Category Archives: Life in NYC

Ketchup With Us-sie

Ms Mel and ODNTWant to see you as an ‘us’. Not necessarily you and I, just you and who(m)ever else is around. PlUS, USSIE sounds better than selfie. I am not sure, but if you are from Australia, perhaps it’s an AUSSIEUSSIE. In any case, snap and post and link and be adored by US!

 

Ketchup With Us

Right off the bat, I thought, I can’t have an ussie without GUSSIE!

gvzzime

I should point out, 1. though it appears that way, she did not take the photo.2. though it appears that way, I am not gripping her like a vise.

Next, why not take advantage of dinner with a fellow blogger whom you all know and adore.

guapme

I met Mr G. and his TMWGITU for dinner at Junior’s in Brooklyn (the only location I truly acknowledge as existing) since it is doomed to be shut down and later re-inserted (?!) into the overpriced condos that will sully the spirit and memory of yet another NYC landmark. We enjoyed both experiences.

Finally, since I am a Jr., a Three-Pete for you!

lug3rp3t3

MaT and I took my dad (BT Sr) out to Peter Luger (also in Brooklyn) for his 65th birthday last week. Ok, while not an US-SIE (and done in portrait, not landscape), it was a punny thing. 

 

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Filed under Cats, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Photo Blogs, Photography, Uncategorized

7 Cool Summer Activities – AKA the Ice Bucket List

Ms Mel and ODNT know there is strength in numbers – so write a numbered list this month and they will link YOU up! You have 10 minutes! Ketchup With Us

Will I do them all? Well I already know I don’t have enough time, but as long as I keep hydrated and wear spf 100, I could get through what is predicted as a hot and humid couple of months.

I admit I went way over 10 minutes, but they will forgive me, as I am slightly adored by them.

1. Water-based activities. Well does going rowing in Central Park count? Or Splish Splash? I hear Lazy River Tubing in Harper’s Ferry is fun (even though apparently the coolest family that lived there just moved). Or fishing off the coast of Long Island. I definitely want to get to Montauk by the end of summer. Go to the beach – I’ve been exermasizing, and have a new swimsuit, so off I should go. But I hate sitting out in the sun, it’s boring! So much for solar energy right…right?! (Is this thing on?). At least one day out though, with decent suntan lotion. I am all for safe sunbathing, but I always buy an SPF that blocks out every ray. Like black hole strength or something, so I wind up getting no color at all. Which makes me wonder if I did tan, I should definitely keep the beard, I might wind up with a terrible tan line!

2. Go to the movies. Considering I have already put off seeing Godzilla several times, I should really get my ass to a chilly theater. This is a terrible waste of a perfectly nice flask I have.

Every good Rebel had one.

Every good Rebel had one.

I should note that off-broadway plays, independent music venues, and museums are also well ventilated, and offer plenty of entertainment.

3. Wine tasting. There are tons of vineyards in New York State, but unless you are planning a weekender, I can’t understand enabling people to drive in, drink wine all day and then hop back on the road. Seriously, be safe people. You could always just hit up a local liquor store or farmer’s market for tastings and advice on local and famous brand (just be sure to buy something once in a while!)

h0td4wg

                 Summer doesn’t count without this.

4. Fine Dining outdoors. Yes this includes picnics. No, not in Central Park. NYers seem to think this is the only park in existence. Bear Mountain perhaps. Complete with fine wine (but not an all day tasting).  Outdoors also includes poolside or rooftop BBQ’s. I will get myself invited one way or another. I promise not to cannonball (pool not roof!). Ok that is a lie, I will absolutely splash you all. The finest of dining would be a corn/hot dog and cheese fries at Nathan’s. Yes the one in Coney Island – that’s the only one in existence in my universe. And riding the Cyclone. BEFORE the hot dog. I cannot stress that enough.
5. Indoor fine dining – If I want to get fancy pants, a trip out to City Island – I hear the seafood is amazing. Juniors, before it closes and re-opens within the putrid bowels of overpriced NYC housing. Burgers with a buddy (yes, you), is always fine dining, even If the place is a dive or trendy place.

abelburger

 I’ll be Abel to finish this, not problem.

