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September 11th

September 13th, 2011 No comments

The tenth anniversary of 9/11/01 has come and gone and what struck me most about the remembrance of that awful, strange, alien day was how non-eventful it was. While recent transplants to NYC and tourists filled “ground zero” (a term I loathe) and facebook statuses with flag pins and sad faces I was on Fire Island having an egg sandwich. I looked up at the television screens in the Pines Pantry and saw footage of the smoking towers, caught a glimpse, and quickly looked away. It was too soon to be playing it, using the footage for ratings before the anniversary began in earnest. It took me most of the morning to realize that today was 9/11, not some date next week, and that the world around me was remembering and mourning while I wandered about a luxurious beach house thinking about Alex and whether I should finally have that operation on my herniated disc. I read a little, tried to do some work on my new laptop, regretted forgetting my iPad charger at the apartment. Later I went out and got into a fight with a stranger, throwing a drink in his face in a crowded bar. I got very drunk. None of it had anything to do with those events ten years ago, the act that occurred on the very day I, a newly-minted grown up, moved back to New York City from Evanston, Illinois in a borrowed Ford Explorer loaded with all my worldly possessions. I haven’t spoken about the anniversary with any of my acquaintances or family, not even a close friend who revealed to me years after September 11th, 2001 that he still often woke up in the middle of the night to the deafening sound of jets screaming by just above his pillow. I’ve been busy, busy wrapping up the summer and sleeping odd hours, busy fretting over a ding in the car door and doubling up on appointments with my shrink for no (conscious) reason. My stomach upset is probably a touch of the flu, unlikely as that virus is hiding in my still-tanned body. My headache the result of too much champagne and not enough water, my squeezed chest the byproduct of who knows how many small, insignificant challenges eased by a klonopin and some cardio. None of it is related to that thing that happened then. How could it be? I’m not even thinking of it.

Reade Street, September 2001

 

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Whither Max Fish?

May 12th, 2011 No comments


Max Fish has been shut down (temporarily) for underage drinking. But even when they reopen, their life-expectancy is admittedly short with their landlords desiring a hefty rent increase for the pleasure of being able to serve “locals” (who – note – don’t actually live in my neighborhood for the most part) drinks served with a hefty dose of frigid distain. Pink Pony next door will probably close too. Now I will have nowhere to go for an overpriced hangar steak and some nostalgia at midnight. Except for all those places that are better and cheaper.

While many are bemoaning the demise of such staples, the reality is these places aren’t all that great anymore. The only real issue is that they will be replaced by small boutiques run by Upper East Side ladies with nothing to do except sell crappy necklaces no one wants as part of a plan devised by a shady life-coach or shaman to reinvigorate their dusty lives after an Eat, Pray, Love bookgroup reading binge.

So, until then, go and enjoy these relics from a bygone Lower East Side. At least when both are reopened.

xx

-B

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Metrocards

April 10th, 2011 No comments

Jen Doll of The Village Voice, in her article here by way of EV Grieve, discusses the MTA’s response to one NYC artist using the MetroCard as her canvas. Specifically, that response is a cease and desist. Unsurprisingly the artist (VH McKenzie) has had a reaction somewhere between “meh” and “no f*ckin’ way man” on her blog. She closes with the following plea:

“Want to help a struggling artist out?  Email  Mark Heavey Chief of Marketing & Advertising at the MTA. His email is mheavey@mtahq.org — and urge him to permit the unfettered use of the discarded cards in art. BIG THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!”

So at first I was like hey man artistic license and that’s bullshit and you go gurl and whatnot. But then I read the MTA’s cease and desist and forgot all about those feelings and became interested instead in the letter itself. Here is it:

“While we at the MTA are flattered that you recognize the value of our brand to consumers, please understand the MTA has a well-established product licensing program which markets authorized versions of such products. While we have no record of your firm requesting or being granted such authorization, we are prepared to initiate discussions with you about acquiring a license from us.

The MTA’s intellectual property is protected by applicable copyright law and trademark law. The manner in which your web site markets these items, such as your reference to New York City subway, implies involvement and/or endorsement of your business and products by the MTA.

The MTA considers its intellectual property to be a valuable asset which we protect from dilution and confusion in the marketplace. The MTA obtained and maintains its registered trademarks, copyrights and intellectual property in the public interest. It is important for the MTA to be able to communicate with the public about its services, as well as operate its established licensed products program, without unauthorized users of its intellectual property creating confusion.

Please reply to me by email or in writing to acknowledge receipt of this notice, and to indicate your intention to remove this item from Etsy and cease any sales of the item..

