Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gracie Mansion

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloomberg vs. Gracie Mansion

Since 1942, NYC mayors have had the privilege to live in a beautiful riverfront home called Gracie Mansion. Nestled on the Upper East within Carl Schurz Park, it is the old home of magnate Archibald Gracie that was gifted to the city and turned into a mayoral residence by city planner Robert Moses. The first mayoral resident was Fiorello LaGuardia and every mayor since then has lived there ... 

... until Michael Bloomberg.

Mike doesn't live there. He doesn't need to. As a multi billionaire, he has a mansion of his own on the Upper East Side. He also has homes in Bermuda, London, Colorado, Florida, and upstate New York. Obviously, unlike most New Yorkers, he's not hurting for space. He also doesn't need the tax-payer funded domestic staff that comes with it. And as a very rich man, the fact that he declines to live on the government dime is probably appropriate. When you already have your own mansion, why move into another?

But Mike thinks that no mayor should live in Gracie Mansion. He's saying that whoever succeeds him should follow his example and decline this privilege. And he's on the warpath about this for some reason -- as though this is something he even has any say in.

... Sigh ...  

See, Mike, most mayors aren't billionaires -- or even millionaires -- and most don't have mansions and domestic staffs of their own. When you're running the biggest city in the country, you should be able to be committed to the job 100% -- you shouldn't have to worry about paying household bills or getting your place cleaned or going grocery shopping or picking up your dry cleaning. And what about security? The NYC mayor is a big terrorist target -- shouldn't he or she live some place that's totally secure and doesn't put other people -- like his or her neighbors -- at any kind of risk?

Besides, NYC is bigger than 40 of our 50 states and most of them have governors mansions -- why shouldn't the mayor of the nation's biggest city not also have an official residence? 

It's times like this that our mayor shows how elitist and out of touch he is.  

It's times like this that I can't wait for the Bloomberg era to be over.

Happy NYC

NYC is a tough place. A rough place. 

It's a great place, true, but few would call it a happy place.

But certain spots in NYC are associated with being happy. Places people go to ... find happiness within the urban swirl of craziness.

There's a blog called OneHappyBird that is doing a survey of some of happiest places in NYC. People can go on there and indicate the places in this town that make them happy.

Not surprisingly, it's parks -- particularly Central Park -- that makes New Yorkers most happy. And within Central Park, it's the area around 76th and 77th streets that makes them the happiest of all. 

I'm not surprised by this -- this is probably the most beautiful, serene, lovely place in Central Park. It has very happy memories for me personally: as a kid I used to sail my milk box sailboats in the big lake around there. And last year, my wife and I walked around there after just learning that our baby was going to be a girl. 

So feel free to answer this survey and let Mr NYC know -- what parts of NYC make you happy?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Five Years of Mr NYC

Oh my, oh my, oh my, oh my, oh my ...

They said we couldn't do it. They said it wasn't possible. They said we would never make it this long. (Actually, there is no "they" or "we" and no one ever said anything but it sounds good to pretend that somehow the odds were against you and you overcame, "fought the power" and what not.).

Anyway, today marks the fifth anniversary of Mr NYC. 

Yes, exactly five years ago today -- Tuesday, March 27, 2007 -- this blog emerged into the world. Five years ago today this little cyber body spawned out of the great big bang that is the Internet. Five years ago today my neurosis took the form of Mr NYC and the world has never been the same since.

Can you believe? Better believe it now.  

For half a decade, yours truly has been (hopefully) entertaining you, my faithful audience, with my thoughts and feelings about this, the greatest city in human creation, along with various other tidbits and info. So much has happened in the years since this blog started that it seems more like a whole decade and not just half of one. 

Five years!

I've done over 1300 posts that has covered the history, culture, news, infrastructure, and lots of stuff you never knew about NYC. I've done interviews and reviews. I've shared some of the aspects of my travels and life (while maintaining my precious anonymity) and I've looked at how NYC relates to individuals and the world. I even became a dad.

