Category Archives: New York City

Rest in Revolution, RBG

Activism is not always done standing on a soapbox with a microphone in one’s hand. It can be done working quietly behind the scenes.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday. Born and raised in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, she came of age in an era when most women quietly settled in marriage and motherhood. She could have followed the pack, but chose another life. That life led her to become only the second women to join the United States Supreme Court. Serving nearly three decades, she was a feminist and icon in every sense of the word.

I can’t think of any other Supreme Court Justice who has deified on Saturday Night Live. Kate McKinnon is perfection.

Her passing represents more than her physical death. The question comes up of who should replace her. If precedent has anything to say, whomever fills her seat will not be named until after November. But, given the current state of American politics, I would not be surprised if there was already a list of potential replacements waiting in the wings.

In the words of our mutual ancestors, may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration to fight for equality.

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Filed under Feminism, New York City, National News, Television, History, Politics

Manifest Character Review: Michaela Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 ManifestRead 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 times are tough, belief is sometimes all we have to get by. On Manifest, Michaela Stone has just survived a very strange plane ride. Arriving back in New York City with her brother Ben (Josh Dallas) and nephew Cal (Jack Messina) five and a half years after getting on a flight home from vacation, she finds that her world has changed. Her mother is dead and her now ex-boyfriend Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez) is married to Michaela’s best friend.

Things get complicated when Michaela has to go back to work as a police officer with Jared as her partner. Then the callings come, guiding her to do things that are not quite explainable. This leads her to Zeke Landon (Matt Long), bringing up Jared’s jealousy after they slept together. Eventually, Zeke and Michaela get married.

Through all of this, she follows the callings, believing in their message. While she goes on belief, her brother Ben goes on logic, looking for some sort of connection for what they have been through.

To sum it up: Some may think that believing is hokey or old fashioned. But it is has the power to give us hope when we have none. Michaela’s belief in following what she knows is right leads her to answer the questions in front of her and find the love of her life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man Book Review

No one knows you like your family. We may be able to put on a face for the outside world, but not for those who know us best.

In the last couple of years, there has been a flood of books about you know who and his attempt at being President of the United States. One of the most recent books is written by his only niece, Mary Trump. It is entitled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

In the book, Ms. Trump, a trained psychologist, describes how you know who became the man who he is today. The fourth of five children from New York City, he was raised by two parents who can only be described as lacking parental inclination. When her late father, Fred Trump Jr., became a disappointment to his father, the spotlight fell on you know who. Tracing the patterns from childhood to the present day, she tells the story of the President as only a family member can.

This is an incredible book. It is one of those books that is hard to put down. The narrative is compelling, well written and just a good read. It is also a reminder of why you know who needs to be a one term President.

I absolutely recommend it.

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

It’s 19 Years Since 9/11

Time goes faster than we think it goes.

Today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe that it is 19 years.

There is a whole generation of kids who were very young or not yet born when the towers fell. Looking back, the years leading up to September 11th, 2001 feels like a pleasant dream in which we were violently waken up from.

Though it is nearly a full generation, the pain and the grief feel as fresh as if it was September 12th, 2001. My heart still breaks for those who died that day and their surviving loved ones. Time can do many things, including heal old wounds. But it can never erase the memory of what happened that day.

May the memories of those were killed that day and those first responders who have died in the years since forever be a blessing to us all.

Z”l.

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Filed under History, Music, New York City

Manifest Character Review: Ben Stone

*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 ManifestRead 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 is amazing how a single moment can forever change the course of our lives. At the point, who we are is divided in half: before that moment and after that moment.

On Manifest, Ben Stone’s (Josh Dallas) journey starts with an ordinary event. Coming home from vacation to his home in New York City with his family, they are greeted with the announcement that their flight is overbooked. Due to the financial concerns with his son Cal’s (Jack Messina) cancer treatment, Ben, Cal, and Ben sister’s Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) agree to take a later flight.

While in the air, the plane hits turbulence. When it finally lands, the passengers are informed that they have been missing for over five years. But while the time has not passed for those on the plane, it has passed for everyone else.

Needless too say, getting back to their pre-flight normal is far from his easy. Ben’s wife, Grace (Athena Karkanis) is torn between her husband and a relationship that has developed in the years since they were separated. Their daughter, Olive (Luna Blaise) is still resentful that her father’s attention was on her brother and has gotten used to being father-less.

On top of that, Ben starts hearing voices (known as the callings), directing him to do things which he is not quite sure about. Pulled into the mystery of what happened on that plane and getting his son back to health, he is not the same man as he was before. He can also be very single minded at certain times, making it difficult to see the rest of the world around him.

To sum it up: Our lives are never static, as much as we would like them to be. Change is happening around us, whether we recognize it or not. It is how we react to that change that shapes us. Ben is one of those characters who is smart enough to recognize that his life is not the same. He knows that it would be foolish to deny what has happened to him, he can only play the cards that he has been dealt.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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All in the Family Character Review: Maude Finley

*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 All in the FamilyRead 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.

Our families, as much as we love them, can drive us crazy. The same goes for the families that we marry into. In an ideal world, we would get along with our in-laws. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

On All in the Family, Maude Findlay (the late Bea Arthur) is Edith Bunker’s (the late Jean Stapleton) cousin. Maude arrives when Edith is sick, seeing that she is needed. She gets along great with Mike and Gloria (Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers). But there is one person who she does not get along with: Edith’s husband, Archie (the late Carroll O’Connor).

