Category Archives: 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.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City, Television

Climate Change What?????

Climate change, whether we like it or not, is a reality. The ice caps are melting, the weather is becoming more extreme and in case anyone is living under a rock, Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas not even two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma has left a path of destruction through the Caribbean on her way to the American southeast and Hurricane Jose is on the tail of Hurricane Irma.

The man sitting in the Oval Office not only took the US out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier this year, but he also signed an executive order not too long ago (i.e. just before Harvey made landfall in Texas) that undid the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard signed into law by the Obama Administration.

Did anyone else see The Day After Tomorrow from 2004? While the film makers did not exactly adhere to the facts that scientists agree on regarding climate change, the message of the film is as real today as it was 13 years ago.

When we bite Mother Nature, she bites back, twice as hard.

Leave a comment

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

Flashback Friday-Just Looking (1999)

Being a teenager is the most confusing, amazing and life altering experience that anyone will ever have.

In 1999’s Just Looking, Lenny (Ryan Merriman) is a 14 year boy living in the Bronx in 1955. Summer has just begun and Lenny has only one goal to complete by the time school starts: watch two adults, well, make whoopee, as was the phrase from the period. His mother Sylvia (Patti LuPone) sends him to Queens for the summer to live her pregnant younger sister and her husband. Meeting the gorgeous and much older Hedy (Gretchen Mol) turns Lenny’s world upside down.

Lenny’s original goal may be to catch two adults in the act, but he learn much more that summer.

Coming of age stories are nothing new. But in the hands of skilled writer, the coming of age story feels universal. It also helps that this film is set in the mid 1950’s, creating an emotional distance that allows the audience not only to consider the age of the main character, but the world he lived and grew up in.

I recommend it.

Leave a comment

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

Five Best Summer Movies Of 2017

The summer of 2017 has been a very interesting for movies. Listed below is the best movies of this past summer.

1. Wonder Woman

Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, this feminist blockbuster finally broke through the boys club solo movie superhero franchise. After watching her superhero brothers in arms have multiple movie franchises of their own, Wonder Woman finally began to tell her own story. It was the perfect combination of light and dark, growing up and classic bad-ass superhero. All in all, I say it was a good movie.

2.  The Big Sick

Based on the real life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and his real life wife, Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan play out the ups and down of their courtship, including Emily’s extended hospital stay. Also starring Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents, this film takes the standard romantic comedy and flips it on its head.

 

3. Lady Macbeth

A young woman is married off to a much older man who is need of a wife and an heir. Living in an isolated English country house, she has an affair with one of the servants. The film has the bone chilling psychology of a feminist Hitchcock thriller combined with the imagery and narrative of a Wuthering Heights adaptation. Starring Florence Pugh, the film is a completely new spin on the traditional BPD (British Period Drama) that goes where few stories in the genre would dare to go.

4. The Women’s Balcony

After the collapse of the women’s section in an Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem, the men turn to a new Rabbi. The problem is that the new Rabbi has very different ideas than what has been done before. The women are not pleased and take things into their own hands. Despite being set in a very specific community, the film is universal in its message about the consequences of pissing women off.

5. Menashe

Set in the ultra-Orthodox community of Borough Park Brooklyn, Menashe (Menashe Lustig) is a widower who has lost custody of his son to his in-laws. He has been told that he can only take his son back when he re-marries, but he is not inclined to re-marry and is trying to prove that he can be a good father without re-marrying. A story of of faith and fatherhood, this film speaks to all of us, regardless about the trials of being a parent and observing the rules we live with.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Teri Garr Retrospective At BAM-Part I-Tootsie (1982)

It takes a smart actor to play a dumb character. Teri Garr is one of those actors.

This weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music or BAM for short, is having a Teri Garr retrospective.

Earlier today, I saw Tootsie (1982). Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an actor whose difficult reputation precedes him. Unable to get a job, he becomes Dorothy Michaels and gets a job on a soap opera. Garr plays Sandy, one of Michael’s actor friends whose neurosis is exacerbated by her inability to find work and Michael’s inconsistency during this period.

I’m not an actor, but I can imagine that many actors, especially those whose work history is sketchy, can relate to Sandy’s neurosis. She is the flip side to Jessica Lange’s Julie, Michael/Dorothy’s co-star and love interest. Ms. Garr could have gone completely out there, playing a stereotype. But there is a reality to her character. Sandy’s neurosis (which considering her choice of career is understandable) is firmly rooted in her lack of lack of self-esteem, which when done properly, can be incredibly funny. The character of Sandy is funny, as is the actress who plays her, Teri Garr.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Hurricane Harvey-We Are All Americans

The rally in Charlottesville two weeks ago was a shock to America. It revealed not only our differences, but the schisms that are keeping us apart. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a disaster to bring us together. This weekend, that disaster is Hurricane Harvey.

Many of my regular readers know that I am a born and bred New Yorker. I lived through both 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. The thing I remember about both is that we temporarily forgot our differences and remembered that we are all Americans. If we needed a kick in the behind to remind us of this, Hurricane Harvey is that kick.

Whatever our differences are, we need to put those aside and help our fellow citizens. Whether it is a donation to a reputable charity or volunteering to help the victims, please give. Our fellow citizens need us.

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, New York City

Ample Hills

The last few days have been a downer, to say the least. While the summer is sadly coming to an end, it is quite over yet.

I’d like to change topics and talk about something that makes all of us happy, especially this time of year…..ice cream!!!!!

One of my favorite ice cream shops in all of Brooklyn is Ample Hills.

It is one of the most authentic ice cream shops I’ve ever been in. The multitude of flavors is sure to please any palate.

And of course, they have teamed up with Baked By Melissa to create a new flavor of ice cream. My mouth is already watering.

I absolutely recommend Ample Hills. It is worth the trip.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York City