NYC Man

October 28, 2013

Lou-Reed-lou-reed-29553309-480-324

We lost one of our own here in New York. Lou Reed’s untimely death is dispiriting to everyone but it’s especially depressing when we grew up with this guy right in our back yards.

Reed was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island and became the embodiment of the Lower East Side 60′s/70′s music and art scene. Surely there are thousands of Lou Reed tributes floating around right now, but being a photographer myself, I’d just like to share some of Reed’s images.

All photos via Steven Kasher Gallery.

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Mayor Who?

September 9, 2013

Vote_quimbya

Still confused about voting on who will be the next New York City mayor? Well, you won’t find any help here. The Democratic primary is tomorrow and I’m still scrambling to find out what these guys/gal are all about. I missed the debate and I haven’t been keeping up with the local news.

What makes NYC wonderful is that we each have our own important issue. Personally, I’d like to see a mayor who’s a proponent of animal rights and sustainability. Raise the minimum wage. Fight for New Yorkers of ALL income levels in ALL boroughs. Education. The arts. Fight crime without discrimination. I want to be able to drink a beer on my stoop and I want to see people get educated on soda without the damn ban! Oh, and even though I never so much as tried pot, not even once in my life….legalize that shit and tax it!!

If there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that Quinn is not getting my vote. She has two strikes against her: 1. She’s another Bloomberg and 2. She’s not the biggest animal rights advocate.

On the other hand, front runner de Blasio intends on getting rid of the carriages all together and coming up with a more humane and sustainable tourism idea such as electric antique cars. I like him and I’ll probably vote for him. If Liu or Thompson end up getting to the general election, I’d be happy enough to vote for them. Honestly, since I haven’t had a chance to pay much attention, they are all samey-samey to me right now. I know that Liu would like to legalize marijuana. The only reason de Blasio stands out is because his Public Advocate website was so helpful during the aftermath Hurricane Sandy.

Salgado opposes same sex marriage. Buh-bye. Albanese opposes fracking and wants to phase in 100% recycling. Not too shabby.

And what of my beloved Weiner? I was completely undeterred by his original sexting scandal. When he said that more photos might come out, that was fine too. What I didn’t realize was that “more” meant new sexting AFTER the whole fiasco. It’s kind of tough to have someone’s back when their dick is weighing them down so much. Still, I’m so heartbroken over the whole thing, I just might pull the lever (as us dinosaurs say) for him just for old times’ sake. Actually, his schmeckle aside, he would make a great mayor!

If you have any input, I’d welcome it! As someone who always mocks those undecided presidential election voters, this is making me feel so flawed.

Helpful sites: Decide NYC

Project NYC

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New York 2013

December 20, 2012

Let’s say we survive this Mayan inspired apocalypse tomorrow. What do you think is in store for us come 2013?

Well, I’m a hit-or-miss psychic but here are my predictions (more like observations) on the near future in local areas.

First, a slight backtrack to 2012 and said apocalypse. I remember reading a Nostradamus predictions on the subject a few years ago. It’s in one of my books that are still packed in a tote box in the basement years after moving. Anyway, I was relieved to find that according to Nostradamus, the 2012 destruction of earth isn’t one single event that immediately ends it all but rather a series of cataclylsmic occurrences around the globe. If I remember correctly, many would be wiped out, but not all would perish.

So, ok. Nostradamus may have been on to something there.

Moving forward, I think New York will survive and flourish as she always does. Armageddon or not, you just can’t hold New York down.

Don’t know if you realize this, but there are STILL people living without heat and electric. Many homes that were not torn down are not safe to live in, so I just want to take this opportunity to say that help is still very much needed for Sandy victims. Just because this blog and the media has moved on doesn’t mean they are not still struggling. If you were thinking that you missed out on volunteering or donating, think again.

Ok, the future!

Crazy real estate prices. That’s the present, I don’t have to be psychic to see that. Areas such as Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Flatbush that were on the verge of affordable have hit the million mark. Rental prices have increased as well. I told you to buy a brownstone in Bed Stuy back when they were $650k. What were you waiting for??

