Category Archives: New York City

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition Review

At first glance, Downton Abbey appears to be just another BPD (British Period Drama).

But it so much more than that. Set in an English aristocratic home in the early 20th century, the focus of Downton Abbey is the story of the Crawley family, led by the Earl and Countess of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) and their household staff.

Recently, Downton Abbey: The Exhibition opened.

The exhibit is sheer perfection. Containing costumes, exact replicas of  the sets, audio clips, video clips and so much more, the exhibit was made for the fans. It’s as if the creators of the exhibit were able to read our minds as to what would like to see and experience.

When a television show is as beloved as Downton Abbey is, an exhibit like this is akin to coming home. It is as if the visitor is a fly on the wall of the set. It is beautiful, it is enticing and worth every moment of my visit.

It is a must see.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is at 218 West 57th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue until January 31st, 2018. 

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Filed under Downton Abbey, History, New York City, Television

I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street: Book Review

From the eyes of an optimist living a post-Obama world in 2017, racism is a thing of the past. We view our fellow citizens, as fellow human beings and individuals, not by the color of their skin or where their families originated from. A realist will say otherwise, racism is still alive and well in America.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was killed by several New York Police Detectives during an arrest.

Earlier this year, journalist Matt Taibbi published I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, a detailed expose of the circumstances that led to Garner’s death, the trial that resulted from the murder and the pervasive racism that is still part and parcel of American society.

While this book is difficult to read at points, it is I believe a necessary read. It is difficult because of the subject matter, the book forces the reader to examine and challenge their own prejudices while reading about a man who has unfortunately become another representative of the injustice that still exists in America.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Get Out And Vote!

Across the nation tomorrow, multiple towns and cities will be holding local elections.

I urge my fellow citizens, if there is a local election in your area, regardless of where your land on the political spectrum, to get out and vote.

It is our right, it is our privilege, it is our responsibility. There countries around the world where the simple act of voting is tantamount to revolution.

My fellow New York City residents, if they are still up in the air about whom they are voting for, can find more information here.

I also want to remind any woman who is ambivalent about voting, what it took to get us the right to vote.

Alice Paul was tortured in prison, just for protesting that women could not vote. If we don’t vote tomorrow, we dishonor her memory and the memories of the women of that generation who suffered so we could vote.

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Filed under Feminism, History, National News, New York City, Politics, Television

If Not Now, When?-Thoughts On The Texas Church Massacre

One of the most famous questions that the philosopher Hillel the Elder asked is:

“If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

Every time there is a mass shooting in this country, decent minded citizens have asked when we can finally talk about gun control. The answer, the last few years, have been predictably that this is not the time.

Yesterday morning, there was a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.  26 people were killed, many of them children.

My heart hurts. My head hurts. We say the same thing in the aftermath of every mass shooting:”Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families.” But at this point, the phrase has become meaningless.

I will not state the killer’s name on this blog, he’s receiving enough press. I will only say that mass shootings will continue to be the average news story in America until real change is made.

Back in 1996, there was a mass shooting in Australia, 35 people were murdered. Instead of waxing and waning (and giving into the gun industry, lobbyists and the NRA), the Australian government enacted sweeping and strict gun laws.  Since then, the Port Arthur massacre is the only mass shooting in recent Australian history.

Whether or not the gunman’s mental health played a part, only time will tell.  I’m just tired of hearing of another mass shooting and the loss of innocent lives.

P.S. I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that Donald Trump’s responses to shooting are different based on the shooter. He called for the death penalty for the accused and the removal of the diversity visa program in response to the murder of 8 people in New York City last week, but his response to this shooting (where the killer was white) was markedly different. Just an observation.

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Filed under History, National News, New York City, Politics

I’m Ok-The New York Terrorist Attack

There was a terrorist attack today in New York City.  A man (who shall be rendered nameless in the blog post and therefore powerless) drove into a crowd near the World Trade Center Memorial. It was mid afternoon. Students were getting out of school, many of them excited for their Halloween festivities.  Adults were minding their own business when a man drove a rented Home Depot van down a busy bicycle path.

As of this evening, 8 innocent people are dead and others are injured.

The fact that this terrorist chose to kill civilians near the 9/11 memorial just adds to the grief of the families whose loved ones were needlessly taken from them. It also reminds me what a dangerous world we live in.

