Category: Manhattan


Breaking ALL the rules

People always comment how New Yorkers don’t wait for the walk signal, we just wait for the traffic to clear and dart across the street. It’s like we are a city of rule breakers. I have to agree, let me explain.

What’s the biggest rule moms tell their kids? No not clean your room! That’s mom’s fantasy. No moms are always telling their kids, Don’t get in a car with a stranger. Right? So you live your life running away from ride offers from people you don’t know.

Then you move to NYC, and you don’t have a car because, A) it is freakishly expensive to keep a car in NYC; B) the subway and bus system is beyond compare, who needs a car? Then one day you’re in a rush, you need to get across town RIGHT NOW, so you stick out your arm, a yellow car stops and you get in. You get in a car WITH A STRANGER. BOOM, mom’s rule has been broken.

But wait, you say, it is this strangers job to transport you safely to your destination (notice I said safely, not necessarily untraumatized, but I’ll consider cabbie driving habits in another post), maybe so I say, BUT, we all watch TV, and we know there are serial killers masquerading as taxi drives just waiting for a snowstorm and an unsuspecting victim! Once you break this rule and survive, this emboldens you break other rules, like crossing against the light. It’s no wonder we all do it.

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Another first

My friend Mary sent me an e-mail about an oyster crawl. It’s like a pub crawl, except you eat oysters instead of drinking. Rose also got the invitation and decided to come. It was at that point I realized I had to admit, after several times saying I liked oysters that, I had never had any. They never asked me why I said I liked oysters when I had never had them, I probably couldn’t have given them an answer.

We got these ‘badges’ in the email, with instructions to print them out or save to our phone/mobile devise. My printer is currently not working, and I was having fits trying to save it. I finally managed it, and then we didn’t need to show them.

My first stop was the bank. The second was the subway, I briefly considered stopping at Starbucks, then discarded the idea, only to regret it when I saw how long the wait for the train was. The first restaurant on the oyster crawl was Grey Lady down in SoHo, took me a while to find it. Rose was waiting for me, Mary was delayed by train problems. Rose has said to expect rain, so I brought my umbrella, but it was snow at this point.

We got two dozen oysters, I wrote down the names of the oysters, since I was planning on writing about it, but I can’t read my notes. It looks like we had ‘fisher plane'(Fisher’s Island) and ‘moom shoal'(Moon Shoal). I’m pretty sure that one of those is wrong, anyone reading this that knows their oyster names is probably laughing at me. I even checked my Instagram, and although I had posted this same exact photo, I didn’t note the names. (Name correction courtesy of Eating the First Oyster)

This is me eating my first ever oyster. Photo courtesy of NYC Photo.

After the oysters I had a shot of Lemon Vodka.


This is the second place we went on our NYC Oyster Crawl. True to form I wrote down the name of the oysters, “Blue Point”, and didn’t write down the name of the bar. I’m pretty sure it was Bait & Hook. There are two reasons I’m sure, one is the pictures look like the place we went, two the website says they have happy hour oysters: $1 Blue Point, and three it is one block over from Professor Thom’s. Which is where we went next. Not for oysters though, for loaded tots. Anyway these are my oysters. I only got 6, Mary got clam chowder, she wasn’t feeling the oyster love right then.

Rose got a full dozen. She apparently was still hungry for oysters. Of the three types of oysters I ate this day, these are my favorite. The oyster love continued to the next time I was at Fairway, standing at the seafood counter looking at the hunks of rock that supposedly hold oysters, thinking to myself, I wonder if I could shuck those.

Coney Island New Year’s Eve

A New Year’s Eve tradition is the ball drop in Time Square. It’s been going on since 1907 according to the New York Public Library (click here) and about a million people cram themselves into Time Square to watch it. I have been told I should go at least one time. To which I reply, “Get your head examined.” I don’t like Time Square when it’s not crowded with people, to be there when there are a million people would drive me to homicide. Going to prison for murder is not on my bucket list.

A) New York in January, outside in the middle of the night. Freezing temps, possible snow or sleet.
B) No backpacks allowed, so you can’t bring a snack in case you get hungry.
C) No bathrooms. And you can’t leave to go find one and then come back. Mainly because an hour after you get there you will be hemmed in on all sides and not able to leave if you were on fire. In fact, you could probably die there and no one would know until after the ball dropped.
D) If you don’t get there at noon, you won’t be able to see any of the “great” entertainment.