I’m not going to put my money were my mouth is (because it’s tied up in Rockaway) but I’m thinking East Flatbush and Broadway Junction (pretty much East New York) will be the next affordable areas to take off. Don’t go out and buy because I said so. My track record is 50/50.

Right now, if you’re an out of work contractor, there’s something wrong with you. Think about this. How many homes in how many areas either need a total rebuild, renovation or just renovation of one floor? That’s not just houses. There are businesses and infrastructure that have been totaled as well. It’s going to be The Year of the Contractor. And they’ll let us down like they always do. F*ckin’ contractors.

Retail will see a spike as folks start getting money back from insurance, charity and FEMA and moving back into their homes. What was lost? EVERYTHING. Clothing, furniture, appliances, artwork, kitchenware, electronics. Think about every item you own times what it would take to replace it all times how many families have to do that. The shops in hard hit areas are struggling to survive right now, but if they can hang on, 2013 can be their busiest year yet. Even food vendors, what with all the workers coming into these neighborhoods.

Farming. I heard this on NPR, so I’m stealing this “prediction”. Because of climate change, we’re going to have a harder time growing food. Land will become more valuable as food production declines. Now is the time to buy those 50 acres upstate you’ve been dreaming about. So perhaps Gerald O’Hara was right when he said “Land is the only thing that lasts”.

Unless, of course, you’re near the water. Then fuhgettaboutit.

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Occupy Sandy and Recovers Follow these Folks!

November 5, 2012

With all the volunteer/donation posts on Facebook and the wonderful chain of emails being sent about, the responses by us regular folk has been absolutely incredible and stunning.

The Occupy Wall Street community, along with the genius Recovers.org portal have set up a system for immediate assistance that is making it’s way to so many.

Stay aware of all their efforts via newsletter, tweets, Facebook.

Occupy Sandy Relief 

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net.

To get regular updates by text message please text @occupysandy to 23559  Contact us at OccupySandy@interoccupy.net.

Occupy Wedding Register:

Genius, for NJ Hurricane Sandy victims, items you can purchase that will go directly to those in need.

RedHook Recovers

Recovery organizing efforts in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Offer and request information and assistance.

Astoria Recovers

Staten Island

The Lower East Side

Recovers.org

Community software that efficiently organizes volunteers, donations and information.

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1970′s NYC

September 20, 2012

W. 21st, Meatpacking District

Dirty Old 1970′s New York City is making the rounds on Facebook among friends I grew up with. It always brings a smile to my face to see images of the city of my youth that no longer exists. Their tag line? “For those who loved New York City before the 80′s took its balls away.”

Enjoy the pics.

Union Square. I remember shopping at this Mays up until the mid 80′s.

Times Square, of course.

Canal and Broadway. They knew from egg creams.

Under Brooklyn Bridge ramp, Dover Street

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Car (or Van) Sharing

July 30, 2012

"Bronx Zoo" Zip Car near Fairway Market, Harlem, New York City

Want to take a drive to the country for the weekend? Beach for the day? How about obtaining a van for renovations? Car rental companies can be pretty pricey in New York, so it’s no surprise that car sharing options such as ZipCar have gained in popularity.

Disclosure: I’m just doing some internet research because I’ll soon be needing a van for renovations. I’ve never actually tried a car sharing company. If you have, please comment with some feedback!

It would seem that the daily price of car sharing is comparable to rentals; however, gas and insurance are included in the share. We all know that insurance is what can double the price of that rental. Let’s also remember that location, location, location is everything. Looks like car sharing may be a tad more convenient than schlepping to a rental company to pick up a car. Also, if you only need it for an hour to two, that’s cool.

If you only intend to use the car once or twice a year, car sharing may not be worth it as there is a membership fee involved.

Let’s have a look at some local companies, shall we?