6. Fireworks. No not doing them – I really miss those days. But a good show, and that they are done every weekend in Coney Island is good. And yes you can eat hot dogs during the show, even though it’s already past 10pm.

7. Baseball! The sport of summer. Major leagues though – forget it. Too far too expensive and too crowded, especially with mass transit. Minor leagues! The Yanks and Mets both have teams around here. Cheaper seats that aren’t half a mile back and lot of fan interaction and fun.

Whatever I do though, I should keep a bottle of water in my pack (on those non-flask days) and a Zamzee strapped to my belt.

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Filed under Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, Lists, New York City, Prompts, Travel, Writing

Ketchup With Us #38 – Homeward Bound

Ms Mel and ODNT Are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Ketchup With Us


I’m on my way to Chicago tomorrow morning, returning home Friday. I will post pictures and stories upon my return. Until then, I began to think about whatever travels we go on, we somehow seek home again.

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What is home to you- Where the heart is? Where your hat is hung? The newly defined dwelling that love turns a house into?
For me it was an apartment building where I spent my formative years. 18 years to be exact, and we lived on the 18th floor. We had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a balcony. I would sit out there on summer afternoons and ‘plane spot’ – the route to one of the airports was along the way and I would read the rear wing design. Most were American Airlines, sometimes I would see something unique. Alaska Air had an Eskimo on it. I even went to the liberry once and found a book with an entire index of them. The Concord would roar by at 8 or 10 am on weekends, cutting through the air sharp as it looked.

I’ve moved several times since 1995; lived in a house for 3 years, then my parents bought a co-op. I would buy one nearby a couple years later, where I still live. Still in Brooklyn.
I am a vivid dreamer. Colors, words, sounds, the whole shebang. Emotions and tension as well. A vividly detailed dream can be over-stimulating even if it’s a good one, and for someone who watches horror/thrillers, played Quake almost exclusively for several years and used to listen to death metal all the time, you can imagine the types of dreams I had. Sometimes I had to get home – for safety, or pick up something, a home base…not sure. It could have been any of those reasons. It was, many times, run-down. Not always post apocalyptic. But something that fell into disuse and disrepair. Things did change when we were moving, criminal elements started to move in and we really were forced to get out asap. Not the terms we wanted. But still there was something that made me go there. Nowhere else. I would reach my floor and sometimes just reach the door but never got in. Never got to that balcony again. Never looked out my parents window at the NY skyline with the twin towers still standing.

Guess I never truly made it home again in those dreams, maybe the new ones became more real .

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Filed under About Me, Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, Writing, Writing Challenges

Tee or not to Tee?

This is inspired by Ms. JannaT – not by the T in her name (that is a mystery that may never be solved), but by the tee on her son. Tee-gate if you will (you probably won’t).

I’m betting that everyone has a favorite shirt, sweater, jacket, hat…well some article of clothing or accessory much like that. You still have it and as you sort through your clothes each season, the notion that it share the same fate as your old socks and undershirts, as a rag for polishing metal or scrubbing cabinets, is inconceivable (yes I know what that word means). Are those clothes replacing that security blanket from years ago? Are they part of a timeless fashion like blue jeans and ornate codpieces?

In any matter, whatever item you do have, I would also bet that it fits you like a glove (unless it is a pair of gloves, or one glove covered in rhinestones if you grew up in the mid 80’s), in which case it just fits.

So in my defense of this hoarding sentimentality, I present my Yankees t-shirt…

t33fr0n
…and the story behind it.

My father and I went to Yankee Stadium in 1990. It was one of my first times there, and one of many that we would go to in the next few years – the Yanks were in almost last place [still better than the BoSux!], tickets were dirt cheap and always available.

I wanted a Yankees shirt, but not just any one off a shelf at Modell’s. Hell no! ‘Authentic’ meant buying it at the Stadium. Oh, and it had to be a jersey with the player name and number. Which is strange because the Yankees never post names on their home or away jerseys.

“So which one do you want?”, my dad asked.

