December 28, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg's Block Doesn't have Snow!









The image to the left - Mike Bloomberg's block

The image to the left - a block in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

Image courtesy of Sheepshead Bites. I like their attitude.

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In Staten Island, the street in front of the Sanitation Commissioner's house is in great shape The rest of Staten Island, not so much. ( NY Daily News )

NYC, its mayor, and its Sanitation Department have performed horribly over the past few days. This has been a collapse of management, and there are reports of large numbers of Sanitation Dept employees calling in " sick "

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A bunch of good Bay Ridge snow pictures here in Bay Ridge Journal. ( click photos to enlarge )

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More good pictures here at Bay Ridge Talk

December 27, 2010

Snow Day In Bay Ridge



Man walking up 68th Street towards Fourth Avenue, 1030 this morning

This reminds me of the major snowstorm in 1996. A storm that wasn’t noticed by most snuck up on us on a Sunday evening into the night, enveloping the Northeast in a massive blanket of white.

In 1996, I was visiting family in Mountain Top, PA. I didn’t have a car then, and took the bus back into Manhattan from Wilkes Barre PA. We barely made it in to Gotham City, as the snow got heavier and heavier along the route. Our excellent bus driver was able to barely make it into the Bus Terminal, passing stranded cars all along the way.

Once there it was cake. The underground portions of the subway system were running great, and I made it home without any problem.

This weekend, I was in suburban Philadelphia, again with family. Though I have a car now, I decided not to take it, and went down by mass transit instead ( Boltbus down, Septa / NJ Transit trains back )

There was no sizable snow on the way home yesterday – the serious snow came upon upon us later in the evening. But there was vicious winds and whiteout conditions at times, which made me happy that I wasn’t driving anywhere.

Overnight, heavy soft snow everywhere, with big drifts of over two feet in many places. There are cars stranded on many sidestreets.

But all night long, I heard the rumble of the R subway line. While major snowstorms wreck havoc on the outdoor train lines, this entirely underground line remains unaffected by any snow condition. Its a great service for us.


Stranded vehicle in the middle of 68th Street, just east of Fourth Avenue

December 15, 2010

Take the N or R Train to All NYC Airports!

I've passed through the Jay Street Metrotech ( formerly Lawrence Street ) connection a few times. Its easy as pie.


It now makes it easy for Bay Ridge / Sunset Park / other Brooklyn residents to take the subway to JFK Airport. But there are surprisingly easy mass transit options to each of the three area airports. Here's how you do it.


To JFK Airport
  • Take Manhattan bound R train to Jay Street / Metrotech. Take the escalator by the second car.
  • Transfer to the Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park bound A train to Howard Beach / JFK station. ( second or third car )
  • Take the JFK Airtrain ( $5 fare, paid with MetroCard ) right to your terminal.
To LaGuardia Airport
  • Take N train through Manhattan and into Astoria. Get off at Astoria Boulevard and take the stairs by the second or third car
  • Follow the sign to LaGuardia bound M60 bus and take the bus to your terminal. Free transfer with MetroCard.
N/M60 to LaGuardia not recommended if you have heavy luggage as the bus gets crowded.

To Newark Airport
  • Take R train to Cortlandt Street. Exit by the front of the train
  • Walk 2-3 blocks to the PATH train. Use your MetroCard to pay $1.75 fare. Take PATH to last stop at Newark Penn Station.
  • Walk down " Westbound trains " ramp. Using the NJ Transit ticket machine on the platform, use debit / credit card or cash to buy NJ Transit ticket to Newark Airport Station ( $8.25 each way ) . Take the next westbound NJ Transit train that will stop at " EWR ". ( Some, not all Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line trains stop at EWR - ask the conductor to make sure you are on the right train ) Hold on to your ticket
  • Exit at Newark Airport station. Take the escalator up to the gate where you use your ticket to pass to the Newark Airtrain.
  • Take Airtrain to your terminal
I travel, and have taken the train to the airports many times.

I personally find the N/M60 route to LaGuardia the easiest, since the trains and buses run frequently at all hours. The R /A/ Airtrain to JFK may now be just as easy. The connection to Newark is slower and more involved, and is not recommended at past the night rush hour when there can be long gaps between NJT trains. But when the stars are right it works fine- especially during rush hour, when cars run slow.

Save a few bucks, and give 'em a try. Your next trip to Honolulu or London begins with the N or R train!