ZipCar is the best known. You’ll be spending $85 to participate. $60 for the annual fee and $25 application fee. Hourly weekend rates are $14 or $125 per day.

Hertz didn’t get to where they are by making bad business decisions. They’ve entered the game with Hertz on Demand and it’s pretty competitve. There are no membership or application fees. Insurance and gas are included and weekend rates run from $8 per hour or $108 per day.

Mint Cars on Demand waives the membership fee for the first year and charges $40 annually after that. Weekend rates for an economy car are $12 per hour and $107 per day with the first 180 miles free, then .45 cents per mile after that. As with the other companies, gas and insurance are included.

Carpingo just launched in Brooklyn. Like this month. Since they are quite new, the information isn’t really out there yet, but here’s what I came up with: The founders are Brooklynites whom have been in the NYC car rental industry for 30 years. They do have cargo vans as well as cute little cars like the Fiat 500. Don’t know if this is a start up offer or they are keeping these rates, but membership is free and the application fee is waived. Gas, insurance and 180 free miles included. I see $8 per hour on a postcard I received but I don’t know if that’s weekday or weekend. Also, the postcard announces $75 in free driving if you join now. Coupon code CPG100.

Then, for my purposes, there’s always UHaul or big box hardware store truck rentals starting at $19.95 per day plus expenses. Or….man with van including a helping hand. The problem with that is getting someone reliable enough.

There are also ways to earn money by sharing your own car and of course you can rent from the following places as well. Personally, I’d feel kind of awkward messing around with someone’s privately owned vehicle rather than a large faceless company.

From what I gather, the car providers must have OnStar and the rates vary according to owner. It’s the Air BnB of car sharing.

If you are interested in offering your own car or renting someone’s private vehicle, check out these companies:

Relay Rides

Just Share It

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Dead Celebrities in New York

June 15, 2012

Anne Bancroft Brooks in Hawthorne, NY

Mother is visiting. One of our annual outings is to see the dead relatives in the cemeteries. All of mine are in either Beth David or Montefiore in Queens. Not that you care, but I thought it might be of interest to you to know who else is buried in New York.

Anne Bancroft and Lucille Ball: Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla

Louis Armstrong: Flushing Cemetery, Queens

James Cagney: Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne

Harry Chapin: Huntington Rural Cemetery, Huntington

Duke Ellington: Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx

Judy Garland, Joan Crawford and Aaliyah: Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale

Ben Gazarra: Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx

Billie Holiday: St. Raymond’s Cemetery, Bronx

Lena Horne: The Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn

Houdini: Machpelah Cemetery, Queens

Andy Kaufman: Beth David Cemetery, Elmont, LI

Captain Kangaroo (Am I dating myself?): Saint Joseph’s Cemetery, Babylon, LI

Jerry Orbach, Trinity, NYC

Tony Randall: Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson

Martin Scorsese (Yeah, I know he’s not dead yet.) Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp, SI

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$200k Challenge: Sullivan County

May 2, 2012

Not being too familiar with Sullivan County, I contacted buyer’s agent Joe Addeo at The Rural Connection to show me around yesterday. What a luxury not having to set up appointments, navigate and drive from house to house!

We saw a bunch of homes that were in pretty decent shape. None of them would have worked for my flip purposes, but it’s definitely a buyer’s market over there. That part of Sullivan County near the Delaware River is beautiful but quiet. Don’t go expecting a scene, man.

Anyway, on to the houses! Find info on all of them here.

The farmhouse pictured above is a steal at $175k. Great piece of property on 5 acres with a pond near Jeffersonville. The house doesn’t need much work at all, which is why it didn’t suit my own purposes. One can just move in and enjoy. I saw some unfinished molding. That was about the extent of the work IMHO.

This lovely cape was in decent shape also. It’s very close to Jeffersonville and the Villa Roma Resort, which is like an Italian version of a Borscht Belt resort. A sausage belt resort, if you will. The house could use some updating or you can overlook the drop ceilings and dated kitchen and just enjoy your summer. Not bad for $139k.

