to literally be dozens of them. A good basic haircut will set you back about $14, which is a real deal in this town nowadays. A low-rent, no-frills place, like the New York barber shops of old. They don't have a website and they don't take appointments. It's strictly first come, first served.

Astor Place Hair is an NYC institution. It's been around and owned by the Vezza family since 1940. And it's nice to know that places like this still exist here. But don't take my word for it, see what other folks have to say:

Astor Place Hair on CitySearch

New York Magazine Review

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This is very sad ...

I guess some people just need to be the center of attention, no matter who it might hurt.

In a 9/11 Survival Tale, the Pieces Just Don't Fit

Dirty Sexy Money promo

Review: "Dirty Sexy Money"

Okay, I'll admit it: I just wanted to have a blog entry titled "Dirty Sexy Money." With out of the way, here's a review of this, the big new New York City show of the fall.

Basically it's about a good natured lawyer named Nick George (Peter Krause, "that guy" from Sports Night and Six Feet Under) whose dad was the consigliere to an insanely rich family, the Darlings. The Darlings are like a Kennedy/Rockefeller/Hilton nightmare clan, so reckless and irresponsible with their lives that cleaning up after them keeps many people employed. One of them was Nick George's pere, who was devoted to them full time, at the expense his son and (now ex) wife. The show begins with Nick's father having died in a mysterious plane crash and with Nick is determined to find out why. In the meantime, sucked into the Darling orbit, he agrees to take his father's place. Hilarity doth ensues.

I'll let you watch this show to decide if it's any good but I enjoyed it for what it is: entertaining fluff. Krause is great and Donald Sutherland is a commanding presence as the family patriarch. The rest of the cast is good, especially William Baldwin as the oldest son, the New York Attorney General/transvestite hooker patron.

This show is a throwback to the nighttime soaps of decade yon: Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, etc. And it's a great show if you like shows and movies of fantasy-land New York: big offices, big apartments, no traffic, disposable income, and gorgeous weather. Dirty Sexy Money is a Tiffany catalog brought to life, the kind of New York that doesn't exist but we all wish did. And ain't that reason enough to watch?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yes, it's been 25 years ....

... since Howard Stern hit the airways here in NYC. September 19, 1982, is when he signed on at the now defunct WNBC and radio - and media - has never been the same since. His quarter century of outrageousness has brought the fringe into the mainstream, brought the weird into the ordinary. Love him (as many do) or hate him (as lots do), he's one of the most important people in broadcasting history.

Before he was the King of All Media, a movie star, a bestselling author, and now a satellite radio entrepreneur, he was just a local afternoon DJ at a music station. But this Channel 2 News story about Howard from the early 1980's, however, shows just how much he was shaking things back then.

Happy Silver Anniversary Howard

Joe Franklin Show

Here's a sample clip

The King of Nostalgia

Joe Franklin has hosted radio and TV shows here in NYC for more than 50 years and he's called the King of Nostalgia. He's a living time-capsule of old New York, a time when rents were cheap, the city was safe, you could smoke in restaurants, and there were no cell-phones anywhere. Check out his Memory Lane website and his Wikipedia entry.

Happenings Around Town

Here at Mr NYC we try to be upbeat about the state of our beloved city. But sometimes we suffer setbacks. A couple of interesting articles from NYC papers demonstrate that.

It curtains for the proposed water park on Randalls Island. It was a lovely idea and would have provided fun and jobs for the many but sadly, the money just wasn't there. With Financing in Doubt, City Cancels Plans for Randalls Island Water Park

While NYC may be boomtown, the middle-class is disappearing. Sad, but hopefully Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC will turn that around. Census Show Middle Class in Flight From New York

Some good news, however. After last month's subway flooding disaster, the state government and the MTA are promising fixes. We won't hold our breath. After Flooding, M.T.A Plans Subway Fixes

Oh, and the MTA is promising subway cell phone service in stations because that won't be annoying.
M.T.A Makes Deal for Cellphones in Stations

Good night and good luck.

Sundays Go Best with Mr NYC

Gentle Readers - work and school have made it hard for me to blog during the week. However, I will do my darndest to post several items on the weekend. Thus may I suggest checking out Mr NYC every Sunday. Yes, that's right, after your done with the Sunday Times and the morning chat shows - and before you head out for brunch - dial up Mr NYC. Think of it as a refreshing break from the tyranny of Sundays. Or, better yet, check us out on Sunday evenings. We're a great antidote to the Sunday night blues and we're less annoying than the ticking clock on "60 Minutes" or most of what's on HBO these days.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"There's nothing intelligent to say about a massacre."

I tried to find something original to say about the 6th anniversary of 9/11 but I couldn't. Words are simply too inadequate to capture all the thoughts, feelings, reflections, and realities a humble person like myself felt and continue to feel about it. Sadly, this tragic event was, as is the American way, rapidly turned into a commodity, one to be used for financial and political gain. But then maybe that means the terrorists really have lost since it didn't change any of our old bad habit. Anyway, I think Kurt Vonnegut put it best in his book Slaughterhouse-Five when he wrote "There's nothing intelligent to say about a massacre."

Goodfellas, Morrie's Wigs commercial

Morrie's Wigs

Here's another great only in NYC commercial - however, I would strongly suggest NOT patronizing this particularly business establishment ... even if you could find it.