December 08, 2010

R Train to Have New Lawrence St Connection this Friday at 1pm


NY1 reports that the new direct tunnel connection between Lawrence St ( R train ) and Jay St / Borough Hall ( A, C, F trains ) will open Friday, Dec 10.

This will allow free transfers between the stations. Each station will be renamed " Jay Street Metrotech " ( since they will henceforth be a single station )

This will be a handy connection for Bay Ridge commuters heading to destinations on on Eighth Avenue or near the South St Seaport ( A, C) or to the lower East Side or Sixth Avenue, or 63rd St / East Side( F )

There of course has always been a connection with the F at Ninth St, but this connection will involve far fewer stairs.

I will try to take a photo of the new connection this Friday.

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Friday reportage from NY Daily News
and
CBS
and
NY1

Photos from Gothamist

November 01, 2010

Chilean Miner Will Run Through Bay Ridge As A Participant In the New York Marathon


The great story just got even better.

Bay Ridge will have a distinguished visitor this coming Sunday, as Edison Pena, one of the rescued miners from Chile will be paying us a visit.

Pena also ran a 10.5-mile leg of a triathlon in Chile on Oct. 24. He was one of 33 miners who were trapped underground for 69 days after the Aug. 5 mine collapse.

He became known as "The Runner" for his daily workouts.

I think I know who will get the loudest cheers.

Si se puede indeed!

October 16, 2010

Japanese " Home Library " in Bay Ridge!



When Natsuko Garcia moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, she realized that the dozens of Japanese families that had recently settled there could really use a children's library. So she decided to build one—in her living room.

"We have so many Japanese kids in this neighborhood, and they don't have enough Japanese books to read," Garcia says. "So, they come here to borrow books from me."



I've never heard of someone having a public library in a private apartment. And I've not heard much about a Japanese community in Bay Ridge.

Which is why I found this video so interesting.

From the WNYC Know Your Neighbor series ( see links inside )

Thanks to Jonathan Korzen, with New York Public Radio for bringing this to my attention!

September 25, 2010

A Walk Down Shore Road



A lovely, dreamlike walk down the length of Shore Road. Good job apogeus1

September 03, 2010

Off to New Mexico



Tomorrow, I fly to Albuquerque New Mexico, where I will traipse around the northern part of the state - Santa Fe, Taos, Raton, Las Vegas ( NM ).

I have enjoyed my many forays into Europe and Asia, but it's time to dig a little deeper into the vast and glorious American continent. Can't wait.

August 26, 2010

An Actual Ad for a candidate for Congress from Arizona, USA



This is not a joke - not an intentional one anyway.

This is an actual campaign ad for Pamela Gorman, candidate for Arizona's third Congressional District.

She was crushed in the Republican primary this past Tuesday.

August 01, 2010

May the Circle Be Unbroken


(Michelle Wright-Iris DeMent-Mairead Ni Mhaonaight perform " May the Circle Be Unbroken " )

Aasne Lorentzen, who we were proud to have as a neighbor in Bay Ridge for all these many years, passed away this past Thursday.

She will be laid to rest on Monday morning, in Ocean View Cemetery in Staten Island.

She leaves behind her son Kenneth and many friends in the neighborhood.

May God bless.

July 17, 2010

Localized Flooding In Bay Ridge

Did anyone else have water in the basement Friday?

I did, and at first I thought it was due to a defect in the hot water / boiler system.

But now I read that there was localized flooding caused by clogged city drainsnot that far away in Gowanus, Brooklyn " near Fourth Avenue ". And I'm only steps from Fourth Avenue.

The water surge- apparently from the city water drains - messed up my hot water and heating system - whose controls had to be reset. It appears that there was a reverse surge of water that put filled up the radiators up to the first floor- where the floor near the radiator is still wet. ( I have a natural gas / steam system )

Did anyone else have this problem?

July 11, 2010

Biking from Bay Ridge to Westchester County



I found this on youtube - a perfect video of what it's like to bike over the Brooklyn Bridge.


I've been getting into biking a bit more lately, and this past Sunday I decided to go for a long ride. From Bay Ridge to Hartsdale, NY, to pay a short visit to my Uncle Brendan.

I left at about 7am, before the sun was bad, and hung a right at Third Avenue. Third Avenue north of 65th Street is an industrial hell, but on early Sunday morning, it's not so bad. Even the nasty curved passage under the Prospect Avenue connector was easy.

