Tag Archives: New York City

Thank You, Andy Byford

Even if one has never visited New York City, most, if not all people know about the New York City transit system, known as the MTA. But, if you live or work here, you may be inclined to use certain phrases about the MTA that I will not be using on this blog.

Two years ago, Andy Byford accepted the role of President of the New York City Transit Authority. Yesterday was his last day on the job.

When he took over as President in 2018, he took on a Herculean task. The system serves millions of riders and is over 100 years old. In addition to dealing with the public, he had to work with the the local and state governments, and ensure that his staff had what they needed to do their jobs.

Under his tenure, there was real improvement. Unfortunately, due to rumored conflict with the Governor, Mr. Byford chose to step down.

Thank you Andy Byford, for your attention and your effort. The transit system will never be perfect, but the improvements are a step in the right direction.

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Thoughts on Eric Adams’ Telling Non-Native New Yorkers to Go Back to Ohio and Iowa

If you know nothing about New York City, you know that it is an expensive place to live. For the same price of renting or buying a home in New York City, one can buy a home with a large piece of land in another part of the country.

Last Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stated the following during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech.

“Go back to Iowa, you go back to Ohio,” he said during a speech in Harlem.

“New York City belongs to the people that was here and made New York City what it is.”

To be fair, the point he is making is not exactly a lie. Living in New York City is not cheap. In many neighborhoods that were once considered to be untouchable, gentrification is causing rent and home prices to rise. An unfortunate side effect of this is that long time residents of these neighborhoods (many of whom who are people of color), cannot afford to stay in their homes.

However, the blame does not lie on the feet of those who come from states like Iowa and Ohio. I have many friends who are not native New Yorkers. Their contribution to this city is just as important as those of us who were born here. The blame lies on the building owners and the developers who charge prices for homes that is unreasonable for most of America. The blame also lies with the city and the state who do not step in to make sure that the homeless population is not increasing because of rising rent and home buying prices.

New York City has always welcome newcomers. It is what makes this city so vibrant and so beautiful. If this city is to thrive in the future, we must continue to welcome newcomers. We must also ensure that those who live here can continue to live here. But that does not mean we blame those newcomers for being able to afford to live here.

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When Did it Become Open Season on the Jews of New York City?

As a student of history and Jewish history, I’ve learned one thing: the treatment of the Jewish community is akin to the canary in the coalmine. When the Jewish community is treated well by their neighbors, the canary is silent. But when the Jewish community is not treated well, the canary symbolically dies, warning of the coming danger.

Over the past two weeks, there have been nearly a dozen incidents of antisemitic attacks in New York City. On Thursday night a woman was verbally abused and attacked as she walked out of Brooklyn Dunkin Donuts with her son. This morning, police announced that they were investigating another attack, bringing the total to 9.

When my family came to America and settled in New York more than a century ago, they hoped that their new land would provide the freedom and security that Europe lacked. They knew that antisemitism existed in the US, but they hoped that they would be protected from such heinous words and deeds. I don’t think (at least I hope) they expected that their descendants would not be experiencing the same vicious antisemitism that they knew all too well.

Something needs to be done, now. Those who have been accused of such crimes should absolutely be given their day in court and if found guilty, should be given the maximum punishment possible. No one, regardless of faith, ethnicity or family background deserves to be treated as such.

There have been comparisons over the last few years to Germany in 1933. I keep hoping and praying that America does not devolve into the past. But given what has happened over the past couple of weeks, I fear that my hopes and prayers are meaningless.

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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Book Review

A memoir has the potential to tell a good story. It also has the potential to appear to the reader that the writer is all about me me me.

Last month, writer Mira Jacob published her memoir in graphic novel form, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Currently living in New York City, Ms. Jacob is the daughter of Indian-American parents. Growing up with dark skin and immigrant parents, she was often faced with questions that are uncomfortable by nature. The questions became even more complicated when she married her Jewish filmmaker husband and brought her biracial son into the world.

What makes this book standout for me is that it is written in graphic novel form instead of being written in the traditional format for a memoir. In other memoirs where uncomfortable topics such as race and immigration are talked about, the writer may have the tendency to preach or write in a dry, academic style. In this book, Ms. Jacob writes in a way that makes these topics feel approachable and more importantly, talk-able.

I recommend it.

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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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Movies Celebrating Anniversaries- The Graduate (1967), Annie Hall (1997) and A League Of Their Own (1992)

There are some movies that are, for lack of a better term, so forgettable, that you walk out of the theater almost immediately forgetting that you saw the film.

Then there are some films that are loved and cherished, that decades after their premiere, they are still being talked about. This year celebrates the anniversaries of three memorable and loved films: The Graduate (1967), celebrating its 50th anniversary, Annie Hall (1977), celebrating its 40th anniversary and A League Of Their Own (1992), celebrating it’s 25 year anniversary.