It also reminds me that New Yorkers have an inner strength that is always in the background. We survived 9/11. We survived Hurricane Sandy. We can survive this.

G-d bless the souls of the innocent lives lost, may their memories be a blessing to those who knew them best.

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Thoughts On The 5th Anniversary Of Hurricane Sandy And The Prevalence Of Climate Change

Anyone who lived through Hurricane Sandy five years ago can easily tell you where they were and how they somehow survived.  Today is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

We believed, back then, that Hurricane Sandy was a once in a lifetime storm for the New York City area. It would go into the history books and we would move on with our lives. It was just another Hurricane.

Cut to this year. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma,  Jose and Maria left a wake of destruction in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico respectively. Puerto Rico is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Despite what the deniers will say, climate change is real. We, as a species, are shooting ourselves in our collective feet and pretending that we are not. When Donald Trump announced earlier this year that the US would be removing itself from the Paris Climate Agreement, he once again opened his mouth just to shove his foot in it.

Climate change may not be happening as quickly as it appears in the movies, but it is very real. If we live to see our grandchildren born, we may be asked some questions, that we as a generation may not be able to answer.

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Filed under History, New York City

Terrible Virtue: A Novel Book Review

When we put those we admire on a pedestal, we sometimes forget that the person on the pedestal is a human being with the same faults as any other human being.

Margaret Sanger did not intentionally start out life as a first wave feminist and the originator of Planned Parenthood. Her life and the causes that dominated her life is chronicled in the novel Terrible Virtue: A Novel. Written by Ellen Feldman, the novel starts during Margaret’s early years. She is one of 13 children. Her mother dies young, after years of living through the endless cycle of having a children, working tirelessly to care for her family before having another child.

As an adult, Margaret marries and has three children of her own. She is drawn to the cause of abortion and women’s reproductive health. In spite of the laws at the time, Margaret (who is living in New York City) reaches out to the lower class and immigrant women who desperately need her services. While she is doing this, there are many who are fighting to see her jailed and her ability to help the women in need stopped indefinitely. Adding to the drama, Margaret is feeling the heat at home. Her marriage is falling apart and her children are starting to feel like they are second best.

 

I really enjoyed reading this book. I really enjoyed it because not only did the writer perfectly show Margaret Sanger as human being (not just a heroine on a pedestal), but also because the same issues that existed in her time sadly still exist in ours.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, New York City

Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote Book Review

It is a common misconception that the first wave of feminism in the early part of the 20th century was solely run by working class and immigrant class women. That is fallacy.

This year, writer Johanna Neuman’s new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote was published. Ms. Neuman writes of the women at the top of the social ladder who put their money where their mouth was to further the cause of feminism. Women belonging to the well-known families with names like Astor, Morgan, Belmont, etc, came together (as best they could) with their working class and immigrant class sisters to work towards a brighter future for generations of American women to come.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow, but when it picked up, it really picked up. By the end of the book, I was reminded that feminism does not just belong to a particular class of women or women who belong to a specific ethnicity. It belongs to all us and it is up to all of us to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters continue to have the rights and privileges that have been so hard-fought for.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, New York City

The Last Day-Thoughts On The 16th Anniversary Of 9/11

Life, as we know, it to be is precarious. We never know when we will meet our maker.

I work very close to where the Twin Towers once stood. As I got up this morning and prepared for the day, I couldn’t help but think of the nearly 3000 people who woke up on September 11th, 2001, not knowing that it was to be their last day on Earth.

As I got off the train, my eyes could not help but look upward and remember what was there 16 years ago and how the world will never be the same. Even though it has been more than a dozen years, the grief and the pain will never truly fade.

May the memories of those killed, both on 9/11 and during the recovery in the days after be a blessing to those who knew them and loved them, and to all of us. Z”l

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Filed under History, Music, New York City

The Perfect Response To Subway Preacher By Lea DeLaria

I don’t know about any other city’s transportation system, but some people presume that the New York City Subway System is the perfect place to preach the word of G-d.

While the prevailing wisdom for most people is to keep their heads down and ignore the subway preachers, Orange Is The New Black actress Lea DeLaria decided to call one preacher out on his b*llshit.

From my perspective, her response to the man is brilliant. I am all for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but the transit system is not the time or the place to try to bring in new believers. Perhaps this man has learned his lesson about using the subway as his pulpit.

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