life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ethnic colonial history

This is what we found right next door to our hotel:

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Congregation Mikveh Israel dates back to 1740.  Drew was especially proud, the congregation was founded by Sephardic Jews and he is of Sephardic heritage.

The congregation honors Commodore Levy:

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Also honored is Haym Salomom, a Revolutionary War patriot.

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And there is also a monument to a hero of the raid on Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu. Yeah, that Netanyahu, brother of the current Prime Minister.

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And then we found another interesting statue a block away, in front of the Jewish museum.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

For many years I worked in the environmental claims department of a major insurance company.  Our insureds were alleged to have caused or contributed to pollution of the environment in various ways, and it was my job to determine the merits of each claim and bring it to settlement or trial as appropriate.

As often as we fought with the EPA, we knew they were only doing what was necessary and right -- cleaning up the environment.

The millions and millions of dollars we spent to clean up polluted sites  ...

Earth day was always a special occasion in that department.  A day to recognize how important it is to clean up our mess and preserve our natural environment to the best of our ability.

Now more than ever, we need to take all the steps we can to protect our natural resources.  We don't have a "back up planet" out there, after all.

Let's all take steps to care for our environment.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Museum of the American Revolution

So, as you may recall, Drew is a semi-retired teacher -- after many years teaching high school social studies, he retired from full-time teaching and took on a job as  a substitute teacher (less stress). His passion is American history.  And my undergraduate degree is in history.  So of course we find ourselves visiting historical sites, and joining organizations that promote knowledge of history.

We attended a "members only" event at the Museum of the American Revolution on April 15, 2017, a few day before the museum's official opening on April 19 (242 years to the day since "the shot heard round the world").  The museum had a formal opening ceremony, which included all sorts of pomp and circumstance, including a presentation by former Vice President Biden; the ceremonies were covered by local TV stations.  I would have loved to attend the ceremonies, but had to be content with the museum visit.

Since the members-only preview was a special event, we got to enjoy costumed characters, a chance to pose for souvenir photos, and indulge in light refreshments, while we waited for our timed tickets to become valid so that we could head upstairs to the exhibits.

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It's a totally immersive experience, which includes films, costumed mannequins, artwork and collections of ordinary objects.  The galleries take you from the origins of the colonists' grievances  to revolution and the building of a new nation, from the French and Indian War through the signing of the Constitution.

You see a lot of artifacts relating to tea...

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Muskets and powder horns are in abundance. Drew joked that he had "musket envy".

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George Washington breaking up a fight.

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This is Washington's tent:

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Yes, this is the tent used by George Washington for sleeping and as an office in the years he was a general.

A great museum.  My one complaint?  It took me about 2 1/2 hours to see the galleries, and there was no real place to stop and take a break.

But I am glad we joined, and I hope to be coming back to see the exhibits again.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So we were in Philadelphia, and looking for a decent place to eat. And we were lucky enough to come across this place.

If you like comfort food, give this place a try.

I started with the mac and cheese appetizer, a generous portion of macaroni in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with a sprinkling of bread crumbs.  This decadence is easily shareable.

He started with the deviled eggs, two whole eggs, each half egg white filled with fluffy,. smooth and flavorful yolks

His entree was curried beef shepherd's  pie.  The meat was flavored with curry, tasty but not spicy hot, buried under nicely browned mashed potatoes.

I chose the meat loaf.  Two decently-sized slices of meat loaf in a rich brown gravy. Loved the meat loaf, but the sides -- peas and mashed potatoes -- were merely OK, and the potatoes were served cold.

He ordered a hurricane from the very intriguing cocktail menu.

Service was friendly and efficient.

Overall a satisfying experience, and we would not hesitate to return for anothe rmeal.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Songbird Salutes the 70's: Schoolhouse Rock

Short, musical cartoons, they were on the air throughout the 70's, teaching us about math, grammar, history and civics.

This one is on my mind today:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

242 years ago

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.
                                                      --- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I look out my window and see Independence Hall.  Seems apprpriate to salute Paul Revere today.

Monday, April 17, 2017


We are here in Philadelphia for one purpose:  for Drew to address his medical issues at Temple University Hospital. We had a lovely weekend playing tourist, but now we are getting down to business.  It was a long day at the hospital, and we have anothe rlong day tomorrow.

He is stressed.

And I am trying to balance my role as his companion on this journey, his ride home after hes had procedures that require sedation, with my efforts to work remotely, to keep current on job responsibilities, when I have just been given an expanded role in my office.

I am stressed.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Philadelphia Bound

Friday, April 14, 2017

Your tax dollars at work

The Nassau Coliseum, built in the 1970's, is a sports arena and concert venue.  It was the original home of the NY Nets, back when they played in the ABA, before they joined the NBA.

And it was the home of the NY Islanders.  I was a student at Hofstra University, just down the road from the Coliseum, back in the day of the Stanley Cup Dynasty, and you could feel the excitement in the air.

And Billy Joel a/k/a Mr. Long Island did so many concerts at the Coliseum that they symbolically retired his "number" -- a banner up in the rafters, along with all the Islanders' banners, read "Billy Joel 69".  (Can't deny Long Islanders have a sense of humor....)

When the building got old, there was considerable political squabbling about how to renovate the facility (it's owned by Nassau County) and how much redevelopment should be done in the area around the facility  to create an entertainment hub. When the owner of the Islanders didn't get his way,  the Islanders opted to leave Long Island and go play at the Barclays Center in godforsaken Brooklyn.  It was, as they say in Yiddish, a shondah, an embarrassment of colossal proportions.  That abandonment killed the career of one local politician (ding, dong the witch is dead) and will likely kill the career of another, if he doesn't get indicted for bribery first. (I guess you  kind of figured out I'm not a fan ...)