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation…….”

 

Does anyone out there feel this might be the nicest cease and desist ever to be served?  I mean “While we’re flattered…” is a phrase that, just a hunch, probably isn’t included in the flurry of filings on Amazon.com’s one-click or those awesome Bratz dolls that look like Paula Abdul except their faces are more mobile. The whole thing is,  “…so kinda, gee, I really hate to but ya know you could like license it and give us the fee. Let’s talk!” That fee, according to Mark Heavey in the Marketing and Corporate Communications office of the MTA, is, “…10% of net sales, which is a small price to pay for the ability to market the products as “Officially Licensed by MTA” and the potential to sell the product through the MTA’s own stores.”

You know I like to hate on the MTA as much as the next guy. But that sounds awfully sensible. The combination of a tone of civility in the cease and desist and a reasonable, well thought-out licencing fee that includes the potential to sell the product through the MTA’s stores strikes me as a fair deal. Sure, one could argue artistic licence and just say screw it (which is what the artist appears to have done) and risk legal action (unlikely given that this is an artist selling handmade art on Etsy and not cranking them out by the thousands on a stand-alone website). But its good to know that the MTA isn’t staffed to the brim with total morons. Mark Heavey has given me a timely reminder that even at the most loathed institutions there are always the occasional misfits operating with at least one foot firmly planted in the real world the rest of us lowly commuters share.

xx

-B

 

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The Gullet Report – Update

March 18th, 2011 No comments

The administration at USC has finally issued a formal response to the now-infamous “Gullet Report” email. Its content? Basically, “Don’t blame us!”

The vague references to the origins of the email are bound to make interested parties try to figure out which school on the “east coast” harbors the student who originally wrote this missive. I doubt this is the last we hear about this email…

 

The letter appears below:

———–

Open Letter to the USC Community:

 

I write to express that the University of Southern California (USC) administration and I are appalled by the anonymous email that has circulated in our community. It expresses repulsive views, its sentiments and language demean women, and it contradicts the values and standards of our university.  USC takes great pride in the influence and stature of women in our educational community and the contributions they have made to its development since our founding in 1880.

University administrators first learned of this email in early March, the same way that many of you did.  Concerned students who were upset and appalled by its content forwarded it to staff members in the Division of Student Affairs.  Once received, we began an immediate investigation into its origin. We spoke with the leadership of the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma, the group to which the email was originally sent, we consulted with the Kappa Sigma national fraternity, and we questioned the student who was associated with this email.

We learned the email did not originate at USC.  The student who sent it is not a member of the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma and received it from a friend at another university on the east coast.  For reasons that are still unclear, he then sent it to the listserv of the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma sometime in November 2010.  Following this, the email circulated more broadly in the student community.

The student responsible for circulating this email has been interviewed.  He has apologized and expressed sincere regret for the incident.

Additionally, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity is conducting its own investigation.  Chapter operations have been suspended so the fraternity can learn how the email was placed on its listserv and why it was not deleted immediately.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) also looked into this matter.  Although the IFC was not associated directly with the email, it has formulated a plan to take an active role to communicate its disapproval of the email and the sentiment it expresses, collaborating with centers and departments on campus to educate all chapters about the harm of such offensive speech.

USC Student Affairs’ MenCare program, under the Center for Women and Men, is one of several programs the university will use to address this situation.  MenCare started as a federal grant program in partnership with the Rossier School of Education in 2005.  Student Affairs has continued funding the program because of the important role it serves helping students, particularly men, learn how to play an active part in preventing sexual violence.  Moreover, MenCare works with students to uncover and explore the positive and negative pressures society places on both men and women.

As all members of the Trojan Family know, one of our core values surrounds a respect for the rights and dignity of all people.  Indeed, this is a central tenet of the university’s Code of Ethics: “We treat everyone with respect and dignity, even when the values, beliefs, behavior, or background of a person or group is repugnant to us….  We speak out against hatred and bigotry whenever and wherever we find them.”  We thank those of you who have written in recent days to speak out and forcefully articulate your displeasure with the views in the email.  We share your concerns and assure you that this email does not reflect the values and beliefs of the USC community.  We will continue to work to promote healthy relationships, open dialogue, and respect among the members of the Trojan Family—and, as an extension of our mission, to encourage the treatment of all people with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Michael L. Jackson

Vice President for Student Affairs

 

 

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Get Dem Buses Not Dem Dollaz

March 18th, 2011 No comments

You few, faithful readers know I am passionate about the need for sensible improvements at the MTA. Buses, in particular, need to be rethought. They are a cheap, effective way to move people around without the infrastructure hurdles (not to mention expense) of digging subway tunnels. I’ve previously covered the oh-so-simple but brilliant suggestion to eliminate fares on crosstown buses, including here. Its hard to get across town and buses are a great way to move commuters along routes little-served by underground transit. Experts such as Charles Komanoff have noted that the lost revenue from making crosstown buses free would be more than offset by the increase in productivity realized from a more mobile workforce.

