Catching up with friends when I can

Plus some Instagram Pics

Empire State Building in clouds
Had a rare bit of downtime and coorporating weather so I saw my friend Claire for dinner the other night and then went out with my friend Bryson to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

Don’t actually get to catch up with people in RL all that often; partly because we’re all busy and partly because FB and other social networks are kinda like “keeping up, lite.” We get the curated highlights that people want to share and, for the most part, that’s often good enough.

But it’s nice seeing people when I can. Claire is staying here in The City from California because of her fella and Bryson is, as always, the same guy I knew back in college but with two kids now.

It’s nice seeing how your friends’ stories unfold.

Shots of liquor

On a different note entirely, I’ve been trying to get more into Instagram.

My main issue with using is that I don’t generally like how pictures from phones come out. But here are the highlights of what I’ve done recently – follow me!

Spring in NYC and Bryant Park.Spring in NYC and Bryant Park.

#Cloudy day in #NYC and autumn leaf bag bear downtown is unhappy. #Cloudy day in #NYC and autumn leaf bag bear downtown is unhappy.

Nighttime falls in the #UWS in #NYC. The #DINKYs and #YUPPIES grow restless. Nighttime falls in the #UWS in #NYC. The #DINKYs and #YUPPIES grow restless.

It's #spring and sunny in #NYC but still cold enough to freeze you solid. It’s #spring and sunny in #NYC but still cold enough to freeze you solid.

NYC is always a work in progress. NYC is always a work in progress.

Location: HomeDepot getting supplies
Mood: excited
Music: If you’re gonna do it, do it right – right?
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Genetic Fallacies and the Citibank Building

Listening’s a lot harder when your ego’s on the line

Citibank Building in Manhattan 3

Him: I don’t understand what happened.
Me: Maybe there’s a reason why they went with someone else.

That’s a picture of the Citibank building here in Manhattan. I took it along with the picture below in March of last year for another entry.

About a month after I took it, read this article that said that the building was ridiculously flawed.

How ridiculous? There was a 1-in-16 year chance that the entire building would come tumbling down with a strong wind.

That’s pretty ridiculous.

But the weirdest thing about how this all unfolded was that a female college student from NJ figured out it was flawed, tracked down the lead engineer, and contacted him to tell him that his design was fatally flawed.

And despite haven’t any number of reasons to not listen to her, he did.

Then, as Hurricane Eva was barreling down onto the East Coast in 1978, NYC and these engineers all secretly fixed the problem. All without most of the city finding out. In fact, most people didn’t learn about it until 1995.

Citibank Building in Manhattan 1

I thought of this recently when a colleague of mine was wondering why he lost a major account. I knew why. So I told him.

There’s this illogical argument called a genetic fallacy, where you don’t want to believe something that someone says because of the person saying it.

The engineer could have sneered at any one of the things about the person contacting him: her sex, where she was from, her age, her experience, etc.

But he didn’t. Because he was smart enough to realize she was right. That’s something I still find really amazing.

People wanna have any number of reasons they believe what they believe. Even if it’s not true.

Him: (later, upset) What do you know? You’re a lawyer, not a psychologist.
Me: This is true. But what I said is also true.

Location: midtown east
Mood: tired but super happy
Music: You’ve got the talkin’ down, just not the listening
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Hoping we don’t go back to the good old days

Anyone missing the old NYC didn’t live in the old NYC

Me: Do you want me to slice that for you?
Her: Why?
Me: Cutting bagels are the among the most dangerous household activities.
Her: (getting knife) You’re the clumsiest person I know.
Me: This is true.

Finished up a slate of projects for a client recently and immediately got more work in. There’s no real happy balance with my type of work, it’s either feast or famine.

The professor was in town but we each only had an hour or so, so we caught up in basement of Grand Central.

Me: Y’know, I have no childhood reference for this place. I figured if I came here back then, I’d get shanked.
Him: Yeah.

The people that dream of the good old days of NYC never had to live here back then. I have the feeling they’re the same people that like to rubberneck at car wrecks or watch nature shows when the impala gets killed by the lioness.

Great entertainment if you’re the lioness or the one in a safe car. Not so much if you’re the impala.

Running down my list of friends who were born and raised here, the professor is in Pittsburgh, another buddy is in Hawaii, another one in Cali, another one in Connecticut.

The City takes its toll on you over a lifetime.

