Category: New York

Random Gotham notes

Hi everybody. Sorry I haven’t updated. I’m leaving tomorrow to go back to the southern hemisphere, but a few fast notes in the meantime…
*I had supper with Roy Edroso. We made an arrangement: I promised not to razz him about the election, and he promised not to razz me about the Yankees. We visited the new Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, which is every bit as swish as I’d hoped. Truly, a high temple of capitalism at which I hope to pray often.
*Also met frequent commenter Dave J., in transit from Boston to DC. Lovely guy and a real pizza conoisseur.
*Went twice to Caffe Taci, where I hung out with community lions Roy and Niger Innis, diva maxima Elizabeth Schultz, and tenor-turned-WNYC overnight DJ-turned-tenor again Brad Cresswell. Not to mention redoubtable owner Leopoldo Mucci, who fed me carpaccio and tiramisu and watered me with copious quantities of wine.
*Attended one of the New Criterion’s Fitzpatrick’s nights, where I met several very lovely people whose names escape me, plus a semi-toasted Aaron Haspel.
*After much deliberation, I decided not to attend a performance at the funny farm. Dysfunctional families are best left in one’s past.
*I was very sorry, however, that financial constraints kept me from seeing a performance of the Roundabout Theatre’s 12 Angry Men.
*If anyone wants to get me a Sephora gift certificate for Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Kwanzaa or any other occasion, I will graciously accept.
*In more retail news, I visited the brand spanking new Target and Marshall’s near my old Bronx ‘hood. It is awesomely huge. Take the 1/9 train to 225th street (make sure it’s not a skip-stop) and shop yourself to death.
*This looks like just about the funniest thing ever:
“The Hebrew Hammer” is geared toward an audience that knows their Jewish ABCs. It is a comical reward for people who attended Hebrew school two hours a day, three days a week for six years. The movie, which originally aired on Comedy Central, is an action-comedy spoof of Jewish religion and culture. Writer-director Jonathan Kesselman uses classic stereotypes to create a humorous story about Mordechai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg), better known as “The Hebrew Hammer.”
Our titular hero, whose office door reads “Certified Circumcised Dick,” is called to duty by the Jewish Justice League when Santa Claus is murdered by his evil son, Damian Claus (Andy Dick), who then sets out to rid the world of Chanukah. With the help of Esther (Judy Greer) and the head of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, Mohammed (Mario Van Peebles), Hammer is on a mission to save the holiday.
The film covers all its bases as a religious action-comedy, featuring a traditional Shabbat dinner with a Jewish mother, exciting comic fight sequences, and even Hammer in a sex scene. Within the genre’s framework, Kesselman has plenty of opportunities to include hysterical moments. In one scene, talking dirty to a woman means suggesting that she move to Long Island and send her kids to Stanford. And Hammer delivers great one-liners, like the nonsensical but bound-to-be-classic “I like my women like I like my matzo—unleavened.”

Thanks for a great two weeks, New York, and I’ll be back soon.


Celebrity sighting

I passed Al Franken on Broadway in the 80s today. He looks like he’s aged ten years in the past week: gray-haired tired looking and not a little pudgy. Tee hee.
I also saw Otto Sanchez, the actor who played Chico Guerra on Oz. He was wearing designer glasses and carrying a Starbucks’ cappucino cup.

I have returned to my ancestral home

Well, my childhood home anyway. My ancestral homes are Spain and Israel. But never mind, it’s marvelous to be back. I slept like the dead, which I may have technically been after 25+ hours in transit. Yesterday I walked Broadway for 30 blocks, from the mid-90s to Lincoln Center. I would have walked further if it hadn’t been for the fact that my feet are sorely out of shape for the rigors of New York walking. Visited some favorite haunts and discovered some new places. Today if the traffic is not too bad, I’ll try to visit the awesome new Time Warner center at Columbus Circle.
Oh, and Tropicana Orange Juice is the beverage of the gods. Just thought I’d mention that.
More later.

Net deal

The New York Times reports on a plan to bring the New Jersey Nets basketball team to downtown Brooklyn.
The plan features a Frank Gehry-designed stadium that converts into an ice rink in wintertime, plus transit links and other acoutrements like housing and the promised influx of retail revitalization. Hey, with work, the stadium neighborhood could be turned into an urban utopia rivaling the area surrounding Yankee Stadium! (For non-New Yorkers, that is irony: the YS area is a dump)
Here’s an achievement that would be slightly more miraculous: Have the Nets win a championship or two. Then they’ll be ready for Brooklyn, a borough that hasn’t had a team since the Dodgers defected to LA in 1957.

A city, not an empire

We knew that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a statist, a busybody, and a RINO. Now thanks toTony Blankley, we know he’s a flaming idiot with a jealous streak as well:

Firmly in the saddle of his favorite hobbyhorse — anti-smoking — he compared the alleged number of deaths from secondhand smoke that he implied Giuliani condoned by inaction (which His Brilliance Mayor Bloomberg has saved by banning smoking in his city establishments) to the number of New Yorkers killed on September 11. This is deranged in so many different ways. First, comparing himself in any way to Giuliani’s magnificent, heroic, humane and wise performance in the aftermath of September 11 is violently unuseful to Bloomberg. Equating the consciously evil slaughter of thousands of souls to the perhaps transitory consequences of industrial modern life is morally disproportionate. (In fact, his claims of deaths from secondhand smoke are based on disreputable junk science.) Implying equivalence between Giuliani’s alleged inaction and the terrorists’ mass murder is one of the most savage (and unjustifiable) acts of political rhetoric in living memory.
But just listen to his uncontainable resentment for his predecessor: “Think about all the press attention to 9/11 … that number of people die every year in the city from second hand smoke.” Apparently, he thinks the attack on the WTC should have been reported on page B12 of the Metro section. He sounds envious of all that attention Giuliani and the murdered 3,000 received. If one didn’t know he was the multi-billionaire mayor of the greatest city in the world, one would think he was one of those crazed derelicts with spittle slipping down the chin ranting to the wind about some pet insanity.

Not only has Bloomberg ruined himself with these beyond-asinine remarks, he has ruined New York politics for Republicans (a party he didn’t even belong to until shortly before the mayoral primaries… shades of Wesley Clark in reverse?)for at least the coming decade.