There is no way I am going to be standing for hours to watch a ball drop, I can do that in my living room, I don’t have to stand, I have food, water, and bathroom facilities.

This year Brooklyn decided they were going to have their own ball drop, I don’t want to imply that Brooklyn is slow or inferior to Manhattan, but the ball has been dropping in Time Square for a hundred years and they just now discovered they can have their own NYE party? Maybe they were too busy thinking about going for a dip (The Coney Island Polar Bear Club was founded by Bernarr Macfadden in 1903. They swim every Sunday during the winter.).

IMG_2011[1]It sounded like fun, so I grabbed my party outfit, and caught the train to Coney Island. I actually bought that mask to go to Coney Island. I thought it would be fun and it served two purposes. My picture was taken a lot, and it kept my face warm. The breeze off the ocean was freshening. By freshening I mean freezing. I managed to get a spot in the front, and then left it because of the brutal assault of the wind. There was hot chocolate as promised, but they ran out before I got any. Even showing up at 9:00 p.m., when it officially started it wasn’t too crowded. It got a little crowded, and I ended up not seeing anything, which means I missed the freak show. I also missed the lights on the Parachute Drop because I was watching the fireworks. And I am still finding silly string and gold confetti around my apartment. I didn’t stay for the whole firework show. I was freezing, my back hurt, and I had to pee. As a public service announcement, if you are in Coney Island and need a bathroom, there are outside public bathrooms at Nathans. They are open until 1:00 a.m.

Yes I know I shot this video the ‘wrong’ way, it’s only 30 seconds so deal with it.

Back to the Evil Green Train

Most of the time, when I am having a commute from hell and watching over-packed train after over-packed train go by, I berate myself with the every pertinent: If you had left home on time, this wouldn’t be happening! Today as I watched one, two and then stuffed myself onto the third train I thought to myself, “Today I left on time. This is so not fair!”

Leaving on time has it’s rewards however, in that even though the trains were crowded and I couldn’t get on the train until the third one, and I couldn’t read my book because it was too crowded, I got to work on time. Or at least before my boss came in.

Coming home

Last night I went to see the Staten Island Yankees. Yes I know this is not my sports blog, while the game was fun, except we lost, and I found out that Richmond County Bank Ballpark serves Honkers Ale, but we lost, and a helmet bowl serving of nachos is enough for two (maybe three) people, which I should have realized when they gave me two forks, instead of thinking, “Hey a fork for each hand!” The fireworks were nice, I watched from the pavilion next to the ferry station because I wanted to get home before midnight.

The reason I am writing this here is I wanted to write about my commute home, which was pretty bad but kind of funny at the same time. You can imagine that after eating all those nachos, which were pretty good by the way, and drinking a couple of Honkers Ales my tummy was not feeling great. Ferry ride was rather uneventful and while on the ferry I was trying to figure out how to get home. Normally I would walk from the ferry to the Green train, but that would mean walking past the park and there are rats in the park. I’ve never seen them, but people have told me they are there and while we were docking I saw one on the dock. The Red train is right by the ferry terminal. That was the train I wanted to take, I just had to figure out how to get home.

In the first car I got in was a little girl with a very loud and very shrill voice, she was accompanied by her mother who also had a very loud and very shrill voice. At the first stop I got off and got into the next car forward. Which was crowded and also pretty loud. There was one man who was especially loud, I could hear him over everyone else, and he was laughing. Sometimes I get very agitated by noise, this was one of those times. He was also smoking, which I didn’t notice at first, when I noticed the smoke I at first thought it was because someone next to me was a smoker, you know how smoker’s clothes will smell like smoke, then a woman started shouting about “The smoker on the train!” Which added to my upset frame of mind. I really don’t know why she was shouting since he was already out the door when she started yelling.

Time Square was where I planned to change trains to the Yellow train that would take me to the Green train. I got on the “Q”, which was only going to 47th Street, which I didn’t realize until after I was on and the doors closed. That meant another train change, but when the “N” train pulled in I could see the car wasn’t crowded so when I doors opened I entered and headed for an empty seat and stopped, right in front of the seat I was going to sit in was a puddle of vomit. I looked at some women sitting across from it, they both gave me the “Yes it’s vomit” smile and nod. So I stood until we got to the Green train station. The Green train was crowded. Not horribly, but uncomfortably so. New York is the city that never sleeps, so there is always people on the subway, even at midnight.