Yesterday evening I found myself waiting for the M86 at Broadway heading to an appointment on York. This crosstown trek is speedy (though pricey) in a cab but painfully slow on the bus. But today I was fortunate enough to board a bus which, as luck would have it, had a non-functional farebox. I have an unlimited metrocard so the broken box in no way affected my pocketbook. But it had a profound effect on my commute. The half hour ride took all 18 minutes instead, landing me at my destination a grand 12 minutes early. So what did I do with this found time you may wonder? I popped into a pizza place and grabbed a slice, adding $2.45 to our bustling, metropolitan economy.

That’s why the economics of free crosstown buses makes sense. It enables us to work – and spend – more efficiently. And that benefits all of us.

xx

-B

 

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The Gullet Report

March 9th, 2011 No comments

UPDATE: I’ve been called “lame” by the author of this blog who actually broke the story waaaay before jezebel. Oops. Sorry bra.

The University of Southern California is buzzing about an email, supposedly written by a member of Kappa Sigma, that appears to advocate non-consentual sex by members of the fraternity, reinfornces racial stereotypes, and is, in general, pretty much the douchey-ist thing I’ve read. Ever. Jezebel covered the story late last night, you can find their story here.

Thus far little has come of the email. An official statement to the Daily Trojan article on the incident included the following statement: “The content [of the e-mail] is contrary to everything [Kappa Sigma stands] for and we are not going to allow individuals to attempt to tarnish our name in any form or fashion,” said Mitchell Wilson, executive director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. “We will pursue this as far as we can.”

The Daily Trojan article is followed by some anonymous commentary that pretty much sums it all up – one poster takes the “blame fat girls” line while others threaten lawsuits. While its too early to know what will come of the incident, the national attention it is garnering is sure to put pressure of Kappa Sigma’s national chapter to pursue a full investigation.

Jezebel redacted parts of the email but I’ve included it in its entirety below. While the author (identified as Elliot or E-trick E-nasty E-sleeze at the email’s close) is unknown, community members have been conjecturing about his identity and the exchanges I’ve read indicate most in the Greek scene know who wrote the article in question (his name appears several times in emails between individuals as the email thread made its way around campus).

 

 

