Tag Archives: New York City

Is NYC Going Back to the Bad Old Days?

For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.

Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.

Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.

Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.

But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.

I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.

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Is NYC Truly Ready to Re-Open?

New York City is known as the city that never sleeps. There is always something to do or see, regardless of the time of day or night it is.

That is, until Covid-19 struck.

Yesterday, there was an editorial in the New York Post declaring that it was time to re-open the city.

In theory, I agree with the writer. Stores and businesses with the exception of those that are considered necessary are for all intents and purposes closed. Millions are out of work and relying on unemployment to get by. Schools are closed, forcing students and their parents to learn virtually. The number of New Yorkers who are now going to food banks and charities to ensure that they can feed themselves and their families have gone up exponentially.

But in reality, I don’t quite agree with him. As of earlier this afternoon, there are nearly 194,000 cases in the city with over 50,000 hospitalized. More than 20,000 New Yorkers have died. My concern is that if we re-open too soon, we are opening the door to a second wave of Covid-19 and erasing the gains that have been made in stopping the disease.

Like all of you, I am more than ready to re-enter the world. I am ready to go back to the office, to go to the beach, meets my friends for a drink, etc. Especially with summer unofficially starting this weekend with Memorial Day. But there is also a risk of getting sick or getting someone else sick. I’m not sure that is a risk I am ready or willing to take at this moment.

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Filed under National News, New York City

What The F*ck Don’t They Understand About Staying at Home?

In a time of crisis, logic often secedes into emotion and chaos. While this secession is completely and understandably normal, it can lead to actions that would not otherwise be taken.

As many of my regular readers know, I live in New York City. Anyone who does not have their head in the sand is aware that NYC is one of the Covid-19 hot spots in the United States. Since March, those of us who live in the city have heard the same three words countless time: stay at home.

Unfortunately, there are some fools who are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. Over the last few days, there were three incidents in which I have to question if the participants truly understand what we are going through.

  • Incident #1: In Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Yeshiva (religious school for Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews) was still open in spite of the order from the city to close all schools. Neighbors contacted the local police precinct when they saw students and teachers exiting the building. I am all for education and religious instruction (especially from my coreligionists), but would it hurt to use a little common sense?
  • Incident #2: A party in Canarsie was broken up by police. After two months of staying home nearly 24/7, I am more than eager to see another set of four walls and my friends. However, there is a little thing going around called Covid-19. This virus attacks and kills its hosts indiscriminately. That last thing I would ever want on my conscious is knowing that I may have been the one to give Covid-19 to someone else.
  • Incident #3: The weather this past Saturday was perfect. Last year at this time, I would have gone out for a drink without question. But not this year. According to news reports, several bars on the Upper West Side had a full house. Some patrons hung out on the sidewalk, unable to find seats inside. I am all for meeting my friends at a bar to relax after a long week, but not with the threat of Covid-19 hanging above us.

What the f*ck don’t they understand about staying at home?

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When Should We Re-Open the Country?

With most of the country closed due to Covid-19, many have been asking when we can re-open the country?

I’m not a doctor, nor am I a scientist. But logic tells me that when we re-open, we cannot go back to where we were in early March as if nothing has happened. Depending on how hard the disease has it a certain area, re-opening must be done in stages. If history has taught us anything about epidemics, it is not to underestimate a virus.

In 1918, as World War I raged and the Spanish Flu killed millions, officials in Philadelphia bowed to pressure and chose not to cancel a parade. The result of this decision was the filling of the city’s hospitals and the death of thousands of people.

Across the country, there have been protests in regards to the stay at home orders. Three states across the South will soon be re-opening their economies.

I get it, I really do. It’s fine to stay home for a day or two to take a break from the daily grind. But staying home for a month or more without knowing when you can return to normalcy is frustrating. Especially when millions are out of work and not every employee has the opportunity to work from home.

I also get and respect the right to protest when we disagree with our governmental leaders. But I also know that New York City (where I live) is the national epicenter of this crisis. If the city (and the country by extension) were to open too soon, it might trigger a second or even third wave of hospitalizations and deaths.

My humble opinion is that the country as a whole can only open when testing is widely available and the number of cases is as close to zero as we can get. Then and only then, we can even consider opening the country and the economy.

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Filed under History, National News, 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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Filed under History, New York City

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