Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Livin' Long Enough for the City

As someone who just became a father a week ago, it was a pleasant surprise to read today that the life expectancy of babies born in NYC beats the national average. Babies born in our fair city can now expect to live an average of 80.6 years while babies born nationwide can expect to live 78.2 years.

That's amazing!

Proof that living in NYC is great for your health. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mr NYC is a Daddy

Just a small note that my current and, probably, future lack of blogging is due to the birth of my Little Miss NYC yesterday.

Yes, as scary as the thought is, there is a wonderful little girl in this world tonight who calls the shlub who writes this blog Dad.

Thank you for all your kinds thoughts.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Classic Mr NYC

The hit play from a couple years back, "God of Carnage", is now a movie directed by Roman Polanski, simply called "Carnage." 

It was a huge success on Broadway. It'll be interesting to see how popular the movie is.

Yours truly went to see the play back in 2009 and posted a little review of it here

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Re-Imagine NYC?

NYC is a place that always changes -- including geographically.

Trying to grasp how it has transformed over 400+ years is virtually impossible. The city's geography has evolved in countless ways. And it's not just the bridges and tunnels that have been built over the decades, nailing this city of islands together.  It's not just the buildings that populate our skylines. 

It's the land of NYC itself.

Manhattan was largely filled in by concrete, smoothing out the skinny islands rough edges. Wards and Randalls Islands used to be two separate islands until they were fused together. Same with the islands off the Bronx that were joined to form Orchard Beach. Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Park, etc. -- none of these green oasis existed until human beings created them. Our topography is a work in progress. 

And now comes another idea that is both horrifying and amazing: building a land bridge from Lower Manhattan to Governors Island. You read that right: essentially extending Manhattan island downwards until it meets and then subsumes Governors Island -- as this picture indicates. It's a wild idea. 

I don't know what I think about it. I like Governor's Island the way it is and needless to say the cost and controversy of doing something like this is so huge that I doubt it'll ever happen. But who knows? Maybe it will. 

Recently this was discussed on WNYC and has always been the subject of some articles. Research it for yourself and see what you think. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mitt takes Manhattan

Apparently Republican Presidential candidate Mitt "I'll say anything, take any position, be whatever you want me to be, whore myself out to anyone" Romney was in town today. He was showing what a salt of the earth, man of the people he is by spending the entire day raising money from hedge fund billionaires.

It's probably a good thing that he was surrounded by these rich people, since they're probably the only people in NYC who'll vote for him.  

As the great Matt Taibbi once wrote, Romney is an utter tool. He's as phoney a politician as I've ever seen and I really, really, really, really hope he loses. 

Even though I didn't vote for them, I felt sorry for John McCain and Bob Dole when they lost their presidential elections because those two men totally devoted their lives (even their bodies) to serving this country. Not Romney. He's devoted his life to serving Mitt Romney. He was born to wealth, grew up wealthy, spent his life getting wealthier, never served in the military, had trouble getting elected to office and then, when he did, had trouble staying in elected office, and now he thinks he should be president. 


Unlike McCain and Dole, if he loses the nomination or the general election, it will fill me with nothing but joy. Go Mitt! (To defeat!)

City Talk: Pete Hamill, author, "Tabloid City" Part 1

City Talk: Pete Hamill, author, "Tabloid City" Part 2

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Halloran Files

A few times over this past year, I've blogged about Dan Halloran, NYC's strangest city council member.

Here's a weird, weird, weird guy. And a fraud. And a crazy zealot.

Recently, the Village Voice did a big article on Halloran which profiles just how odd this man in a position of power is. You should read it and can also check out my previous posts on this lunatic. Hopefully, as colorful as he is, he will no longer be in office after 2013. For now, however, let's enjoy the train wreck while it lasts.

Gotta Love New Yorkers

Girl on the subway, yakking into her cell phone:

"So remember I told you that I applied for a job two weeks ago? It's to be the Assistant to the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary General of the UN ..."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas NYC

I love Christmas in New York City. A beautiful, amazing city becomes a huge holiday exhibit. Walk up and down 5th Avenue and check out all the decorated store fronts. There's the Rockefeller Christmas trees, the Salvation Army santas ringing their bells. In all corners of the city, the holidays make their presence known, with Christmas trees being sold on the corners, and decorative lights straddling the lampposts over the streets.

Not only that, but there's so much to do!

Shows, concerts, choruses, exhibits, ice skating! It's quite the holiday feast here in NYC.

So what's worth doing here in NYC? This little guide gives you some helpful tips of what's worth your time and money if you're spending the holidays here in NYC.  

Make it a good one!

The Madoff Legacy

Three years ago this weekend, the Bernie Madoff scandal broke.