Left turn on Ninth Street, right turn on Smith Street, left again on Atlantic Avenue, then a quick right for the few blocks along Adams St to the Brooklyn Bridge.

While the roads between Bay Ridge and downtown Brooklyn are not very bike friendly, once you hit the Brooklyn Bridge, you're where you want to be. The bridge is of course glorious, with a gentle incline that takes you past the tourists and joggers into the Oz of lower Manhattan.

Once in Manhattan, it only gets better. There are dedicated, protected bike paths along almost the whole length of the Hudson River in Manhattan now. I rode up to 181st Street, treated myself to a gourmet breakfast at the McDonalds on 181st and Broadway, then continued north on Broadway into the Bronx and Westchester.

I had plotted the route with Google Maps, which now has a " bike directions " option along with their driving, walking, and mass transit options.

The Google maps directions contained a significant error - its still in beta - , but I knew the terrain well enough to know how to keep going north. And when once in Westchester, I found the Harlem River Metro North line, and got to Hartsdale by following the tracks north as best I could.

I was a sweaty mess by the time I got to Brendan's house, but a cool shower and a few Budweisers took care of that.

As for the ride home? My cousin gave me a ride to 205th Street, and I rode the bike friendly D train home from there!

I like long distance biking and will do more of these runs.


View Larger Map

June 27, 2010

Last B37 Third Avenue Bus



Saturday, June 27, 1150pm.

The last northbound B37 bus pulls out of the Bay Ridge Avenue stop, pauses at the light, and then heads to downtown Brooklyn, never to be seen again.

June 25, 2010

The M Train's Last Run



Today, I joined about ten train fans and a few normal commuters on the last M train passing south through lower Manhattan into Brooklyn's Sunset Park, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst.

Here, the last M train pulls out of 36th Street, on the slow chug to Bay Parkway and into history.

Last Days for Third Avenue Bus

This morning, I commuted to work using the B-37 ( Third Avenue ) bus.

There were a lot of regulars on the bus, for whom this was their normal means of commuting. They greeted their fellow passengers with hellos, hugs and kisses. One woman hugged the bus driver upon leaving.

They'll all have to find a new way to get to work come Monday.

A woman in dark glasses drove the bus. " I used to take the bus all the time when I was a girl ", she said. " I grew up in the neighborhood ".

I wished her well, and transferred to the A train at Hoyt Schermerhorn for the ride to lower Manhattan.

Tonight, I plan to take the last-ever M train out of lower Manhattan. It will leave Fulton St at just after 7pm. I'll get off at Lawrence St and catch the Third Avenue bus at Willoughby St, for my last ride on the B37.

The B37 fades into history at 1201am Sunday. If you want to ride it for the last time, you'd better get going
video
The B37 stops at Third Avenue and 37th St, Friday, June 25, 740pm

June 15, 2010

Bloody Sunday

In 2007, I was in Ireland. Much to the amazement of some of my friends in New York and Dublin, I decided to go north of the border. To Belfast. Then out west, to Derry, without an agenda.

I checked into Joan Pyne's Bed & Breakfast on Great James Street Saturday morning. Roamed the Walls of Derry, had a pint or two, spoke to a few locals.



And learned that the next morning was the 25th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday killings.

And that there would be a commemorative march along the route of the original march in 1972.

I walked with them that beautiful Sunday morning, up the hill to the Creggan Estate, back into the town I saw no angry people - this was a day to remember, not to vent. One comment I remember was about how completely unnecessary the violence was.

One of the people I spoke with gave me a small pin. I thanked him, and promised that I would keep it, and that I would show it to people. Here it is.

June 14, 2010

Bay Ridge Bus Cuts - What's Not in It For You

Third Avenue Bus - No More B37. Get Ready for the B70

Take a look at this B37 bus, parked in front of the Fu Lai Kitchen by 69th Street. It won't be around for long.

The Third Avenue bus began service in 1942 if I read wiki correctly, and there was streetcar service on Third Avenue before that. I believe that it always pretty much on its current route - from Fort Hamilton, all the way down Third, past the Fulton Street shopping area, up to Borough Hall.

There's one problem with a full length Third Avenue bus today - not enough people ride it between Bay Ridge or Sunset Park to downtown Brooklyn. Maybe back in the old days the service was needed, perhaps to to shop " downtown" in Fulton St - but Fulton St has been shabby for decades now, and you'll have an easier time buying most things in Century 21 anyway.

