life in and around NYC is insane
Friday, August 31, 2012
So said Jimmy Buffett last night at Jones Beach.
A Jimmy Buffett concert isn't just a concert. It's an experience.
First of all there's the tailgating. My first Buffett concert was at Madison Square Garden, where there was no place to tailgate. But at Jones Beach they fill up two parking lots and party all day. They wear crazy tropical gear, they set up grills and tiki bars and etc. They break about a dozen park rules in the process.
Tailgating was a problem for us last year. When we arrived at the concert both lots near the theater were closed and we had to park in an unlit lot a mile down the road. This year I paid extra for preferred parking and we had no problem. But Drew in incensed at the rule breaking ("they roped off 16 spot for their party!"). He worked at the park for many years. . . Personally I think that they should set up camp on the beach-- Jones Beach is a wonderful beach, and why would you want to be on the hot asphalt when you could be on the sand and actually see the ocean?
So we got to the park around 5:00, parked, and wandered through the tailgating Parrothead encampment for awhile.
Eventually we found our way over to Zach's Bay. This is a small beach area right near the theater that is currently closed to the public. I remember wading in the water here years ago before a concert. Now you'd have to walk over to the ocean beach. . .
Eventually we made our way inside the theater, bought some dinner at the clam shack and found our way to our seats for the party. . .er, concert. Yes, the concert is like a huge beach party.
I discovered Buffett 3 years ago, as we were planning our Caribbean cruise. So I associate his songs with our Caribbean adventure. And his stage persona. . .it's like hanging out with an old friend. There are 8 songs he plays at every concert, the rest of the program changes with his mood. Highlights of last night include an acoustic version of Southern Cross, a cover of Lionel Ritchie's All Night Long and new Long Island lyrics for Margaritaville.
And he ended with Lovely Cruise. An omen for our upcoming cruise?
The cheeseburger comment came just before he sang Cheeseburger in Paradise. And I have to agree.
And Drew and I have eaten hundreds of Long Island cheeseburgers.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Becca first. Starting her junior year of college. Moved into an apartment with two other students. Will start on internship with the office of a major political figure (I won't say who) right after Labor Day.
Jen just started a job as a teaching assistant in a local preschool. It's a synagogue preschool (who knew her Hebrew school education would make her employable?). She only works mornings, so in the afternoon she will take on a babysitting job witg school-age children. And she plans to start grad school in tge spring to work on her teaching credentials.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Background music: "Take Me To The Fair" from Camelot
Can you believe the NY Renaissance Faire is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year? I used to go back when the faire was new, but got out of the habit. Nowadays, Drew and I go every year, sometimes with friends, sometimes just the two of us.
This year it was just us. Our plan was to drive from Long Island to Tuxedo Park via the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Cross Bronx Expressway to the George Washington Bridge and Route 17 from New Jersey up to Orange County and the Faire. Got across the Throgs Neck, found out that it would take over an hour to get across the Bronx . . .turned on the GPS and headed to the Tappan Zee instead. Got to the Faire before the gates opened.
Background music: Disney's "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)"
What I've noticed about the faire . . .30 years ago "Renaisance" encompassed medieval and Renaissance costumes. Now it also includes elements of fantasy (faeries, for example) and pirates. Though the heyday of pirates wasn't until the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries and the faire is set in Elizabethan England, seafarers and privateers and pirates did serve a role in Elizabeth's reign, so they're not anachronistic.
And this weekend happened to be "Pirates Weekend", so there were a lot of pirates around.
We love the entertainment at the faire. The main events revolve around Queen Elizabeth and her court. Intertwined with court intrigue is the Robin Hood story, relocated from medieval Sherwood to Elizabethan Sterling Shire. The Queen welcomes everyone to the Shire first thing in the morning, there's a Living Chess game in the early afternoon and the day's festivities end with a joust.
There are other acts as well, on the small stages all around the Shire. There's Dead Bob, a ventriloquist act; knifethrowers Stewart and Arnold; Hey Nunnie Nunnie (musical comedy), Crimson Pirates (music) and the Washing Well Wenches (comedy), to name a few. You can't possibly see all of it in one day, but we managed to see a lot.
Background music: "Penny Lane" ( The Beatles)
The main shopping area is known as "Spendpenny Lane". I like the costumes and accesories, the jewelry and the pewter figurines. In fact today I was wearing jewelry purchased at prior faires, and I have a serious collection of figurines -- dragons and wizards and the like. Drew likes the armor and weapons -- today he bought a 6 foot spear. I have no idea where he plans to display it.
Background music: "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver
I saw lots of variety -- turkey legs, Italian sausage, pizza, ice cream . . . All I ate was a funnel cake washed down with a frozen cherry limeade. Drew had steak on a stick. And we shared a pickle fresh from the barrel. Though we did buy plenty of water and soda.