To the Distinguished Gentlemen of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity:
As I have mentioned I will be starting a weekly Gullet Report.  In response to the Soft Report, I felt it necessary to offer a contrasting and more uplifting telegram.  My theories and practices are elaborated in more detail in the body of this email.
Please send me all of your hook-ups in Tucker Max format (for those unfamiliar with this legend, google will suffice).  These renditions should be elaborate and interesting.  I want raw data on who fucks and who doesn’t.  In conclusion the gullet report will strengthen brotherhood and help pin-point sorostitiutes more inclined to put-out.  From my experience when a female goes Ksig shes typically repeats.
For your entertainment read on and pause for note taking.  My hope is that ALL of our brothers will follow this creed with pride and distinction.
I have come to write this memo to you today to educate on the only life worth living, that of a Cocksman. A Cocksman is taught to live by the two most applicable principles I know: The Pie and the Gullet. You may already be lost in trying to comprehend this logic. Do not worry this is completely understandable. By the end of this memo, you will not only gain a greater understanding of what it means to live, but you will have embraced a lifestyle. However, in order for this to happen you first must know a couple key terms.
Note: I will refer to females as “targets”. They aren’t actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless.
Pie: A target’s vagina. Some of you may have heard phrases such as, twat, cooter, muff, snatch, poontang, cock pocket, DNA dumpster, fun hatch, cock sock, the fish flap, spunk-pot, whisker biscuit, or the rarely used, wizard’s sleeve. All these terms are interchangeable and fine to use. However, for the purpose of this memo, I will refer to a target’s vagina as pie.
Gullet: Usually refers to a target’s mouth and throat. Most often pertains to a target’s throat capacity and it’s ability to gobble cock. If a target is known to have a good gullet, it can deep-throat dick extremely well. My advice is to seek out this target early in the night. Good Gullet Girls (GGG) are always scooped up well before last call.
Grip: Refers to the tightness of a target’s pie. If a target is said to have good grip, your cock probably feels like it’s in a vice when you are deep inside it. If a target is said to have great grip, your cock probably feels like it got caught in a Chinese finger trap. Gentlemen, don’t let a target like that get away from you. Avoid the pie’s that are extremely meaty and resemble a cold cut combo from Subway. More often then not, if a target’s pie looks like a bag of roast beef on the outside, it’s probably a Cleveland Sideslapper.
Cleveland Sideslapper: An extremely loose pie. The target’s pie has become so loose because of overusage, the lips of the pie flap and slap it’s inner thigh as it walks.
Pie-Getters: A man that is possessed with getting his nut off. He exists solely to spread his seed in any pie that will have him.
R.D.A (Raw Dog Assassin): A man that refuses to wear condoms because no feeling on earth can compare to a warm piece of pie coming in contact with your cock. Let’s be honest, if it isn’t raw it isn’t real. Drawbacks of this philosophy are that you may have to visit the clinic more often than not, but a quick penicillin shot really isn’t that bad (trust me).
Loop n’ Doop: A target that is very easy to take down. All she takes is a good amount of liquor (loop) and she will be good to go for you to fuck her (doop). Be careful with loop n’ doops, because too much loop and they will get sick and be useless entities.
Guap n’ Drop: A target that is extremely difficult to take down. She probably doesn’t drink very much and she probably has a high socioeconomic status. Simple tactics wont impress her. It will take a good amount of effort and time to crack these. You are going to have to open up the wallet (guap) and spend (drop) a good amount on her to finally get to the pie. Better hope it has great grip for all your diligent work.
Defending the Gullet Report:
You may feel this is an unnecessary initiative. Gentlemen, you could not be more wrong. Gullet Reports only exist to help pie-getters get their nut more. It gives them the knowledge so they can operate as an efficient, calculated assassin. It also exists to call out the pie-getters who may fabricate stories sometimes or tend to exaggerate their sexual encounters. You all know who you are, and should be ashamed of your actions. There is nothing wrong with having a fatty on your record.
Also, sometimes targets that look like a Mack truck ran over their face have the greatest bodies and some outstanding grip. He who is without sin can cast the first stone, but he does not exist. Having a bad mark on your resume is a slight drawback of being a dedicated nut-getter. Shit happens. But own up to your disgrace, as you will only make the situation worse if you don’t take credit for dicking-down scum.
By now I assume some of you are wondering what constitutes a bad mark on your resume. To simplify the matter, I have come up with a rating system so strict that most of you will cringe when you actually figure out what your lifetime average really is. This scale was created because a friend of mine went on a spring break trip and came back claiming he fucked a 9. His defense was “she had to be a 9 man. She was the hottest girl I ever fucked.” That was when my friend and I decided to institute an absolute ranking system that could be universally used and implemented.
The scale is a simple 1-10 ranking system, with outliers existing up to a -5. Anything worse than that and I suggest you go find the nearest cliff and end your sorry putz existence. You don’t deserve to use your cock anymore and you don’t deserve to live your life. Moving on, I am sorry to break it to you but no one in our fraternity has ever fucked a 10. Probably only a handful have put down a 7. Society has inflated your perception and lowered your standards. My scale is absolute. It takes nothing else into account but pure physical beauty. Anything you can see with your eyes is fair game, however, a target does not get a higher ranking if it has “great grip” or a “great gullet.” How many times have you seen some sorry sap trying to justify fucking a poor piece of pie by saying “dude she gives great head” or “her pussy is so tight!” Many fatties and uglies do have great gullets and are particularly good at sex. They have to be more dedicated to their craft because no one would talk to them otherwise. Likewise, a target does not receive a reduced ranking if you get down to the pie and it resembles a slaughterhouse. It’s unfortunate, but poor qualities like that do not lower her physical beauty.
I would now like to take the time to explain the rating system in detail. I will not cover negatives because when you are trying to decide whether a target is a -3 or -2 that’s just sad for mankind. Moreover, since I do not personally know you I cannot be the judge of what pie you have fucked. I will offerer my guidance upon request because I consider my self a pie-getting veteran.  My judgment is sound and I promise to give you my unbiased opinion.  Seek my council in ranking a target, as initially this will be a difficult challenge for you.
To accumulate your lifetime average, have all the pies you have fucked verified by a brother who is also subject to these gullet reporting regulations. Then add up their ranks and divide by how many pies you have fucked. A good score is right around a 5.
To accumulate your “filth rating,” add up all the pieces of pie you have fucked that are a 3 or below and divide by how many pies you have fucked. Make this a percentage. For example, my filth rating is at 12%, but I have exceeded 50 pieces of pie. Not bad.
10- The likes of Marissa Miller and Megan Fox. No one will ever get this.
9- If any of you are lucky to get so close to perfection, feel blessed. If you fuck this up, you should be lynched. This is your ceiling.
8- See #7
7-Wife Status. Be careful not to fuck this up.
6-Date Status. Be careful when you cheat, but still cheat
5-Apply the 5×5 rule. Toot it 5 times, and then boot it. Move onto the next piece of pie.
4-One night stands, but they are fairly attractive. Should not be repeats.
3-The filth cut-off. These are not attractive women, but sadly many of you have fucked these.
2-Still filth. Still Pathetic.
1-Anything this close to 0 is bad. You better be 3 four lokos deep to justify this abomination
0-Let me just say from experience, when calculating your lifetime pie accumulation, throwing a 0 in the mix really hurts the average.
Additional Rules for a Cocksman
1.) Non-consent and rape are two different things. There is a fine line, so make sure not to cross it.
2.) A target should maintain the hair around her pie. It’s a matter of respect. Maintenance is preferred (I prefer pie that has been lasered increasing the aesthetics and feel).
3.) Do your research and find out what is a loop n’ doop target and what is a guap n’ drop target. Keep yourself busy by fucking loop n’ doops while working on a guap n’ drop on the side. It only makes perfect sense.
4.) When utilizing the loop power of 4 Lokos, be careful. A target on one 4 Loko is putting the odds in your favor of getting some pie. A target on two 4 Lokos is going to get sick and pass out. A target on three 4 Lokos leads to instances of litigation and lawsuits. Terms like “sexual assault” seem to be used in this case.
Pie Code
A pie code is essential to have so pie-getters can have a conversation in front of targets while talking about them and deciding which one to make a move on. The following references:
Blackberry: A black target
Blueberry Pie: half-black/half-white
Pumpkin Pie: A latin/mexican target
Pecan Pie: half-white/half-latin
Strawberry Pie: white target
Cherry pie: A young white target
Lemon Meringue: Asian target
Note: If you are so lucky to encounter a perfect piece of pie. I mean the grip is out of this world, it doesn’t look like hair ever existed in the region, and it tastes like strawberry shortcake, then you are allowed to refer to the pie as crème brulee. It must hit the tri-fecta to be considered for this great and honorable distinction.
*Don’t fuck middle-eastern targets. Exhibit some patriotism and have some pride. You want your cock smelling like falafel? Filth.
Do not recreate this email.  This is for Kappa Sigmas.  I will track you down and take your soul if you transmit this email to anyone outside our brotherhood.
- Elliot or E-trick E-nasty E-sleeze
AEKDBecome a Cocksman

