The world from my corner of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn-- Free Speech Zone -- E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org--
March 31, 2008
NY Yankees' Opening Day "Rained Out" On A Dry Monday
The bad news is that the New York Yankees canceled the game before it started, because the bright lights in the front office heard that the storm of the century was barreling up the East Coast.
Only the rain never came. And nine hours later, the rain still has not arrived. They could have played a doubleheader, with a rock concert between games if that's what they wanted to do.
North of the old Yankee Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium nears completion. Double-click this photo, and look very closely through the white at the roof of the new stadium...the rooftop frieze that graced the old stadium will be the new stadium's best feature.
So, if you go to a Yankee game this year, you can see actually see two Yankee Stadiums. (photo taken from stairs leading up to the No. 4 train )
March 24, 2008
Three New Stores Near 68th and Fourth Avenue
San Marcos Produce? This sign went up today, presumably the store will open soon.
Full Lee Gore Cafe, at 6816 Fourth Avenue, serves Chinese baked goods, as well as rice and noodle based dishes. Have not eaten there yet, but it looks bright and clean and is doing good business. Open from 7am until late. Eat in or take out.
Symphonia Restaurant serves up a mean gyro and has other Greek and American food. Comfy as an old shoe. At 68th Street and Fourth Avenue, open from 6am to 10pm or so. Eat in or take out.
March 23, 2008
Sunday Music:: "Pump up the Volume"
I didn't understand this song when it came out. I still don't understand it. That's why its so great.
- Is the Olympic torch going to pass anywhere near New York City? If so, I want to join any protest that greets it. The Genocide Olympics is nothing to celebrate. The unelected Communist government of China will soon wish it had never been awarded the Olympic Games.
- The Symphonia Restaurant on 68th Street and Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge appears to be doing well. I stopped in on Wednesday and ordered a gyro sandwich to go. It cost $4.50 and was very good. Kirk tells me that the restaurant owners own two gyro restaurants in Manhattan, so they know what they're doing.
- Why can't Whole Foods manage the lines in its stores? Today I stopped by the location at Houston/Chrystie. There were long lines that did not appear very organized. Same as the Whole Foods at Union Square and the one at Columbus Circle. They claim to manage the lines well, but I don't think they do at all. The only acceptable line is one with one or at most two people ahead of you. If there are more than four people in front of you, you should walk right out. If the store doesn't respect your time, don't give 'em your business. See you at Fairway Red Hook, or Key Food Bay Ridge. Never at Whole Foods.
Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church Windows Fixed? Really?
Newsday reports that Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church has had its stained glass windows fixed
Are you sure about this, fellas? The big stain glass window still looks boarded up, as of March 24.
The church's stained glass windows were blown out in the tornado that struck Bay Ridge on August 8, 2007.
As lizzie notes in a comment, some of the side panes of glass have been replaced. Which is wonderful. Hopefully the big stain glass window will be replaced soon.
March 19, 2008
Riots in Llasa, Tibet
This is a youtube video of the riots in Llasa.
The city and country is closed to most of the foreign media now--and I imagine the Chinese government is exacting a terrible price for this.
The slow-motion genocide of the Tibetans that has been going on since the early 1950s has speeded up a bit.
Gyro Alert : Symphonia Restaurant to Open Thursday, March 19
Symphonia Restaurant is located on 6762 Fourth Avenue. Phone Number is 718-491-9200.
March 17, 2008
March 16, 2008
Antiwar Protests in Brooklyn ! and other nuggets
To mark the disastrous effects of five years of war on this country, on Iraq, and specifically in our own neighborhoods, Brooklynites will hold several local actions and join a city-wide protest in Manhattan, as well as a national action in Washington, DC.
Two local actions will be held March 19, the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq:
Press Conference & Brooklyn Says No to War March and Vigil, co-sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace and MoveOn.
5:30 PM: press conference at Grand Army Plaza, with speakers from Brooklyn for Peace and MoveOn.
6:00: march down Flatbush Avenue to the military recruiting station at 41 Flatbush Ave. (Livingston St.).
7:00: brief program. Iraq war vets and members of military families will speak. The protest will close with a candlelight vigil.
Protest at Congressmember Vito Fossella’s office. At 12:00 noon, Peace Action Bay Ridge will sponsor a protest at Fossella’s Bay Ridge office (8505 4th Ave., at 85th St.) to express his constituents’ opposition to his position as the only Brooklyn Representative to support President Bush’s war policy. Representatives from military families, Brooklyn For Peace, Peace Action Bay Ridge, and Bay Ridge Interfaith Coalition will speak. ( you won't catch Fossella there. He'll be in Staten Island with his real buddies!)
