Category Archives: New York City

Why Hasn’t Shola Olatoye Been Fired Already?

For any number of reasons, many Americans live in housing that is partially funded by the government. That does not mean, however, that they are not entitled to the same rights as tenants who rent from a private landlord.

Shola Olatoye has been the head of NYCHA for four years. Her job is basically to ensure that the residents of these buildings have safe and comfortable apartments to come home to at the end of the day.

Ms. Olatoye has not done her job. Last month, a roof collapsed in a NYCHA building. Complaints of a water leak were ignored, until it was too late. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. But the apartment is now uninhabitable and the family who lived there has yet to find a suitable permanent replacement for their home. She also lied on federal forms that NYCHA buildings were inspected for lead poisoning, potentially putting lives at risk. Despite the fact that she knew the tests were mandatory, she still signed off on the forms, knowing that the tests were not done.

If that was not enough, residents have been loudly complaining about the lack of heat in their buildings for some time now. It’s February, the fact that this issue has not been resolved brings up serious questions of Ms. Olatoye’s abilities to do the job she was hired to do.

These are tax paying citizens, just because they live in publicly funded buildings instead being able to pay for housing completely out of their own pocket does not mean that they should be getting the short of the stick. If these problems had come up in buildings owned by private landlords, the landlord would have no choice but to resolve the issue ASAP.

The fact is that Ms. Olatoye is unable to complete the responsibilities of the position. Anyone in a management position would say that the buck stops with them. If something goes wrong under their watch, they must have a hand in fixing the problem. If Ms. Olatoye was working for a private company and not for the city, she would have likely lost her job. But she has not lost her job, a fact that absolutely boggles my mind. Her boss, Mayor de Blasio has defended her instead of handing her a pink slip.

I have one question: why hasn’t Shola Olatoye been fired already?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City

Flashback Friday-United 93 (2006)

Among the heartache and tragedy that is September 11th, stories of heroism shine through the darkness. One of those stories is the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93.

The 2006 film, United 93, is the story of their heroism as they fought against their hijackers. While they lost their lives in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, they saved countless others in Washington D.C. by preventing the terrorists from reaching their intended destination. With a cast that includes David Alan Basche playing real life hero Todd Beamer,  the film is told in real-time from the moment the passengers get on the plane, until it crashes, killing everyone aboard.

If there was ever a 9/11 movie that keeps the tension tight until the credits roll while breaking the hearts of the audience, this film is it.

I recommend it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Thoughts On Today’s Women’s March

Americans have become accustomed to our democracy. It is ingrained in every detail of our lives. We have also become complacent, forgetting that democracy must be fought for.

Today I marched in the New York City Women’s March.

Thousands upon thousands of people, marched for the future of our country and our democracy. As with last year’s march, it was a rallying cry not just for women’s rights, but for the rights of immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color etc. We need to remind those in power that we, the voting public are their employers, not the other way around. Through our votes, we tell them when they are hired and when they are fired. Unfortunately, some of those in power have forgotten whom they are beholden to when it comes to their employment.

I hope that today’s march was a reminder of who controls the keys to the kingdom. And if they have forgotten, perhaps the midterm elections later in the year will remind them.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, History, New York City, Politics

Cruel Intentions The Musical Review

Two thoughts come to mind when it is announced that a musical based on a story that is not a musical will soon be on stage. One thought is that the producers have chosen a known work with a dedicated fan base, who can spread the word and reduce the work of the publicity department. The other thought is that the producers took the easy way out, choosing a known work instead of taking a chance on a work by a writer whose name is not as well-known.

I saw Cruel Intentions: The Musical earlier today. As with the 1999 film of the same name, the story is set in New York City. Sebastian Valmont (Constantine Rousouli, taking over from Ryan Phillipe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Lauren Zarkin, taking over from Sarah Michelle Gellar) are rich step-siblings. They make a bet that Sebastian can seduce Annette Hargrove (Carrie St. Louis, taking over from Reese Witherspoon), the virgin daughter of their school’s new headmaster. If Sebastian wins, he gets to sleep with Kathryn, the one girl who is out of his reach. If Kathryn wins, she can claim ownership of Sebastian’s car, his pride and joy.  It seems like a simple task, but by the time the game of seduction and lies is over, nothing will be the same.

Based on the book Dangerous Liaisons, the show is a ton of fun and extremely enjoyable. True to the film incarnation, with a singable soundtrack straight out of the 1990s, the show is one of the best I have seen in a very long time.

I absolutely recommend it.

Cruel Intentions is playing at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleeker Street, New York City) until March 16th, 2018. 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Broadway Musical Review, Movies, Music, New York City

Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Dawson’s Creek

We all have those television shows from our teenage years. No matter how old we get, we are always reminded of that juncture in our lives when those television shows come on.

20 years ago tomorrow, the pilot of Dawson’s Creek premiered. Set in a fictional coastal New England town, the show is about four friends who are dealing with everything that comes with being a teenager.

Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) is the movie buff/Steven Spielberg wannabe. His best friend, tomboy/girl next door Joey Potter (Katie Holmes) has been climbing up into Dawson’s bedroom and slipping into his bed since they were little. Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) is the new girl in town, shipped off from New York City to live with her grandmother.