Without missing a beat, “Mattingly.” Duh. Don Mattingly was the sole star in a ragtag team of bad trades (Matt Nokes) and unknowns (Chuck Cary). Again, a bad team, but not as bad at the BoSux. I never called him “Donnie Baseball” – that’s just a terrible nickname.

As the season, the games and the years went on, I would wear it whenever I could, sometimes even the moment it came out of the wash, and took care of it – never had that case where they were on a winning streak and I thought it was due to my shirt, so I wouldn’t wash it for weeks (though I do that with my Jets/Titans sweater now) I was extra careful eating, drinking, handling sharp objects (especially cat claws). I don’t know what my lifetime record of wins/losses was when attending games, but considering I was a teenager and you know how they typically feel about hanging out with their parents, those were good times spent together.

Once I realized that the shirt was almost threadbare, I decided it was time to ‘hang it up’ (something that many athletes could take note of). Always safely tucked away in a drawer, the shirt only gets worn during World Series games in which the Yankees are playing, and in the case of a World Series parade, as the first layer of fan gear when I attend. Oh, and hand wash only.

t33bakk

And so there it is, over 24 years old. Here’s to 24 more better seasons than the goddamn Red Sux.

I’ll add that I have a Yankees jacket, sweater, and hat which have seen just as many years on them as well. I’ll save those stories for another time ;).

In the meantime, I want to hear your story of a favorite/memorable clothing item.

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Filed under Fandom, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Sports

Trifecta 99 – Babooksha

This week we are giving you a page from the Oxford English Dictionary. The ninety-ninth page, to be exact. (Click to enlarge.) From this page, you can choose any word, any definition, to use in your post. (Please type your chosen word in bold, so we know.) And instead of our typical 33-333 word limit, we are asking for 99 words exactly.
babushka


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When commuting, reading helps avoid eye contact. Though these days, e-books prevent you from seeing what others are reading, I still love paperbacks.

My subway line passes through Brighton Beach, and ‘little Odessa’, so there are usually some babushkas on the crowded trains, sometimes even wearing the namesake scarves. One day, I caught the eye of one, who smiled warmly at me and my copy of “The Brothers Karamazov.” Some weeks later, we ‘met’ again, but my expected approving glance was met with a steely gaze and deeply creased frown. Perhaps they felt no sympathy for ‘Sofia Petrovna’ plight…


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Filed under Books, Creative Writing, Life, Life in NYC, Reading, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing Challenges

Signs of the Times III

Welcome to another chapter in this fine series. Not that there is a shortage of wisdom around, I just don’t feel like editing out the crudely exaggerated genitalia that accompanies it.

thvrg5
On a mailbox across from a school. I guess the best life lessons are learned outside the classroom.

g00df0r7
Proof that fortune cookies are as authentic as pro wrestling.
Well no, I take that back. Nothing is more real than wrasslin’.

50rr33
No idea to whom this was intended, but I am willing to bet that someone else saw this, and thought the person who done them wrong thunk up this creative apology placement, and forgave them.

frevel0n3
Written on one of the beams on the Brooklyn Bridge. 80’s references always melt my heart.

v1p33
4/5/6 station, corner of Canal & Lafayette. You need your gold card to get into this club.
It’s overpriced, hot, crowded and noisy, supposedly part of the twisted romantic vibe, because everyone wants in.

bird442
Side Street of The South Street Seaport. And here, you thought they missed your special day!

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Filed under Day In the Life, Humor, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Photo Blogs, Photography, Wisdom

Scintilla – At the End, a Smile

I have been a bit busy, but still working at this entry for a couple days. I want to get it all down and out.

Having actually forgotten what prompt this was for, it might be one of these, or a sum of them all.

MONDAY, 18TH MARCH
B: Write about a chance meeting that has stayed with you ever since.

WEDNESDAY, 20TH MARCH
B: Write about a time when your preconceived notion or opinion (about a place, person, thing, etc.) turned out to be wrong. What did it take to change your mind?

SATURDAY, 16TH MARCH
A: Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation: from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of a car on a family road trip.

It was probably that last one, and I was going to rant about taking the subway.

You know what, maybe for another time. As hilarious as my eye-rolling throat-punch resistanc-ing experiences with the humans can be, it dwells on the negative.

