Category Archives: New York City

Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of the Columbine School Shooting

20 years ago today, millions of high school students around the country (myself included) walked through the front doors of their high school as they did every school day. By the time the school day ended, 12 students and one teacher were dead in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

It was America’s first school shooting in what was then recent memory. Sadly, as we all know, it would not be the last.

Looking back, I can’t help but feel anger. One mass school shooting should have been enough to galvanize the nation and our leadership to change our gun laws. If New Zealand can change their gun laws after the Mosque shooting last month, why can’t America do the same? If we had, we might have prevented the shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland.

May the memories of the students and the teacher killed be a blessing and may we finally learn from the past.

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Those Who Live in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones

We all remember where we were on 9/11. Unlike other memories that fade, where were that day and who we were with are forever burnt into our memory.

Last week Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) gave a speech at a CAIR event. It is not a surprise that the right jumped on the speech and a specific phrase in the speech as if it was a piece of meat thrown to a group of famished hyenas.

The phrase, in regards to 9/11 and the rise in anti-Islamic hatred is as follows:

“Some people did something”

There are two issues. The first is that the right and the right leaning media (which unfortunately includes the NY Post, a paper that I have been a loyal reader of for many years) focused on that particular phrase instead of pulling back and getting all of their facts together before reacting.

The second issue is that you know who continues to harp on Representative Omar about her previous antisemitic comments. While I don’t quite think I will ever completely forgive her, the death threats that she and her family are receiving are a symptom of a much bigger issue in this country.

In spite of saying that he is pro-Israel and bears no hatred for people of the Jewish faith, his past tweets say otherwise.

By the way, does anyone else recall that while thousands of innocent people were dying on 9/11, he was bragging that he then owned the tallest building in lower Manhattan? (Starts at 1:50)

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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Filed under National News, New York City, Politics

Dumbo Movie Review

Over the past few years, Disney is intend on using our childhood memories to bring us once more to the movie theaters. This weekend, the reboot of Dumbo (1941) was released.

Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has just returned home from fighting in World War I, sacrificing one of his arms in the process of fighting for his country. His wife died during the war, leaving his two children Milly (Nico Parker, Thandie Newton‘s daughter) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) motherless. Stuck in the past, Holt is unable to move forward until his boss and circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) puts Holt in charge of the elephants. One of the female elephants has just given birth, the newborn elephant has unusually large ears that allow him to fly. After the circus has a bit of success with the new elephant, named Dumbo, V.A. Vandervere (Michael Keaton) takes notice of the little elephant. He wants to add Dumbo to Colette Marchant’s (Eva Green) aerialist act. But Vandervere’s plans are not completely altruistic; he has some plans up his sleeve that are questionable.

First of all, I have to give kudos to the screenwriters. Not only did smartly remove the racist caricatures of the crows, but they used Dreamland as the background for the second half of the movie. Dreamland is not a well-known subject unless one is well versed in the history of New York City or early 20th century amusement parks.

I haven’t seen the original animated film in quite a few years, but I feel like this reboot is close enough in narrative to its predecessor. What is nice about this film is that not only is not the typical slightly out-there Tim Burton film, but it speaks of animal cruelty and gives Milly, as a budding scientist, her due.

I recommend it.

Dumbo is presently in theaters.

 

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The Village Review

When you live in an apartment building, your neighbors hopefully become more than your neighbors. They become friends and by extension, family.

This is the premise of the new NBC series, The Village. Set in an apartment building in Brooklyn, the series follows the lives of the residents.

Sarah (Michaela McManus) is a nurse and single mother raising her teenage daughter.  Gabe (Darren Kasagoff) is a young lawyer who has the most unexpected of roommates: his grandfather Enzo (Dominic Chianese). Ava (Moran Atias) is an immigrant who is raising her son alone when ICE comes calling. Nick (Warren Christie), is the newest resident of the building and a veteran. Ron (Frankie Faison) is the super whose passion for his social worker wife, Patricia (Lorraine Toussaint) is as strong as the day they married.

I’m not really a fan of schmaltzy television. When a show goes over the top with drama, I am usually turned off. But I liked The Village. I liked it because it’s my world. As many of you know, I live in New York City. To have a house of one’s own is a luxury. Most people either rent or own their apartment.  I understand these characters and familial bond that goes with living in an apartment building.

I recommend it.

The Village airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 10:00. 

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Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

We often make assumptions based on another’s appearance. One of the factors that use to make those assumptions is the height of a person.

Today is Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s 86th birthday. Born in Brooklyn in 1933, she was part of the first generation of women in the 1950’s who sought out a professional career while maintaining a marriage and raising children. Though she facing discrimination on multiple fronts, she knew that the fight for the rights of American women was paramount. In 1993, she became the second female Justice on the Supreme Court when President Bill Clinton appointed her as the then newest member of SCOTUS.

I think the best quote to sum up Justice Ginsburg comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

Justice Ginsburg is one of the many women who paved the way for this generation of American woman. She fought for our rights and lit a fire under our collective bottoms that will never go out.