The greatest Ponzi schemer of all time, a once respected investor and former NASDAQ head was revealed to be nothing but a huge fraud. He lost billions and billions of dollars, and thousands of people were financially destroyed. Madoff plead guilty right away and is now serving 150 years in the pokey. His family was shattered, a son committing suicide last year, his wife cutting him off forever. Their story is the subject of books, countless magazine articles, and a long 60 Minutes profile.

But what about their victims? What about the people trying to uncover the biggest financial crime in history?

Needless to say, this story continues. The victims are trying to rebuild their lives and finances, and hoping that the investigators will recover some of their money. Meanwhile the investigators have what has to be the most awful job ever. They are suing people who actually profited from this scheme -- and those people are suing back. They are dealing with victims' frustrations at the slow pace of the investigation (how could something like this possibly be fast?). And then there are the prosecutors who are still trying find out who else was in on this scheme and who else needs to be punished.

Some legacy, Bernie.

A legacy of pain. A legacy of misery. A legacy of destruction. And worse, a legacy where the only people who benefit are loners.

As I get older, I wonder about what kind of legacy I'll leave behind. What will I create (or not) that my family, friends, and others will have to deal with? Hopefully it will be something good. It might be something very modest (maybe nothing more than this blog) but at least I hope it will be something that makes them happy or least content. Hopefully it just won't be, like Bernie Madoff, a legacy of pain.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cuomo, Legislature agree on middle class tax cuts

Sleeping on the Subway

Today I saw something that drives me nuts: people sleeping on the subway. 

What do they think the subway is? Their bedroom?

Sadly, for some people, it is (I guess). But even most homeless people manage to get to shelters and sleep there or they do it on the streets. Most of the people who sleep on the subway clearly have a bed at home but I guess they just can't wait. What drives me nuts the most are people who fall asleep on the person sitting next to them. This has happened to me gawd knows how many times and it drives my meshughana. This is what I saw today. And just watching it makes me mad!

But most people like me wonder: how can anyone sleep on the subway anyway?

After all, the subway is always stopping and starting, stopping and starting, clack-clack-clacking away. People are moving about and talking, doors melodically opening and closing, announcements blaring, even babies crying and people singing ... it's a real party. So how can anyone sleep?

Well, a couple of doctors with too much time on their hands apparently decided to study it. It seems that people can sleep on the subway but just not very well (no kidding). There are five stages of sleep but subways sleeps usually only get to stages one or two -- the least restorative stages. So on top of annoying people and putting themselves at risk of getting mugged, subway sleepers are getting lousy sleep. 

Wow, these doctors sure are brilliant.

Perhaps the MTA could create a sound-proof sleeping car with bunk bends. Then I just myself start sleeping on the subway too.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Transit Tidbits

Here in NYC, transportation is a constant concern. Anyone who reads this blogs knows transit is one of my chief areas of interest -- and gripes -- about this town. NYC is the greatest city in the world yet getting around it is always a challenge. Just one of the many, it turns out, about living here. 

Most of it is the fault of You Know Who -- but that's for another time. 

Yet two stories this weekend highlight a couple of interesting developments in the never ending saga of NYC transit.

First, there's the fact that as bridge and tunnels tolls have increased, there has been a 4% decrease in the number of cars going across and through them. In the last year, as tolls have gone up, there are almost a million fewer vehicles going in and out of this town. Subsequently, ridership on public transportation has increased! Fewer cars, more people maximizing public transit -- who says there's no good news?

Second, as the economy lumbers back to life, one of the sectors experiencing growth in NYC is the "tech sector." Yes, good ol' Silicon Alley is back and better than ever! One of those great pieces of 21st century lingo is the "tech corridor" -- areas populated with tech company giants and start-ups that are linked by similar transportation routes. Most people probably think of highways in Northern California when they think of "tech corridors" but the one in NYC connecting Silicon Alley together is naturally on the subway -- specifically, the R train. New economy meets old infrastructure, I guess. Who knew the future of NYC's economy lay on one of its crappiest subways line?

Moving around this dynamic city is and always will be ... dynamic.

Memo from NYC

Oh no! Catastrophe! This is a total disaster! 

The unemployment rate fell dramatically. 

Wait, that's bad news? Well yes -- if you're a Republican.

For the last three years, ever since Obama became president, the Republican have been doing everything they can to destroy the economy since they think this will make Obama a one term president. Never mind that it was a Republican president named Bush who created this economic mess -- as the one in office since the great recession began (actually, just before he took office), Obama has been on the receiving end of Republican blame for the bad economy -- again, never mind that the Republicans are the ones responsible for it. 

But suddenly the unemployment rate fell from 9.1% to 8.6%. There have been 21 straight months of job growth. Things are looking (slowly, slowly) up. So obviously this is terrible news for the Republicans because, if this keeps going, Obama will be re-elected. And the Republican party will be totally discredited once again. It will show how wrong they've been about the economy and, well, everything and how Obama, despite his flaws and stumbles, has done well.

Bad news for Republicans.

Good news for America.