Just run a search of this blog and you won't believe all the stuff you'll find. 

And thanks, most of all, to you my readers. You've kept this blog going. We're closing in on getting almost 100,00 hits which is pretty amazing considering that this is a non-commercial blog that doesn't advertise, doesn't promote itself, just basically hangs around online and hopes people find it.  

Thanks to all the people in the USA, UK, Germany, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, France, the Ukraine, China, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, Norway, Chile, the Philippines, and all the other countries of the world who have checked out this blog (I think we even had someone from South Africa leave a comment once). 

Thanks for making Mr NYC international! An international blog for an international city!

So here's to five great years. Hopefully you've enjoyed the ride.

More to come.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Lady Who Might Be Mayor

Since I'm a man (at least the last time I checked) I don't do things like read Elle magazine. It's a "chick mag", for and about glamorous chicks, who live busy lives of being glamorous and famous and better than the rest of us. Usually articles in magazines like this are about actresses, models, singers, ya know, glamorous broads. But recently this magazine did a profile on someone who might not be that glamorous but is -- and could get even more -- powerful.

NYC's own Christine Quinn.

She's the Speaker of the City Council, the second most powerful person in town, and is considered a strong candidate for mayor in 2013. In her position as speaker, municipal legislation only gets introduced and passed if she wants it to be. She acts (or can) as a counterweight to Mayor Bloomberg, she can (if she wants to) act as his check and balance. Christine Quinn is one of the very few people in city government who Bloomberg can't directly control. 

Of course, one of the complaints about her is that she doesn't act as an effective enough counterweight, that she goes along with the Bloomberg corporatist agenda hook, line, and sinker, and that he does to some extent control her. Quinn obviously wants to be mayor very badly, and many think she's qualified. And the fact that she's a lesbian, even engaged to a woman who she's been with for ten years, makes her all the more interesting.

Christine Quinn is the very model of a modern 21st century NYC politician.

But as glowing and reverential as this Elle profile is, as much as it makes her possible elevation to mayor seem like a great leap for womankind, this glossy article glosses over some of Quinn's real liabilities going into 2013. Namely, a lot of liberal Democrats, her natural constituency, don't like her. She's continually sidelined progressive legislation like the living wage. She totally ignored OWS. She's made herself Wall Street and big business's best friend. She's done nothing to stick up for teacher's while Bloomberg and his allies have declared war on them. She's done from being a progressive activist to a business as usual politician.

Quinn is so obsessed with being viewed as "moderate" or "centrist" Democrat that she is losing the very Democrats she'll need to win a mayoral primary. 

One of the things that's interesting about this article is how clueless the author of it is about NYC politics or about NYC in general (even though the author lives here, she admits that she's never been to Staten Island or the Bronx). Part of the problem with the media is how little they understand the underlying dynamics of politics, how it works, and why people win or don't win elections. And if Quinn doesn't become mayor, the author of this article would be smart to find out why.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Trailer - The Wait is Over

Ray Kelly is watching you! If you're a liberal, that is ...

Since the 9/11, NYC has grown to become a security state. This is understandable, obviously, and surveillance has been a big part of it. Undercover spying of terrorist groups or suspected terrorists and the like is, again, understandable.

But the NYPD under Ray Kelly has gone way beyond its brief.

Apparently their spying has creeped into surveillance of liberal advocacy groups. In the warped, twisted mind of this man, these groups are somehow on the level of terrorists. 

What a waste of taxpayer money and police resources. Has this spying ever resulted in an arrest? In the breaking up of a terrorist cell? No. So why does it continue.

But Ray Kelly and the NYPD have an authoritarian, fascist mindset. If they don't like your politics, they think you're "the enemy." How sick.

Ray Kelly has got to go. 

