Tag Archives: NYC

Goosed

These geese and their young are dead now. All four-hundred of them. You see, the thing is, although this particular population of geese lived 0n Prospect Park Lake (in New York City) year ’round, never really leaving their home, they were eliminated by the Feds.

This non-migratory, year-round population was a few blocks from our old NYC home, and as you can imagine, were surrogate pets to many New York families. They had names, hundreds of people visited (and fed) them daily, even knew some of the personalities. The one that had lost the top of his beak was known by everyone as “Beaky.”

Early this week, the entire population was herded into a fenced area, packed into crates, and gassed – in an effort to reduce their numbers near New York City airports. Evidently, the order was to eliminate significant populations of the birds within seven miles of the NYC airports. Local Prospect Park residents said that the birds were home Tuesday morning. Wednesday morning, all four-hundred were simply gone.

I understand that these things sometimes must be done, and we humans need to be protected. However, it seems like there must be a better way of protecting the airports. Killing every Canada Goose within a seven mile radius? Hmmm. Yeah, I guess. I dunno. However, it remains a sticky wicket – Canada geese were responsible for over 600 damaging airstrikes to U.S. planes between 1990 and 2008, and their population is rapidly increasing.

I think I can be level-headed enough to understand that I am upset because I had a personal attachment to these particular birds, even a personal attachment to specific birds. However … wow.

The final humiliation? The honkers were double-bagged, dumped into a landfill.

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Knish Me Once, Knish Me Twice

Knish me once,
And Knish me twice,
And Knish me once again,
It’s been a long, long time.

Apologies to the great songwriter, Jule Styne. He would understand. He was a New Yorker.

Allow me to tell you a story. I was recently reading Julie Andrews’ early-years bio, and came across a mention of Ms. Andrews’ fond childhood memories of potato sandwiches. What?!

Must be an English thing. That was enough for me. Being as I love anything English, I love Ms. Andrews, and I love potatoes, I jumped on the bandwagon. I found a recipe easily enough, but decided to adapt it a bit. Nothing major in the changes department, but I have to admit, I did adapt. Italian Parsley subbing for corriander (because we grow parsley), the microwave subbing for a boiling pot, added a tiny bit of sour cream.

  1. Microwave (bake) a potato. Or boil one.
  2. Cook up a little onion in a pan with some butter.
  3. Mash up the cooked potato, onion, and some parsley together.
  4. Add a little sour cream to smooth it out, mix/mash it up.
  5. Salt to taste.
  6. Spread it on a piece of bread.
  7. Grill the thing with butter (like a grilled cheese).
  8. Or grill it in one of those sandwich-maker things.
  9. Serve with ketchup.

It didn’t even occur to me while I was making it, but – You know what I unwittingly nailed the recipe for? What this thing tasted exactly like? A New York City knish. Those Yiddish-origin potato treats you can buy from the street vendors in the city. They were always a favorite of mine. Serendipity! I learned about a delicious English treat, and I rediscovered a favorite New York City street food.

English, Yiddish … When it comes to our potatoes, we’re not all that very different, are we?

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The Aesthete

I am funny about how stuff looks.

100_0620I have repainted most of the city apartment (to be taken over by our best friends), even though I really didn’t need to. When asked why, my simple answer is most often, “Because it will look better.” I just finished repainting most of the trim, window sills, and doors; and I’ve spent most of the week saying things like, “Don’t touch that wall. I just repainted it,” or “Get your hands off the moulding.”

100_0568Conversely, I’m starting to get funny about things at the Adirondack place. I think I’m getting better about the whole thing though – I’m picking my battles, and I won’t try to do everything at once. With that in mind, I am still going to plant grass before we tear the house down. I don’t care if I have to replant parts of it. I don’t care if it costs a fortune and I have to replant it five times. I can’t live on dirt and mud for a year or more. And I am going to plant some mature(ish) trees right away. Not too too close to the tear-down house, but yeah, closer than most people probably would. It may be a construction site, but I still have to like being there.

100_0624This will be the last week in the city house. The empty house is not quite as odd as I had expected. Likely because our moving-in friends are keeping some of our larger pieces of furniture. Due to that, it’s not empty empty. The new-paint smell is a little weird – your senses tell you that you’re moving in to a new place, as opposed to moving out.

This weekend will be out last trip to the Adirondacks as non-residents. Next time we drive up, we’re staying. Yep – I get that wiggly nervous/queasy feeling as I type that. But perhaps my head is in the right place – I’m not nervous about getting into the RV and staying for good. I’m nervous about getting everything out of here so our NYC departure is smooth and easy.

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Back to the Future

Back to the Adirondacks with a big van-full for the storage unit.

Amusing story via our neighbor here in the city – When it’s a particularly nice day here on our block in Brooklyn, that means coffee on the stoop(s) at 8:30 with the neighbors. I happened to be coming back from the store with a cup of coffee in my hand yesterday, and caught The Ladies out front. We had a real nice chat!

