life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apparently I live under a rock

Jen went to the movies last night. When I asked her what she planned to see, she told me: "Step Up 3D."

I had never heard of this movie. Apparently this is the third movie in a series. It's a dance movie.

Guess I'm not 19 anymore...

Monday, August 30, 2010


didn't get a chance to post to the blog yesterday....made it through almost the entire month of August as a NaBloPoMo participant before I blew it...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I feel like going surfing in a hurricane....

Jimmy Buffett lyric on the brain ...popped into my head when I saw the high surf advisory for Long Island due to Hurricane Danielle and Hurricane Earl.

Long Island has been very lucky of late, hurricanes don't hit us directly, we only get the tidal surge and rough surf.

I think the last big hurricane to hit us was Gloria -- and that was in the mid 80's.  I was living in Brooklyn at the time and working in lower Manhattan, and when they closed my office building that morning due to high winds I made my way home in a subway ssytem that was starting to flood....

In the 90's there was Floyd, which did horrible damage to New Jersey but passed over Long Island with barely a whisper...

Of course, the newspapers always talk about 1938, the great unnamed hurricane that devastated Long island. 

I have a feeling we're due for a bad one this year....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

move in day at Fordham

so because Becca volunteered to participate in Urban Plunge, Becca had the opportunity to move into her dorm yesterday, rather than on Sunday.  today she is involved in community service, and tomorrow she will be able to relax when the rest of the freshmen arrive.

She had a three-hour window in which to move into her dorm, since the building opened for registration at 10 AM and there was an Urban Plunge orientation in the afternoon.

So our morning began very early, as we packed up Drew's van, packed additional stuff into a friend's SUV, and packed people into my sister's car - it was like Becca was a Maharani with her entourage (Beca, Jen, Drew, all three of my sisters and a family friend helped move her in).

After a quick stop at Starbucks we caravaned up the Long Island Expressway (in rush hour traffic no less).  Wish I'd had the camera out when we were in Queens...there's a spot on the highway, you come over the top of a hill and in the foreground you see the old New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair and in the background you see the entire NYC skyline -- I've been looking at that view my whole life and never get tired of it.

So we drove over the 59th Street Bridge (with the theme from Taxi in my head), across Central Park and down Broadway, passed Lincoln Center and onto West 60th Street -- welcome to Fordham University!

Colleges and universities have been moving kids into dorms since the dawn of time, they have a system...

You pull up in front of the form, and while the student goes inside to get her ID and keys,(Becca came back clutching hers like it was a Golden Ticket for Willy Wonka's factory) the rest of the crew empties the car as fast as they can.  Someone must stay with the stuff and someone else must go park the car. (In this case, there was a garage on West 61st, $13 with validated parking.)  there are always some sort of carts available and older students to help move the stuff upstairs.



Becca's apartment is on the 5th floor.  It's got 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room and two bathrooms.  There are places for 8 girls int eh apartment.  Becca and her apartment-mate Nancy moved in yesterday, the other 6 will arrive tomorrow.

Becca's two roommates, Rebecca and Erica, are also Jewish -- prompting jokes about the Jewish "ghetto" at a Jesuit school.

And get this -- some of the faculty have apartments in the building. Becca's next-door neighbor is Father G.. 

A few pictures of Becca's room after we set things up:




and the common areas:



There was no emotional goodbye scene,  Becca had to run out to the meeting while we were still unpacking.  Jen had a bad moment just before we left...tearry-eyed as she thought about leaving her baby sister.

Of course, she won't be away for very long -- she's coming home for Rosh HaShanah, but just for dinner -- she won't miss classes for the holiday.

Jen's turn is next week, but she's going up to Rhode Island alone this time.  Her friends will help her move inot the house.

Friday, August 27, 2010

do you think I'd get in trouble

if I brought home another cat?

we've got two right now, but there was a point where we had as many as four in this house.

my boss has three kittens to give away.  she found a litter in her garage, the mama was feral and abandoned the kittens.  they're six weeks old....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

OMG, my living room

It looks like there was a raid at Bed, Bath and Beyond....dorm stuff for Becca, house stuff for Jen.  pillows and bedding and towels and etc.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the final countdown

(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

Becca moves into her dorm in just two days.  In just two days she begins her life as a (semi) independent adult. 