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When ‘coming up for air’ (my way of saying “leaving the subway station”) it’s the home stretch. Well, “work stretch”, which in no way sounds appealing, unless you’re the lead photographer for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, in which case there is no train or subway station that will leave you off at the beach of a tropical paradise.

Anyway, during the morning at just about every train station you’ll come across the AMNY or Metro newspapers. They are free and have just enough information to digest in a one way trip, and with various puzzles like Ken Ken, Soduku and the Crosswords, can keep you occupied on a round trip, so you don’t have to stand around reading dopey subway ads.

At some stations you will not just have the pile of papers, but a person in a company vest with an armful, handing them out. Like most handouts, people ignore or walk around them. Some vendors are aggressive, holding it out so the paper brushes against your chest or arm as you walk by them, perhaps on the off chance that you are wearing a duck tape tie or scarf (sticky side out). They don’t say a word to you or even look at you.

Some however, put that little something extra. Instead of just handing it out, they will pitch the paper’s headlines, much like the wily little rapscallions in old movies you think did that, but likely didn’t (they usually didn’t sing and dance either).

Then there is Rodney.

Rodney handed out the AMNY at one of the train stops I would sometimes head out from. He stood inside the station, usually during cold or wet weather. He always greeted everyone with a smile and ‘Good Morning!”, almost individually even when there were crowds. And that little effort got reactions. No one pushed past, some people would take it, or say politely, “No, thank you.”

“Ok, well you have a blessed/good day.” (You got that answer in either case).

So I took a paper a couple times. Then one day, he gave a glance of recognition as I approached.

“Hey there he is! How are you my friend?!”

Through the weeks I would stop and talk to him, he was accommodating, but still would have to pause the conversation for other greetings (who would take that as an affront?!). Turns out Rodney is a Veteran, and had been recently applying for his vendor license to get his own food or merchandise cart/stand. He was also looking for Section 8 housing. In other words, Rodney isn’t just a guy who hands out papers; he is a man working hard for a better life. I respect him greatly for that, and followed up with him on what was new and hoping for the best.

He did get the vendor’s license, so the next steps would be soon after. He didn’t get the housing initially, but he didn’t care for the terms they were setting. Good for him – everyone should have a little pride. During the summer 2012, he DID get the next housing offer.

“Oh it’s great! An apartment in the Far Rockaways. When I am done here and everything else in the afternoons, I go home and know that I am just steps from the beach.” Brilliant! I couldn’t be happier for him.

Rodney’s ‘station’ changed to one close by the other one (“they needed someone more dependable for a busier station”, he told me), and though I would go out of my way, I didn’t stop down his way a lot. Still he’d remember me every time, and ask how my weekend was or what not. Every time I walked past, I expected Rodney to give me some good news, that this gig was up and he was moving to something better. Hell, even if he just disappeared, I would have assumed the same thing, on his terms, and maybe he just didn’t tell anyone. It would be good, either way.

Then on October 2012, there was Hurricane Sandy. Locals may know, others might now, that Sandy wiped out Far Rockaway badly, particularly apartment buildings near the beach. Some co-workers of mine were displaced for several months, and even when they returned for short periods to their homes to pick up personal/valuables (which were not looted or destroyed) getting back into their daily routine has been a long, rough road.

Knowing that the AMNY gig is one where workers can be easily replaced, and that his living situation was surely uprooted, I have not seen Rodney since the Thursday before Sandy came upon us. This was not the way I envisioned it, (to say nothing of what HE must still be going through).

Rodney’s stations have since been taken by a rotation of others, sometimes it’s just that metal news tray that gets soggy when it rains or has papers flying around during the windy days.

I’ve re-learned a few things from this.

Don’t take a sincere greeting or the smallest friendship for granted; keep them close. Say “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome”, and mean it. Make it a point that you will stand out to some person as the one who shifted a bad day in a good direction, and let people know they are respected and appreciated for whatever interaction you have.

Thanks, Rodney.

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Filed under Commuting, Life, Life in NYC, Scintilla Project, Writing, Writing Challenges