life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Out of the darkness

You know I am active in my synagogue.   And that we hold services twice a day.  And that a quorum of 10 is required.

I was fearful that there might not be a quorum tonight.  So I drove the half mile to the synagogue to be part of the minyan.

I need not have worried.   There were 20 people at the service.

Twenty of us, praying by flashlight.  Eerie and beautiful.

Stormy weather

So in the aftermath of the storm the weather is cold and damp.  And no heat in the house.

The president has declared this region a major disaster area.  Understandable considering the damage reports I am hearing.  Thanks to email and Facebook I have learned that the office will be closed again tomorrow.   Our building in Jersey City is right on the river and it flooded.  There's no power in Jersey City or lower Manhattan and it's not likely that public transportation will be functional any time soon.

Charged my phone in the car this morning.  Sat there listening to the news on the radio and found myself crying.

The morning after

We made it through the storm relatively unscathed.  Sitting here with no electricity and spotty cell phone service.  No damage to the house or cars.  We feel blessed.

I looked at the Newsday website, and our house guest went out to her car to listen to the radio for news.  No AM stations!  1010 WINS is broadcasting on an FM frequency.   The rain wasn't much of an issue,  it was the wind and tides.  LIPA has 1.1 million customers and over 900,000 of them are without power.  Trees are down, roads closed   Flood waters came further inland than ever before.  They're saying this storm was worse than Hurricane Gloria in 1985.  That it was worse than the fabled hurricane of 1938.

The good news, I just saw the town highway department truck go by.  Clean up has begun.

Monday, October 29, 2012


That's what we are reduced to.  Power went out just as we were finishing dinner.  Outside the storm continues.  Although we cannot see the full moon, the clouds are glowing, and I can see the dark sillouettes of the trees swaying in the wind.

Power is out, 3G isn't working well, sporadic service only.  Though we haven't lost cell phone service yet. Texting is iffy though.

Before we lost contact with the outside world we heard news reports . . .trees down, unprecedented flooding.  A building collapse in NYC.  A gas station explosion in Massapequa.  All Long Island parkways shut down.  Scary.

Mass transit shut down last night.  Amazingly ny office shut down today and tomorrow.

It feels like armaggedon.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hunkering Down

Sandy is coming.

They're calling Sandy a "Frankenstorm"  Huge hurricane hitting during the full moon. 

New York and New Jersey have already declared a state of emergency.  The LIRR, NYC subways and PATH trains shut down at 7 PM Sunday night.

We loaded up on supplies Sunday afternoon, I made two trips to the supermarket as well as a trip to the bagel bakery, and my mother and sister did shopping as well. Made sure my car has a full tank of gas, just in case. Schools and offices all over the region have closed.  Hospitals cancelled elective surgery -- Drew was supposed to have his procedure tomorrow.

And now we just watch the new casts and wait for the storm to hit.

Cloud Atlas and Red Lobster

 In the calm before the storm....

Last night we saw an incredible movie, Cloud Atlas.  Very cerebral movie, elements of science fiction, religion and philosophy, reincarnation, and how we are all bound up together.  Six parallel stories, past, present and future.  Each of the principle actors has six different roles, one in each story.  Their lives intersect.  Everything is connected. 

Definitely an Oscar contender.

Next it was dinner at Red Lobster.  We usually go to the one in Hicksville, but since we saw the movie at Roosevelt Field, we opted to try the Red Lobster in Carle Place.  This chain has a very interesting menu, part New England seaside shack, part Caribbean ...  part whatever.  There were cheesy biscuits on the table before we even placed our order.  I love the strawberry sunset colada, a pina colada with a  dash of strawberry.  Drew had a Bahama Mama -- very potent drink.  Started our meal with the coconut shrimp -- six shrimp breaded with coconut and fried, then served with a pina colada sauce. Salads were fresh.  We both ordered combo plates that included grilled lobster tail and shrimp.    Mine had lobster tail, shrimp scampi and grilled shrimp, broccoli and rice  pilaf. 

food was good, service was efficient.  No wonder Red Lobster is one of our go-to places.

Red Lobster on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meredith's Mother Takes The Train . . .

Twenty years ago, when my kids were very small, I would read to them every night.  You know the deal, you read a book over and over again, until you and your child have practically memorized it.