This Cochecton house was pretty sweet for $89k and would have worked for me had the neighboring house not been so close (close by country standards). On the plus side, the neighbors have horses. Unfortunately, that’s a negative when you have dogs. Anyhoo, great bones, good location. Price is unbeatable!

Oh, this was a good one too! Another not-much-to-do house. The exterior looks worse than the interior. I remember that this one had a great kitchen with aluminum cabinets and an old drainboard/sink and the floors were in perfect shape. $139k in Cochecton.

The city girl in me appreciated this one simply because it was within walking distance to civilization. The village of Kauneonga Lake isn’t very big but has 4-5 good restaurants that overlook the lake. This is the perfect retreat for lake lovers, even though the public access is some ways from the house. There’s a hot tub in the back. Who doesn’t like a weekend place with a hot tub? $109,900.

Finally, this lovely Cochecton farm house belongs to my buddy Sal, an antiques dealer in Callicoon. The house is about to hit the market at under $200k. When it does, I’ll let you know all about it…as well as the cool vintage trailers he’s selling. But for now, consider this your head’s up.

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Etan Patz Lives

April 20, 2012

I hope they don’t find anything in that basement. I know it would bring closure to the family of Etan Patz but if they are anything like I am, they believe he’s living a wonderful life somewhere and he just doesn’t realize who he is. He’ll be back someday it will be such a heartwarming miracle!

I was 14 when Patz disappeared from his Soho neighborhood. As dangerous as New York was at the time, kids did have more freedom than they do now. That didn’t end with Etan but it was somewhat of a wake up call. His face was plastered all over the city, a reminder to us kids to be careful.

Growing up 1970′s NYC left a few lasting impressions that are hard to let go. There were incidents that made us fearful, like Son of Sam, but there were stories that we wished would have happy endings.

I wanted Etan Patz to break the odds. Unfortunately, this 46 year old woman will probably be let down by the end of the day.

Etan, you’ll always be alive to me. God speed, Little Man!

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I’m Walkin’ Here!

March 27, 2012

So, this guy Matt has walked across the U.S. of A much like Forrest Gump and now he’s hitting the streets of The Big Apple. Actually, he’s nearly three months in and has covered a lot of ground. Matt’s plan is to walk every single street of the city. He’s blogging about it and taking pictures (below) along the way.

The blog is called “I’m Just Walkin’” but IMHO, he should have titled it “I’m Walkin’ Here” for the NYC bit. Whatever it’s called, it’s pretty fascinating and makes me want to do it too. Don’t worry. I won’t.

Matt reckons that he’ll have traveled 8000 miles by foot by the time he’s finished walking around the boroughs. He will have walked passed every person’s home and it will take him about two years to do so.

So how does one finance an endeavor such as this? He’s relying on the kindness of strangers and friends. He doesn’t have to pay rent as he’s taken to hobo status and crashes with buddies along the route. He is asking for donations to keep him going. You can help him along by going here.

I wonder if the dude has contacted a sneaker company to sponsor him? Can’t be a better advertisement than that.

That yard's pretty good

Manhattan Bridge tower

Bennet Court

Olean and Obie

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Lindsay for Mayor

March 26, 2012

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How have I spent the past 46 years (minus a few) in Brooklyn and never noticed the sign on this building? It was actually my husband who noticed while driving down Bedford near Flatbush. Upon further investigation on The Internets, it turns out that Fading Ad Blog spotted it about 3 months ago. Actually, there was another sign covering Lindsay all this time, so I’m not so unobservant after all.

John Lindsay served 8 years as Mayor of New York City back when I was too young to take interest. I did find some interesting facts about the his term and the political environment 40 something years ago that are still pertinent to today.

Lindsay inherited serious fiscal problems from outgoing Mayor Robert Wagner (not the actor).  With manufacturing jobs disappearing, white flight to the suburbs and new unions taking shape, it was tough to get the city back on it’s feet.