She's actually moving in a few days early.  Her school solicited volunteers for various community srvice projects -- New York City is filled with such opportunity, and her school emphasizes "social justice" and education of the entire person.  she moves into her dorm Friday and participates in a service project Saturday.  On Sunday, when all the other freshmen will be moving into the dorm, the students who participated in the community services projects are invited to a brunch.  Orientation starts on Monday and classes start on Wednesday.

The other reward, of course, is that she gets to pick which bed, desk, dresser, etc. she wants....of the 8 girls living in her apartment, only one other  girl has volunteered for community service.

Yes, 8 girls in one apartment.  It's really meant for 7 girls, I think, but they've added an additional bed. the school guarantees housing for all four years of undergraduate education, and let's face it, in New York City most sutdents can't aford to move off campus and commuters are usually living with their parents.  It's got three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen, so it won't be too bad...I reminded Becca that Jen's freshman dorm was a traditional dorm, force tripled  (three girls in a  room originally designed for two) with the bathroom down the hall and shared by the entire floor.My freshman dorm was a suite -- three bedrooms, suite room and one bathroom, shared by 6 girls.  It's all part of the college experience.

It will be weird having Jen home and Becca away, I'm really used to having Jen away at school and Becca still at home.  In the overall scheme of things, Jen's college starts "late" -- her first day of classes isn't until September 8. She's liiving off campus this year, there are 5 of them renting a beach house about 20 minutes away from the school.  It's a 5 bedroom house.   The three girls have the upstairs bedrooms, the two guys have the rooms downstairs.  I must admit I had qualms about Jen moving off campus; although she's headed into her junior year, she's still only 19 years old.  But I've known since her orientation that the culture of her school ....well, there's very limited dorm space and there is a lot of affordable housing off campus, and most people move off campus by their junior year. 

Not to mention her choice of housemates....I am sure many parents would absolutely forbid their daughters frrom sharing a house with male classmates.  I am more than a bit nervous about the arrangements...but when she asked me,  I took a deep breath and co-signed her lease.

And my daughter has her act together, she handled the real estate broker, the lease, arranging for utilities, etc. like a pro.  I look at Jen sometimes and wonder who this competent and mature woman really is, and what did she do with my little girl? just a few short days my nest will begin to empty....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

isn't it fun being a commuter?

the Long Wrong Island Railroad strikes again.

There are 11 branches of the railroad, which connects Long Island with Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.  10 of those branches  must travel through the Jamaica Station hub.  so when there's a fire in the switching tower at Jamaica Station, the entire railroad (except for the Port Washington branch) shuts down.

the fire and shutdown were at 10:30 in the morning.  there was "very limited" service home Monday night.

oh, joy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Red Velvet cheesecake

layers of red velvet cake and cheesecake, topped with a cream cheese forsting and garnished with white chocolate, served with a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream....

pure decadence.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Busy around here

Packing for college. More later.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I have never seen someone so happy... find out she has dandruff!

Now that it's over I can tell you....

Jen worked as a counselor at a day camp all summer.  the last day of camp was yesterday.

the last week of camp was marred by an outbreak of  [ewww] head lice.

Jen has long blonde hair.

The nurse at the camp saw "something" in that long blonde  hair and told Jen "you have lice."

you have never seen a young woman more upset.  she came home in tears.

there's a woman in this neighborhood who is medically trained in the removal of head lice.  Jen went to see her.

her verdict:  "you have a dry scalp....dandruff."

you have never seen someone go from distraught to ecstatic as fast as Jen.

so Jen spent the rest of the week doing preventative medicine.  special shampoo.  special hair spray.  wearing her hair in a bun.

who would have known dandruff was a reason to celebrate?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Songbird Salutes the 70's

 Let me take you back to the summer of 1978.  I had just graduated from high school and would soon start college.  I was incredibly innocent and naive, idealistic and earnest.  I was anxious for school to start, anxious for life to start.  Worked at  the beach that summer, 40 hours a week.

And THE album that summer?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

commuting through Ground Zero -- what a nightmare

before 9/11, commuting through the World Trade Center was....well, not exactly easy, but usually uneventful.

there was an underground shopping concourse that connected all the buildings.  On the west side of the concourse, right in fromt of One World Trade Center, you could catch the APTH trains to New Jersey.On the soputh side of the complex was the Cortland Street station for the 1 train.  On the east side, you had the cortland street station for the R train.  and on the north side, the E train terminal -- at the north end of the E train  (chambers Street) you could connect with the A, C, 2 and 3.

well, the E train (and its connections at Chamber Street) was the only station not damaged on 9/11.   A temporary PATH station was rebuilt and reopened in 2004.  the R train has a stop at cortland Street northbound (coming in from Brooklyn) but not southbound, and the 1 skips cortland Street altogether -- which makes the E train all the more crowded.

