December 06, 2002

Finally...We Know

The mystery is revealed regarding the monstrosity on Rivington. Turns out it's not a W Hotel...but another 20 story luxury hotel. Oh. I feel better.

Here are some great quotes from the story.
Appreciating the neighborhood's mix, he said he wants the hotel's [5000 sq foot] restaurant, for example, to be "accessible to people in the neighborhood, that we don't have a complete us-and-them scene going on."

I couldn't imagine why anyone would think there was an "us-and-them" scene when you build a 20 story luxury hotel "sheathed in glass panels of different shapes and opacities in[...]a "Mondrianesque" style" amongst 6 story 19th century tenement buildings on a crowded Lower East Side one-way street. Where can I bring my fruit basket, you dumb motherfucker?

"[The developer] didn't want to give away the hotel's name, which is 90 percent settled, but he said Rivington, which he called a "classy, interesting"-sounding street name, has got to be a part of it."

Of course, because Rivington is such a "classy" street. The trash is "classy", the tenements are "classy" and the rats are certainly "classy." When I think Rivington...I think "classy."

For its sheer height, [a local real estate developer] called the project "ballsy" and "courageous."

Ballsy...the word you use when you really want to say "Shit...I wouldn't have done that if I were you."

Cruella

Dude....

By the way...I'm evil if you didn't know.

The Pinnacle

It has taken some time. A lot of posts, a lot of comments, but I feel that today, December 6th, 2002, this website has reached its pinnacle when it can bring you entertainment like this music video right here. Make sure you have the sound on so you can blast the tunes.

I mean that's a high-budget effort. Some times you just want to rock out in your bedroom.

Maybe you and your friends are skinny and like being topless with each other. You might want to work out a dance routine or maybe puff some smokes.

Ultimately, though...one needs to rock out.

December 05, 2002

Stupid Stupid People

Between this quote and the people who think the US government should be allowed to detain US citizens indefinitely without any form of evidence released to the public, this country is fucking stupid. From this story about the impending United Airlines bankruptcy at Yahoo! News.

United's rivals lobbied furiously against its bid for government assistance. But some passengers flying United on Wednesday said the government should help it stay in business.

"We need the competition to keep the fares lower," said Courtney Burkholder, 31, of Lincoln, Neb., as she walked through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. "Generally, it seems unfair that the airlines suffered for the terrorist attacks."

Yeah Courtney, because as we all know, the airlines fully performed their duties in keeping the friendly skies safe. I mean with all of the untrained security personnel making minimum wage and all...no...no...it does seem generally unfair that United should suffer for United Airlines Flight 93 which was hijacked and run into the Pennsylvania countryside or even United Airlines Flight 175 which emanated from my childhood home of Boston, Massachusetts and crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center in my new home New York, New York. That would just be unfair that they would suffer at all. Really fucking unfair. And I mean, it's not like the airlines got any previous help...you know never getting a portion of a $15 billion handout.

Why are people so eager to cut welfare for people and so willing to give welfare to corporations?

December 04, 2002

Who are these people?

Yeah...that's great...I agree with this. Already we're cooking up more Korematsu v. United States. I guess now it's just a-ok to detain American citizens indefinitely.

The judge ruled that it didn't matter that "courts are functioning," that there is no declaration of war with Afghanistan or that the "current conflict with al Qaeda ... can have no clear end," as Padilla's attorneys pointed out.

So much for the benefits of citizenship.

I'm Shocked To Find Out That He's An Egomaniac With A History Of Failed Personal Relationships

It's a couple of days late, but there was a lengthy yet fascinating story about Bill O'Reilly in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine.

If Only I Had A Clock And I Used It To Remember When Television Was On

I was late to work today. I don't think the second alarm of the special two alarm Philips clock radio was activated. Either that or I deactivated the wakening device in my sleep. Perhaps I have natural deactivation skills. I should consider a job with the bomb squad.

