Tag Archives: New York Life

Don’t Tell Me That I Live In A Bubble

Don’t tell me that I live in a bubble.


If I lived in a bubble, I might believe that Muslims were some terrifying alien Other that I see on Fox TV, coming to blow up my family and put the bits under Sharia Law, instead of being the co-workers who shared their Friday night Ramadan meal; or the man with the Halal cart, immigrant entrepreneur with a small business, living the American dream, taking a break to bow toward Mecca; or the neighbor walking her daughter to practice, with a soccer ball and a hijab.


If I lived in a bubble, I might believe that all blacks and Hispanics are like those rampaging animals I see on Fox News: welfare queens, young bucks, living in the cities, smashing windows, looting stores, selling drugs, living off the hard work of people like me.  Except for the ones who live in my town, dress exactly like I do, act exactly like I do, agree with everything I say.  They’re One Of The Good Ones, and they’re how I know I’m not racist.


If I lived in a bubble I might believe that there’s only one way to be a man, and that it’s been the same way since forever.


Or that 97% of the scientists in the world are just pretending to be terrified by climate change as part of a Chinese conspiracy.


I might believe that it infringes on my freedom of religion for an old woman to have the right to be at the side of the love of her life as the last few minutes of fifty years count down to the beeping of a heart monitor.  I might believe that I’m being persecuted if the law requires me to serve gay customers at my bakery or florist shop, and doesn’t allow me to turn them away like my grandparents turned black people away from the lunch counter; or that them damn queers have special rights if they can’t be fired or evicted just for what they are.  I might believe that The Gay is a thing that can be cured – or that needs to be.


I might think that three children, siblings, adopted out of foster care as a group so the family could stay together, should be taken away from the men they call “Daddy and Papa” because all gays are child molesters.


I might believe that impoverished, dying small towns (but hardworking and white!) whose industry left a generation ago were paying the bills for the vast and thriving cities, instead of the other way around.


I might even believe that whites, straights, Christians, and men are the only people still oppressed in America, because I have no perspective on pain.


I could live in a bubble if I wanted to.  I’m white, straight, male, middle-aged and middle-class.


I could collect my white-collar paycheck, enjoy my white-collar tax cut, cash in on my stock options while the market is high.  I could go to Broadway shows and movies at Alamo Drafthouse, eat meals at fine steakhouses during Restaurant Week, go to little places in Chinatown where the locals go, and not give a shit about the wider world unless and until it came for me.
Do I live in a bubble?  I don’t live in the neighborhoods where poverty and despair fill the air like the smell of garbage.  Where the criminals are the only ones with any money, and the City lets the streets crumble.  No, I follow close on the leading edge of gentrification, and when people like me move into a neighborhood, the City starts to care.


That’s the bubble I live in.  But it’s a bigger bubble than the one you live in, with a lot more people in it who are not like me.  So don’t tell me that I live in a bubble just because my bubble  isn’t the same as yours.


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I Didn’t Want To Talk About This

Even more true now than it was one year ago. These people are my neighbors, and this Nazi talk about a Muslim Registry – to say nothing about the fact that an open Anti-Muslim bigot has been made National Security Advisor – enrages me.

Dreams of the Shining Horizon


A month or two ago, I gave up commenting on political blogs, and cut back severely on even reading them. I was developing a bad case of Internet Rage Addiction.  I was wasting precious, irreplaceable hours out of my life writing long, angry comments in the hopes of scoring points against people who were wrong on the internet instead of writing material I could actually publish.  I was stressed and angry.  I was even missing sleep.  I had to quit for my own health.  A few nasty fights and some irreconcilable differences with people who’d been on my side to that point, along with the closing of Pandagon, made it easy.

Then yesterday morning, some stupid bigot on my Facebook friends list posted that cute R. Lee Ermey meme that’s going around about “loosing” America to “goat humpers”.  I’m not going to link to it, still less repost…

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Walking the High Bridge – June 14, 2015

I need to start getting up these picture posts more quickly.  Still, Real Life and day jobs take up time we all wish we could use for other things.

Anyway, we weren’t doing much of anything special when Red Molly notified me that the High Bridge was open again for the first time in forty years.  That is a genuine piece of Hidden New York, unknown to tourists, and even most New Yorkers outside the immediate areas where the High Bridge runs aground in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Of course we had to go.

So we set out that bright, hot Sunday afternoon and walked down to the end of Dyckman Street, where it joins the Harlem River Drive.  The Highbridge Park runs up that high, so we were able to walk along the Drive for some distance, and we got some good pictures along the way:



Eventually, though, we started to get a little lost, so we cut through the park up to Amsterdam Avenue. and we found our  way to the High Bridge’s actual location at 173rd street with little trouble.  We saw some interesting things along the way:


(I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have something like this within easy walking distance; when I was a kid my mother had to drive me to the YMCA in the nearest city.  On the other hand, I had open space.)


But finally, we found the High Bridge itself:


Okay, so that’s the High Bridge Water Tower.  It’s still an important NYC Landmark, and you should go see it, especially because it’s right there.  Anyway, here’s the High Bridge:




A couple of pictures taken along the way…beautiful views, but next time I’ll put the lens right up to one of the holes in the safety netting.