The Story Behind Marriage Equality

When marriage equality was passed in New York state last year, it was greeted by supporters and the public alike as a miracle. Considering the violent opposition that exists to marriage equality here and across the country, and the fact that a vote on the matter failed in the legislature in 2009, it was hard to see its passage in 2011 as nothing less than magical.

But nothing is that simple.

In fact, the battle for marriage equality in New York and across the country has a been a highly coordinated and very well-financed effort by a vast array of supporters. It includes gay right activists, celebrities, billionaires, politicians, and any number of "movers and shakers." Even straight people and Republicans have been involved, making the alliances and "strange bedfellows" of the effort even more diverse. They came together, used their power and influence, engaged the public to generate support, outwitted their reactionary opposition, and won.

Here's how it happened. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets

Say, New Yorkers, have you heard the news?
Yes it's happened: T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets
Oh this is weird and this is wonderful
Oh Tebow he's really fierce
He's got a strong throwing arm loves that God
You know I saw it the media
T-T-T-Tebow and the Jets

Monday, March 19, 2012

Diary of a Very Boring Call Girl

Because the real news is so depressing (war, recession, the Republican presidential primary), it's always great when something about sex becomes newsworthy.

Sex doesn't just sell -- it distracts.

The big news around town for the last couple of weeks has been about a suburban soccer mom who was busted for being a big time Manhattan madam. Apparently she had lots of girls (sometimes, in the parlance of the trade, referred to as "bitches") who she hooked up with clients for about $1000 a pop (hehe). Basically she would just call or text the girls, tell them to go to a hotel or an apartment, the gal and the client would shtup, and then they would go their separate ways. 

And now one of the girls speaks! Read all about it in this anonymous tell all!

And what she has to say is amazingly ... uninteresting.

This gal would just sit around and wait for a call, go practice her trade and then ... wait for another call. She didn't like working in an office or doing anything else apparently, so she just did nothing else except wait for a call. The guys she banged were not, according to her, famous or even really rich. They were basically middle aged executives. No governors or senators or big time actors -- just upper class working stiffs. She said that she didn't even mind having sex with gross guys. Or anyone.

This broad makes her sex sound really, really boring. 

No one beat her or handcuffed her. No one wanted a certain kind of "discipline" administered. Sometimes a guy would want a threesome -- and even that was apparently less than fun.

After reading all this, my only question is, what were they paying her for? For $1000, her clients deserved better. If I were one of them, I would be demanding a refund.

It's a deal!

Big news in the world of NYC baseball today (and, no, I'm not talking about the return of Andy Pettite to the Yankees).

The Wilpons, owners of New York's greatest baseball team in history, the Mets, (I kid, I kid) saved  their ownership of the team today.

Long story short: the Wilpons had been investors with Bernie Madoff. When the scam was exposed, the trustee who was charged with recovering the stolen loot, Irving Picard, sued the Wilpons. Why? Because instead of losing money, Picard charged that the Wilpons had in fact known about the Ponzi scheme and had received money over and above their original "investment" (also known as fictitious profits). Picard sued the Wilpons for as much as $300 million which would have forced the family to sell or relinquish the team.

Now they won't have too.

The Wilpons settled the suit for $162 million which is still A LOT of dough but they will be able to pay it over time. Both sides are apparently happy with the deal and a sad chapter in this awful saga is now over.

And I'm sure Wilpons will continue doing such a great job running their team (ha ha ha). 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bloomberg at the Vampire Squid

You may have heard about the now former Goldman Sachs employee who wrote a resignation letter via New York Times editorial last week. He said, in so many words, that the firm is an evil, cynical, greedy corporation that rips off its customers and the general public a like.

This op-ed was such a bombshell that Goldman's share price took a nosedive and they've been on a furious PR defense since then.

They got some help from Hizzoner, Mayor Bloomberg. Yes, the Mayor off, by and for the 1% decided that he wanted to show his solidarity with Goldman by visiting them this week. He went there to pep up and soothe the hurt feelings of some of the richest people on earth. 