For more info: www.brooklynpeace.org/events/index.html or http://events.unitedforpeace.org/5yearstoomany/events/show/3307
- Its official. A slice of pizza costs $2.25 in Bay Ridge now. Recently enjoyed slices at Elegante, Pizza Wagon, and Original (69th/Fourth). Don't know about Rocco's
- The gyro / other restaurant will finally open this week at the corner of 68th and Fourth. I saw them scrubbing the joint and otherwise getting it ready. Opening day: Wednesday or Thursday. I love a good gyro and plan to be there, with camera on opening day, or really soon afterward
- I've had a jihad with a recently opened Chinese restaurant/bakery this week, because of the noise pollution from its exhaust system. But I think there has been a happy ending. Stand by. I want to spend a little time on writing that one.
- New York Sports Clubs at 7118 Third Avenue now has towel service! This may not be a big deal to you, but I assure you it is a big deal to me.
Sunday Music: "The Fields of Athenry", by Paddy Reilly
Paddy Reilly is one of my favorite singers, and this is maybe his best song. "The Fields of Athenry" is set in County Galway during the Great Famine.
"The Fields of Athenry" is a folk song about the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), composed in the 1970s by Inchicore songwriter Pete St. John and first recorded by Irish ballad singer Danny Doyle. It tells the story of the famine through first-person narrative, recounting the tale of a prisoner who has been sentenced to being transported to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food to feed his starving family.
Trevelyan in the lyrics refers to Charles Edward Trevelyan, a senior British civil servant in the administration of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Dublin Castle, who saw the Famine in classic Malthusian theory as a natural means of "controlling excessive population." Trevelyan is widely blamed for the inadequacy of the British Government's response. His reports to London underestimated the severity of the Famine and overestimated the problems that could arise in providing assistance to the starving.
Trevelyan's corn: The term "corn" usually means wheat in Ireland. However, according to Paddy Reilly being interviewed on RTE radio, this was a reference to maize imported from America into Ireland for famine relief. A quantity was stolen from storage in Cork. The Irish were unfamiliar with the grain. As it was meant for seed, it proved too hard to mill for flour and was used mostly in gruel. This phrase is also a play on words, as Trevalyan is a Cornish name. ( from wikipedia )
The scenes in this video are not from Ireland--they're from Holland, Wales and Cornwall. But I hope you like them!
By the way, Paddy Reilly owns an authentic Irish pub in New York City. It has the first and perhaps the only, all-Guinness tap service in the world. Really good.
March 13, 2008
Ding Dong the Wicked Spitz(er) Is Dead!
Ever since that saintly Dorothy Dupre dropped a house on Eliot Spitzer, its been one nonstop party in New York City and throughout the Empire State! From Montauk Point to 70 Pine Street, all the way up to the land of Genesee Cream Ale, people are coming out of hiding and resuming normal existence.
This is a Day of Independence
For all New Yorkers and Their Descendents
Let the Joyous News Be Spread
The Wicked Old Spitz At Last Is Dead!!
March 12, 2008
Elliott Spitzer, Monster and Criminal, Resigns
So, Elliott Spitzer has resigned at last.
The damage he has done to many working people can't be repaired. But it's good to know that one of the genuine bad human people in modern political life has been destroyed politically. By something ridiculous and stupid -- not for his abuses as Attorney General.
Elliott Spitzer, may you burn in Hell.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert ... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Spitzer, king of kings:
Look on my works ye mighty and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley, slightly edited
March 11, 2008
Elliott Spitzer Inspires new Hit Song: "Love Client No. 9"
You know, I've been a little rough on our fine governor. He's been such a Caped Crusader going after the bad guys and everything. He's cleaner than every persecutor that ever lived.
So in his honor, I play a song that must be a tribute of some kind. We'll play a new tribute to Elliott Spitzer every day until he resigns. Could be a short series, as he may resign tomorrow!
A Song for Elliott Spitzer: Instant Karma
You dished it out. Now lets see if you can take it. In all the financial companies in NYC, today there was much talk of "what goes around, comes around". The karma here was not exactly instant. But it was certain. Elliott Spitzer, welcome to Hell.
Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna knock you right on the head,
You better get yourself together,
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead,
What in the world you thinking of,
Laughing in the face of love,
What on earth you tryin' to do,
It's up to you, yeah you.
Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna look you right in the face,
Better get yourself together darlin',
Join the human race,
How in the world you gonna see,
Laughin' at fools like me,
Who on earth d'you think you are,
A super star,
Well, right you are.
Well we all shine on,
Like the moon and the stars and the sun,
Well we all shine on,
Ev'ryone come on.
Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna knock you off your feet,
Better recognize your brothers,
Ev'ryone you meet,
Why in the world are we here,
Surely not to live in pain and fear,
Why on earth are you there,
When you're ev'rywhere,
Come and get your share.
March 10, 2008
Elliott Spitzer Nears Political Death?
I've always hated Elliott Spitzer. Some time back, I predicted that he would be taken out of the Governor's Mansion in handcuffs. I won't get that, but I'll soon get something nearly as good. There's great speculation that he will soon resign.
If his career comes to an end due to his use of hookers, that will be an injustice. I don't personally think that using hookers should disqualify one for elective office. Use of hookers, or, better still, being a hooker seems to be the ideal background for service in the bi-cameral whorehouse that we have in Albany.
No. what bothers me about Spitzer is not his performance as "Client No. 9 ". Nor is it so much his hot-tempered incompetence in the Governor's Mansion. He wanted to give Drivers Licenses to Illegal Aliens. He stiffed New York City on its fair share of taxes. He illegally spied on State Senator Joe Bruno. Fine. No problem, Elliott, no one expected better of you.
What bothered me the most is Spitzer's 8 year performance as Attorney General of NY State. He went after a lot of financial institutions for wrongdoing. Which is fine--the institutions did bad things and should have been punished.
What bothered me is the manner in which Spitzer and his henchmen in the AG's office went about it. They attacked major NY employers like like AIG, Merrill Lynch and Marsh & McLennan with an argument: you cooperate with us, or we will fucking put you out of business. Yes, they talked like that. In the aftermath of the demise of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, this was a real threat--the corporations all caved without a fight.
Spitzer then went after the employees of these companies. The top managers, like Hank Greenberg of AIG, fought back and hired the best attorneys.
But many low level employees--those who were unable to hire David Boies as their mouthpieces--were left naked and exposed. Many of them were given company lawyers, sniveling types who made it very clear that their interests were aligned with the company and not with any employee. These employees were harshly interrogated by Spitzer's goons. Some were asked to cop a plea , admitting to "crimes" that they did not do. Others were summarily let go by their employers, who sought to protect the corporation by sacrificing a few $60,000 - $80,000 employees to the meat-grinder in order to protect the institution.
One of these was S. She is a black woman whose roots are in North Carolina. At the age of 73, she didn't work at [a financial firm ] because she wanted to--she did it because she needed to. I've known her for fifteen years.
It appears that her name was listed as a "cc" on an e-mail that made brief reference to some questionable thing that her company had done. She didn't know what the reference was, but as it was not relevant to her duties, she did not question it.
Sometime in 2005, she was called into her managers office. There was a company lawyer there. She was told that she was being "let go". She asked why. She said that they could not say. She asked what her severance would be. She was told that there would be no severance package of any kind.
This is a small industry, so word traveled very fast and very far. She was "caught up in the Spitzer investigations". So other firms, themselves deathly afraid of Spitzer, would not consider hiring her. Though charged with no crime, she was blackballed throughout the industry--and at the age of 73, that's a life sentence.
There were many similar cases to those of S. in many New York financial industries. Many innocents suffered along with the guilty - S is not the only one I know of. All of these firings were done with the full knowledge of Spitzer's staff, who could have stopped them by lifting a finger.
So, should Client No. 9 ask for any sympathy and understanding in the coming days, I ask you this- how much sympathy did he and his staff show S?
May Spitzer burn in hell. When he does resign, there will be quite the party at the Captain's Ketch or certain other bars in New York City.
March 09, 2008
Hillary Clinton Would Accept VP Spot?
Tonight's John Batchelor Show ( on a radio stream on available online on KFI Los Angeles Sunday 10pm-Monday 1am East Coast Time, has reported a rumor that a) Hillary's people have hinted to the Obama camp that she would take the number two spot and b) that Obama's not too interested.
Batchelor's source is Chuck Todd, NBC News' political director.
That ticket would be really hard to beat. Every Democrat in the country would be fired up--I think.