One of my favorites  was "Meredith's Mother Takes The Train" by Deborah Rose.  Meredith went to day care while her mother went to work.

I'd bring Jen and Becca to day care every morning.  Drew would pick them up every afternoon.  So the book was very relevant to our lives at the time.

I meant to hold onto it, to keep it as a memento of the baby days.  But somehow it got misplaced.

Hadn't thought about the book in years.  But today I find myself with lines from the book popping into my head . . .

Meredith's mother takes the train to work in the morning and home again . . .Meredith's mother gets all dressed up, and sometimes she carries her coffee cup . . .

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gateway Haunted Playhouse of Horror

I love a good haunted house.

Tonight we drive out to Hellport. .. er, Bellport, to the Gateway Theater.  The theater has been transformed into a haunted house, complete with actors and special effects. The special effects were among the best I've seen, including (get this) real odors.  The acting was excellent.

I don't scare easily.  But the young lady in the white jacket got so spooked she grabbed my arm and wouldn't let go!

But it is an intense experience.  Takes about 30 minutes to walk through the whole house.


Monday, October 15, 2012

I pity the fool . . .

Do not mess with an angry cheerleader.

Coach Jen ordered buses to take the girls to an away game Saturday morning.  Someone in the office didn't place the order.  Jen, the other coach and a few of the parents wound up driving the squad to the game.  Fortunately it was in the next town, not very far.

The office is going to hear about it today!

aging parents and bratty sisters

My father is not in a good place right now.  His vision is going and he's having cognitive issues.

And my sisters, who are taking care of him, are completely stressed out.

And apparently I am a terrible horrible person who doesn't care about my father or anyone in the house.

Sorry, sisters mine, but you opted to feed at the parental trough for 45 years, it's payback time.  I've been working my butt off since I graduated from law school to make a life for myself and for my children.  So hell, yeah, when the weekend comes, I'm going out.  Our parents are paying your bills, but they're not paying mine, so I'm going to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  I earned it. 

And I learned, several years ago, that life is very short indeed, and I can't wait until "someday" to enjoy it."

It's not your place to decide who lives in YOUR PARENTS' HOUSE. 

And I really don't give a damn that you haven't gone to the theater since May.  We used to all go to the theater together.  The first time you bought 4 tickets, instead of 5, and planned to take my kids to the theater without me and without asking me...if neither of you ever sets foot in a theater again ...  karma's a bitch.

Yeah, I'm sorry I lost my temper yesterday.  You hit my hot button.  I'm sorry daddy got upset and I'm sorry I involved Jen.  But I'm not sorry you're upset.  You need to grow up.  You've done exactly as you please for most of your life, your parents have taken care of you all this time.  It's hard to be a grownup, I know.  And it's especially hard to become a grownup at 45.

But you reap what you sow.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ellen's,"Annie" and all that

Friday night I met Drew and his sister for a night of theater. 

Our evening began at Ellen's, the home of the singing waitstaff.  Drew and I love the place but his sister had never been there.  I do have a minor complaint -- if you sit upstairs you can hear the performers, but unless you sit along the balcony railing (we didn't) it's hard to see the singers except when they come upstairs.  And remind me to order my burger "medium" -- "medium rare"  was actually rare.

Then it was on to the theater.  We had tickets for Annie.

What can I say about Annie?  It's an iconic musical, especially for anyone who was a little girl when the show was brought to Broadway in the 70's, or anyone who has raised little girls since then. It's a show that's routinely chosen in elementary schools, middle schools and summer camps, dance schools recreate the choreography . . .

And did I mention that Becca actually auditioned for a role in the Broadway revival in the 1990's?  There was a time when she had an agent and did auditions. . .and auditions . . . But she never got cast in anything.

Loved this version of the show.  But . . .well . . .the choreography . . in all prior productions, the dance numbers were mostly tap, evocative of the 1930's and Shirley Temple and etc. In this production, the dance style is more Broadway/jazz.  Then everyone dons tap shoes for the finale.

Still, the show was wonderful.  Loved the political humor.  And we think that the composer, Charles Strauss, was sitting in front of Drew's sister, taking notes.

Last night Drew and I went back to the city, this time to Greenwich Village, to a little theater on St. Mark's Place to see a show called The Quantum Eye.  This is a performance by a mentalist named Sam Eaton.    Interesting how he is able to predict responses and read people. 