I was strolling through the streets of the web this morning when something in a window caught my eye. One of the few articles on Salon that's not restricted to members (every time I go on to Salon these days I think of a drowning man frantically swinging his arms asking for help...only he's throwing out more advertising and less content.) was about the Comedy Central show Insomniac. I guess the show is starting it's third season sometime this week. Rad.

I love that show. I just never know when it's on. That's like a lot of shows. TiVo could probably solve this. But I already have way too much electronic gadgets and I think TiVo's on it's way out anyway. It does seem pretty cool though. Everything should be digital. Fuck analog.

Yeah.

Ahem. Anyway, Insomniac stars the comedian Dave Attell and consists of Attell travelling around the nation's cities engaging in their nighttime activities. Attell describes it best when he calls it "E's Wild On for ugly people." The quote comes from the article on Salon which is one of the better articles I have read in a while. It really seems to highlight the exact reasons I like Insomniac. I've always thought it has a Studs Terkel-type feel. It's an irreverent (yet not disrespectful) and comedic television version of Working.

I've been disappointed with the world of entertainment for...let's say...10 years. Maybe less. Entertainment has gotten a LOT more mean-spirited and that annoys me. Insomniac is a friendly wink. It gently mocks people yet quietly applauds the spirit of living. It's a glimpse of the world away from the fears of terrorism, the economy, and devious accounting methods. It's a fun night on the town without the hangover. So if you haven't seen it...you should check it out. Especially if they rerun the Boston episode. The whole piece with the nighttime poopsmiths was hilarious. I love (well most of them) my Bostonians.

December 03, 2002

Banned

I have five unpretty library books not collected for their covers, but for some weird whim. And they are now DRASTICALLY overdue. While the Huffer works above a train station, with all its drama and traffic, Field Mouse works across the street kitty-corner from the Columbus Branch of the NYPL. Whenever I need a break from the phone and need to sneak away to somewhere free that I can pass off as going to lunch, I go to the library. The thick wooden seats are always filled with kids from Sacred Heart School and homeless people escaping the cold.

I have this dream of reading all the books on the Modern Librarybest books of the 20th century list. So I go to the library and check out these ambitious books and never read them, and they sit gathering dust under the bed.

When I went yesterday to renew Oh Pioneers! on the phone, LEOline tells me in its modem-voice that I am now barred from renewing books from a distance, and that I have face the library clerk. I used to have this problem. I still owe the Public Library in my snowy midwestern hometown $150.00 from about 1994. No more sanctuary. I always swore I'd pay the $150 when I was rich, but it still sounds like a lot to me.

Cold Morning, Cold Afternoon

Here's a bunch of jumblefuck that's passing through my brain this early afternoon.

For the past week or so there has been a red balloon in the shape of a heart resting against the starscaped ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. Since it is the holiday season, the fine folks at GCT have been playing some seasonal ambient music set to a laser light show. I'd wish they do something about the balloon. It makes me feel like some five year old was kidnapped and in her struggle to escape, she lost her heart balloon.

I don't why I continue to look at books and consider buying them when I have a full shelf of books that I haven't read yet. I think I like the activity of buying books more than the activity of reading books. I think I like the covers the most. I should just collect the covers of books...and then pretend to have read them. Nobody ever seems interested in hearing about a book beyond what they could find on the back cover anyway. At that point people just think you're an intellectual snob.

Glib and to the point. This can be achieved entirely by just collecting the covers. I see a new hobby.

While I was browsing around Hudson News I saw a copy of NME (New Musical Express for the uninitiated). It now has a regular magazine cover...still all newspapery inside, but they've finally entered the world of glossy pictures for the cover. I leafed through it a bit and found that the British press still liked American music more than Americans like American music. Not only that, but they gladly seem to take and even encourage bullshit from Ryan Adams.

I did find out that Graham Coxon has left/been forced out of Blur. And that this departure has been a story in Britain for around a month now. Also, Graham hates the rest of the guys in Blur, but don't worry because Alex plans to call him.

Glad the NME is on top of this developing story!!