This show was must see television when I was younger. I remember pilling into a friend’s dorm room in college every Wednesday at 8PM like clockwork. Created by Kevin Williamson, Dawson’s Creek was one of the hallmark shows of what was then known as the WB network. Created for the then teenage audience, the character arcs and narratives spoke to and spoke of what it is to be a teenager.  The show also paved the way for other teenage dramas that would dot the television schedule in later years.

I can’t believe it’s been twenty years. Perhaps it’s time for another viewing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, New York City, Television

Coogans Restaurant Is Saved!

Every neighborhood, every town, has that restaurant or bar. Local families have been coming for generations.  Walking into this bar or restaurant is akin to walking into the home of a close friend or family member. It’s more than the food or the staff, it’s an extension of home and family.

Coogan’s Restaurant has been a staple of Washington Heights, a neighborhood in the Northern portion of Manhattan for over 30 years. It was on the brink of closing due to an extreme rent increase by the landlord. Thankfully, a deal was made between the restaurants owners and the landlord and restaurant will remain open.

I don’t know about other cities, but this is a problem for New York City. While I understand that landlords have bill to pay, raising rents beyond what is reasonable hurts both the city and the residents who call the city home. New York City should not just be the city where only thing earning a six figure income and above call home. It should be a city (like all cities) where residents of all income levels can call the city home. Unfortunately, with rents (and prices in general) going up, I fear that one day that middle class in New York City will be a thing of the past and those who call the city home will either be very rich or very poor.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City

Thoughts On The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s New Fees

New York City, among its many attractions, contains some of the most well-known and respected museums. Among those museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one the best.

For years, while the suggested entry fee has been $25.00 , though it is not mandatory. A visitor could pay $1.00 and have the same experience as another visitor who pays the full $25.00.

As of March 1st of this year, that fee is going to change.

I get it, they have bills and employees to pay, buildings to maintain, etc.  I also have a feeling that they receive some money from local and state taxes, therefore allowing New York State residents to keep paying what they wish.

But, I also have a sneaking suspicion that the mandatory fee for everyone else is going to bite them in the proverbial behind. Consider it this way: a family of four is in New York on vacation (they are not from New York State) and plans to include the Met as one of the places they would like visit.  Let’s say that their children are over the age of 12, which means just to get into the museum, they are paying $74.00. Then of course, there is really no place to eat outside of the museum, so they go down to the cafeteria. And just to add the cherry on top, visiting the gift shop is a must. That means that this family of four could end paying around $150, just for this one museum.

Now granted, the Met is quite expansive, one could really spend an entire day there if one wishes. There are three satellite locations and as of March 1st, admission is still valid for three consecutive days to visit any of those other sites.

Museums used to be for the wealthy elite who had time on the hands. Thankfully, the museum has become a symbol of education and culture for everyone, it didn’t matter if you earned six figures or you earned a minimum wage salary. The suggested entry fee allowed anyone, regardless of what they can afford, to learn about history and art and culture in new and exciting ways. My fear is that this change in admission fee will return the museum to days when museums belongs to the elite and not to everyone.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under New York City

I Got Out Of The House Today

Do. Or do notThere is no try.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

One of the more common signs of depression is how easy it is to stay home and do nothing.

The weather in New York City for the past few days has been frigid. Walking outside is akin to walking into an icebox. No amount of layers can protect against the freezing temperature.

I could have stayed in today after completing some minor errands. It would have been easy to say that the weather makes for an excuse for staying in.

But I knew I couldn’t stay home. I couldn’t let the depression win. Not today at least.

It took a lot for me to get out after completing my errands. More than I expected. But I did it. I know that my depression will never go away. But if I have the courage and strength to fight against it, then maybe one day, it will not have the stranglehold it does on my life.

1 Comment

Filed under Misc, Movies, New York City, Star Wars

Pride and Prejudice Play Review

Pride and Prejudice is the book that Jane Austen is most famous for. It is the story of the rocky courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Published in 1813, it remains a beloved classic more than two centuries after its initial publishing.

Recently, a stage version of the book premiered at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City. Written by actor/playwright/Janeite Kate Hamill (who also stars as Elizabeth Bennet), the play is the story of the middle class Bennet sisters who are in need of husbands. With no brother to directly secure the family estate for the next generation and very small dowries to call their own, they have only one choice and that is to marry well. Eldest sister Jane (Amelia Pedlow, who also plays Miss De Bourgh) catches the eye of the newest bachelor in town, Mr. Bingley (John Tufts, who also plays Mary Bennet).  Elizabeth is unhappily introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy (Jason O’Connell), Bingley’s best friend. They don’t exactly get along.

This play is nothing short of brilliant. Using a small stage, actors playing multiple characters and Austen’s text (for the most part), the play is well worth a few hours of your time. I will warn that Ms. Hamill did make some changes that do not exactly adhere to the cannon, but the changes were well worth it.

I absolutely recommend it.

Pride and Prejudice is playing at The Cherry Lane Theater at 38 Commerce Street in New York City until January 6th, 2018. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Broadway Play Review, Jane Austen, New York City, Pride and Prejudice

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 visitor is first greeted by Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan). Mr. Carson is eager to show the visitor the upstairs where the family lives, but he questions why the visitor is interested in seeing the downstairs portion. The visitor then goes up three flights of stairs, starting with the kitchen and areas where the staff congregate, then following the escalators upstairs to see the areas of the house where the family lives.

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. 

Leave a comment

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