There will still be a Third Avenue bus for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park though. An existing bus, the B70 , which currently runs on Seventh and Eighth Avenues, will be rerouted so that there is a segment on Bay Ridge Avenue ( between Third and Eighth Avenues ) , and along Third Avenue ( from Bay Ridge Avenue to 95th St or wherever ) then turning up to terminate at the VA Hospital. ( edit from initial post )

This is a creative solution that allows continued bus service for our neighborhood and for the largely senior citizen ridership that like taking the bus and who don't want to take the subway.

The B1 and B64 Switcheroo

The B1 currently runs up Bay Ridge Avenue ( 69th St ), hangs a right on 13th Avenue, takes the left on 86th St, then terminates in Manhattan Beach. The B64 runs up 86th Street, swings over to Bath Avenue, then winds up in Coney Island, by the subway terminal.

These routes will basically reverse their eastern terminals. The new B64 will run up Bay Ridge Avenue and end up in Coney Island. The new B1 will run up 86th St, and wind up in Manhattan Beach. I think that the reason they're doing this is to have one bus ( the new B1 ) run pretty much the entire length of 86th St.

It's fine by me - I live near Bay Ridge Avenue, and will now have one-seat service for the occasional trip to a Brooklyn Cyclones game.

No More Express Buses on the Weekend

The X27 and X28 Express buses will no longer run on Saturdays or Sundays. To be honest, I have no problem with that. These buses have an astonishingly low ridership on the weekends - some of the buses run completely empty to and from Manhattan during daylight hours. Anyone who says that this is an essential service is full of it.

The bus service changes will inconvenience some of us to be sure. But these are tough times, and we can't afford to have services that not enough people use. Use it or lose it.

Debate welcome, and if I have made any errors, let me know.

June 13, 2010

New York Subway and Bus Cuts - The Impact on Bay Ridge

Brooklyn bound M train at Broad Street, 630 pm one day last week.

On midnight, Friday June 25, a number of changes will take place in NYC bus and subway service. Some routes will be eliminated, others will be altered, some will see frequency of service reduced.

But how will this impact Bay Ridge
?

Lets look at the subways first. And to properly look at this, we need to look at the M train and the W, which don't serve Bay Ridge.

I believe that the changes will be as follows:
  • the W train, which runs from Astoria to Whitehall Street, will be eliminated.
  • the M train, which during morning and evening rush hours went from the Fulton St / Wall Street area to 36th Street ( and then on to Bay Parkway ) will be completely rerouted and will no longer come anywhere near Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, or Bensonhurst.
  • The N train won't run as an express train in Manhattan anymore. It will run over the Manhattan Bridge, but will then run local from Canal Street and midtown
  • R train service will not be directly affected. They will run as frequently as before
The W train wasn't heavily used, and at times, the W trains would bunch up approaching Whitehall Street, causing delays for us R train riders. But it did take some passengers who otherwise would take the R train. Without the W, the R train will be more crowded in Manhattan.

The M train has never made sense in this part of Brooklyn. It had a very low ridership - the one line on the subway system where you could always get a seat on rush hour. I take it a lot, and would refer to it as my " private limo " - more than once, it I've taken the last M train to Brooklyn at around 704pm, I'd be the only passenger in the car. I will miss my private limo, but it makes sense to get rid of the M train to this part of Brooklyn.

The loss of the N express in Manhattan is really bad. Since the Sea Beach line was fully restored some years back, it's been one of the best lines in the city, a great service for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park riders. Now that its not an express in the city, we've lost something.

The R train? Well, lets just say the Fourth Avenue Local will be more crowded during peak hours. Especially as of Whitehall Street going into work, when the Staten Island commuters get on board. There will be no more W train to take the pressure off.

These changes have not been fully explained by the MTA. There are posters in the subway stations explaining some aspects of the changes - you should check them out. If I've made any errors above, please set me straight.

Tomorrow- how the Third Avenue bus and other bus changes will affect Bay Ridge.

May 31, 2010

Lief Erickson Park Reconstruction

They've removed the ugly " temporary " classroom building that has defaced Lief Erickson Park near Fourth Avenue for maybe 15 years.

Looks as though they are landscaping the park, and putting in a new walk path.

But will they maintain it once they rebuild it?