Background music: "Sensitivity" from Once Upon A Mattress
By the end of the day I felt like the title character from "The Princess and the Pea". The ground in the Shire is uneven, the pathways unpaved and strewn with gravel. And when you sit, it's on hard wooden benches. I was wearing thick-soled sandals, and yet when I stepped on a rock and felt it press into my foot, I saw stars. . .
Overall, though, it was a wonderful day.
Pictures and video to follow.
Friday, August 24, 2012
I don't play golf, I don't watch others play golf, I know very little about golf.
I do know a little something about Bethpage Black.
It's one of several golf courses located in Bethpage State Park. It's been the site of the US Open twice. And this week it was the site of a PGA event.
What does this have to do with me?
There's no real parking facility at the state park. So fans are being encouraged to take the LIRR to Farmingdale for shuttle bus service to the event. The station has been decorated with red, white and blue banners all week.
My train goes through Farmingdale. I actually had golf fans on my train the other morning. And tonight on my way home I saw all the fans on the platform waiting for the train to the city.
And I saw the blimp landing at Republic Airport.
A little excitement in an otherwise boring commute.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Street fair outside my office today.
The "fried dough" booth had funnel cake, zeppole and fried Oreos.
I love fried dough and powdered sugar. And I'm rather fond of Oreos.
So what could be bad, right?
Should have stuck with the zeppole. Did not like fried Oreos at all!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
So last night after work I took the subway up to 50th St. The rain started just as I was walking out of the station. I ducked into an alcove with an awning and opened my umbrella. Good thing, too, since the the rain . . . Well. It was good that I only had to walk two short blocks to the August Wilson Theater, because by the time I reached the theater and was safely under the marquee, the skies had opened up and the rain eas coming down in torrents. 52nd St. was starting to look like a river! Poor Drew . . .he had a leaky umbrella and arrived at the theater looking like a drowned rat.
Usually we like to eat dinner before the show, but with a 7:00 curtain that wasn't possible.He made do with Twizzlers and bought me a chocolate bar . . . He knows me so well.
"Jersey Boys" is a Broadway staple, a show that's been running " forever", but neither of us had seen it. The show tells the back story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and features the best of their music. Each of the members of the group gets to narrate, to share his perspective. Of course we loved it.
After the show we walked around the corner (the rain had stopped) to Ellen's Stardust Diner. You know how much we love this place. Drew had a burger -- always a good option here -- and I tried something new. It had been years since I'd eaten a Sloppy Joe. Their version has a sweet taste (they use brown sugar in the mix) and comes plated with killer waffle fries, a couple of onion rings and baked beans. I was so full from the sandwich that I couldn't finish my fries and never even tasted the beans.
I love the singing waitstaff. Sometimes the performances are awful, but mostly they're very good and occasionally remarkable. They pas around a bucket periodically - donations pay for singing and dancing lessons for the performers. Last night one of the staff members said that in the 15 years tge place has been open, many former employees have gone on to roles on Broadway.
One small detail I didn't like. When Ellen's first opened the waitstaff had fantastic uniforms/ costumes. Back then management was striving for a 50's vibe, with guys in bowling shirts and girls in poodle skirts. More recently the uniforms went 60's -- black pants for the men, short black skirts for the women, and very bright, glittery shirts for everyone. As of last night, however, the glittery, "mod" shirts were gone, replaced by brightly-colored t shirts. It just doesn't feel the same.
Afterwards, as we walked back to Penn to catch the train home, Drew said something about seeing Frankie Valli the next time he did a concert around here.
This morning the papers Valli is making his Broadway debut with 7 shows in October.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
That's shorthand actually. It's really called New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.
It's the best hospital in NYC and one of the best in the country.
It's an aspect of life in NYC that I didn't think I'd be addressing. But here we are.
My father needed an aortic valve replacement. The traditional method is open heart surgery, but because of other medical conditions my father was ineligible for such surgery.
Welcome to 21st century cutting edge technology. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Similar to an arteriogram, catheters are snaked through arteries to the heart, and the replacement valve is placed on top of the patient's existing (defective) valve.
My father got his difibrillator at St. Francis, Long Island's premiere cardiology center ( they call themselves "the heart hospital"). But St. Francis only recently got FDA approval for clinical trials of transcatheter aortic valve replacement, but my father didn't meet their criteria.
Hence the referral to Columbia Presbyterian.
He had the procedure yesterday. I visited him last night and he was doing very well. (I am far too accustomed to seeing my father in a CCU, but it beats the alternative.) Should be home in 4-5 days. Amazing, isn't it?
