Category Archives: New York City

Is NYC Going Back to the Bad Old Days?

For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.

Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.

Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.

Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.

But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.

I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.

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New Amsterdam Character Review: Ella

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Human beings were not meant to be alone. The need to be around others is built into the DNA of our species. We need each other if we are going to not just survive, but thrive.

On New Amsterdam, Ella (Dierdre Friel) is in a jam.

After briefly dating Rohan Kapoor (Vandit Bhatt), Ella has discovered that she is pregnant, but the father of her child is nowhere to be found. What makes her situation more complicated is that Rohan’s father is Vijay Kapoor (Anupam Kher). Ella and Vijay almost did the will they/wont they dance, but that ended when Ella started seeing Rohan.

Unable to support herself, Ella is about to leave New York. Knowing that if this happens, he may never see his grandchild, Vijay proposes that Ella move in with him. Though it takes sometime for them to work out the kinks in their unorthodox relationship, Ella and Vijay eventually meet in the middle. Which comes in handy when Ella reveals that she has OCD and Vijay is the one to help her relax.

To sum it up: As much as we may pretend that we can do it alone, the truth is that we can’t. In Ella’s situation, it would be easy to put up a wall and pretend that she does not need help. In accepting Vijay’s offer, she is not only willing to bring her guard down, she recognizes that their need for support and connection is mutual.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television

RIP Carl Reiner

Anyone can tell a joke. Anyone can attempt to be funny. But it takes a truly gifted comedian connect with the audience.

The late Carl Reiner was one of those gifted comedians. He passed away yesterday at the age of 98. Born to a Jewish family in New York City in 1922, Reiner was also a writer who worked on early 1950’s classics such as Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour. His collaboration with Mel Brooks on the 2000 Year Old Man was and still is comedy gold. Creating, producing, writing, and starring in The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966), he introduced the audience to characters are still beloved decades after they left the air.

In the entertainment industry, he was a jack of all trades. Writer, director, actor, comedian, etc. He will be fondly remembered as both a human being and an entertainer whose work made millions laugh.

In the words of our mutual ancestors, may his memory be a blessing. Z”l

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Filed under History, New York City, Television, Writing

New Amsterdam Character Review: Evie Garrison

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It was not so long ago that women had to choose between career and marriage. There was no such thing as being able to have both. Though times have thankfully changed, the pressure to hold down a job and maintain a marriage/romantic relationship can be overwhelming.

On New Amsterdam, Evie Garrison (Margot Bingham) is introduced to Floyd Reynolds (Jocko Sims) by Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery). It looks like this relationship is headed for the long haul, but there is one hitch. Evie takes a job in California, while Floyd stays in New York. They try to make their long distance relationship work, but it becomes clear that a choice must be made. In the end, Floyd joins Evie in California, finding the work/life balance that many of us wish we could have.

*Note: There would normally be a video here, but I can’t find one.

To sum it up: The things we want in life take work. Evie and Floyd are willing to do the work to make their relationship and marriage last. But that means making a sacrifice. That sacrifice is moving away from New York. The audience remembers Evie because she is ready, willing, and able to keep her marriage to Floyd afloat while having a satisfying career.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Thoughts On Statue Removal & Ending Racism

The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is one to begin with. But that is sometimes easier said than done.

The United States has had a problem called racism for 400 years. Politically and culturally, we have done some work to write the wrongs of the past. But that work is only a drop in the bucket compared to what has yet to be done.

It is nearly a month since George Floyd was murdered. Since then, Americans have protested his unnecessary death and the structural racism that is part of this country’s DNA.

Across the nation, there have been calls to remove statues and rename buildings that memorialize those who were responsible for the enslavement and subjugation of Americans of color. In my neck of the woods (aka New York City), the Teddy Roosevelt statue that greets visitors to the American Museum of Natural History will soon be non-existent.

Some say that this is going too far. There are other ways to redeem our past other than tearing down these monuments to history. If we take down statues of men like Robert E. Lee, we must take down statues of our Founding Fathers, who also owned slaves.

Warning: This video contains adult language.

As Ticked Off Vic says, there is a difference between Robert E. Lee and our Founding Fathers. While these were men of their time, there is a marked difference between their actions. The fact is statues and images speak volumes in ways that words cannot touch. If we are to move forward as a country, we must face up to our past and take some of these statues down. If we don’t, we will never be able to move forward as a nation.

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Filed under History, National News, New York City

New Amsterdam Character Review: Georgia Goodwin

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

If we lived in an ideal world, we would all live to see old age, surrounded by those who love us. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Life is short, regardless of whether we live into our golden years or die before our time. On New Amsterdam, Georgia Goodwin (Lisa O’Hare) appears to be on track to live a long and healthy life. She is a dancer who is taking time off from work to prepare for the birth of her first child. Georgia and her husband, Max, (Ryan Eggold) are eager to meet their daughter.

But that eagerness is diminished. Between Max’s new job as New Amsterdam’s new Medical Director and his cancer diagnosis, Georgia is concerned about her husband. When they finally hash it out, Georgia stands by her man, even if her concerns are not quite alleviated.

