Category Archives: New York City

The Jeffersons Character Review: George Jefferson

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 The Jeffersons. Read 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. The American dream is the ability to pull yourself and your family up by your bootstraps. But as we all know, that dream still does not apply to everyone. On The Jeffersons, the patriarch of the family, George Jefferson is not exactly humble.

Descending from sharecroppers, and growing in poverty during the Depression, George became a business owner. Opening a chain of dry cleaners, he was able to move his wife Louise (Isabel Sanford) and son Lionel (played by both Damon Evans and Mike Evans) from Harlem to Queens and then finally to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There are some in his shoes who would be unassuming and appreciative. But not George.

Like his former neighbor, Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), George is arrogant, full of it, and has certain ideas about certain people. Though underneath it all he is a loving and supportive husband and father, that is not the impression one gets upon meeting him for the first time. He takes pleasure in riling up his neighbors, Tom and Helen Willis (Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker), and their maid Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs). His schemes to bring in more money usually ended up in failure, to be replaced with a new idea.

To sum it up: George Jefferson should be proud of his success. In his time, what he was able to achieve is nothing to sneeze at. But there is a thin line between pride and arrogance. That being said, the reason that audiences have loved this character for nearly fifty years is the duality of being a good spouse and parent and having a large ego. Balancing both aspects, George appeals to the audience in a way that not only breaks boundaries but reveals the human side to what could easily be a dislikable man.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, New York City, Television

Can You Know Who Be Blamed for the Nursing Homes Scandal in New York?

The decision to put one’s parent or grandparent into a nursing home is never an easy one. When the decision was made almost twenty years ago to move my late maternal grandmother into a nursing home, she fought tooth and nail to stay in her home. Though we did it out of love, it was a challenging moment for all of us.

Earlier today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo conceded that he should have released all of the information in regards to the number of New Yorkers who died from Covid-19 while living in nursing homes. His claim is that “politics” and you know who is partially to blame.

We all know that you know who had the opportunity to prevent, or at the very least, limit the damage that Covid-19 has left in its wake. But that is on the national level. When it comes to New York State, you know who had nothing to do with it. It was up to Governor Cuomo and his administration to do as much as they could to fight this virus. One could argue that we were all acting last year based on the information that was available at the time. While this argument has some validity, it cannot gloss over the fact that the numbers that were initially presented did not tell the whole story.

After the debacle of the last four years, I would have thought that Cuomo (or any politician for that matter), would have learned the lesson of taking one’s lumps like an adult. Instead, he chose to take the easy way out, proving that in this case, he is no better than you know who.

1 Comment

Filed under National News, New York City, Politics

Flashback Friday: Fresh Air (1985-Present)

Knowing how to interview people is a skill that is always is need.

The NPR and WNYC podcast Fresh Air, has been on the air since 1985. Hosted by Terry Gross, the subjects and guests come from the varying worlds of politics, popular culture, and entertainment.

I look forward to listening to this podcast. Listening to Gross (who has the perfect radio voice) and Fresh Air is akin to sitting in on a lecture from your favorite college professor. The stories that come out of each episode are interesting, entertaining, and sometimes, a learning experience.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, New York City, Podcast, Podcast Review, WNYC

SNL’s Zillow Sketch Speaks the Truth

The American dream has always been a version of the following: owning one’s home, happily married, raising healthy and content children, and perhaps owning a pet.

But for some of us who are part of the millennial generation, the dream is just that.

The Zillow sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live over the weekend speaks of the painful truth.

The professional and social security net that our parents and grandparents knew does not exist anymore. Decades ago, it was not uncommon to get a job straight of school, stay in that job for decades, and retire comfortably in one’s fifties or sixties. With that steady income, homeownership was almost guaranteed.

For most adults under a certain age, this is a pipe dream. Due to any number of factors (which Covid has only made worse), the job market has ebbs and flows, creating highs and lows when it comes to employment numbers. The housing market is worse. According to experts, one’s rent or mortgage should be no more than 30% of their monthly bills.

I would love for that to be the case. I don’t know about other housing markets, but in New York City, some homes cost millions of dollars. The 30% rule is already out the window when the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment is the same as a mortgage on a four-bedroom house with a large plot of land and a driveway outside of the city.

The skit was not meant (in my mind at least) to shame Zillow (or any real estate company). It simply pointed out that for many people, home ownership is being their reach and will never come to fruition.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, New York City, Television

Second Snowstorm in NYC in a Week. Is it Spring Yet?

1 Comment

Filed under New York City

Eleanor Book Review

Some people know from an early age that they are going to change the world. Others simply change their world by being a decent human being and seeing the injustice that is forced on others.