So, as I said, I visited my father last night. Field trip to 168th Street, a quick ride on the A train to a neighborhood I had never visited before. The hospital is like a city within a city - over a dozen different buildings from 165th St. to 168th Street, from St. Nicholas Avenue to Riverside Drive. There are three different emergency rooms, each with ambulances from all over the city. There are "you are here" msps to help you find your way. Entering one of the buildings is like checking in at the airport -- I had to stand in line, show ID and receive a visitor's pass which listed my destination. Thankfully I didn't have to let them search my bag, though I am told they do so at some of the buildings.
Once inside, it was like every other hospital. But still . . . the enormity of the place . . .
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Friday night we went to see the Long Island Ducks. This time we sat on the third base line, right behind the visiting team's dugout. Great seats. Instead of our usual hot dogs, I had sweet Italian sausage with peppers and Drew had a roast beef hero. The giveaway was a foam finger. :-) Good game, a few controversial plays -- one of the York Revolution players had to be physically restrained by his coach while arguing with the umpire. Ducks won, of course. Great night if baseball.
Now Saturday . . .how can I describe Saturday?
Mets vs. Braves at psuedo-Shea . . .er, Citi Field. Parked in our usual lot on Roosevelt Avenue, the one where you have to walk up the stairs into the subway station to get across the street. But then, instead of walking into the main entrance by the rotunda, we entered the stadium through the Seaver entrance. Seems that purchasing field level seats behind home plate gives you admission into the Delta Sky Club.
The club has a full bar, with cocktails served in actual glasses. The food is more or less the same as elsewhere in the park - Drew had a cheeseburger served with very bland potato chips and I had meat balls served with flatbread, but we could have easily gotten hot dogs and fries. I think there may have been other options elsewhere on the club level, but we didn't take the time to explore further. And we sat at a table inside the air conditioned club instead of jostling with the crowd outside.
Then the best part of the night . . .Rusty Staub and John Franco were signing autographs. Drew turned into a 10 year old at the prospect of getting autographed pictures of two if his favorite players.
Then it was time to go to our seats. OMG, the seats in that section are padded. Vinlyl-coveted, padded chairs instead of the usual hard stadium seats. So comfortable. I actually used hospitality service to order a thick shake -- they bring it to your seat - because I was too lazy to get out of that chair.
The game? We jokingly prayed for rain before the 5th inning so that the game wouldn't count. Santana just didn't have it last night. Braves scored 2 runs in the first inning. Then, in the second inning . . .they pulled Santana after 1 1/3 innings, with a score of 6-0 and two men on base . . . And the first batter to face the relief pitcher, Hefner, hit a home run.
After that . . .the final score was 9-3, and we stayed until the bitter end.
Drew is already planning for next year.
Friday, August 10, 2012
The way people push and shove to get onto an already-overcrowded train, you'd think their lives depended on it, like waiting a few minutes for the next train = death and destruction.
Take what I saw this morning. The E train has its terminal at the World Trade Center. Two tracks flank a central platform. A downtown train pulls in, discharges a group of passengers, passengers waiting on the platform board the train, then it reverses direction and heads uptown.
As my train pulled in and discharged passengers, another train was boarding for the trip uptown. Subway cars have double doors that meet in the middle of the door frame when closed. Just as the doors were closing I saw a woman stick her umbrella between the closing doors. The doors closed and she tried to pry them open. Conductor opened the door just a few inches, so she could remove the umbrella . . .and she stuck her arm in the door.
Conductor finally gave in and let her onto the train.
Dermatologist called the house and left a message asking me to call her office.
So I found an empty conference room at lunchtime (didn't want to call from a cubicle, where everyone can eavesdrop).
The lesion on my neck shows "atypical" cells. And the one on my nose is "precancerous". Both need to be removed.
Dermatologist can do the nose but I have to see a plastic surgeon for my neck.
Let the nightmares begin.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
You know I am a Monkees fan. I posted about it often enough.
The Monkees have announced a short tour in the fall. Mickey, Peter and Mike. Yes, Mike. He hasn't appeared with the band since 1997, I'm told.
We have tickets for 12/2 at the Beacon. The last night of the tour.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
I haven't been watching the Olympics this year. For some reason I just couldn't get into it.
But today I am bursting with pride. A young woman got up on the world's stage, proclaimed who she is, and what she values:
"I am American, I am Jewish, and I honor the Munich 11."
She won a gold metal for her floor routine, done to "Hava Nagilah". She accepted her medal to "The Star Spangled Banner".
And then she did what the IOC refused to do. And that's more important than that medal.
Jen loves working with children. She plans to get a Master's in Education and become an elementary school teacher.
Her job this summer has been at a day camp. She's been a counselor at the camp since she was 17, and before that she was a camper there.
