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Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

Wisdom From Alaska – Where No Worrying Took Place

I suppose worry works for people like Tim Burton. He can turn even the fluffiest of holidays into an animated worry festival.

And whomever is responsible for network dramas, they’re making a mint off worry. In a trailer for a new TV show, a man was riding up an escalator to meet his waiting girlfriend. He had love in his eyes and flowers in his hands. He was surely going to propose! As she came into view, expectant and glowing, the floor dropped from under him and he fell from sight – swoosh – into the crushing bowels of the still moving stair he was riding.

Margagogo’s Seattle Bureau Chief cackled and snorted, “That happens … NEVER.”

I on the other hand, a frequent rider of NYC’s subway, feel sure there’s a chance – maybe a .00005% probability world-wide but that potential must leap to at least 20% at the Lexington Avenue & 53rd Street station here in Manhattan. The subway surgeons are there regularly, pealing back the metal skin of the long escalator riders rely on to ferry them deep underground and out again. Thanks to this show tease, I now imagine being the unlucky one in a game of Stair Roulette. If it happens, as my last act, I hope my disembodied hand rides the rest of the way up, propped upright in the metal teeth with my middle finger unfurled, to meet a waiting and expectant Governor Cuomo at the top.

Clearly, I’m a good candidate for the stairs but I like the boost. I don’t just ride, I climb and since I’m on an escalator, I do double-time without the speed related sweat.

Technology: Can’t live without it, take your life in your hands when you use it.

There’s some tech I vow to live without. Absolutely no fitness tracker for me. If I’m laying in bed awake worrying about robots taking over my job someday, I know I’m awake. I also know I should be sleeping. I don’t need a fitness tracker to tell me. 

I know when I walk a lot because, well, I’m there. My feet and muscles feel it and they know, without digital documentation, when distance has been covered. I don’t need a “buzzzz” or a “ding” to tell me to get off the couch. Doing nothing requires a choice just like anything else. Of course it matters if I climb no flights versus a zillion flights each day. But by my count, the fitness tracker always gets it wrong. And, I don’t want the last bit of recorded history of my life to be my free-fall through a stair. 

I’m not a showrunner so I’m ending this dark digression to get back to my starting point: Worry is a waste of imagination. I’d much rather imagine a great view and a margarita as big as my head. (Considering the whole purpose of this blog (see the origin story) that is a given.) 

Marg Over The Zambezi – Highly Recommended

Here’s to a worry-free 2019!

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What used to be Puttanesca, an Italian restaurant and my neighborhood local, is boarded up and beneath the “Post No Bills” warning, someone scrawled “Love Is The way” in white paint.

This week, someone with more time and more color, embellished the original.

I did love Puttanesca. I doubt the graffiti artist(s) want me to think of food when I see their work but every time I walk by the empty store front, I miss my local and wonder where it went.

One day it was there and the next, it wasn’t. Every table, every chair, every scrap was gone. All that remained was some dust and a few light fixtures left to glow within the cavernous space. The cute Serbian bartender who liked to talk literature and gave me free wine while I wrote blog posts at his bar, moved on to who knows where. The place where I ate (along with hundreds of others) post Super Storm Sandy, wiped out.

Is it possible to put a restaurant’s face on a milk carton?

What’s weird or weirder or maybe just weird to me is that they renovated just before closing. They expanded the bar area to cash in on the wine bar craze and they reopened a few months before they emptied out for good. Clearly, a plan went catawampus.

The building was sold. Could that be the twist?

It’s a corner lot, 6 stories, brick and a little run down. But it’s New York City real estate. The building reportedly sold for $17 million. It’s just a few blocks from “Billionaires Row.”

57th Street (which must be “Billionaires Row” though the moniker is new to me. It used to be, less colorfully, considered part of “Midtown”) is transformed with one high-end hotel next to the other and of course, there’s the monstrosity that gave us the most expensive apartment ever sold in NYC. The sale price? $100,471,452.77.  Yes, that’s right, $100,471,452.77 – I’m sure the seventy-seven cents sealed the deal. Don’t have $100,471,452.77 to fork out for an apartment? I suppose even some Billionaires might find that pricey. No worries! There’s an apartment for rent in the same building and it will only cost you $150,000 per month.  At that rate, you could live there for over 55 years before being all-in on the current high water mark in apartment cost.

I live a few blocks away from “Billionaires Row” so I get to bask in the glow and enjoy the halo effect from my neighbor’s bling-ness. Or to look at it another way, my rent went up 6% last year and 10% the year before.

Glow aside, I wonder if everyone else sees what I see: Do you see the people and places giving NYC its character – the very things that suck in Billionaires and non-Billionaires alike – leaving the city? (I wrote about this once in more detail. Check it out here and I’ll move off of this particular soapbox for now.)

I started with love and rambled quite a ways away. As I read back, I’m afraid I seem a bitter about Billionaires.

I’m really not … mostly … I mean Billionaires are people too and I’m very pro-people!

And love really should be the thread through it all so I invite anyone willing to take the stroll over to Hell’s Kitchen to join me at my new local, Bello. It’s been around since 1985, the Northern Italian food is tasty and when I sit at the bar, they give me a little extra splash of wine. I love a little extra splash. I also love the Rigatoni Matriciana.

I haven’t asked them to make me a margarita yet. They’re sort of hard-core on the Italian cuisine vibe so I haven’t made the leap. I’ll get to it though and I’ll give you an update when I do.

I don’t know if sky-high rent drove Puttanesca out of business but given the changes happening all around us, rent seems a likely culprit. On the bright side, I found Bello!

Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe I’ll see you at the bar, smiling over a big splash of wine. And hopefully, like the sign says, love is the root of it all.

PS to all Billionaires, Would-Be-Billionaires and Total-Non-Billionaires: The bar at Bello can be chatty so please join in. And FYI, I’m not one of those people who gets offended when someone offers to buy me a drink. So if you’re hesitating and debating, “Should I, shouldn’t I” the answer is always, “Yes, you should!” Love is the way and a lovely glass of wine is a fine and loving expression. And if you’re nice, I might buy you right back. It’s only neighborly. And while we’re on the subject, here’s good reading for any neighbor: The Gentrifier’s Guide To Not Being An Asshole – hot of the press from The Village Voice – a look at neighborhood change from a deeper perspective than my wine glass allows.

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