It's really amazing: we have massive poverty and unemployment in this city but what gets Mayor Bloomberg's sympathies fired up? What gets him feeling sorry for people? A bunch of rich people who've been told what a bunch of greedy bastard they are.  

These are the people who Bloomberg feels sorry for. 

He can't get out of office soon enough. 

Best of New York

A little late to posting this but New York magazine published their annual Best of New York list. It's not, to be honest, the best list they've ever produced but it's still worth checking out.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Memo from NYC

As part of Mr NYC’s look back at presidential election years past, this one’s certainly interesting. It’s a creepy look at the things that would shape so much of the first decade of the 21st century.

It’s election night 1996. Bill Clinton has already won a second term as president – the first Democratic president re-elected since FDR. He’s just gone over the top of the needed 270 electoral votes and has defeated Senator Bob Dole.

Shortly thereafter, on CNN, Larry King and Bob Woodward interview Dole’s campaign chairman – one Donald Rumsfeld. Yes, that Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Stuff Happens, the man who would later become Bush’s secretary of defense and totally mishandle the Iraq War from 2003-2006. 

Obviously he had also totally mishandled Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996.

What’s fascinating in this clip is to see what a scary and deluded fool Donald Rumsfeld was even back then. How out of touch with reality he was even before he became, as John McCain called him, one of the worst secretaries of defense in American history.

Here King and Woodward try to get Rumsfeld to reflect on why Bob Dole lost. After all, as you can see on the screen – it’s over! Clinton clearly has 275 electoral votes – he’s won! So you would think that Rumsfeld would be basically saying things like, “Well, it was a tough campaign, did the best we could, Bob Dole’s a great man, but the deck was just stacked against us and that’s why we lost.” You know, stuff like that. Nothing to be ashamed of.

Not Rumsfeld.

He lies and prevaricates and shows that he’s totally disconnected from reality. He says things like “It’s not over” and “If he’s elected …” and “He intends to win!” You gotta watch this – it’s mind boggling how insane Rumsfeld was and clearly still is. His candidate had already lost but Rumsfeld keeps saying that he just might win.

Sound familiar? Reminds you of the Iraq war – we were clearly losing but he and Bush and Cheney kept saying that we were winning.

I know that spin is a part of politics but when you’ve clearly lost an election – or a war – you should stop and admit it. In 1996, he lied about Bob Dole’s political fate. In 2006, he lied about the fate of more than 3000 American soldiers. You can see just from this clip, Donald Rumsfeld’s deluded, dishonest, just totally bizarre way of thinking. What a horrible man

But wait – there’s more!

Later on, King and Woodward interview Roger Clinton, President Clinton’s brother, and they ask him if his sister-in-law, Hillary, has any plans to run for office. Roger says he doesn’t know but, obviously, he thinks she’d be great in elective office.

Well, of course we know how this story ended -- Hillary would move to New York and be elected our junior senator in 2000. She would run unsuccessfully for president in 2008 and is now President Obama’s secretary of state. She will be retiring from public office this year, bringing an amazing 20-year run of being a first lady, a senator, and now a secretary of state to a close. But in 1996, she was just getting started and the best from Hillary was yet to come.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NYC History in 10 Objects

Last month I blogged about an upcoming segment on WNYC's Leonard Lopate show called The Story of New York in 10 Objects. Ten objects -- both man made and natural -- that encapsulate the history and identity of our great city. They were taking nominations from listeners and whittled them down.

On today's show they revealed the final list. You should listen to the segment but here, in short, is the list:

#10-The NYC Subway Map: the nexus for transportation in NYC, how the 8.2 million people in our town get around. Without it, we'd be stuck.

#9-The Manhattan Shist: this city wasn't built on rock'n'roll but on rocks. And rocks don't just exist underneath our city but within our buildings too. Without the rocks, we'd be on the rocks (ha ha).