Maude is an out and proud liberal. Archie firmly believes in the ideals of the political right. They get along like oil and water, knowing exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Edith tries to keep the peace, but to no avail.

To sum it up: Every great character needs someone to challenge them. Maude challenges Archie at his level, matching biting remark for biting remark. Neither tops the other, though they do try.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

This will be my last All in the Family Character Review post. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is…come back next week and find out.

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

There Has to be a Way to Re-Open Indoor Dining in NYC

In times of crisis, making tough decisions are the norm. The last six months with Covid-19 has forced these decisions to be made both on the governmental level and the individual level.

In New York City, the hospitality and the restaurants industries have been devastated. Initially, there was only takeout and delivery allowed. Then the restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining only. But, the revenue coming in could not compare to what was previously made when customers were able to eat inside.

Anyone who lives in the Northeast of the United States knows that we do not have warm weather 365 days a year. Before we know it, winter will be here and outdoor dining will be impossible. But both the Mayor and the Governor refuse to allow restaurants to open for indoor dining, even with limitations.

I understand why the Mayor and the Governor are still refusing to allow restaurants to allow customers inside. New York and New York City especially has worked incredibly hard to reduce our overall Covid numbers. I am also completely aware of how dense the city is.

They claim that they are waiting for a vaccine. The problem is that it will likely not be available for the general public until the end of the year or early next year. This city cannot afford to wait that long.

There are two problems with this refusal. The first is that New Jersey and the rest of the state does allow some indoor dining. Diners who are eager to go out to eat (and sit inside) and unemployed hospitality employees will not stay within NYC’s borders. The second is that the restaurant industry is one of the economic backbones of the city. Without this institution, New York City will die a slow and painful financial death, with Covid-19 being the final nail in the coffin.

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Five Reasons to Shop at an Independent Bookstore

There was a time, not too long ago, that every town and city had at least one bookstore to call their own. But that time has long since passed, thanks to the Amazons and Barnes and Nobles of the world.

Yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day.

Below are the reasons to shop at an independent bookstore.

  • You support the community, in addition to the specific store. The rate of success for small businesses (pre-Covid-19) are disheartening at best. Within ten years of opening, 70% of them will close. These days, who knows how many will be able to keep their doors open?
  • It is an opportunity to get out of the house. As much as I appreciate the convenience of ordering online, there is no joy in that. Over the last few years, I have gotten together with friends for several bookstore crawls. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than books, friends, and a good walk.
  • Many of these stores highlight local authors and stories that add flavors to the story of the area.
  • There are more than books to be found within their walls. Some stores have opened small cafes, others host events and classes.
  • They are gathering places. Not just for the purpose of the product that will be purchased, but for the opportunity to meet and connect with other bibliophiles.

Two of my favorite bookstores in New York City are Books Are Magic and Strand Bookstore.

Readers, do you have a preferred independent bookstore near you? Feel free to share them on the comments below.

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Filed under Books, New York City

All in the Family Character Review: Gloria Stivic

*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 All in the FamilyRead 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.

Ideally, when we marry, the family we are born into and raised by will get along with our new spouse and their family. But that is not always the case. On All in the Family, Gloria Stivic (Sally Struthers) is the only child of Archie and Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Married to Michael “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner), Gloria is the peace maker between her liberal husband and her conservative father who refers to her as “little girl”.

During the first few years of their marriage, Gloria supports her husband while he attends college. Working at a department store, she only has a high school education, which does not help during arguments with Mike. After Mike receives his degree, they move into the house next door to her parents and welcome their son into the world.

Unafraid to speak her mind, Gloria can verbally tussle with her father as no one else can. As a young woman in the 1970’s, she speaks for the feminists of that generation, who were just starting to ramp up the fight for equality.

After they move to California, Gloria and Mike’s marriage falls apart. She eventually returns to New York as a single mother, working in a veterinarians office.

To sum it up: It’s a tough place to be in, torn between between the person you married and the family who you have known your entire life. But Gloria is somehow able to figure out how to walk that very thin tightrope without ruining her relationship with her parents and her husband.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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

All in the Family Character Review: Michael “Meathead” Stivic

*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 All in the FamilyRead 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.

Marriage, we are told is a compromise. It is also more than the coming together of two people making what will hopefully be a lifetime commitment. It is the coming together of two families. But whether or not these families learn to like or even love each other is another story.

Michael “Meathead” Stivic is the liberal son-in-law of Archie & Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Michael or Mike as he is called, initially lives with his wife, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and his in-laws while attending college. To say that Mike and Archie don’t get along is an understatement. Nicknamed “meathead” by Archie, their arguments can go from 0 to 60 in an instant.

But just because he leans politically to the left does not mean that he is perfect. He can be racist and chauvinistic at times, forcing a hard look in the mirror. He is also not the perfect husband. When his son was a baby, Mike got a job in California. This was unfortunately the beginning of the end of the marriage. More than a decade after Mike and Gloria married, their divorce was finalized.

To sum it up: Politics and familial relationships do not always make easy bedfellows. That being said, that does mean that just because you are related to someone on the other side of the political aisle, that you are all good and they are all bad. It is about trying to see the other side and finding some sort of common ground. Unfortunately, as admirable as some audience members might think Mike he is, he might be too much like his father-in-law for his own comfort.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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