The “N” train

A long time ago I was posting Subway pictures. Many of the stations in NYC have decorative tile work and I was going down the different subway lines taking pictures. I got tired of riding back and forth after a while and decided to take a break. In the meantime, I was also trying to find a way to get to work without going through GCT. I discovered I could take the Green train to 59th Street and change to the Yellow (N or Q, not the R) train to Queensboro Plaza, then take the Purple train to Vernon-Jackson. It is rather interesting that even though this route takes me past my office and so I have to back track, the time is the same.

0421 Subway NQR 0211The first time I changed at 59th Street, I walked up to stairs and saw this. The whole, I guess you would call it a lobby area, is wall murals, done entirely in tile.

Beautiful designs, trees with red branches against a blue sky, little yellow tea cups spewing white steam, and in the steam quotes. Big yellow tea cups from floor to ceiling and shoes. Red, blue and green pumps with bows tied with yellow ribbons, and the ends of the ribbons are loose and floating, creating more intricate designs as they float around the walls. Whoever was commissioned to design this has an obsession with pumps. I realized I had to photograph this, the pictures are below. As always, click on them to see them full size.

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Jewish Museum

StrongLanguageA few blocks from my apartment is the part of 5th Avenue known as “Museum Mile” where you will find such institutions as The Met, Neue Galerie New York, Guggenheim, National Academy Museum, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Jewish Museum. I’ve never been to any of them, until last Saturday when I started looking around on the web for something to do. I remember some friends had mentioned an exhibit with Blah Blah Blah, and I remember seeing it on my runs, so I looked up Jewish Museum to get the hours and rates. Open till 6 and free on Saturday. Well duh, Saturday is the Sabbath. If you don’t know what I mean, do a little research, I’m not your mother. I put on my shoes, grabbed my camera and headed over, I didn’t know if you were allowed to take pictures, but if you could and I didn’t have my camera, I would have been mad. As it turns out, you can take pictures, but not with a flash.

This picture was taken with my iPhone and posted with my check in, which goes to twitter which is how it ended up being noticed by the Jewish Museum. I didn’t tag it because I rarely tag photos from Swarm (click the link to find out what Swarm is).

0539 JM 0719A plaque by the door explains who used to own the building and how it became the Museum, a little bit of history.

Besides the “Strong Language” exhibit that was advertised, the second floor had art exhibits, one was a frame hanging from the ceiling. I thought, if someone wasn’t paying attention and walked into the room, they could get seriously hurt by this. There was a doll house size model of the museum on this floor, complete with miniaturized copies of the exhibits of the museum in it. It was while photographing this that I accidentally pushed the flash button on my camera and found out about the no flash rule.

The top floor has a collection of religious art and artifacts, Israelite and pagan, and a history of how Israelite way of life transformed into Judaism. Despite the fact that some of the things I saw and read conflicted with what I learned when I studied ancient religions, I found this part to be the most interesting. The pictures I took are below, click on any of them to see them full size.

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Cleaning with Bella

New York City is dirty. There is a fine black dust everywhere, I think it is the result of all those cars driving over all that asphalt. It comes in between the window and the frame and settles on the surfaces of my apartment. My windowsills are white and a week after I sweep up the dust they are black again.

The Tuesday night I cooked my lentils and the pot boiled over I didn’t want to clean it up. The stove was hot and the sink was full and so forth. Besides, I wasn’t working the next day so I would clean it then. I got up the next day and scrubbed off the dried up mess, then I wiped down the rest of the stovetop. As soon as the wet sponge came in contact with the fine black dust, it turned to black streaks on the stove. The black streaks annoyed me, I had to clean the whole stovetop now, which meant I had to take the burners off and wash them, but the sink was full of dishes.

Everything in my apartment is small, that means big jobs have to be done in stages. I washed as many dishes as would fit in my dish drain, then I had to stop and do something else until they dried. Then finish washing the rest, then I could take the burners off and put them in soapy water in the sink, then spray the stovetop and wipe it down. Then lift the top to see if anything had fallen through and needed to be cleaned up. So now the stove was nice was clean. The counters looked dingy next to it. I’m pretty sure you can guess what had to happen next. Moving everything aside, spraying and wiping and moving back until the whole kitchen was bright and shiny. It’s amazing how long it takes to get such a small area clean.