#8-The Wall Street Sign: not only does it tell you where you are but this sign is the masthead for the entire American financial system and, by extension, the entire American economic system. People love Wall Street, hate Wall Street -- much like capitalism itself. Without Wall Street, a huge part of our city's identity and economy wouldn't exist. 

#7-The Brooklyn Bridge: easily the most beautiful bridge in the city, it was also the first bridge to nail the city together. (Actually, when it was first constructed in the last 19th century, it nailed two cities, NYC and Brooklyn together before they became part of the same city). After this bridge was built, making transport between the cities (now boroughs) became a lot easier and the fate of both were sealed. Without this bridge, our city wouldn't be the city as we know it today.

#6-Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems: easily the oddest thing on this list. I've never read it but the it is apparently a collection of stories about our city. Without it, well, our city's voice would be diminished.

#5-18th Century Ship Excavated from the WTC Site: this old boat was apparently used as part of the original WTC site and was uncovered during its reconstruction. It's an amazing example of our city's past and future coming together -- the past and the future always co-exist in this most dynamic of towns. Without this discovery, a part of our history would still be unknown and our city would be the lesser for it.

#4-The Oyster: before bagels, before Chinese food, before hot dogs, the oyster used to be considered the quintessential NYC food. Tourists came here to see our shows, go to our museums, and eat our oysters. For obvious reasons, the oyster is no longer NYC's main culinary selling point, but it helped pave the way to make our city the restaurant capital of America. Without the oyster, our city's food history would not quite be so sterling.

#3-The Food Cart: it was invented here! You can get a hot dog, a pretzel, some nuts, a soda, some water, a donut, some coffee, even tacos and felafel's! Food carts represent the great efficiency of NYC -- little stores on the sidewalks that feed, literally, our food needs. Without food carts, we'd all be a lot hungrier and thirstier (and that wouldn't be good).

#2-Subway Token: though they no longer exist, the token was NYC's own currency. New Yorkers loved their tokens. They were an over sized, yellow, funny looking coin that was unique to NYC and actually made people excited (somewhat) about taking the subway. Without the token, a sentimental part of NYC's identity would never have existed and wouldn't be so fondly remembered today.

#1-The Greek Coffee Cup: remember these? The gorgeously designed blue Hellenic cups that contained a good old fashioned cup o'coffee (as opposed to a latte). You used to be able to see New Yorkers from all races, all nationalities, all classes, both genders, clutching their Greek coffee cups on their work, getting their much needed caffeine fix. (Doubtless these made us all a little more neurotic). Without these Greek cups and the coffee they contained, New Yorkers, well, wouldn't be New Yorkers.  

Accused NYC Madam Speaks Out

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Godfather"@40

Can you believe "The Godfather" is forty years old? 

Forty years ago this week, this classic movie opened and changed the course of American cinema forever. It became the highest grossing movie in history up to that time, replacing "Gone with the Wind" (which had held the record for 33 years). It remade the career of Marlon Brando, perhaps the greatest actor ever, making this star of the 1950s a big star again in the 1970s. And it made the careers of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan (amongst others).

It's also a real New York movie. Yes, it's about the mob and crimes, but it's more than that. It has a grit, a toughness, a sexiness, and an honesty that screams NYC. It takes place on the streets, in the city's underbelly, and the actors sound like they grew up and live here. This movie may have been loved around the country and around the world, but it began here. 

It also gave us some classic lines -- "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse"; "Leave the gun, take the cannolis", "Sleeps with the fishes" -- amongst others that are quoted by people (like yours truly) who weren't alive when it was released.

"The Godfathers" legacy is alive and well today. It sure doesn't sleep with the fishes (sorry, couldn't help it).

Anchors Away?

Huge news in the world of NYC local news this week.

Sue Simmons is going away ... for now. 