I bring this up because I was concerned about our new mayor. The last time we had a mayor like him, the city was a cesspool.

But his recent choice of our old Chief Bratton has allayed my fears, somewhat. Only somewhat.

For me, I can only wait.

Because there really isn’t anywhere like New York.

 

Location: in front of all these computer screens
Mood: tired
Music: I know, I know, I know you ain’t the one to play the game.
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Insomnia and a day of meetings on tap

Another sleepless night

Had a bunch of things I wanted to write about but a particularly bad bout of insomnia this week has made it so that everything’s hazy. A copy of a copy of a copy.

Last night a car alarm kept my entire building awake as well so that was beyond irritating. Wanted to go outside with a sledgehammer.

Now I’ve got to slap myself awake and prep for a day of meetings from 11AM to 7:30PM. No fun.

In some ways, NYC and I are in an abusive relationship. She treats me terribly but her charms are enough that I stay. Some of us are just nighthawks, I suppose.

Apparently Billy Joel feels the same way too; check out this vid with him and a random Vanderbuilt college kid named Michael Pollock that wants to play the piano with him.

Here’s the thing: If you never ask, there’s zero chance you’ll get what you want. The risk one takes by opening the mouth and asking changes everything.

Everything good comes from the asking. Michael Pollock asked to play and Joel said yes.

Guess it’s time for another meeting.

Why yes, I will have another cup of coffee…

Mood: ex-fricken-hausted
Music: so easy livin’ day by day Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
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Our reputations bring us places

Sometimes these places have no rum but endless vodka and ill-thought out plans

Our reputations carry us places – hopefully places we want to go, which is not always the case. And you build a reputation just like you build anything else in your life.

When I was single, had a reputation of never saying no to an invite and that’s served me well; met my wife this way and lots of other interesting people.

Back then, found myself randomly at the Rainbow Room meeting Tina Fey or running repeatedly into a French waitress at Hiro or just ending up on a rooftop somewhere.

After I got married, stopped having that reputation – mainly because it’s tiring and little beats being at home seeing what’s on Netflix with your favourite person.

But I still get the random call from time-to-time. Monday it was from my old buddy, Mas.

Him: There’s a black tie banquet at Cirpriani’s downtown tonight, you’re on the guest list.
Me: Do I have to wear a tie?
Him: It’s supposed to be tuxedo, so please wear tie
Me: Fine, fine – but if I see someone without a tie there, it’s coming off!
Him: Deal

An hour later, I’m having a Double-Cross vodka martini – hold everything but the vodka – and trying to chat with Maya Lin.

It’s vodka, BTW, because of their lack of any aged rums; told the bartender they should consider adding some.

After my buddy and his friends show up, it’s a blur of vodka (now giving up all pretensions and just having it on the rocks), appetizers, speeches, and handshakes.

In the middle of it, get a call from a client.

Her: …12 projects. All due this quarter.
Me (what I wanted to say): All due this quarter?! That’s crazy. There’s only three weeks left and I’ve got eight projects already due by year’s end, which is really December 21st because of Xmas falling on a Tuesday this month. I’m flattered you thought of me, but I can’t possibly.
Me: (what I actually said): Sure.

Finished up the night by thanking my friends for the invite and headed home to the aforementioned favourite person.

Her: How was it?
Me: No good rum but otherwise, really nice. Let me tell you who I met…

Woke up the next day with 250MB of pdf files in my email. My email crashed because of the volume of scans.

Slept 3 hours last night. Off to start project nine of the month.

Goodbye sleep, I’ll see you in January.

Location: off to another meeting
Mood: whoa
Music: down on Delancey, Hey remember that time
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The person with the answers’ worth the wait

UWS church in NYC

Was asked to be one of the photographers for my new church opening on the UWS. It’s flattering to be asked but maybe it’s more my Syd than me.

A photographer once told me that at least half of the difficultly of taking pictures of people’s the walking up to strangers and shoving a machine into their faces.

You “take” pictures – no one “gives” them to you. It’s aggressive by its very nature.

The thing’s that I’m not an aggressive guy. Most people’s responses to my taking pictures is a why-not kinda shrug.

Dunno if this’s a good thing or bad thing but I’m leaning toward the former.

Whiskey Tavern in NYC

Went out to see the family over the weekend and the wife came with. Spent most of it building a PVR for my pop.