And then dinner at Wo Hop, another of our city staples.  Long line to get it, and a couple behind us whining so much I wanted to turn around and punch them.  They looked unhappy even after they sat down and were eating dinner.  Food was worth the wait, as usual.  I especially liked the steamed dumplings.

Another fun weekend in NYC.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ducks photos

We are the champions, my friend

So you know Drew and I are fans of the Long Island Ducks, our local Atlantic League baseball team. 

The league has two divisions.  The division winners play a best-of-five series to determine the league championship.  The Ducks won their division and played the Lancaster Barnstormers for the championship.  Tonight was game 5 of the championship series.

Drew's friend Joe has season tickets for the Ducks but couldn't use them.  So Drew and I found ourselves at Bethpage Park.  In weather more suited for football than baseball -- cold and damp. 

Very small crowd tonight, mostly die-hard Ducks fans.  And a very small group of Lancaster fans, I think they were related to the players.

Very exciting game.    The Ducks took an early lead and kept it for most of the game.  Then blew it in the top of the 9th, allowing the Barnstormers to tie it up 4-4.

Bottom of the 9th.  Two out, men on second and third . . .and they do a suicide squeeze!   And win the game.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Destino is Italian for destiny, fate. It is also a wonderful Italian restaurant. Drew snagged a Groupon for this place and we were looking for an occasion to try it. Usually when we eat in the city it's in conjunction with a show or event. Tonight we took the train into the city just to have dinner, then turned around and took another train home. Call us crazy, but dinner was worth it. It's a small restaurant but seems much larger because of the huge picture windows. There's an. . .interesting . . .mural painted on the ceiling. When you are seated at your table the waiter will hand you the wine list and cocktail menu. You don't see a dinner menu until after you've ordered drinks and have been served bread. You will also be offered a choice of regular or sparkling water. Our meal began with a glass of prosecco, a basket of bread and a plate of bruchetta. First time I've ever seen Drew eat anything with raw tomatoes. There is herb-flavored olive oil available if you want to dip your bread. The meatball appetizer turned out to be a single meatball the size of a man's fist, served with marinara sauce and freshly shaved parmesan. The baked clams consisted of six clams, each in its shell, dressed with bread crumbs and a light lemon sauce. No chopped clam and breadcrumb mixture here! I ordered veal franchese. This turned out to be three very tender veal medallions in delicate breading, served with an excellent lemon sauce. The dish was plated with sauteed broccoli on a roasted potato wedge. Veal marsala, similarly plated, was dressed with mushrooms and marsala wine. Portions here are relatively small, so we were able to finish our dinner and order dessert. Drew ordered cannoli- two small pastries with a creamy filling. My Italian cheesecake came with a berry sauce. Italian cheesecake isn't as dense, creamy or sweet as New York cheesecake, and probably would have benefited from a sweeter accompaniment. Coffee was a little on the strong side -- I actually added sugar to it, something I never do. Overall an excellent meal, worth the trip into the city. Destino - NYC on Urbanspoon

Cheeseburgers on a Friday night

What do you do on a Friday night when you're stressed out and tired? Lately for us the answer is "grab some take out, head home and watch tv." We love a good burger. I think "cheeseburger" is our default setting when we don't know what we want to eat. Jake's Wayback is just down the road from Drew's house, so we frequently wind up there. The place has the feel of an old fashioned hamburger stand. You place your order at the counter. If you are "dining in" they'll bring it to your table. They don't cook your burger until you've placed your order. The menu offers a variety of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, etc. Sides include fries (variations include cheese fries and chili fries), onion rings and their home made potato chips. Hand dipped shakes round out the offerings. There are monthly specials. This month's burger special is an order of sliders. I went for my usual, though -- a Jake's cheeseburger. That's two patties with cheese. I added bacon, ketchup, mayonnaise, grilled onions and mushrooms. I think the fries have been lackluster so I ordered onion rings. Stuck with diet Coke instead of a shake (but I plan to visit in December if they do the eggnog shake again!) Drew ordered a burger that was served on toasted bread instead of a bun, and he had no issue with the fries. Gorging on burgers and watching "Fringe". Yeah, a perfect Friday night. Jake's Wayback Burgers on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dead singers season redux

Remember I wrote about Dead Singers Season?