In the history of New York City news, few people are as iconic as Sue Simmons. For the last 32 years, she and Chuck Scarborough have anchored the local nightly news on WNBC. In the tumultuous world of broadcasting, for two people to hold the same jobs for more than three decades, is amazing. Chuck and Sue are practically household names in NYC -- more famous than the big network and cable anchors -- and they have been respected, trusted, and adored. Growing up, I learned a lot about the city in which I lived from Chuck and Sue. Their professionalism, integrity, and overall appeal was undeniable. As a little, and now a grown up, I thought they were the best.

But Sue has apparently priced herself out of her job. So she's being let go. I have no doubt that she'll pop up somewhere soon but it somehow won't be the same without Chuck and Sue putting the city to bed each night. (Never mind that Sue Simmons began her career at a time when being a black woman wasn't exactly a big asset in the competitive world of news.)

And another anchor is rising. Pat Kiernan who wakes the city up each morning on NY1 is apparently being courted to replace -- can you believe this? -- Regis Philbin! He co-hosted "Live!" with Kelly Ripa this week and rumors are swirling that he might became the permanent replacement. Which means those of us who enjoy our local Canadian import might lose him to the nation. 

Plus ca change ... 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Memo from NYC

As another presidential election year grinds on, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some presidential elections from years past.

Specifically, 1972. Forty years ago.

This is best known as the Watergate election when President Richard Nixon won an historic 49 state victory in the shadow of what became the greatest scandal in American history -- prompting the president's resignation (the first and only ever) less than two years later.

The below clip, from ABC TV on election night 1972, is fascinating. 

It's around 9:30 PM. When the clips begins, they announce that Nixon has been re-elected and that he has carried an important state -- New York. This would be only one of three times in the last forty years that New York state has gone Republican in presidential elections. The only other times are when Reagan won our state in 1980 and 1984. Otherwise New York state has gone Democratic in every other presidential election since then.

Shortly after that they announce that the Democratic candidate is currently leading in the Delaware Senate race. His name is Joseph Biden, and he's only 29 years old. Joe Biden would go on to serve in the Senate for the next 36 years and is currently the Vice-President of the United States. He'll be on the ballot again this year, in what'll probably be his last election, right below the name of President Barack Obama who was only 11 years old in 1972 (and who yours truly will proudly vote for again this year).

At about fifteen minutes into this clip, they interview John Ehrlichman, President Nixon's domestic policy advisor and one of his chief henchmen. Ehrlichman was, by this time, deeply involved in the Watergate scandal and had overseen a number of illegal activities in the Nixon White House. Of course, on this night, none of that is known to the public yet and the Watergate burglary is just a blip on the media and political radar. But soon the scandal will unfold. Nixon will fire Ehrlichman in April, 1973 and he will eventually go to jail.

In this clip, however, on this night, Ehrlichman is triumphant, declaring that this election represents a "new American majority." And when asked about Watergate, Ehrlichman says that the burglars will stand trial and that "will probably be the end of the story." 

Not exactly.

Finally, if you watch enough of this clip, you might be wondering, Where's the big board of the country lighting up in either blue or red when a candidate carries a state? Well, there is no board. Believe it or not, those big election night red state/blue state boards of the country weren't used until 1976, four years later.

So watch this clip and enjoy seeing an important moment in American history -- where a President who won his first election in 1946 (for congress) wins his final election for president 26 years later, and where a future Vice-President who will (hopefully) win his final election for Vice-President this year wins his first election forty years earlier. Two men from two political parties, whose careers together span almost 70 years of our history, having their fates meet at what turns out to be a fateful moment in the history of our country.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Astoria Park Pool ... Theater

One of my first blog posts was about the Astoria Park Pool and how awesome it is.

Now it's set to also became an outdoor theater.

Part of the pool -- right under the big diving board -- is abandoned and just basically a big hole in the ground. It's dirty and gross and useless -- so filling it in with concrete and turning it into an ampitheater is a really cool idea. 

A small wrinkle -- the diving board isn't being removed. It's landmarked, and I would imagine that removing it would be a nightmare, so it'll stay. 

