A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

A Year In New York header image 1

Day 279: Eco? Maybe. Friendly? Mostly.

April 3rd · 1 Comment

img_7053The other night I attended a fundraiser at Greenhouse, the SoHo club that claims to be New York’s first eco-disco. The rumors said Stevie Nicks would be there. Even more than her purring vocals, I sought a bigger hit:  Can a hipster nightclub really be “sustainable,” or is it an illusion? [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Deep Thoughts · Entertainment · Sights & Scenes

Day 271: A Free Poem on Union Square

March 26th · No Comments

img_7042In March the Union Square farmer’s market is a meager proposition: onions, potatoes, and some apples. I spent a more fruitful time having a guy write me a poem.

“What do you want your poem to be about?” Benyomin Spaner asked. [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Entertainment · Museums & Art · Personalities · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

Day 257: A Man with a Cat on His Head

March 12th · 5 Comments

This man’s name is Charlie and the cat’s name is Nicolas. Some Union Square panhandlers just ask for change, but the more enterprising ones have a value-add. Charlie created value by adding Nicholas to the top of his head.

The combination coaxed three dollars out of me. I think Charlie is on to something.

→ 5 CommentsTags: Personalities · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

Day 255: We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1985

March 10th · 1 Comment

In the frigid air of March, in the gloom of a deep recession, Manhattan’s clothing merchandisers have announced the dawn of a new, happy age in which everyone wears lime-colored golf shirts and bright peach polos. New Yorkers pull up their collars and seem unmoved. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

Day 250: One Route to Rule Them All

March 5th · No Comments

It still hurts to take a deep breath after the snowboarding injury I got a few weeks ago. Joo thinks I bruised or even broke a rib. No treatment is available but rest, so I resort to only exercise that doesn’t hurt. I walk to work.

I’ve experimented with different routes and today I walked down First Avenue, past the United Nations and its flags fluttering in the chilly March sun. Today’s journey also provided an answer to something I’ve wondered about: Whence all the worker bees that populate the Midtown office towers? Those are big buildings, and they ought to draw swarms of people at 8 a.m on a Wednesday. [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Sights & Scenes · The Rat Race · Urban Survival

Day 247: March Roars Like a Lion

March 2nd · 2 Comments

This morning I pulled the shade to see if the forecast foot of snow had arrived. Not quite. But six inches lay on the ground with more pouring from the sky, and I felt the pull of the wild.

In response, I pulled on my fleece jacket and Gore-Tex shell and the snow boots I’d bought for the New York winter that I thought I’d never get the chance to use. I usually head for work in the Manhattan uniform of overcoat and sweater. But fashion be damned – it’s snowing out! I walked from 72nd Street all the way to Union Square on 14th, just to see what happens when March arrives like a lion. [Read more →]

→ 2 CommentsTags: Encounters with Nature · Sights & Scenes · Urban Survival · Why I Love This Town

Day 242: Gimme an “Ommmmmm!”

February 25th · 3 Comments

My friend Jen is visiting from Amsterdam to debut her erotic film, and yesterday we made a visit to the Guggenheim. We lingered at “The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia” exhibit. This piece in the lobby summed it up neatly. Listen up, everyone! Ice is melting. [Read more →]

→ 3 CommentsTags: Museums & Art · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

Day 240: Brazilian TV Meets the American Writer

February 23rd · 1 Comment

The announcement appeared on the refrigerator: “A Brazilian Television Show Is Here at 2 p.m. Today to Do a Segment on Paragraph. Anyone Interested in Being Interviewed, Tell Lila.”

The Brazilians didn’t arrive until three, I observed as I pretended to read a book in the corner of the lunchroom. They bustled in fresh and laughing, a cameraman and a sound guy and a short squat girl with a clipboard and two other women who were very beautiful. Each was young and dark-haired and lively with that spark that Brazilians have. I guessed that the on-camera talent was the woman in the shiny purple tights. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Entertainment · Personalities · Schmoozing · Sights & Scenes

Day 236: A Nation on the Move

February 19th · 5 Comments

I proudly present my first movie. After returning from India last month, I reviewed the footage and thought, “People have got to see how crazy traffic is in India.” This is a road trip where the biggest adventure is the road itself.

I fed the movie into two services, Viddler and YouTube, as I search for the best way to present videos online. If you care to, take a look at both versions and let me know which is the better experience for you.

What does this have to do with A Year In New York, you may ask? Well, New York is a city where people go to try something new. Making this little film has been exhilarating experiment, though all an observer would see is me staring at my laptop and tinkering with the mouse. I do enjoy reliving the India adventure again and again on my screen.

One more insight: if India taught me anything, it’s that New York drivers are a bunch of pansies. The traffic on any Indian street would burst the blood vessels of a New York cabbie (unless of course that cabbie was Indian).

→ 5 CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Day 234: Break Glass In Case of Emergency

February 17th · No Comments

My wallet lacked $20s, so I visited the WaMu down the street. This particular block has a coffee shop,  a frozen-yogurt place and a cigar store with a wooden Indian outside, yet I like the bank the best. That’s because it’s a WaMu.

WaMu is Washington Mutual, the Seattle bank known for its open floor plan and the gentle sense of humor it employs to seem less bank-like. (WaMu used to advertise its free-checking plan with picture of chickens and a legend that read, “Free Range Checkin’.”) I bought the bank’s vibe completely, even though I knew I was being played. I liked that its name rhymed with the name of a killer whale at SeaWorld.

This day, however, the lighted sign was swaddled in black plastic and paper littered the floor where desks used to be. The ATMs had been removed, and through the gap I saw that someone had left a fire extinguisher. Last year, JPMorgan Chase swallowed my bank like an even bigger whale. Now I have to trudge two blocks down and conduct my business under the cold, Borg-like glow of Chase’s logo.

When Joo and I met, we discovered we both banked at WaMu and bonded over our mutual affection (or MuAf.) Now all we have is memories, and another empty storefront, and a fire extinguisher, just in case the banking industry catches even worse fire than it already has.

→ No CommentsTags: Deep Thoughts · East Coast v. West Coast · Sights & Scenes · The Rat Race · Why I Hate This Town