In the pre-9/11 days, the southern end of the E train exited onto the undergorund concourse, with two auxiliary staircases leading up to Vesey Street. 

When the PATH station first reopeend, a portion of the concourse reopened as well, so that you could exist the E train and walk to the PATH without climbing the stairs up to the street (and you could look into the Ground Zero "pit" while doing so).

but construction issues taking precedence over commuters, the concourse is now closed.  everyone must exist from the E train via the auxilairy stairways.  Vesey Street is closed to vehicular traffic from Church Sttreet to Greenwich Street and is now used as  a pedestrian walkway to the PATH train.

I can deal with the crowds and the construction.

what I am losing patience with?

as I said, everyone must use the two auxilary stairways.  One stairway (the wider of the two) exists on the northeast corner of Church and Vesey.  the narrower stairway exists on the northwest corner of church and Vesey. 

some genuis at the MTA decided to label this seocnd stairway as "exist only  6 AM - 10 AM" to accomoate all of the commuters existing the E train at that hour.

but there's no enforcement of the rule.

consequently, just as the commuters leaving the station are bottlenecked around the stairway, a handful of inconsidrate slobs force their way down the stairs to get to the E train.

I have seen numerous fights over this.  someone is going to be seriously injured one of these days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the inexorable march of time

(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

so Becca's college prep continues...filling out the financial  aid forms, registering for classes, obtaining medical forms, getting her housing assignment and room mates...

it's not as intense for Jen, she's going into her junior year and already registered for classes, but there's prep for moving into her off-campus house, things to buy, arranging for utilities...

I should have a count down ticker .. a clock amrk off the days....

the days until each girl goes off to college...

and I have to deal with the empty nest.

time for a few changes, perhaps?  maybe it's time to get serious about the gym... volunteer for a political campaign....something else to fill my time?

nothing too drastic, of course.

not like my neighbors.....

they have two sons, one who is a college senior and one who is about to start his freshman year.  I found out last weekend that they just sold their house and bought a condo, and they're planning to move a week before the boys head off to school.

but still, I'm contemplating the possibilities....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Buffett on the brain

the concert isn't for another two weeks, but already I've got buffett on my mind.

didn't really become a Parrothead until last year -- Buffett and Caribbean vacations seem to go hand in hand. 

and then there was the contest, and I won tickets to the concert at MSG -- floor seats.

when the tickets for Jones Beach went on sale in February, I HAD to buy them.

two weeks....

Monday, August 16, 2010



that is all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

restaurant review -- Burger 9.5

I've had "Cheeseburger in Paradise" stuck in my head for a few weeks now, so Friday night we ventured out to Burger 9.5.  It's a small restaurant, maybe 10 tables total, but oh my Lord those burgers are GOOD!

their namesake is a 9.5 ounce burger with your choice of toppings, but we wisely chose the 6.5 ounce burger instead -- and couldn't finish that!  A basket of seasoned waffle fries was more than enough to split between the two of us, with plenty left over to take home.  the cole slaw was rich and tangy without being too sharp or full of vinegar. 

the burgers are served on an egg knot roll, but you can get a kaiser roll if you prefer.  I topped mine with mozzarella, caramelized onions, sauted mushrooms and bacon.  Drew had the same except for the onions. 

I would have liked to have tried the "funnel cake fries" I saw written on the specials board....but alas, no room for dessert.....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Times Square

I love Times Square!  I love the theater district!

We saw La Cage Aux Folles Thursday night.  Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer are incredible in this show, it's very different from the production I saw in the 1980's and the revival I saw in 2004 -- less lavish, bawdier but just as bittersweet as the original.  and both stars were very gracious about signing autographs at the stage door.

Times Square on a thursday night -- not quite as crowded as New year's Eve, but very very full nevertheless.  And just as crowded at 11 PM (when the show was over) as it was at 6 PM when we went to dinner (Bubba Gump's we ordered shrimp, of course).

I love the corwds, I love the excitement.  the street vendors selling "I Love NY" t shirts and "designer" pocketbooks....the hot dog and shish kebab carts ....the guys handing out coupons for comedy clubs, restuarants and double deecker tour buses...street musicians and other performers (I've seen the Naked Cowboy once or twice, but usually I see people dressed up as the Statue of Liberty or Mickey Mouse)...the pedi cabs....the police officers posing with tourists....the neon lights and oversized advertisements ....