100_0501Meanwhile, the van was parked three houses down. As we were standing there sipping, a parking spot one space back opened up. I spat out something indecipherable and bolted up the stairs to get the keys. My coffee friends stood in the space and held it. Later in the day, the next spot back opened up. Once again, I bolted out front with the keys and moved the van back one more spot. My neighbor coffee-friend saw me, and shouted out the window, “You’ve moved that car three times! You may be moving to the country, but you sure act like a Brooklynite!”

We’re all about parking spots here. A spot directly in front of your house? Well, that’s the Holy Grail. At this point, we’re just one car-length from the front door. There’s a green Suburban directly out front, but I remain optimistic! All the same, with the car so close, I’ve taken to carrying a few things with me every time I go downstairs. It will lessen the load when we have to fill the van up for the weekend.

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Here to There

Heading out for the Adirondack sheddycabin tomorrow!

000_1220Tomorrow is my last day as a church organist, and today is my last day as an adjunct teacher at my Catholic high school. Heading over to the students’ juried art show (mostly to be supportive), then a performance of Little Shop of Horrors, church service in the morning, and then we’re hopping in the car to deliver a load to the cabin and go to a job interview Monday morning.

Photo_061908_004I’m celebrating with a new blog header – figured it was about time I put up an image from our actual property. As for the photos today – Thought it would be fun to ruminate on our current downtown and our new downtown. You folks have a great few days – I’m Adirondack bound!

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Jerks

A minor update. The first big load from the house clean-out went out to the trash last night, and I can hear the trash truck approaching.

In the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished department, I had a pile of nice stuff I needed to get rid of – Japanese vases, a tea set, some dishes, cut glass bowl, beer mugs, wine glasses, stuff like that. Nothing usually stays on the curb for long here, so I stuck it in an open-topped box and put it out so someone could just it if they wanted to.

Some jerk came along, and decided they wanted only the plates … and the box. So, they took the plates and the box, and dumped everything else out in the gutter, breaking most of it and ruining it for anyone else. The broken pieces were up against the tire of a parked car. Luckily, I looked out the window. At eight this morning, I was out there picking up pieces of glass and putting all the ruined stuff in the trash can. Jackasses.

The stuff goes in a trash can from now on, nice or not.

100_0120In nicer news – I have a few tables and a lamp that we can’t take with us; things that mean something to me. They’re going to go down to our good friends at Hidden Haven. So, that’s pretty cool – things I am fond of are going to people I am fond of.

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Ghosts

I get a lot of, “How could you leave the City? I could never leave New York.” It would seem as if there’s probably a long, complicated answer to that question, but there really isn’t. It’s simple. My New York City is gone.

New York is a city in constant flux – stores open, restaurants close, leases are lost, ever-increasing rents drive out age-old businesses. Only the currently-culturally-relevant survive. New York cannibalizes itself. New York is constantly reinventing its blocks. That’s now-gone downtown Tower Records below – my first NYC job.

towerThe metropolis of Tower Records, Greenwich Village jazz spots and cabarets, theatre district costume shops, and the old lunch counter in the 34th Street Woolworth’s has slowly been transmuted into a city with a Starbucks on every corner, stacks of steel and glass condos, and a theme park version of Times Square. Transmuted so slowly, you wouldn’t have noticed if you were not watching.

Nowadays, when younger folks say things like, “Oh, I love New York! It has so much character,” I sound like a bagel-toting old codger. “Character!? What character? You should have been here in 1990. That was character!” Has it really been twenty years? How time flies.

grand-luncheonetteReally, I came here on a whim. One sunny day in a state far, far away, I thought, “Hmm. Maybe I’d like to go to New York,” and the next Friday, I got on a bus. I arrived in New York City in 1990 with $150 in my pocket and directions to the YMCA. One of the first things I passed was this luncheonette on 42nd Street. Didn’t know a soul. Worked out beautifully though. I’ve had a lot of wonderful jobs, and I’ve been a a poor squatter in an apartment building with no utilities. I’ve hung with fancy folks in Park Avenue penthouses, and I’ve known the scum of the Eighth Avenue XXX district. I’ve dined with Broadway stars, and I’ve produced plays in moldy, damp basements. And I’ve even ended up fairly well adjusted. Ha! So you see, this whole New York City thing seems to have worked out nicely.

Now, it’s time for a new set of adventures. Something along the lines of country-gentleman-without-the-wealth.

I admire folks who decide what they want to do and just do it, whether that’s raising a family, becoming an actor, learning a new profession, or opening a business against all odds. That’s what I try to do. I like to do things that by all rights, should probably be considered impossible. When folks say things like, “I would love to just up and move to Hawaii,” I’m the person that says, “Then, why don’t you?” Usually the person informs me that “there’s just no way I could do that.” I disagree. There’s always a way.

For instance, I’m sure there’s some kid getting off the bus at Port Authority with just $150 in his pocket. My New York City may be gone, but the current version belongs to him. Go get ’em, kid.

See you next month, Adirondacks.

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