Milford Plaza Commercial Lullaby of Broadway New York Hotel

The Lullaby - or buy - of Broadway

If you've lived in this town for a while and watched enough bad television, there's no doubt you've seen the legendary commercial for the Milford Plaza. How a mediocre hotel could have such a brilliant commercial is one of those imponderables we'll never answer. Thanks to the this commercial, the Milford Plaza will probably stay in business forever. And it's almost 20 years old!

This commercial proves the rule that execution is everything. Set to the classic song "The Lullaby of Broadway", receptionists, bell hops, cleaning ladies and chefs dance and sing about the wonders of their employer. They are 100% faithful to the lyrics and melody of the original song except for the line "And in the centers of it all ... is the Milford Plaza!" Fast-paced, upbeat, and utterly shameless, this commercial should be taught in any Advertising 101 class.

Some history: "The Lullaby of Broadway" was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin and originally appeared in the movie Gold Diggers of 1935.

If you'd like to check out the hotel, "The LullaBUY of Broadway," go to the Milford Plaza website.

And check out the commercial itself!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hot Town, Summer in the City ... in September?

We're getting close, oh so close, to the middle of September and the Fall season has arrived in all its academic and televisual manifestations and yet here in NYC ... it's HOT! Really HOT! Middle-of July and August hot. It's aggravating and messing up my sense of seasonal rhythm. Hopefully we will have cooler weather soon but, for now, we here at Mr NYC remind you to drink lots of water.

Rudy for Prez?

A long piece today in the Times' Sunday magazine about Rudy G. and why he thinks he should be Prez. Check it out.

Rudy article

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thoughts on the taxi strike

Well the taxi strike may be over but the issue that caused it isn't going away. While it would be great for all NYC cabs to have GPS systems installed, requiring them to be installed at the drivers' expensive is, in my opinion, wrong. It's too expensive for them and it is not really necessary. I don't like any part of the city's transportation system going on strike but, in this case, it was justified.

Sorry Mike.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thanks George

September 2. Maybe it's not a date that will live in infamy, but it's a date I'll always remember for a couple of reasons. Why? Hard to put into precise words. How would the great columnist Cindy Adams write about this date? Let me try.

September 2, 2004. Madison Square Garden, NYC. The august Mr Bush stands before the convention of his Grand Old Party, accepting re-nomination for a second term as President of these United States. Part of his speech's high-flying rhetoric: "People will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose."

September 2, 2005. The Aftermath: Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast. The re-elected Mr Bush surveys damage from the biggest natural disaster in US history, followed by the biggest failed Federal response to a natural disaster in US history. He looks at the former horse association lawyer Michael D. Brown, lately Director of FEMA, and declares, "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"

Based on his statements and actions, I can only conclude that the President's mind works like this:

A. NYC = a good political backdrop (thanks to a terrorist event "we never saw coming") that will help me maintain power and responsibility for the security of the American people

B. Hurricane Katrina = an annoying natural event not in any way caused by global warming

C. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region = black people and poor people and poor black people who don't vote or don't vote for me and who aren't campaign contributors therefore have nothing to do with me getting and/or maintaining power and responsibility for the security of the American people

A + B + C = a good time to play the guitar

"Such a beautiful disease": The Romantic Songs of New York

Romance and New York City. They go together like a bagel and a shmear. And romance and music ... ahhh, one could not exist without the other.

There are so many songs about NYC that naming them all would be only slightly easier than rowing a boat to Jupiter. And among these myriad melodies, there are many romantic songs about the city too. Here are some of my favorites

"I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City" by Harry Nilsson (1969). From the album Harry, this is a hummable tune about wanting to fulfill your dreams. Best lyrics:

Well here I am Lord
Knocking on your back door
Ain't it wonderful to be
Where I've always wanted to be
For the first time I'll be free
In New York City

"New York City", sung by They Might be Giants, author unknown (1996). From the album Factory Showroom, this quirky song is romantic and poignant while also being funny and upbeat. Best lyrics:

You wrote me a letter just the other day
Said, Springtime is coming soon so why don't you come to stay.
I packed my stuff, got on the bus, I can't believe it's true
I'm three days from New York City and I'm three days from you

"New York City" by Norah Jones, Peter Malick (2003). From the album New York City, the young Ms Jones croons this sexy ballad about loving and learning. Best lyrics:

I wanted to think there was endless love
Until I saw the light dim in your eyes
In the dead of the night I found out
Sometimes there's love that won't survive

New York City
Such a beautiful disease

"NYC Man" by Lou Reed (1996). From the album Set the Twilight Reeling, this is one of Lou Reed's many love letters to the city. A song that captures how living in New York requires a tough emotional core. Best lyrics:

A Kingdom sits on a black knight's back
As he tries to mount a white jeweled horse
While a clock full of butterflies on the hour
Releases a thousand moths
You say " leave" and I'll be gone
Without any remorse
No letters, faxes, phones or tears
There's a difference between
Bad and worse
I'm a New York City man, blink your eyes and I'll be gone
New York City - man, blink your eyes and I'll be gone
New York City, I love you, New York City man

By romantic, I just don't mean songs about love. These are songs that capture the city's softer side, it's vulnerable, yearning spirit. I hope you'll listen to these songs and enjoy them as much I do.