But does Obama want that baggage?
Sunday Music: "Those Were the Days" , Mary Hopkin
This past August, we played an Italian version of this song. Today, the original. Except, it is based on a Russian folk song, so even this is not entirely original.
I belong to the New York Sports Clubs gym chain. I mostly work out at the locations in lower Manhattan, but once in a while I use the Bay Ridge location at 7118 Third Avenue, which is damned handy. The only thing wrong with this location is that there are only two showers in the men's gym, and that they don't have towel service.
Well, two good things are about to happen. First, sometime this week, the original Bay Ridge location will have towel service.
Second, on April 1 ( no joke ) we are about to get a second Bay Ridge location, right in the middle of everything on 86th Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, in the old "Wiz" location. You can take a tour of the 86th Street location between 9am and 9pm until it opens. So, yesterday, I took the tour.
The new gym is on the second and third floors of the building. All the machines are brand new. There are six showers and a sauna in the sharp looking mens locker room , presumably another six with sauna, in the womens'. There will be towel service from day one. Don't know what the hours will be, but if they're smart, this very centrally located location will be open late. Bay Ridge 86th Street NYSC Location information here.
With the Harbor Gym on 92nd Street and two (count 'em) NYSC locations, Bay Ridge residents should soon be the most physically fit in the five boroughs!
March 07, 2008
R Train to Run to Manhattan 24 Hours A Day!
The fare may have gone up a few days ago, but if you live in Bay Ridge or nearby parts of Brooklyn, you're are about to have a major upgrade in late night subway service.
I can't find documentation at the moment, but I've read recently in a few places that the R train will soon begin running 24 hours from Bay Ridge to Manhattan...and that the N train will begin running express all night long.
Currently, the R train only runs from 95th Street to 36th Street from midnight to 5am...if you want to go to/from Manhattan, you have to change to/from the N or D train.
Now, it will be a lot easier to hang out in Manhattan late at night without the annoying and time-consuming connection.
If anyone has a link to this story, please send it. See you on the R train.
Massive Demonstration of R Train Riders Against the War
March 01, 2008
Sunday Music: The Green Berets // William F Buckley RIP
Ah, a nice peaceful song to play on a Sunday, or on any day!
Special Message to Matt Drudge: don't reveal troop movements. It is very bad karma.
Did not get to see or participate in the protest at the Bay Ridge Methodist Church today. Had to be elsewhere.
Off to Bermuda tomorrow. Back Tuesday.
I've been a bit down over the recent death of the great thinker and polemicist William F Buckley. I didn't post a comment on his passing, but I took part in an active discussion/brawl over at A Tangled Web.
Buckley was one of the most influential thinkers of the past fifty years. He is known as the conservative thinker who laid the groundwork for the election of Ronald Reagan. Which is true. But he is also the free thinker who supported the
legalization of drugs. He hated drugs, but thought that the drug war was completely futile. (This interview is continued here and it concludes here.
There are no quality conservative thinkers like Buckley on radio or TV any more. There's a lot of buffoonery from Rush and Savage, and some talking points stuff from Sean, but where are the thinkers who actually listen to people?
The closest we come are John Batchelor, who is hard to find, and Charlie Rose, a wonderful interviewer but not a political actor as was William F Buckley.
A good post on WFB from The Anchoress. She writes : "It has been told that often when Buckley had a big dinner party, he’d invite a leading liberal to be a guest of honor; Buckley believed in giving attention to those with whom he disagreed. He believed he could learn from them."
The Anchoress links to Peggy Noonan who writes "I thought it beautiful and inspiring that he was open to, eager for, friendships from all sides, that even though he cared passionately about political questions, politics was not all, cannot be all, that people can be liked for their essence, for their humor and good nature and intelligence, for their attitude toward life itself. He and his wife, Pat, were friends with lefties and righties, from National Review to the Paris Review. It was moving too that his interests were so broad, that he could go from an appreciation of the metaphors of Norman Mailer to essays on classical music to an extended debate with his beloved friend the actor David Niven on the best brands of peanut butters. When I saw him last he was in a conversation with the historian Paul Johnson on the relative merits of the work of the artist Raeburn."
Today, we have Rush Limbaugh. Ach.
Curtis Sliwa is coming back to WABC, in the 10am-1145am slot, replacing John Gambling. Can he bring Kuby with him?
A Chinese bakery opened at the site of the former Scruffy Murphy's Saturday afternoon.