What's really great about this is that it shows what an efficient city NYC is. Like the Highline before it, it's a great thing that we can re-purpose and re-use public spaces and structures without destroying them. It's a wonderful thing to re-imagine the city.

It honors our past while making our future more exciting. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Andy Warhol's New York

The first time that I ever heard of Andy Warhol was when he died.

It was February, 1987, and I had just turned ten, and some girl in my 4th grade class mentioned that he was dead. The name meant nothing to me (not many ten year old boys care about glam art) but in the passing years I learned about Andy Warhol, the artist, the man, the legend.

I learned about his iconic paintings -- Campbell Soup cans, Marylin Monroe, etc. I learned about The Factory, his downtown space where he made art and helped others to do so. I learned about his involvement in helping to launch my favorite band, The Velvet Underground, to prominence. And I learned his most famous quote about everyone being famous for fifteen minutes.

Warhol was a native of Pittsburgh (like my dad's family) who migrated to NYC as a young aspiring artist. In the 1960s, when he was producing his cutting edge art, he also became a celebrity, wearing his iconic jackets and over sized sunglasses, being seen at clubs and shows, and having lots of hangers on abuzz around him. Until his death, Warhol basically defined the New York art scene. He was New York art. 

His death was a trauma to the New York art world and it has never fully recovered from it. 

No one ever really did (or could) take his place. I suppose Warhol was sui generis -- a unique man producing unique art at a unique time, in a city that was very different from today. He could never be replaced. Back in '87, New York was still recovering from the fiscal crises, crime was high, white flight still occurring, a malaise still shrouding the town. Warhol wasn't just producing art, he was giving the city a much needed boost of confidence. A quarter century after his death, the city is much different (and much less depressed) and Warhol's work is now the stuff of art school curriculum). 

So what was his New York, what was the town that he inhabited -- and how did he inhabit it -- all those years ago?

This article sheds some light on the subject. A few takeaways about Warhol's NYC:

When he first came to NYC, Warhol practically stalked Truman Capote, so obsessed was the young artist was with the great writer's work.

Warhol was an intense, practicing Roman Catholic, and often worshiped at St. Thomas More on East 89th street (a rather uptown, bourgeois place that the downtown, hipster Warhol went).

He may have been the coolest man in town, but Warhol lived with his mother in NYC for 20 years.

He was shot by a deranged woman named Valerie Solanos but survived. You can see the movie "I Shot Andy Warhol" for the full story.  

And so much more.

Today Warhol has merged into NYC's collective memory. No longer a man, he's now one of our favorite myths. But he's still around. Oh yes -- go to Union Square and you'll see a hideous chrome statue of him. Personally, I think it does him a great injustice. 

I'm sure Andy would have loved it.  

Bursting at the Seems?

New York City has 8.2 million people within its environs. That's bigger than 40 of our nation's 50 states and many other countries. NYC is twice as big as America's second largest city, LA. 

In short, we are truly America's premiere city.

Approximately 5 million people live in Brooklyn and Queens. Half a million people live on Staten Island. And about 1.5 million live in the Bronx, and 1.5 lives in Manhattan. And more and more people want to live in Manhattan.

That's not a surprise, but where will they all go?  

That's the subject of this big article today. From a distance, the idea of more and more people living on the skinny 13-mile island is horrifying, some kind of Malthusian nightmare. One person even speculates that, with more people in Manhattan, it'll be like living in a real-life "Blade Runner" world.

But fear not! Stunning as it may seem, Manhattan actually has plenty of room for more people. More buildings are rising. More housing is being built. And although 1.5 million people live in Manhattan, that's no where near to how many people lived here more than 100 years ago when close to 2.3 million people populated the borough. 

So, although Manhattan is getting more crowded, we can deal with it ... for now.

Also, there's this lovely article about the life of Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough President who is also, like yours truly, a new father. He may be the most prominent man in Manhattan, and I may be a nobody who lives in Queens, but it's great to know we're united by both of us having to get up at 5 AM for baby feedings.