Andy Williams died last week.

Drew and I saw his Christmas show at Westbury Music fair a couple of times in the 80's.  He was wonderful.  He stopped touring in the early 90's, did his performing in Branson instead. 

I would have loved to have seen him in person one more time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

cousin's bar mitzvah

So last weekend was my cousin's bar mitzvah.

This is a cousin on my father's side of the family.  My father's niece Myrna has four grandchildren, her daughter Devora has girl and a boy, and her daughter Buffy has a boy and a girl.  Three years ago we went to Devora's daughter's bat mitzvah.  Then it was Buffy's son's bar mitzvah (this was the kid whose bris was held the day David Wells pitched a perfect game at Yankee Stadium).  Last weekend was Devora's son's bar mitzvah, and Buffy's daughter's bat mitzvah will be in March 2013.

All those Hebrew school dollars paid off when Becca gave me a critque of the service and voiced her opinion of the Rabbi. ;-)

I had an OMG moment when I heard  that Devora sits on the board of her synagogue.  As you know, I'm on the board of my synagogue.  I hadn't thought of this before, but my grandfather -- her great grandfather -- was president of his congregation in Brooklyn and was a founding member of his synagogue on Long Island.  He died before I was born, but I have heard the stories.  I'd also forgotten that my father was very briefly involved in the board of our synagogue when I was  a child.  It never occurred to me that I was participating in a family tradition until that moment.

Another OMG moment was when my cousin Marcia told me her daughter Elyse, the special ed teacher, couldn't come to the bar mitzvah because she was choreographing her cheerleading team's competition routine.  Elyse and Jen seem to have a lot in common.

My daughters were gorgeous, of course.  Becca wore a yellow gold dress that made her feel like Belle in "Beauty and the Beast".  Jen wore a short, dark dress and purple shoes with 4-inch stilletto heels.  She looked so grown up!  You should have seen her doing the Wobble on the dance floor.  Becca thought the Wobble was "stupid", by the way.

The most bittersweet parents skipped the service and came to the party late, after cocktail hour was over.  Anything else would have overtaxed my father's strength, I think.  He walked into the room using his rollator walker.  This is the man who used to be the life of the party, on the dance floor the whole evening!  He did manage to dance a slow dance with my mother.

Now for the "meow" moment.  My sisters F and A dressed like teenagers.  I mean, really, they chose dresses that were "younger" than what my own daughters wore.  And the behavior!  My sisters have always been vivacious at parties, dancing, enjoying themselves, etc.  Nothing wrong with that.  But last weekend ...  It seems that Jen and Becca were flirting with the guy who ran the photo favor booth, and the guy who was airbrushing t-shirts for the 13 year old crowd.  Both of these guys were in their 20's.  So my daughters flirting with the uys was cute.  My sisters, on the other was sad, really.  Because it wasn't two 45 year old women flirting with younger men, it was two 45 year old women thinking they were 25 years old flirting with two men "their own age".

So anyhow, it was fun seeing the wedding, bar mitzvah and funeral crowd again.  And I hope to see them all in March!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parking lot madness

Ah, the joys of commuting.

Remember how I've told you about interesting items I've seen in the parking lot? Cinderella's parking lot .   The commuter lot is shaped like an L, with a small shopping center nestled into the L.

today I arrived at the parking lot late, 10 minutes after my train had come and gone, and 20 minutes until the next train.I parked at the back of the lot, at the base of the L.  Thought I was alone until I heard loud, angry voices.

They were walking from the tracks towards the back of the lot, an older couple, arguing at the top of their voices.I think the "nicest" thing they called each other was "crackhead".At one point he grabbed her, and I thought he was going to hit her.  She got away from him and started to walk back towards the tracks via the shopping center parking lot, with him following.  Every so often she'd turn around and yell at him.

I decided to avoid the shopping center and walk through the commuter lot to the tracks.  she must have circled around the shopping center very quickly, because a few minutes later she was walking towards me from the direction of the tracks.  He was still following, of course.

Let me tell you, I was never so happy to reach the tracks as I was this morning!

By the way, The Mayor is still perching in his favorite seat in the first car.  But he's no longer holding court, or at least he wasn't very chatty this morning.  I guess the "quiet car" rules are being observed.

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