Happy Birthday Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

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Filed under Feminism, History, New York City, William Shakespeare

William Ryan Key Tour Review

When bands breakup, the question of where the individual artists go musically hangs over the head of both the fans and the performers.

Last night, William Ryan Key (former front man of the pop-punk band Yellowcard) performed last night at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Performing songs from his 2018 solo albums, Thirteen and Virtue (in addition to some old Yellowcard classics), stripped back music to what it should be: a band, a mic, instruments and an audience who has as deep affinity for the artists on stage.

Though the performance space is limited in the number fans it can hold, it was the perfect venue for an intimate performance. Instead of the larger concert venues that Key played while in Yellowcard, Baby’s All Right allows Key to have an intimate, one on one conversation with the small group of fans who know him and love him as an artist.

It was one of the best Friday nights I have had in a long time. I recommend the concert and the albums.

 

 

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Filed under Music, Music Review, New York City

The Wartime Sisters: A Novel Book Review

Sometimes, the relationship we have with our sibling is a complicated one. Just because we came out of the same womb and have the same parents does mean that we are close to our siblings.

In the new book, The Wartime Sisters: A Novel, by Lynda Cohen Loigman, Ruth and Millie are sisters from Brooklyn in New York City. But they don’t always see eye to eye or get along. Ruth is quiet and bookish. Millie is outgoing and popular. Labelled by their parents and the community around them, both internally resent each other for the treatment they receive. As adults, their relationship is fragile, seething with unspoken emotions.

While World War II rages on, Ruth lives with her officer husband and children in Massachusetts.  When tragedy strikes and Millie has nowhere else to go, she travels to Massachusetts with her young son to live with Ruth’s family. With the sisters living in close quarters, old tensions rise to the surface as new faces challenge both Ruth and Millie.

This book is amazing. The sisters are clearly drawn, allowing the reader to empathize with both Ruth and Millie. The world around them is equally drawn in a way that pulls the reader in and does not let go until the final page.

I absolutely recommend it.

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A River Could Be a Tree: A Memoir Book Review

Religion and faith can be seen by two different points of view. One point of view is that religion and faith provide a community, comfort and an understanding of how the universe works. But other point of view is that religion and faith are divisive and rigid; forcing us to judge our fellow human beings by their religious identity and not as an individual.

Writer Angela Himsel‘s childhood could have never predicted the direction her life as an adult took. In her memoir published last year, A River Could Be a Tree: A Memoir, Ms. Himself tells her story. Born to a conservative German-American Christian family in Indiana, she was raised to believe that salvation would only come if she followed the Bible to the letter of the law. With the future of her soul in mind, Ms. Himsel decided to spend part of her college years in Israel. She expected that living in the Holy Land would bring her closer to her Christian faith. Instead, the experience opened her eyes to a world of different perspectives and people. The time in Israel led her ultimately to a conversion to Judaism and a new life as a Jewish woman living in New York City.

This book is a marvel. It’s a marvel because it speaks of the power of faith and the idea where we start in life does not always dictate where we go in our later years.

I recommend it.

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Isn’t It Romantic Movie Review

Every movie genre has its own series of predictable clichés. The romantic comedy genre is no different.

Isn’t It Romantic premiered last week.

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a plus sized woman living in New York City and working in an architecture firm. She is single and cynical about romance. She is even more cynical about romantic comedies. Then she is mugged and knocks herself out running into a pole in an effort to get away from her mugger. When she wakes up, she finds out that the world around her has changed.

Her apartment, which was tiny one room apartment over a store has become the apartment of every New Yorker’s dreams. Every man she meets thinks she is attractive. This includes Blake (Liam Hemsworth), a super hot billionaire who is immediately attracted to Natalie.  Instead of being seen as a gopher by her colleagues, they respect her. The only person who seems the same is her best friend and work husband, Josh (Adam Devine). Then he meets Isabella (Priyanka Chopra), a model and philanthropist. This turns Natalie’s world upside down and she has to decide if she wants to live in a romantic comedy fantasy or live in reality.

I loved this movie. I loved it not only because it’s heroine looks like most women in America, but it exposes in the most satirical (and funniest) way possible, the flaws in the romantic comedy genre. But what I loved most of all was the message of self esteem and loving yourself, regardless of romantic relationship status.

I recommend it.

Isn’t It Romantic is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Amazon Will Not Be Coming To New York City After All

After a lot of hype, criticism and politics, Amazon decided that it would not build its new headquarters in New York City.

To be honest, I am disappointed. While I understand the reasons why some people did not want Amazon to build the new headquarters in Long Island City, I feel like the benefits outweighed the risks.

I also feel like part of the blame falls on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.  Neither was completely open with the public as to the application process and the benefits that Amazon would have received, had they actually proceeded with agreed upon plan. It was just a little too “political backroom deal” for my liking.

But what is done, is done. Amazon has made their decision. There are many, many other businesses that contribute to the financial health of the city and her residents. I just can’t help but wonder what Amazon might have brought to this city, had things been different.

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