Billy Joel did the last concert at the Coliseum  before it closed in 2015, and last week he did the very first concert in the newly renovated Coliseum.  (I wasn't able to get tickets for either concert, they sold out in a New York minute, and the prices on StubHub were astronomical.)

The reason I'm giving you a history of the Coliseum is because the county, and the local banking organization which now has the "naming rights" to the venue, decided to hold an open house last Saturday to show off the renovations.  A limited number of free tickets were distributed, and Drew and I were lucky enough to snag two tickets.

It was a fun afternoon. We got to sample some of the foods available at the venue, got a lot of swag from the corporate sponsors, and even got a brief backstage tour.

The building now looks like a giant spaceship:

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The main floor is now set up for the Long Island Nets, a D League team.

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My first "swag bag" of the day, a travel mug:

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Free lunch!  Everyone got a voucher coupon, which could be redeemed for certain food items:

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Two chicken fingers and a handful of fries.Very tasty.

Drew opted for a hot dog. Nathan's hot dogs, the best Long Island has to offer.

The best restaurants appear to be Roast (a sandwich shop, I frequent their location in Melville, it's near my office), Smokin' Al's (the best BBQ on Long Island),  and GreeKrave.

Inside the dressing rooms:

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Baackstage hallway:

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A locker room

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The "green room"

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Celebrities who have performed in the new arena are asked to sign the wall.

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Who is that couple?

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Billy still has a banner, albeit not as risque:

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More tchotckas:

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A pedometer from the Hospital For Special Surgery.

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A beach ball:

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A backpack:

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In January 2017,  the management of the Barclays Center announced that they were looking to evict the Islanders due to poor attendance.  Well, duh, the fan base for the Islanders is on Long Island....

So the rumors are flying that the Islanders might actually come home to the Coliseum....

That would be nice.

You can read more about the Coliseum here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rescue that Rabbit!

So, after three Seders (one at Drew's house, two at my mother's), I think I've heard enough about the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea to last awhile...

Though we did have some excitement at the last Seder.  From this guy:

Redford had been banished to the back yard because he has an unfortunate habit of helping himself to any food he might find on the kitchen table, and with all our holiday cooking, that would be a real problem...

So my sister was in the kitchen, and she heard Redford meowing at the back door.

It was dark outside, so she didn't see that Redford had something in his mouth...She didn't see the bunny until Redford was back  inside the house.

Yeah, a bunny. In the house.

Fortunately Redford obeyed the command to drop the bunny.  One of the guests scooped up the little bunny and carried him outside.  And if he has any sense at all, he hopped away, into the woods, as fast as a rabbit can run.

Redford, dear, thanks for the gift, but even if we did celebrate Easter, it's not  until Sunday, and what's more, you're supposed to hunt for the eggs the bunny left behind, not the bunny himself....

And I was having a  bit of a deja vu moment, or rather, two.  Seems Redford has done this before. And the late Miss Daisy brought home a bunny once. I was convinced my sisters were trying to turn it into a pet.  I was able to rescue that critter.

At least I don't have that concern with Duchess.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Oh dear G-d, we've got full blown Holocaust denial at the White House.

All through the campaign, I heard, from members of my synagogue, that, "He can't be an anti Semite, his daughter married a Jew, she converted, his grandchildren are Jewish."

And yes, Ivanka and Jared are Orthodox, living a very observant life.

FYI, Eric's wife is Jewish, too, but we are less likely to hear about that.

But yet, the Donald didn't attend his grandson's bris.  The most important ritual in the child's life.  A ritual in which grandfathers assume an important role. He skipped it, stayed on the campaign trail.

When he spoke to Jewish Republicans during a fundraiser, he called them "negotiators".  A flattering stereotype-- he's also said he wants a "room full of guys in yarmulkes" counting his money -- but a stereotype nonetheless.

And it was obvious that Jared wrote the speech Donald gave at AIPAC, the most pro-Israel super PAC. His statements there differed greatly from his comments during an interview, where he said he'd let the parties decide their fate.

And since taking the oath of office...

He walked back all the promises he made about Israel.

He had to be poked and prodded by the press to speak out against rising anti-Semitism while the Jewish community was under siege.  No surprise there, he never quashed the anti-Semitic harassment doled out by his supporters against Jewish members of the press who criticized him.

But to make the Holocaust "Judenfrei"?  To honor Holocaust Remembrance Day and not even mention the Jews?

They were trying to be "inclusive", they explained.

And then there was the Passover Seder.  For 8 years, President Obama hosted a Seder for the White House staff.  The first Trump Seder, hastily arranged after the press noticed its absence, was not attended by Trump or any member of his family.  Not even the Jewish members of his family.

(Though I heard that the annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn is also a victim of poor planning and will be greatly scaled back this year.)

But the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back comes from his press secretary.

In discussing Assad, and Syria, and chemical weapons, Spicer said that "even Hitler didn't gas his own people."

No, actually he gassed MY people.  In concentration camps, not "Holocaust centers."

And this abomination was said on, of all days, the first day of Passover.

Passover, the festival commemorating our liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt.

The Passover Haggadah tells us that in every age a tyrant rises up to anhilate the Jewish people, but with G-d's help, we always survive.

We will survive.

Check out today's post in Talking It Out

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunday stroll

Took a walk around the neighborhood on Sunday.  Looks like spring is finally here.

Saw this little guy:

And his friend:

Yes, robins are my favorite did you know?  ;-)

Lots of flowers in the neighborhood, too.  

And forsythia, of course.

And flowering trees.

So pretty.

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