Things get hairy towards of the end of her pregnancy. Her placenta ruptures. She begins to bleed out and loses consciousness. Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) is in the area. Called to help by Max who is unable to choose between saving Georgia’s life or saving their baby, Lauren makes the choice for him. She does an emergency C-section, bringing Max and Georgia’s daughter safely in the world.

Sadly, Georgia does not live to meet her child. The ambulance they are riding in crashes on the way to the hospital. She dies in the hospital, leaving her husband emotionally broken and forced to raise their daughter alone.

To sum it up: We know that we should make the most of our time on this planet while we can. But sometimes, we caught up in the business of our days and forget that life is precious. Georgia’s unexpected death, for both the characters and the audience was heartbreaking. If nothing else, it is a reminder that instead of taking life for granted, we should be taking advantage of the opportunities while we can.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

New Amsterdam Character Review: Helen Sharpe

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When one chooses to join the medical profession, one needs more than just years of training and education. They need a heart, knowing that their working lives will be far from easy.

On New Amsterdam, Helen Sharpe is the head of Oncology and the former Deputy Medical Director at the fictional New Amsterdam hospital in New York City. Her introduction to her boss, Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is not in the ER. Helen spends most of her time doing PR for the hospital and raising much-needed investment dollars.

When Helen finally returns to working with patients, her first patient is her boss. Max has cancer and isn’t exactly following doctor’s orders in terms of treatment. As both boss and patient, Helen’s relationship with Max becomes complicated and remains complicated.

The complication gets worse when Helen is arrested for taking a patient who is addicted to drugs to a safe injection site. On the brink of losing her job, Helen remains employed, but is demoted. Eventually she regains her place in the hospital hierarchy, but not without a few bumps along the way.

If her job wasn’t hard enough, Helen is becoming increasingly aware that her childbearing days will soon be behind her. Her adventures in romance and dating are both dead ends. There seems to be a growing romantic connection with Max, but being that he is married at the time, that idea is squashed. Then there is Akash Panthaki (Sendhil Ramamurthy). It looks like they are on the road to happily ever after, but Helen has doubts when he tells her that he already has two children. Eventually, they go their separate ways, she freezes her eggs and goes on with her life.

To sum it up: In a perfect world, one goes into medicine to help others. But, as we all know, we do not live in a perfect world. Helen’s job is not easy, especially when it comes to the not so black and white relationship she has with Max. But in the end, she is dedicated to her patients and puts them above her needs.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Throwback Thursday-Date Night (2010)

I would wager that if one were to ask any married couple with kids about their daily lives, they would tell you that they have little time to spare for themselves. That is where date night usually comes in.

In 2010, the movie Date Night premiered. Tina Fey and Steve Carell play Claire and Phil Foster, an average suburban couple from the New York City area with a full plate of responsibilities. Like many couples, they look forward to date nights to relax and enjoy each other’s company. The evening they choose to go out on will not just be any evening.

Date Night is one of those movies that would be forgettable if it was not for the comedic geniuses that are Tina Fey and Steve Carell. The movie is not horrible, but it is not exactly what it promises to be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City, Throwback Thursday

Books That Speak to the African-American Experience

It has been said that we can never know how another person sees the world until we walk a mile in their shoes. But books have a way to providing that perspective.

As our country and our culture once more grapples with racial tension and the troubled history of our mutual past, books may be one of the keys to bringing us together.

The Yellow House by Sarah Broom

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Proud: My Fight For an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale by Andrew Kane

It may be simplistic to say that reading the books listed above or any book will help to solve our issues. However, I believe that by at least beginning to understand another’s perspective, the doors to communication, understanding, and diversity may truly start to open.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Jane Austen, National News, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice

New Amsterdam Character Review: Lauren Bloom

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Addiction and mental health issues weigh heavily on the lives of millions around the world. It is easy to pretend that these issues don’t exist. But the reality is that until one is able to see that they need help, they will never begin to move on.

On New Amsterdam, Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) is the head of the Emergency Department. Smart and efficient, she has the ability to manage a very busy staff while ensuring that the patients are looked after. But underneath her professional abilities, Lauren is facing the two-headed demon of addiction to Adderall and the unhealed emotional wounds from a traumatic childhood.

She is forced into rehab when her colleague and friend, Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) notices that something is off with Lauren. Rehab forces her to confront her troubled past and deal with the addiction that has hindered her ability to emotionally recover. But life is not all sunshine and roses when Lauren returns to work.

After bringing Georgia Goodwin’s (Lisa O’Hare) daughter in the world, Lauren has a different recovery ahead of her when she survives a car wreck. Well aware of how easily she can slide back into addiction, she turns to Helen and Zach Ligon (JJ Feild), her physical therapist, and sometimes hookup partner for support.

In the end, Lauren is able to put her past behind her, but not without some serious soul searching and hard work.

To sum it up: There are two ways to deal with problems. The first is to pretend that nothing is wrong. The second is to admit that you need help. Though it is infinitely harder to admit that you need help, the payoff is worth the risk. In admitting that she has a problem, Lauren shows that she has the strength and courage to move beyond the demons that have plagued her for far too long.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television