On his first day in office, there was a transit strike. During his term there was also a teacher’s strike, a sanitation strike and sewage and drawbridge worker’s strike.

In 1969, NYC was hit with 15 inches of snow. Fourteen people died and 68 were injured.Within a day, the mayor was criticized for giving special treatment to Manhattan while the other boroughs were left hanging. Sound familiar?

1970 brought the Hard Hat Riot. Two hundred construction workers attacked students protesting the Kent State shootings and Vietnam War. Here’s where it gets interesting. Who tried to protect those students? Wall street bankers and attorneys. The cops stood by and did nothing. When the Mayor criticized the NYPD, he was called “the red mayor, a “traitor,” “Commy rat” and “bum.”

By 1971, Lindsay switched parties from Republican to Democrat. “…This step recognizes the failure of 20 years in progressive Republican politics…” He actually ran for President but as we know, he didn’t get very far.

Later in his life, after Parkinson’s Disease, heart attacks and stroke depleted Lindsay’s finances, he found himself without health insurance. In 1996 Mayor Giuliani appointed Lindsay to two largely ceremonial posts to make him eligible for municipal health insurance coverage.

All facts came from Wikipedia, so don’t blame me if they’re wrong. Thankfully, I’m too young to remember.

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The $200k House Challenge

March 8, 2012

You have $200k to spend on a home within 2 hours of NYC, including renovations. Where would you look?

As mentioned before, I’m in search of a flip. I could put myself into debt for a year and not be able to afford pet food or even human food but I’d rather not, so I’m sticking to a budget of $200k. Yeah, I know. It ain’t gonna be in Brooklyn. Not even split with a partner. Not even a one bedroom apartment in a fringe neighborhood.

After searching for about a month, here’s what I’ve learned…

You want to own a home in the boroughs for $200k? It’s possible. There are homes in crappy parts of Bushwick, Jamaica and East New York. Actually, pretty difficult to come by houses for under $300k, but short sales exist. If you’re purchasing a short sale, be prepared to have it drag on for close to a year.

Saw a couple of listings out on The Island. Riverhead and Central Islip. A friend from The Island wasn’t too impressed with those locations. Saw quite a few listings in Jersey City and Newark, especially Newark. No, the JC listings were not prime JC.

So, what’s the best bet for finding a home for under $200k (Oh, did I mention that INCLUDES renovations?)? Upstate. Whether it be commuter location or second home, the houses exist. Saw a bunch in Rhinebeck and one in Hyde Park that I may put an offer on, but it will only be back up as someone got to it first. Bastards.

Today I’m heading up to Warwick. That’s a commuter area and there are about 4-5 listings to look at. It’s promising.

So, you want a house on a small budget? You can do it. As long as you’re not a whiny douche like this guy.

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Rockaway Bungalows

February 29, 2012

The Bungalows of Rockaway trailer from Jennifer Callahan on Vimeo.

In researching The Rockaways for a possible investment property, I came across this documentary made a few years back. My bungalow obsession + not having to schlep all the way upstate to renovate = What could be better? Maybe the location of the bungalows. Apparently there’s a bit of urban blight going on in that part of Rockaway.

But supposedly it’s a Hipsta’s Paradise over in the higher number streets. Checking it out on Thursday. Will report back.

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Water Tank Art

February 24, 2012

The Water Tank Project is coming to an NYC rooftop near you for three months in the spring of 2013. Word Above the Street’s public awareness campaign aims to inspire millions of people to be more responsible with their daily water usage.

Select rooftop water tanks across the city will be temporarily wrapped with original artwork, the subject matter being water. Students, emerging and established artists will take part in the project.

The Water Tank Project will also promote New York City’s high quality drinking water and highlight the role of the world’s major cities in leading the way to responsible stewardship of water.

How can you help? Donate here. Or…on March 1st shop at Whole Foods as 5% of the sales will be donated to the project. Or…got a tank? Let them use it!

Via Cool Hunting

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