Time Warner has two numbers for building these things and I called the local number (718.358.0900) versus the toll-free number (866.606.5889) as it seems to be a shorter wait.

The lady on the first one – after 15 minute wait – said, “Hold on, I’m going to send a signal to your box.” I told her I had a series of numbers that I was supposed to read to her and she told me she didn’t need it.

30 minutes later, I’m back at the Time Warner repair center returning a fried box.

This time, called the second number and – after a 90 minute wait – got a guy who chuckled and said, “She fried your box, huh? Dunno why they keep putting the local numbers there. Those guys don’t know what they’re doing.”

No. No they do not.

Moral of the story? The person with the answers’ worth the wait.

Whiskey Tavern in NYC

Afterward, met up with Gio. He was having a party at Whiskey Tavern downtown to celebrate his 40th birthday as well his recent engagement. He and I had many the random meetings in the big city together.

As usual with him, the poison was on his tab and all of our people were there. My liver wasn’t speaking to me afterward. Ran into a number of old faces and it was good catching up – even ran into three people that read me here (hola!).

Anywho, there’s this saying that every pot has it’s cover. Maybe that’s true.

Met the future Mrs. Gio that night and told her I wished the two of them all of the best.

Life’s hard enough without your person.

Location: bedroom, writing
Mood: disappointed
Music: you give me no reason why you’re making me work so hard
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5 Unique things to do in NYC – 2011

What does a native New Yorker do for fun?

Lincoln Center

People are always asking me for unique things to do in NYC. Dunno about unique but here’s what I do as a native NYCer when I get a moment or two:

1. Walk down Riverside Drive
On a clear day, take a walk down Riverside Park. It’s perfect in spring or fall – here’s when I did it in November 2009. There’s an entrance on 72nd and Riverside Drive. Start off by walking to the tip of the West Side Pier and pretend you’re on a ship. Afterwards, you can stroll all the way down to Union Square via the bike path (or bike, natch) and see some ruins of old NYC, the parks, and even the High Line if you want to step off for a bit. It’ll be the most relaxing part of your Manhattan trip.

2. Eat at John’s Pizzeria
Always tell everyone to try out John’s Pizzeria on W 44th Street. Everybody goes to Lombardi’s downtown cause that’s where American pizza was invented in 1897. That’s all fine but it’s kinda not worth it. The thing is, Lombardi had a buncha helpers who were named Grimaldi, Patsy, and John, amongst others. John set up shop, like the others, and John’s Pizza’s his flagship. The pizza’s the same in that’s it thin and great – not coal fired, though. But the thing about John’s Pizza’s that it’s in a converted cathedral. So try to get a seat in the main room and look up at the stained-glass ceilings. You can also have fun trying to figure out where the choir was. It’s cheap too; figure $50 for a pizza, two drinks and a salad. It’ll be the nicest pizza place you’ve ever been to. Two notes:

  • the mens rooms are tiny,
  • avoid any time 90 minutes before a Broadway show, place’s packed.

3. Step out at Solas
Back when I was single, was at Solas on East 9th practically every Thursday and Friday night. The best thing about the joint – beside the no cover charge – is that it’s essentially three different spots in one. The eastern part’s a regular bar; belly up, order yourself a Dark and Stormy and chat up the girlie next to you. The western part’s almost always has a DJ and a private party that you’re always able to crash and get down with your bad self (don’t be a douchebag if you do). That has a bar too. Finally, upstairs is a lounge area although they usually jack up the sound up there too. Oh, and there’s a bar there too. Love that joint. It’s the only thing I miss about being single.

4. Get a drink (with or without bubbles) in the Winter Garden
Despite the name, the summer’s the best time to head downtown to the World Financial Center / Winter Garden. There’s usually a lotta shows that’re free to see and you can get a Dark and Stormy here too or something else with bubbles in your drinks. Like mosta NYC, it’s not really cheap but it’s not crazy expensive. Good place for a fourth date or a nice night out.

5. Have lunch with real silverware and food you don’t have to unwrap for $7
Go eat at Curry Row – already wrote about it once here.

I’ll post more stuff to do in the city that’s not in guidebooks next year. If you have anything you like about the city, lemme know?

As for me, back to the grind…

———-

Regarding the usual nuthin, spent most of Thursday night in the hospital again. Just a lotta waiting around for doctors. Come so often to this emergency room that I should get some sorta rewards point.