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The Key Food on 69th St is doing well, but not too many people are using the valet parking garageacross the street. I don't think valet parking ( and the expectation of tipping ) makes sense when you go to buy groceries. Also the fish market that in the garage ( who thought of that idea? ) does not look like it is doing well at all.

April 11, 2010

Visit Your Brooklyn Public Library!

Bay Ridge Public Library at the corner of 73rd Street and Ridge Boulevard

I had fallen out of the habit of going to the library in Brooklyn. The selection of books for adults at any one time is pretty limited.

But recently, I've started using the library more than at any time since I was an elementary school kid at OLA. Because I don't look for books at the library anymore! I look for them online - where they tend to have what I want.

Here's how you can do it too. First, go to your local Brooklyn Public Library and get a Library Card.

Then go to the Brooklyn Public Library website and create a username and password.

To find a book, go to the site and log on. Enter the name of the book or author in the library search box. If you find it in stock, click the gold " Place a Hold " button and tell them which library branch you wish to pick the book up in.

If it's in stock, they'll find the book for you in one of the BPL branches. When it arrives at the branch you designate, they send you an e-mail or text message, after which you have ten days to pick it up.

Then you walk in, go to the designated book pick up section where the books are organized by last names of those who placed the orders.

The other day, I picked up two books I had ordered, and spent a total of maybe three minutes in the Bay Ridge Branch finding them and checking them out.

The online reservation system is really good, perfect for busy people.

See you at the Brooklyn Public Library!

April 04, 2010

Coffey Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn

The woman who owns this house put this sign up sometime after 9/11. She updates it every morning.

Photo taken at 915 am today.

( Click once or twice to enlarge photo )

March 28, 2010

The Destruction of Yankee Stadium is Almost Complete



The Yankees had their greatest moments here. The NY Giants played an NFL title game here. Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali won heavyweight title fights here.

But soon, it'll all be gone. See part of the upper deck come tumbling down at 2:35.

I'm glad I saw it when it was there.

March 11, 2010

Bay Ridge Avenue Key Food Opens



The long-delayed Bay Ridge Avenue Key Food store opened this morning at 7am. To say that it was a big success would be an understatement.

This area has been starved for a proper supermarket for over a decade. Now we have a large ( by Brooklyn standards ) and attractive store right where it's most needed.

I arrived there at about 6pm. The customers were pouring through the door. One woman said " hallelujah ".

There's " free parking " in the building across the street. But it's valet parking only if you can believe that. The parking building has very tight turns, and they probably don't allow self parking because there would be too many fender benders otherwise. But with valet parking, the parkers will expect tips, so the parking isn't free- first time I've ever seen such a thing at a supermarket.

But I can walk to this beautiful new Key Food, and I look forward to walking to it often.

Store hours are 7am - 11pm seven days a week. It is an welcome addition to the neighborhood. You can find the weekly circular on the Key Food website.

Key Food
242 Bay Ridge Ave
Brooklyn, New York 11220
718-627-7406

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Article about the grand opening in Brooklyn Daily Eagle

March 04, 2010

Bay Ridge Key Food News Flash!



We hear from a reliable source that the 69th Street Key Food ( on Bay Ridge Avenue, between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard )will open its doors Thursday March 11 at 7am! Be there!!


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City Councilman Gentile's web page has been added to the blog roll to the right.

February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash



Yesterday was Johnny Cash's birthday.

People sometimes forget how important his Christian faith was to him. The recognition of sin, forgiveness and redemption. They were always in his work.

Happy Birthday, John.

February 26, 2010

Snow Day In Bay Ridge

Lots of snow, but that's a good thing.

Plenty of folks had the day off, but if you needed to come in to the city, the buses and subways were right on time.

Below, the B9 bus on Fourth Avenue / 69th at about 745am.

Let it snow. Take the kids down to Bliss Park!

Friday, Feb 26 - Snow Day


Snow coming in wave after wave. It's good to have a real winter after some subpar ones.

If you're fortunate enough to live in a place with four seasons, this is what you get in wintertime. Snow, and lots of it.

The NY subways and buses performed admirably today. Plenty of people came in to work. Above, the exit at the Cortlandt St subway station, right by the World Trade Center. Where the construction guys were working today.



A snowman made by the workers in front of the Jubilee supermarket on John Street.

February 21, 2010

" Goodnight Irene " by the Weavers



The Weavers were a New York City based folk group who was pretty famous from the late forties to the mid sixties.