Favorite spots in Times Square...right in front of the Good Morning America studios you can watch ABC television on a HUGE screen...or get the news from the "zipper" that circles One Times Square (the New Year's Eve crystal ball is now on permanent display ont he roof!)...or shop in Sephora 24/7 (good to know if you have a make up mishap in the middle of the night)...go to the Hershey Store or the M & M Sotre or the new Pop Tarts store (I heard they make Pop Tarts "sushi" out of ground-up Pop tarts and Fruit Roll-ups).  There's a camera over the entrance to Forever21 and it's pointed at the street, so that you can see yourself on the huge screen over the store.

but here's the latest addition to Times Square, just in time for the 65th anniversayr of VJ Day:

I even took a close up of her shoe:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Are you superstitious? Do you believe that today is a good luck day or a bad luck day?

I think most people engage in superstitious behavior. Like, when you spill salt you throw a pinch of it over your shoulder. do you really believe therrible things will happen if you don't? Or do you just do this out of age-old habit?

Most brides wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. the presence or absense of these items does nto indicate the chances of the success or failure of the marriage.

I put a bright red ribbon in my new car, and I pinned red ribbons to my newborn baby's undershirt. But was I really warding off the evil eye?

My father, a World War II veteran, thinks Friday the 13th is a very lucky day -- because his got his discharge papers from the ARmy on a Friday the 13th.

But my grandmother....she was a very superstitious lady. My grandmother would caution you to be careful about what you say....

when grandma was in her 70's she'd spend a month in Miami beach every witner. One winter she had a huge argument with another old lady, and told the other woman to "go to hell." The other woman died the next day, and my grandma felt it was because of what she said to the lady. the lady was well over 80 years old and not in the best of health, but you couldn't convince my grandma....

because the same thing had happened to her when she was a young girl in Poland. She'd gotten into a fight with some of the other girls in her village, and a man from the village said "I'm going to tell your father what you did." She told the man to "go to hell", and the next day he was struck by lightning. from that day on she was convinced....

In any event, it makes for a good story, doesn't it?

but just in case....I'm wearing a red ribbon around my wrist today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

how times have changed

ten years ago, if you accidentlaly left your tote bag on the bench in the world Trade Center PATH train staion, if you came back 10-15 minutes later to get it the bag would be gone -- and hopefully in the Lost and Found.

nowadays...if you come back 10 minutes later, you find the bag guarded by two nice young police officers and their bomb-sniffing dog....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

Not only do you have to worry about the way your child also have to worry about all the other morons on the road.

Once again I am dealing with insurance adjusters, tow trucks, body shops, accident reports....

Jen was broadsided as she was pulling out of a parking lot onto the roadway. Jen says the other car came out of nowhere, that she looked both ways before pulling out of the lot and didn't see anyone coming. The guy who hit her says he was doing 30 MPH....but the damage to her car makes me doubt it. The accident happened just south of a very busy intersection, and my guess is that he wanted to make it through the intersection before the light changed.  And, oh yeah, the guy who hit her is NOT a teen driver...he's older than I am. 

I keep telling both girls "Drive as if everyone else on the road is a moron, because most of them are."

And now we have to figure out how Jen is going to get to work while her car is in the shop.

My insurance wasn't high enough, I had to have this happen now?

Calgon take me away.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You won't believe what Becca did!

She got a piercing! And didn't even tell me ...

Becca got her ears pierced when she was about 10 or 11 I think ... and for the last year or so, she's been talking about possibly getting a piercing at the top of her right ear, through cartilage instead of the lobe. I said "no".

Well, now she's 18 and doesn't need my permission.

What bothers me is that she didn't tell me she was planning to do it and didn't show me afterwards. Though I should have realized someone got somerhing pierced when I saw the bottle of saline solution in the bathroom.

I noticed the piercing tonight. She was tossing her hair around while talking to Drew and me. I didn't want to say anything in front of Drew...but he noticed it, too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

what are you reading?

I'm in the middle of The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory. It's one of her Plantagenet novels, this one about Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII. the War of the Roses was a fascinating time in English history and Gregory's novels tell the story from the perspective of the major participants.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

miniature golf last night

We went to play miniature golf last night. Drew is much better at it than I am, of course. But. ..well. .. I got a hole in one. ..after he kept missing it. ..