Looking South

Looking South

Looking North

Looking North

Looking South, Bronx side...the train tracks

Looking South, Bronx side…the train tracks

And finally, the Bronx Side perspective:


A once-lost bit of New York has been returned to us.  I recommend that everyone who cares about such things – or who wishes to see the true New York beyond what is served up for the tourists – get out to see it.


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East River Greenway – June 13, 2015

So last Saturday was my sister’s birthday, or at least it was the day we celebrated it, and we celebrated it by gathering with a few of her friends for lunch at South Street Seaport Smorgasburg.  The original plan was to play a bit of mini golf after, but with the Sun beating down, my sister changed her mind.  Wisest thing for her really; she burns even easier than I do.

Instead, Red Molly and I set out for a walk in the park.  Specifically, we walked up the East River Greenway to 34th Street, then crossed the island to get on the A line for home.  A good six mile walk or so, which is a good thing, since I ate far too much during the festivities.  Along the way, I got some marvelous shots looking out from the Lower East Side, and I thought I would share.

First, the very beginning of our journey, right at the southern point of Manhattan, by South Street Seaport.


The path you see is the Greenway itself, and most of you will recognize the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground.  Here’s a picture of it taken looking across the river to Brooklyn.


In the background in the Manhattan Bridge.  Here’s a better look at that.


A little further up, where Greenway widens into a rather lovely park, we passed this rather lovely amphitheatre:

City side view

City side view

Riverside view

Riverside view

I don’t know if it has a name.  I looked for a plaque, but didn’t find one.  It was under repair, so maybe I’ll be able to find one on a later visit.

Next, an interesting view of the Williamsburg Bridge:


Then just a few more pictures of the Greenway itself as we neared the end of our journey at 34th street:

Looking South

Looking South

Looking North

Looking North

It’s easy to get lost in the concrete canyons living day to day in this city.  Easy to forget that beauty like this is part of New York.  But as much as we love it, the Greenway is just a park.  Red Molly and I saw something much more unusual this past weekend.  A true hidden corner of New York.  Stay tuned.

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So true.

Do note, however, that the point of the NYC panel is that the car is NOT @$%#@ MOVING!

Awkward Love

Yes, I'm a commuter now... Yes, I’m a commuter now…

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Coney Island – May 30, 2015

So I got a new phone this weekend.  The old one was dying.  Battery wouldn’t hold a charge, functions weren’t working as they should, the whole nine yards.  So I got a new one.  With the trade-in,  it hurt a lot less than I thought it would.

And I must say, I am just amazed by the camera on this thing.  It seems like just a few years ago when I got a digital camera that was top of the line at five megapixels, and now my phone has 21, and that isn’t even its primary function.  The march of technology is amazing.

(I had a camera on my old phone, of course, but it kinda sucked.)

So now that I have this amazing new camera that I carry around with me wherever I go anyway, you might start to see a few more photo album posts around here.

For example, I got my new phone last Saturday – the day mentioned in the title, oddly enough.  On that same day, I went to – you guessed it! – Coney Island.  Coney Island last Saturday was significantly warmer than the last time I went, but it was still a bit chilly.  Long stretches of the beach were deserted.  So I tried to see if I could capture the stark beauty of it with my new camera – the chill wind and the blowing sand:


I think it worked.  Then I realized (as I was walking past it) that there was one Coney Island landmark, that I don’t think I’d ever shared:


I have no idea what that is.  Part of an older boardwalk?  Last remnant of a long-gone amusement park?  Anybody know?

And finally…


That’s the jetty at the West End.  The borderline.  The end of Coney.  And beyond it…


It feels like looking over the edge of the world.  That bridge in the distance is the Verrazano-Narrows bridge.

That’s all I have for now, but I think you can expect more posts showcasing whatever piece of wonder or beauty I’ve seen.  As for Coney, that idea of a “Twelve Months of Coney” feature is sounding better and better.  Stay tuned…

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Rock of Ages and the Deconstruction of the Nice Guy ™


On January 18, Rock of Ages will take its final bows as a Broadway show. In honor of the occasion, I’ve decided to finally write this essay, which has been sitting on my back burner pretty much since this blog was created.

Before we get started, I’d like to make one thing clear: this essay is not about the 2012 film. I’ve never seen the film.

You see, I have a deep and abiding love for the Rock of Ages stage musical.  I first saw it during a very difficult time in my life, when my marriage to College Sweetheart (referred to in that link as The Girl From Washington Heights) was unraveling and professionally, I was swinging back and forth between temp work and unemployment.  Rock of Ages’ colorful, escapist fun and its City of Dreams message helped me through, silly as that may sound.  I listened to that soundtrack over and over that winter, and other times I was low.

So when the film first came out, I checked its Wikipedia article (I have a weakness for spoilers, so sue me), and learned that the filmmakers had replaced the urban developer from the musical with Catherine Zeta-Jones’s character, a self-righteous champion of censorship who was defeated through the power of slut-shaming.

I was.  Not.  Happy.

While I understand that a story may require changes as it transitions from one medium to another (very few people were saddened by Tom Bombadil’s absence from the Lord of the Rings movies), I was…mildly put off by a character and a plotline who seemed to be added because the original wasn’t misogynist enough.

In other words, I have vowed never to see the movie, and I curse the names of everyone involved for ruining something that  should have immortalized the show I loved and brought it to a much-deserved wider audience.

Anyway. With that out of the way, to business:
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