The new Eleanor Roosevelt biography, titled Eleanor, was written by David Michaelis. Published last fall, this is an extensive womb to tomb biography of the late former First Lady. Born in 1884 in New York City to the wealthy and respected Roosevelt family, her childhood was not a happy one. She lost both of her parents and her younger brother by the she was a teenager. As a young woman, she married her fifth cousin and future President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Their marriage not all sunshine and roses. But it became the platform she needed to become one of the greatest social justice warriors of the 20th century. Whether or not she knew it, Eleanor was a proto-feminist while serving as First Lady. Instead of quietly following in the footsteps of her predecessors, she became an activist. While other women were just starting to step out of the traditionally female world, she jumped whole heartedly into the causes she believed in.

This book is a masterpiece. It is gripping, entertaining, and humanizes a giant of American history. I will warn however, that it is far from a short read. But it is completely worth it, taking the reader behind the public image to see real woman behind the myth.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Leave a comment

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

Flashback Friday: Soon By You (2016-Present)

Dating, as we know it to be, is not as simple as it appears. Though some may find their potential love/spouse/life partner early on, others have to go through several relationships before finding that person.

Soon By You premiered in 2016. Taking place in New York City, it is sort of an Modern Orthodox Jewish version of Friends. The series follows a group of twenty somethings who are trying to find their bashert (soulmate) while juggling every other aspect of life.

Written by Leah Gottfried (who is also the series’ director), Danny Hoffman, and Uri Westrich, this YouTube web series is charming and entertaining. While it uses the rom-com narrative tropes and characters are used as the backbone, they are flipped in a way that does not feel predictable or boring.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, New York City, Television

Thoughts on International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

Democracy, as Americans have recently learned the hard way, is not guaranteed or promised. It must be cherished, protected, and stood up for when necessary. The same could be said for human rights.

Today is International Holocaust Memorial Day. Some may say that we no longer need this day of remembrance, it so far in the past that we can move on. The hard and sad truth is that we cannot move on. Eighty years after the end of World War II, anti-Semitism (and prejudice is general) is as alive and well now as it was then.

Back in the summer of 2019, I went to the Auschwitz museum in New York City. If there is one message that is clear, it is that both the perpetrators and victims were normal people, as normal as you and I.

I recently finished watching the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. It takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian patriarchy in which women are second class citizens and non-conformists are enslaved or killed. Though it could be called dystopian science fiction novel, the truth is that this world is closer to our reality than we think it is. The riot in Washington D.C. three weeks ago was a cold slap in the face and a harsh reminder of that truth.

The only way to prevent another Holocaust of any group of people is education, respecting diversity, and remembering the past.

May the memory of those who were murdered because of who they were (my own relatives included) forever be a blessing.

Z”L.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, History, Hulu, New York City, Politics, Television, Thoughts On....

Saying Goodbye to Melania Trump in the Best Way Possible: With A Song In Her Heart, Melania Trump Returns To New York

Imitation, we are told is the sincerest form of flattery. It can also reveal truths that we would rather not deal with.

For the last four years, actress Laura Benanti has been satirizing former First Lady Melania Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Last Tuesday, Benanti stepped into the shoes of Mrs. Trump for the last time.

Start at 3:53

It’s as if they were saving the best for last. Using the opening number from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a baseline, the song speaks to how much we want her and her family out of the city.

I hate to say it, but there is one thing I will miss about you know who and his family. It is the comedy that is writing itself.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty and the Beast, National News, New York City, Politics, Television

If Israel Can Vaccinate Their Population in a Quick and Orderly Manner, Why Can’t the US?

The evidence in regards to controlling Covid-19 is obvious. Approximately half to a third of the population needs to be vaccinated (otherwise known as herd immunity) for the virus to lose it’s potency. The question is, what measure are governments around the world taking to stop it in its tracks?

While the United States is floundering in its attempt to get the shots into the arms of Americans, 20% of the Israeli population has received the vaccine as of last Wednesday.

Granted, Israel is a much smaller country in both population and size. That being said, it comes down to planning, coordination with the government at every level, and assistance of the medical industry. The problem in the United States is two fold. Thanks to you know who, the system that is supposed to transfer the vaccine from the federal government to state and local governments can only be described as a hot mess. The issue compounded by the American healthcare system, which has been problematic for many years.

Back in 1947, a smallpox outbreak hit New York City. Via a coordinated effort between the city and the Public Health Service, millions were vaccinated in less than a month. Only twelve people were infected and of that number, only two people lost their lives.

The fact is that it is possible to end this plague and return to some semblance of normalcy. But we can only do that if those in the halls of power work together.

2 Comments

Filed under International News, National News, New York City, Politics, World News