They were lefties who got caught in the McCarthy thing. But they sure could sing, and if this is what a bunch of Commies sounds like we could use more of them.

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The first R train to Manhattan leaves 95th St at 521am tomorrow. I hope to be on it.

And then I'll be at the Knicks game Monday night. By pure luck, I will be there on the second annual Legends Night where Willis Reed and Walt Frazier will be honored at halftime.

And then its to Bermuda Tuesday and Wednesday for work. Meet me at the Hamilton Princess for a beer Tuesday night.

Back during the wintry mix on Wednesday. Cheers.

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I called Key Food corporate HQ in Staten Island on Monday - they say that the 69th St store is projected to open in another six weeks. I give up - someone's not been giving us the whole story on this.

February 08, 2010

Everyone in New Orleans Hits the Lottery on the Same Night


I don't know how many of youze have been to New Orleans, but if you haven't what the hell's wrong with you?


In it's deeply flawed on so many levels way, it's one of the great cities of America or anywhere else. There's a gentleness and a relaxed air there that is unlike what you will find in any other US city. And an accent that will make you think you're in NY or Jersey. And lots of great food. Plus you can drink an open beer walking down the street. But I digress.


Hearing the old timers growing up, I heard of the night when the Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series in 1955, beating the hated New York Yankees after decades of trying. People were overcome with joy. The little guy finally beat Goliath. The bars, which normally closed at 4am in the afternoon, stayed open till way after the sun rose the next day. Everyone was filled with joy, as though everyone hit the lottery at once.

I think this night is like that in New Orleans. They've been kicked in the head a few times, but they get back up. It's been proven that they know how to party. But the party they have tonight, is gonna be way better than the one they get at Mardi Gras, which comes soon. This may be better than ten Mardi Gras.

I wish I was in New Orleans tonight, for the mother of all parties.

February 06, 2010

New Orleans Saints will win National Concussion League Super Bowl!



Word is that there will be a football game this Sunday night. The New Orleans team will face the team that used to be the Baltimore Colts, before the drunken bum who owned the Baltimore Colts snuck the team out to Indianapolis in the middle of the night.

I'm not a big fan of the NFL. I can't be a big fan of a sport where there are so many long breaks for commercials ( the game is really terrible live. You really notice all the stoppages ) or where the gangsters who run the sport have turned a blind eye to the high rate of concussions / brain injuries / other injuries by its athlete for about 75 years. It's ugly beyond words.

But this Super Duper Bowl is important to some people, so I guess you have to say who you want to win. I'll go for the New Orleans Saints. Because of New Orleans. If the Saints win, you'll see the mother of all parties in New Orleans, Sunday night going into Monday morning.

Hope noone gets a concussion, and that noone is paralyzed for life like Darryl Stingley. Lets go NFL.

--

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901. He was the grandson of slaves, and was born into great poverty. His father abandoned the family, and then the mother left too.

He overcame this background to become one of the best musicians the world has ever seen.

He died in Queens NY in 1971. His honorary pallbearers included Governor Rockefeller, Mayor Lindsay, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Guy Lombardo, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson, David Frost, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett and Bobby Hackett.

February 05, 2010

Key Food on Bay Ridge Avenue

Informed sources say that the new projected opening date for the 69th St Key Food is Sunday Feb 28.

They didn't say which year

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Kenny advises that he saw them cleaning out the Sunnydale Farms store on Third and 68th the other day. Hopefully some reconstruction is on the way?

February 02, 2010

Tony Blair Was Right

As our British friends are well aware, the UK has recently seen the Chilcot Commission hearings, meant to investigate " how the decision to invade Iraq was made, and consider the lessons learned."

The Iraq war has been long and terrible. The former PM has many enemies on the left and many on the right. They all wanted Blair to back down, to apologize, to be humbled in some way. Except Blair did not go along with the script

From an opinion piece in Monday's Wall St Journal: Mr. Blair offered a ringing defense of the decision to invade Iraq, and a very different set of lessons for the present. "This isn't about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit, or a deception. It is a decision," Mr. Blair told a packed room that included relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq. "And the decision I had to take was, given [Saddam's] history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program?"

The article goes on to say Every Western country, including those opposed to the war, believed Saddam had WMD, a fact forgotten by many now, but which was the essential basis on which any leader had to make decisions at the time.