This summer she's working with girls who are going into 6th grade. She's known most of them since they were 2nd graders. She loves these girls and they love her.
Yesterday there was some roughhousing, all in good fun, but somehow Jen wound up on the ground.
And when she got up . . .well, she hobbled to the nurse's office.
It's only a sprain, but the doctor at the ER gave her an air cast and crutches. Told her she will be ok in about 3 days.
She plans to go to work today.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Commuters tend to be creatures of habit. Every morning I drive to the train station and park in the same section of the parking lot. I know the train schedule (or rather, the rush hour schedule) by heart, and I know where to position myself on the platform while waiting for the train so that the doors open right in front of me. When I get to Penn Station at night, I usually know which track my train will be on before it is posted and announced.
When you ride the train every day you start to notice yout fellow commuters. Sometimes you find yourself talking to people you see every day-- your "platform buddies" and "train buddies". People you talk to only because you share a commute.
One time, about 2 years ago, there was a problem in Penn Station. I think there was a power outage in the East River tunnel, which meant no trains could enter or leave the station. My first thought was to take the subway, the E train to Queens. The E train has a stop in Penn, and also stops at the LIRR station in Jamaica. I wanted to take the E to Jamaica and catch an LIRR train home from there.
Everyone else had the same idea. You couldn't get anywhere near the subway station. So my next idea was to leave Penn and walk over to 6th Avenue (excuse me, Avenue of the Americas) and take the F train to Jamaica.
So as I was making my way out of the station, a woman came up to me and told me she "knew" me, that we take the train from the same station. She asked me how I was going to get home. So we wound up taking the subway together.
We're not friends, really, but we greet each other and chat whenever we encounter each other on the train.
Which leads us to the Mayor.
I usually take a 7:20 train. If I miss that train, the next westbound train is at 7:50. The Mayor rides the later train, boarding several stops east of my station. He's a gentleman in his mid to late 60's, I think, pudgy, balding, with a thick mustache. He still wears a suit and tie to work.
He sits in the very first car of the train, at the very front of the car, right behind the engineer's station. There are groups of seats that face each other. Those seats are always occupied by the Mayor's friends Over the years the members of this group have changed, but the Mayor is still there. He presides over the conversation like a king holding court. He is friends with the engineer and conductor as well. The front end of the first car has always been a place of lively social gathering.
And therein lies the problem.
The LIRR recently instituted a "quiet car" program. No cell phones, no music leaking out of headphones, hushed conversations only. It's pretty much voluntary and passenger-enforced.
During the afternoon rush hour you'll find the quiet car in the very last car of eastbound trains.
In the morning, it's the very first car of each westbound train.
The other morning, for the first time in a long time, I took the late train. I boarded the first car with some friends, and we chose seats near the Mayor. We were involved in conversation.
When the conductor reminded us that we were in the quiet car, we lowered our voices.
The Mayor became belligerent. Called the quiet car concept "nonsense", and actually encouraged us to make noise.
I am afraid this is not going to end well. I suspect that the next time I ride that train, the Mayor will have moved.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
I have a bandaid on my nose, and another one on my neck.
My primary care physician -- don't you just "love" that phrase? :-( -- thought it would be a good idea for me to see a dermatologist for a full-body checkup.
So the big, ugly spot on my shin turns out to be a benign tumor. The mole on my toe is just a mole.
But that spot on my neck and the spot on my nose -- she didn't like those. "Probably nothing, but let's do a biopsy anyhow. I'll have the results in a week or two."
And my stomach is churning.
Seven years ago a doctor told me "It's probably hormonal, you'll be fine after the D &C but we'll do a biopsy anyhow", which was followed by a bad pathology report, a hysterectomy, radiation and chemo. A year from hell.
I don't want to go back to that dark and scary place.
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- Peace, love and crabs
- Long Island, Land of 1,000 Cheeseburgers
- It's "brag on my children" day
- LOL moment at the Renaissance Faire
- Renaissance Faire Washing Well Wenches
- Renaissance Faire Dead Bob
- Hey Nunnie Nunnie
- Renaissance Faire- the Living Chess Game
- Renaissance Faire-the Queen signs a peace treaty
- Renaissance Faire - Stewart and Arnold and Hey Nun...
- Renaissance Faire - The Queen's Arrival
- Ruby Tuesday
- And now for something a bit different
- Greetings, golf fans
- The idea was better than the execution
- Candy Girl, Jersey Boys and Stardust
- Columbia Presbyterian
- Mets baseball
- Another baseball weekend
- The last plane out of Saigon? No, it's the NYC su...
- The Dark and Scary Place
- OMG OMG OMG
- Aly Raisman!
- As if my commute wasn't interesting enough. . .
- The Mayor at War
- Pastrami and fuzzy ears
- It's a little thing, but . . .
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