When I was walking towards Hudson News a middle aged mom-type white woman was looking in her purse for something. A middle aged surly looking black man was walking in the opposite direction. The two collided. The black man said "Excuse me...BITCH!"

Who's got the holiday spirit? I sure do.


December 02, 2002

Saturday in Brooklyn

The weekend is over. It's Monday. I hate that. I think it's starting to get bad when a four day weekend doesn't satisfy.

On Saturday, Field Mouse and I went on an adventure to the borough to the east known as Brooklyn. We're considering moving from our humble home on the LES sometime next year. Clinton Street is getting way too trendy for our tastes. Actually, I think it's far from trendy. It's not really cool down here anymore. I've already seen a bunch of lacrosse jackets at local establishments. It's not cool anymore when people from the UES aren't afraid to come down here.

One of the reasons we went to Brooklyn was to check out the supposedly upcoming area called Red Hook. Red Hook is an industrial area located on the waterfront of the southwest corner of Brooklyn. The area used to be a vibrant commercial area filled with active piers and docks. Once the BQE separated the neighborhood from the rest of Brooklyn, the area began to decline. Now most of the residents (over 70%) of Red Hook live in the Red Hook Houses, one of the largest housing projects in New York City.

Thoughts of creating a trendy industrial neighborhood similar to Williamsburg has created new interest in the area. A piece on PBS called Red Hook a "neighborhood in transition." There's bitter debate over a local developer's desire to use some waterfront property to build a Fairway supermarket.

So needless to say, there's a lot of talk about Red Hook. So we decided to check it out. If Red Hook is to become another hipster haven, it has a long way to go from what we saw. A lot of times trendy neighborhoods emanate from one single block. So maybe we missed that block. Most of what we saw was extremely run down housing and commercial space. Few restaurants and few stores. Garbage is dumped in Red Hook. And more garbage plants have been threatened. Most of the warehouse space was only one story high and without windows. More like airplane hangers than future lofts. It's also completely ignored by the subway system...so you have to take the bus if you want to go anywhere. So there's no real infrastructure at this point for extreme gentrification. A few stray hipsters don't make a hip neighborhood. There's talks about putting in a trolley system and an IKEA. Red Hook is a bit isolated at this point. Williamsburg or Long Island City may be in Brooklyn and Queens respectively, but they are only a stop or two away from Manhattan on subway lines. As hip as Billyburg and LIC are, they still need Manhattan.

The one thing that strikes you about Red Hook, which also probably strikes and scares Red Hook residents (at least the ones that live outside of public housing) is how much space appears to be available in Red Hook. Large unused industrial spaces run up and down blocks. It's on the water. It's got cobblestones. This is New York. The place where realtors make Hell's Kitchen into Clinton, Washington Heights into Hudson Heights, Little Italy into Nolita, the Lower East Side into the East Village and back into the Lower East Side again. Realtors (lie) sell ideas in New York. It's apparently time to sell Red Hook.

When you walk past dilapidated buildings on Van Brunt street the lightpoles are covered in flags paid for by local development corporations cheerfully yelling:

Welcome to Red Hook!!! Feel the Grit!! Touch the Broken Glass!!!

Okay, so it doesn't say feel the grit and it doesn't ask you to touch the broken glass, but it does indicate that someone is trying really hard to make you like Red Hook. And it's a corporation.

Somebody has a vision. And it's for sale. It remains to be seen whether or not anybody will buy.

Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all.

A quick story in light of the holiday. On my way back from the airport yesterday, my cab driver and I were chatting it up. He was from India and asked me if I was looking forward to Christmas. Dialogue as follows:

Cab Man: “Are you excited for Christmas?”
Maya: “No. I don’t celebrate Christmas.”
Cab Man: “Why not?”
Maya: “I’m Jewish.”
Cab Man: “Oh.”

Pause.

Cab Man: “I heard Jews are cheap people. That they don’t like to spend money. Is that true?”
Maya: “Just as true as the stereotypes you might hear about black people, or people from India. People like to assume things about what they don’t know.”
Cab Man: “Yeah.”

Totally.