Blair adds "What we now know is that he [Saddam] retained the intent and the intellectual know-how to restart a nuclear and a chemical weapons program when the inspectors were out and the sanctions changed, which they were going to do. . . . "Today we would be facing a situation where Iraq was competing with Iran, competing both on nuclear weapons capability and competing more importantly perhaps than anything else . . . in respect of support of terrorist groups. . . . If I am asked whether I believe we are safer, more secure, that Iraq is better, that our own security is better, with Saddam and his two sons out of office and out of power, I believe indeed we are.". And of course, Mr. Blair is correct.

It's been seven years since the Iraq war started, a war that began as a cakewalk, and which unfolded as a moral horror, one compared with Vietnam. Despite recent sectarian atrocities , things have steadily gotten better . A civil resolution is not unthinkable, not now.
But I'm not here to convince anyone that the war was correct - I think that not deposing Saddam would have led to a vastly greater horror ,but probably most here disagree and that is fine.

I only ask you to reconsider something that I've said on these pages many times. That the oft-repeated cliche that Blair was " Bush's poodle " was never accurate. It was always a wicked, untrue slander.

Tony Blair was a strong advocate of coming to terms with Saddam's Iraq before 9/11 and before Bush even took his oath of office. He was at least a co author of the move for regime change in Baghdad, and as national leaders went he may have been its father.

I don't care to speak of his performance on other matters - but on Iraq, Blair continues to exemplify a political courage and a clarity of thought rare in any time. A tip of the hat to Mr. Tony Blair, who continues to speak the truth on Iraq.

And may God bless the men and women who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

January 31, 2010

Leif Ericson Park - " Temporary " Classroom Removed


The " temporary " classroom that Bay Ridge High School dumped onto Leif Ericson Park west of Fourth Avnue over a decade ago was removed last week. A wide perimeter has been fenced off, and part of the wrought iron fence by on the Fourth Avenue was removed, presumably to allow for the removal of the modular building. It looks like there's a hole in the fence into which the missing section can be put back in.

Let's hope the park can be restored in time for spring.

This used to be a nice, small park in a neighborhood that does not have enough parks. Is it to much to hope that they can restore this park, and , actually maintain it once in awhile?

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No exact word of when the 69th St Key Food will open --maybe in a week or two?

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The scaffolding has been removed from 6802 Fourth Avenue, now that the repairs to the parapets on the roof have been completed.

January 13, 2010

Belfast Beer Summit

Just north of Castleblayney. Where's the snow?

Work meant that I was going to be in London this past Monday. I was with a major client, meeting with four insurance companies not far from Liverpool Street station.

I decided to take a side trip. I flew into Belfast, so I could have a couple of days in Ireland before I went to London.

I flew the Continental Airlines nonstop from Newark to Belfast.

Ryanair at Belfast City, with the famous Harland and Wolff shipyards in the background.


When you tell people you're spending free time in Belfast, some will react as though you're spending your holiday in Mogadishu. Well, the Guinness is better in Belfast.

On Day One, I made my way from Belfast International Airport down to Co. Monaghan where I met up with relatives that I'd not seen in way too long a time. In between conversation, we watched BBC and RTE accounts of an overhyped snow storm, which had half everyone in the islands hiding under the bed and muttering about " grit " shortages.

At the Crown Bar.

On Saturday, I was given a ride up to Belfast. I stayed at the Europa Hotel, which was bombed many times during the bad old days. It's a good hotel, right in the middle of town, and a good value - a superior double cost me $120 US.

The Beer Summit was right across the street at the historic Crown Bar, lovely and as comfortable as an old shoe.

Here, we see Gerard, some guy in the back, the famous David Vance, and Peter, who was as sensible in person as he is in print. G was a shy subject but an excellent photographer. I'd tell you what we spoke of, but what happens in Belfast stays in Belfast I always say.

I flew out of Belfast's City Airport, a small facility much closer to town than the larger Belfast International. It's just right for Ryanair, with whom I flew to London Stansted. In an airport like this, there are no delays. The plane lands, heads right to the gate. Two minutes later, the passengers are streaming out of the plane. There are no delays, and turnarounds are very fast.

The Ryanair cabin is cramped and no frills unless you're willing pay for them, but they stick to a schedule and the flights are cheap and cheerful. I flew to London for $68, including all charges including the one for the checked bag. I will fly Ryanair again, and I hope to see London and maybe Ireland again in February.

