Tag Archives: Manhattan


It’s been almost 20 years since Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks put Manhattan’s Upper West Side on the map in the rom-com classic You’ve Got Mail.

Visit my neighborhood today and all the movie’s sights are still here — the local restaurants where they rendezvoused, the farmer’s market, Riverside Park. Everything but her little Shop Around the Corner.

Well, that’s changing.

book-culture3Book Culture is opening their doors literally around the corner from my brownstone apartment and taking up the ‘small bookshop mantle’ that Meg’s character abandoned lo’ those many years ago.

Their window says it best:

youvegotmailNow, the modern version of the movie’s ‘big bad Fox Books’ exists today — Barnes & Noble is just a couple of blocks away.  So it will be interesting to see how this small store will compete on selection and pricing.

But I for one am excited to see life imitate art just feet from my doorsteps.

Wonder if the proprietor will be as photogenic?

Location, location

I’m watching Food Network Star right now, which has been in Las Vegas for the past couple of weeks.

But it certainly doesn’t look like Vegas.

food network star vegasEvery time Bobby, Alton or Giada — the show’s three hallowed hosts — stand before this season’s contestants to set up a challenge, it looks like they are shooting the episode in an empty room. Or vacant parking lot.

Food Network goes to such great lengths to clear out the ‘normal folk’ during production, Vegas looks nothing like the manic city I have experienced every time I’ve had the chance to visit.

Why go to the expense of using Vegas as your backdrop if you’re going to make it sterile and still?  You might as well fake the whole thing at the Food Network studios here in New York City.

The show’s producers must have heard me.  They just announced this week’s survivors are coming to Manhattan for the remainder of the season.

That will probably look like Cleveland.




I was very excited to attend today BookCon at Javits Center, the publishing conference for us non-industry folk.


The organizers had put together a great schedule of panel discussions, author appearances and book signings, and had even created a designated BookCon show floor separate from the BEA Expo, the industry event that has been going on all week.

But then they oversold it. A lot, a lot.

There were so many people trying to get into the show that security had to limit the people who could enter each half hour.  People (like me) missed events because they weren’t allowed in due to traffic congestion.

bookconOnce I finally was inside, every session I wanted to attend was either already over, closed to additional participants, or had a two-hour line that snaked around Javits and back.

The feed on the BookCon app was filled with derogatory comments from disappointed fans, many of whom had traveled hours to attend.  I realized fairly quickly that we had all been ‘conned’ and left.

Manhattan was right outside, and can be fairly entertaining.



Did you know that ferrets have been banned in New York City for over 15 years?

I didn’t.

Then Mayor Rudy Giuliani banned the critters. And Michael Bloomberg upheld his decision.

But now thanks to Ariel Jasper, a Brooklyn College student, that may all change. She petitioned the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Wednesday to consider an amendment to the Health Code. And since our current Mayor Bill de Blasio is an animal lover, most people think the ferret has a pretty good chance of returning to Manhattan households.

And, seriously, why not? Ferrets are legal pets in 48 states, including the remainder of New York.

ferret raspberry So take that, Rudy.

And Michael.



Take your hands off my lobby boy!

Reason #873 I love New York City:

The 10:00 am showing of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was two-thirds full.

budapest lobby

Perhaps because we have all been watching the trailer for this beautiful, whimsical, fanciful film in theatres for almost a year.  And every time I’d think, “This looks so much better than the movie I’m getting ready to see!”

(Many of those times people in the theatre would clap, so I think they agreed, too.)

The best news? The film lives up to the trailer.  In fact, Budapest is, in my opinion, Anderson’s best movie to date.  The world he creates has the exquisite detail you expect and an amazing array of characters both real and remarkable.

But Budapest is a bigger yarn than Anderson typically tells.  While his Europe is a fictional one, some familiar dark elements surface that give its message more import.

And I want to go on record now — the film’s title song deserves an Oscar nomination. So does Ralph Fiennes, for a pitch perfect comedic performance.

Or should I say…on the nose, Lord Voldemort?

Playing dress up

I have lived in New York City going on eight years now, and I sometimes worry that I will start to take the city for granted.

Maybe I already have.  Maybe we all have.

Image: An aerial view of Burj Dubai is seen in DubaiThe city of Dubai isn’t going to take that chance.

They have put together a think tank on tourism, and one idea is getting serious consideration —

Covering the Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building (2,716.5 feet and 160 stories) — with a “super-lightweight, reflective and semi-transparent fabric material.”

They say it’s art.

Critics say it sounds (and will look like) something much less low brow, but I like the idea of dressing up monuments.  The Statue of Liberty in a tasteful winter coat? The Guggenheim Museum decked out as a layered birthday cake? The Flatiron Building as a wedge of Swiss cheese?

Oh man — I think I’ve finally found my calling!

Or we could fly a kite

So, Manhattan got four more inches of snow last night…on top of the eight that were already on the ground.

But the falling ice woke me up.

I don’t dwell on the weather too much — at least, not on this blog — but I have to wonder, as the local news reports power outages for thousands of residents yet again in New Jersey and other neighboring states —

ice on electrical wiresWhy don’t more cities bury their power lines?

Cost is probably the answer, but after a winter like this one — one that is not nearly over — I would think residents in New Jersey, for instance, might think of that cost as an investment.

Aren’t there lots of costs associated with fixing the downed lines after every storm? Trimming the trees around the downed lines? Lost productivity?  Lost revenue?

Lost food in the frig and freezer?

Just wondering.  I have electricity right now, and I think everyone else should, too.