———-

 

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The Men Made of Stone - Logan Lo
Location: Last week, a waiting room at Columbus Circle, again.
Mood: still worried
Music: maybe I’m on my knees
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My dull life / The Real F-Word

Wall Street subway station stop, downtown New York City NYC

Spent the day yesterday trying to track down a leak in my building that was causing a mini-waterfall in my lower bathroom. Stressful.

Water’s the single biggest danger in a small apartment building but finding the causesa water leaks are Sherlockian adventures. Traced it to a clogged main drain somewhere between the first and second floors. Waiting for the Phoenix plumber now.

Also, despite my best efforts, may end up the condo president again. It’s like the mafia. For serious.

Before that adventure began, broiled a flank steak for dinner last night. Never really ever broiled anything cause we didn’t have a working broiler until last year. Gotta say, it’s probably the easiest way to cook a steak. May never go back to any other way.

Reading this, realized how dull my life’s become.

Thank goodness.

———-

Seeing as how I rarely curse, rather enjoyed this.

And it’s totally true, it’s a offensive thing to have famine in this day and age.

Location: my pad, waiting for Godot and a plumber
Mood: insanely busy
Music: Talking bout if you had love
YASYCTAI: Set up a doctor’s appointment for a check up. (15 mins/0.5 pts)
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Glutton for punishment

Lobster and oysters on the half-shell in downtown New York City NYC

Went out with a buddy to a banquet with lobster and oysters on the half-shell. For some reason, tend to drink Old Fashions there insteada my usual rum. Got raunchily ill the next day and through the weekend; felt like my innards were doing somersaults. Did manage to head over to the gym to wrestle but not without rushing to the restroom in the middle of the class.

Speakinga wrestling, WM came by to practice some fencing and then we hopped into his whip to head over to the boogie-down Bronx to check out my buddy’s first MMA match. He did phenomenally, dominating the guy at every position from every point – despite the guy outweighing him. It’s parta why I enjoy my class so much: we emphasize skill overcoming violence versus violence for violence’s sake.

In other news, work’s gotten busy again, in contrast to the usual summer slowdown, so that means hustling all over the map.

Finally feel well enough to have some coffee. Wish me luck.

Grappling bout in the Bronx NYC

Location: staring at a cuppa joe, wondering if I should drink it
Mood: weak
Music: Doesn’t everybody deserve to have the good life?
YASYCTAI: Set up a doctor’s appointment for a check up. (15 mins/0.5 pts)
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Getting heated in NYC

Glass of rum at Salute, New York City NYC

Him: I should drop you right here.
Me: OK.

There was a major flood in my area this weekend so traffic was routed in fronta my pad. This huge truck started blasting it’s horn like crazy in the early AM so I went out to ask him to stop.

Got pretty heated pretty quick and this guy just charged out of his truck at me. Think he expected me to run or something. Unlike last time, however, Heartgirl wasn’t around to remind me that I’m not 20 anymore. Per usual, told him that just cause I didn’t wanna fight, didn’t mean I wouldn’t.

The thing is that I can deal with loudmouths and a fair fight. What I can’t brook is a coward. This guy was plenty brave in his truck but less so outta it. Anywho, it ended up with him just doing a lotta shouting and then walking away.

HG told me I should have just called the number emblazoned on the side of his truck, which in hindsight woulda been the smart thing to do.

Man! Hate losing my cool. It’s embarrassing – how mucha my past I bring with me to my future. Even after all this time. Thought I outgrew this long ago.

Him: (walking away) If I wasn’t working, I’d kill you.
Me: Yeah, y’keep telling yourself that. Maybe you’ll believe it. I think you’re just a coward. (admin note: not actually the word I used).

Coffee at the DTA Down Town Association New York City NYC

Been meeting up with friends and clients downtown for breakfast a lot these days at a private club. It’s nice having a civilized cup of coffee undisturbed with the morning paper.

My buddy who owns my pad with me’s talking about selling it someday soon. Move out to the burbs and live a quiet life, if I’m lucky. But I’ll miss the little tings like this the most.

Suppose the honking horns and random chances of violence will be less missed.

Location: getting ready to head out
Mood: disappointed
Music: You remind me of a reason had by someone so many years ago
YASYCTAI: Enjoy the little things while you can. (60 mins/1.0 pts)
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