January 05, 2010

Belfast in January


P1000358, originally uploaded by dals0.
The bricks they may bleed and the rain it may weep
And the damp Lagan fog lulls the city to sleep.
It's to Hell with the future, we'll live in the past
May the Lord in his mercy be kind to Belfast

I'm off to Belfast tonight to partake of the good weather. Keep an eye on things
when I'm gone. Two days in Ireland, then off to London, and then back home on
Tuesday night.

And about the 69th St Key Food? I just called. It won't be opening this weekend
after all. I think that the Second Avenue Subway and Freedom Tower will both be
long built before we go to this Key Food!

January 03, 2010

NYC 2010 Alternate Side of the Street Parking Suspension Calendar


Asterisk (*) indicates Major Legal Holidays.

2010 Alternate Side Parking (Street Cleaning) Rules Suspension Calendar
  • Holiday Date/Day
  • New Year's Day* January 1, Fri
  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday January 18, Mon
  • Lincoln's Birthday February 12, Fri
  • Asian Lunar New Year February 14, Sun
  • Washington's Birthday (Pres. Day) February 15, Mon
  • Ash Wednesday February 17, Wed
  • Purim February 28, Sun
  • Passover (1st/2nd Days) Mar 30-31, Tues-Wed
  • Holy Thursday April 1, Thurs
  • Holy Thursday (Orthodox) April 1, Thurs
  • Good Friday April 2, Fri
  • Good Friday (Orthodox) April 2, Fri
  • Passover (7th/8th Days) April 5-6, Mon-Tues
  • Solemnity of the Ascension May 13, Thurs
  • Shavuot (2 Days) May 19-20, Wed-Thurs
  • Memorial Day* May 31, Mon
  • Independence Day* July 4, Sun
  • Independence Day (Observed)* July 5, Mon
  • Feast of the Assumption August 15, Sun
  • Labor Day* September 6, Mon
  • Rosh Hashanah September 9-10, Thurs-Fri
  • Idul-Fitr September 10-12, Fri-Sun
  • Yom Kippur September 18, Sat
  • Succoth (2 Days) September 23-24, Thurs-Fri
  • Shemini Atzereth September 30, Thurs
  • Simchas Torah October 1, Fri
  • Columbus Day October 11, Mon
  • All Saints Day November 1, Mon
  • Election Day November 2, Tues
  • Diwali November 5, Fri
  • Veterans Day November 11, Thurs
  • Idul-Adha November 16-18, Tues-Thurs
  • Thanksgiving Day* November 25, Thurs
  • Immaculate Conception December 8, Wed
  • Christmas Day (Observed)* December 24, Fri
  • Christmas Day* December 25, Sat
  • New Year's Day (Observed)* December 31, Fri

January 01, 2010

Top Twelve Predictions for 2010

The US withdrawal from Iraq begins in earnest. Iraq is far more peaceful than anyone would have expected.

The Afghanistan surge strategy shows gains, but the country remains a ungovernable mess. Karzai remains the corrupt mayor of Kabul, rather than a true national leader.

The Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility will remain open. President Obama privately concludes that Bush was right on this one, that it is the best of a series of unpleasant choices.

The Republican Party retakes the House of Representatives and makes major gains in the Senate in the 2010 midterm elections. Their winning issues are Obama's out of control spending and corruption and a pledge to perform major surgery on Obama's health care reforms.

The Republican Party remains without a national leader. Their midterm election successes reveal Democrat / Obama weakness, rather than to any inherent GOP strengths.

David Paterson defies the odds and is reelected Governor of New York State, running on a platform of fiscal conservatism.

Robbery, murder and other violent crime in New York City continue their dramatic fifteen year decline which started under Giuliani / Bratton, and which continue under Bloomberg / Kelly.

Apple's new " tablet " computer is an immense global success.

Ryanair defies air travel slump and announces a new route between London Stansted and New York's Stewart Airport, along with a summer service between Stewart and Dublin. Both are smash hits. Low fares is the winning hand.

Consumption of meat and dairy products is outlawed in San Francisco, as part a concerted campaign against Man Made Global Warming.

The American League repeals the designated-hitter rule, and the sport rises to new levels of popularity.

The 69th Street Key Food supermarket does not open on time on January 10, due to engineering reasons. The new projected opening date is January 15, 2012.