The Graduate (1967)
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a young man in his early 20’s just trying to figure life in general, as many of us do at that age. While dating Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross), he is sleeping with her mother, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft).

What makes this film brilliant is that Benjamin Braddock speaks to all 20 somethings who are just trying to figure out life in general. Included in the recipe for a film that stands the test of time is the immortal soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel and a narrative that would have never even seen the light of day ten years before. The Graduate represents a small, but important change in not just Hollywood, but the overall cultural shift that was slowly changing the world.

Annie Hall (1977)

Annie Hall is the romantic comedy. Ditzy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) is dating neurotic Alvy Singer (Woody Allen). That is until they break up and Alvy is reminiscing about their relationship.

I love this movie for a number of reasons. It is one of New York City’s most iconic films. I also love that neither Annie or Alvy are the ideal romantic comedy leads and the ending is not the typical Hollywood/fairy tale ending. Instead of a glossed over, predictable narrative, Allen and his co-screenwriter, Marshall Brickman write about a real relationship and are not afraid to show the bumps in the road that sometimes occur in a romantic relationship.

A League Of Their Own (1992)
During World War II, while the men are away fighting the Axis powers, the woman occupy the roles the men left behind. Sisters Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty) join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a baseball league made entirely up of female players. While the league gains fans and popularity, a rivalry erupts between the sisters.

A League Of Their Own originally hit theaters when I was a kid. I loved it 25 years ago and I still love it today. I love the quotable dialogue, I love the complicated and real female characters (which today are still not seen as often as they should be) and I love that these women paved the way, in their own small way for the success not just in sports, but in life for future generations of women. I also have a little bit of an obsession with music from the 1940’s, the soundtrack of this film makes me very happy.

The films above were meant to stand the test of time. Many films are forgettable, these films will live forever in the minds of fans and critics as films that will always be watched, talked about and cherished.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Movies, Music, New York City

13 Signs You’ve Lived in (or Visited?) NYC Too Long

All of that and more.


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New York Transit Museum

One of New York City’s greatest cultural assets is our museums. The sheer number of them is incredible.

Today I had the opportunity to visit the New York Transit Museum. Located in a defunct train station in Brooklyn Heights, the transit museum is not the traditional museum. Perfect for kids and families, it is the history of the New York City transit system that is told in a fun and accessible way.

My favorite part of the visit was going through the various incarnations of the subway cars. Each train car is as it was during it’s own time. I half expected to see actors dressed in period costume to come through the doors and interact with each other. The advertisements in the train cars, told the story of the era that the car was used in, if one used those as the only reference of that specific era.

Compared to other museums, the price to get in extremely reasonable. Non senior citizen adult admission is $7.00, admission for children ages 2-17 is $5.00, senior citizen admission is $5.00 (it’s also free for people over 62 if they visit on Wednesday), and member admission costs nothing.

I highly recommend this museum, especially for kids. They will have a blast.

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Dear Mr Bratton: An Open Letter to William Bratton, NYPD Chief

Dear Mr. Bratton

I understand that you are presently caught between a rock and a hard place.

Your boss is Mayor de Blasio. Your staff consists of the men and women of the New York Police Department.

Two weeks ago, Officers Wenjian Liu  and Rafael Ramos were killed execution style. Their only crime was being in the police department and doing their jobs.

You have asked your staff to respect the mayor.

Let me tell you a story.

I worked for a private company for a number of years. As the years progressed, it became clear that the owners lost sight of the real reason for starting the company and began to only see dollar signs. I lost respect for them and because of that, I began to look elsewhere for employment.

You have good men and women working under you. They only want to do their jobs and serve the citizens of this great city of ours. But when it becomes clear that upper management has lost the respect of their staff, that is a problem. In your case sir, when the mayor’s office and the NYPD leadership allows public opinion to sway them away from supporting the men and women who keep New York City safe, that is a problem.

I recognize that middle management, especially in your case, is not easy. You have a boss over your head who needs certain things, but you also have staff under you who need your support.

I recommend that you find a middle ground, because if you do not, like your boss, you may be out of a job come the next mayoral election.


A citizen of New York City

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Inheriting The City Book Review

New York City has everyone from everywhere.  You can walk down the street, hear multiple languages and eat in restaurants of many different nationalities.

Inheriting The City: The Children Of Immigrants Come Of Age casts a very interesting light on the children of the most recent immigrants to make the Big Apple their home.  The subjects come from four very different ethnic groups: Chinese, Russian Jews, African-Americans who come from the West Indies and the Caribbean, and several subgroups within the Hispanic community (Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc).

It is a very academic book. Not completely dry, but not meant for a light beach read either.

Did I enjoy it? In a way I did. I come from immigrants, but my family has been in this country since the early 20th century. It was interesting to see the different views and lifestyles of these first generation Americans.

Do I recommend it? Sure, but only in an academic light.

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