Sunday, October 10, 2010

Columbus Day Parade

Pasta, Maseratis, and Pinocchio... I love Italy - Monday is Columbus Day, in case you weren't sure why you don't have to go to work, and here in New York, Columbus Day is more than just remembering the day old Christopher came to America the Bahamas. No, it's a day for Italian-Americans to celebrate how awesome we are. It starts with a parade, full of Italian dancing, Italian songs, and pretty much every Italian thing you can think of. This year, they've brought over Maseratis from the 1930's (and new ones too). And performances by actors in Pinocchio the Italian Musical (performing here in New York for one week only, next week at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College). But after the parade, the Italians take over Grand Central Terminal. For the past few years, Mario Andretti and five of his race-winning cars were there (they may show up again). And then my favorite part: we eat. Antipasto, pasta, chicken parmigiana, sausage and peppers, pastries, and lots of it. And then cap it off with a little Sinatra and Dino. Now THAT is a Columbus Day. Go Italy!

Parade: 5th Ave from 47th up to 72nd St, 11:30am to 3pm.
Grand Central: 42nd St and Park Ave, in the main Vanderbilt Hall.
Food: My Nana's house in the Bronx, but you can't come.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Meet Dylan from Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan is not only real, but she's a girl - If you eat candy, you know about Dylan's Candy Bar. And if you don't, shame on you. It's 100 times better than FAO Schweetz (inside FAO Schwartz) and I think, maybe even possibly just a tad bit better than IT'SUGAR in Atlantic City. But this isn't an ad for Dylan's (although I fully expect you to go there), it's to tell you that Dylan (who I always assumed was a boy because, well, no real reason, it just made more sense in my head) is actually a girl. And she's awesome. Her name is Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren. And she just wrote a book. About candy and how to use it in decorations and how candy could (and should) be a central part of every home. And if you buy it at Macy's today or at her store tomorrow, she'll sign it for free. Yay!

Book Signings:

Today: Macy's Herald Square, 2-4pm in the Cellar (it's just like it sounds, go down to the basement)
Tomorrow: Dylan's Candy Bar, 1011 3rd Ave at 60th St, 1-3pm.

Then she starts a two month national book tour. She'll be in Hawaii next week if you want to go. She'll return to New York for a few other appearances, so if you can't make it today or tomorrow, hit up one of these:

Saturday, October 30: Neiman Marcus in Westchester, 5000 Northbrook Court, 1-3pm.
Monday, November 15: Lord & Taylor, 424 5th Ave at 38th St, 6-8pm.
Tuesday, November 16: BookSmart Chaplin Book Fair, 100 East End Avenue at 84th St, 6-8pm.
Tuesday, November 30: Lester's, 1534 2nd Ave at 80th St, 4-6pm.
Saturday, December 11: Dylan's Candy Bar, 1011 3rd Ave at 60th St, 1-3pm.

Friday, October 8, 2010

MTA is More Expensive than Buying a Car

This just isn't good news for anybody - Back in March, we heard the MTA had an $800 million budget gap they need to fill in, so in July they slashed service across the City and laid off/eliminated 3500 employees. Somehow, after all that, they STILL have an $800 million gap. How is that possible? What did they use all that money for? TV's in subways? Whatever the reason, they decided to pass the buck to us, approving another fare increase (that's three straight years now) with another increase scheduled for 2013. Mass transit has always been the cheapest way to go (I've been buying 30-day unlimited passes for years). But now that it's up in triple digits (it's $104 now if you hadn't heard), I started doing some math.

My wife and I both work and both buy the month-long pass. $104 x 2 = $208/mo x 12 months = $2496. And since they're charging $1 per new card, and you can't re-use an unlimited card, that's an extra $24/yr. So we're looking at more than $2500 per year for transportation now, for service that is sometimes painfully (and always annoyingly) slower than before.

I just checked Craigslist and we could buy a decent used car for under $1000. And assuming I use my dad's Westchester address to save on insurance (because hey, who doesn't?), after about two years, even with gas and parking, it's less expensive for us to drive ourselves around City than take mass transit. Seriously MTA, how did you manage to make that possible?

Now I'm not going to buy a car because I'm too lazy to search for one and shopping for car insurance doesn't take 15 minutes, no matter what Geico says. But if 2013's fare hike hits the monthly pass, I may have to reconsider. And maybe I won't be the only one.

According to the US Census, more than 54% of NYC's workforce commutes to work (and we all buy the monthly pass), AND we already have the longest average commute of any city in America (39 minutes, and that was before the cuts in July). If it becomes less expensive AND faster for us to just drive to work, don't expect us to have any loyalty to the MTA just because we've used you for years. Seriously MTA, don't mess with the monthly MetroCards any more. Screw with the tourists. Make the fare $5 per ride for all we care. I think your main concern should be the 54% of riders who come back month after month and make up the bulk of your revenue. Don't push us too far or you'll lose us all together.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Naked Cowboy for President

Not even Clinton got Naked - If you've ever been to Times Square in the summer, you've seen the Naked Cowboy. His real name is Robert Burck, and on Wednesday, October 6, he's officially announcing his bid to enter the race for the 2012 election for President of The United States of America. I always wondered what he did when the weather got too cold to walk around in his underwear. Apparently, according to his website, he spends his spare time reading ("no less than 50 books a year") and writing (you can download several of his books for free). I guess after reading Decision Points by George W. Bush, Mr. Cowboy thought to himself, 'Well if he can do it, I can do it.' What party do you think he's affiliated with, anyway? I never pegged him as a Republican and I don't think he can beat out Obama as the Democratic Party's candidate. Maybe there's a Keg Party or a newly formed Bachelorette Party I don't know about.

His announcement is for "Members of the Press Only" and is supposedly closed to the public, but it's in the middle of Times Square on Wednesday at noon. So yeah, it's not really closed to the public.

ps: If you think this will amount to anything more than a publicity stunt, just remember that he also tried to run for NYC mayor but dropped out a few months into the race because there was "too much red tape." That's right, Cowboy, running for President is probably easier. Good luck.
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