Saturday, August 7, 2010

what's your favorite movie?

I have a lot of favorites. 

But today I want to talk about Casablanca

Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman,  Paul Heinreid, Claude Rains.

Exotic locals, drama, a bit of comedy. romance....

and one unforgetable song.

Friday, August 6, 2010

supporting One Love One Ocean

Thursday, August 5, 2010


that's the NaBloPoMo theme for August.

lots of thoughts here:

green grass. green trees.  green garden.

eating your vegetables.

going "green", i.e., environmentally friendly.

"green" is the color of money.

"green" with envy.

the wearing of the green -- support for Ireland.

golf greens.


Kermit singing "It's Not Easy Being Green".

more to come....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms

phantom: a college-age daughter with a job, a social life and a car.

I mean, I rarely see my kids these days! They flit in and out of the to work, off to shop, off the hang out with friends. It's like the house is just a pit stop as they race around, enjoying the freedom of driving, enjoying the relative freedom of summer vacation.

I've long since gotten used to Jen leaving the house at 10 PM. we've had many discussions about what time is a reasonable curfew on a week night (not that I can impose a "curfew" on a college student, it's more a matter of respect for a mother who can't sleep until the kids are all home and has to go to work in the morning).

But now Becca is 18, and suddenly she's staying out late too.

I suppose I should just go with the a few short weeks both girls will head off to college...

But can you blame me for wanting my children to stay home a bit more until then?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

an evening stroll

the other night we picked up some sandwiches at the deli and drove down to Jones Beach.  We got there around 7 PM, just under an hour before sunset.  
The last of the day crowd is leaving around then, and the evening crowd is starting to arrive. The beachcloses at sunset, and that's when the boardwalk comes alive.

this isn't a boardwak like Coney Island or down at the Jersey Shore, you know, with shlock shops and amusement rides and lots of differnet fast food places..  the boardwalk at Jones Beach is contained entirely within the state park and offers activities suitable to a park.  there's a bandshell and baseball fields and miniature golf and shuffleboard and paddleball and a playground and...well, you get the idea.  and some people just like to walk  and look out at the ocean.

we parked near Central Mall and ate our sandwiches while sitting on a bench near the bandshell -- the show tonight was a Motown tribute band.  watched the sun set.  after we ate we took a long walk.  the evening was cool but not cold.  a little overcast, so we didn't see stars. 

as we walked back to the car we past a guy playing tow different guitars at the same time.  and anotheer guy playing just the one guitar, but positioned under an underpass (you have to cross under the highway to get to the parking lot) with incredible acoustics.

a lovely, mellow evening. 

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Niagara Falls Trip Report Part IV

Monday, our last day. the history buffs headed up to Old Fort Niagara. this fort was pivotal to history, having been held at various times by the French, the British and the Americans. the reenactments here are all dated to the French and Indian War, which means the fort is under French control, but you see British soldiers and Iroquois guides camped outside.

back down to Niagara Falls. as part of our package we had a voucher for a free lunch at the Old Sports Bar and Grille in the Crown Plaza Hotel. the menu was somewhat limited, but the food was excellent -- I had a club sandwich and DBF had the Philly cheese steak.

after lunch we went back to Goat Island and walked over to Three Sisters islands. these are three small islands in the rapids above Horseshoe Falls. you have to walk across all three islands for the payoff -- an excellent view of the rapids and the top of the falls. be prepared to do some climbing over the rocks if you want to get the full effect.

we ended our visit where it began -- at Terrapin Point viewing the Horseshoe Falls.

then it was the drive down to Buffalo. we drove along the shore of Lake Erie for awhile before heading back to the airport.

you may have noticed that I have not yet mentioned Buffalo wings. we kept saying we wanted to try authentic wings, but never managed to do so....until we got to the airport.

the Buffalo wings legend is that the owners of the Anchor Bar, on Main Street in buffalo, invented the dish back in the early 1960's. well, the Anchor Bar is still in business, and it has a second location at the airport. I noticed that the flight crews and airport personnel all chose to eat at the of course we went inside and ordered wings. my "mild" wings were plenty spicy, I can't imagine what "hot" or "suicidal" might be like. DBF bought a bottle of "suicidal" sauce to bring home.

overall it was a great vacation, and I'd love to spend more time in the Niagara region.






Fort Niagara:








Three Sisters Islands:



the Maid of the Mist:


The Skylon tower:


Blog Archive

About Me