 

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I want me some STEAM (or: How To Clean Out Your Garage for $100K TODAY)

March 4th, 2011 1 comment



 

http://www.groupon.com/deals/steam-hot-car-nyc Sorry the image above is squished. I’m not good at screen shots. Sigh.

Although I’ve never bought anything off of Groupon, I have worked with their competitor Lifebooker in a professional capacity. I’m fascinated by Groupon and the ways flash sites create money / potentially destroy value for the companies with which these sites work. The above deal is to rent an exotic car for a half day. After doing some research, this deal stokes my fascination - though not my intent to whip out the amex and purchase. Why? Because its a tale of intrigue, loss and heart break. Srsly. The dude who owns Steam Car Rentals, George Popescuiu, is an entrepreneur who appears to have fallen on some hard times. Popescuiu was a partner at Forex and their firm, BTR, a company that was brought under investigation as (essentially) a Ponzi scheme late last year. You can see SEC filings here. It appears Mr. Popescuiu was the IT director (CTO in fancy VC / Hedge / long and short speak)  at BTR. His other partners have winged it back to Turkey but George has stayed here stateside to face the music. Its certainly possible he did nothing wrong (running IT isn’t quite the same as sliding a rolex off someone’s wrist over $28 cocktails at Nello) but whether he did or did not, what’s certain is George is trying his darndest to stay afloat.

Disclaimer: this is all conjecture. I have not tried to contact George because I have a personal training appointment in a few minutes and then I have to go shopping for coffee tables with my interior decorator. So there’s just NO TIME!

If you check out Steam Exotic Car Rentals you’ll find snazzy pictures of late model Lambos, Ferraris, and Porsches. What they actually rent are four, sorta sad, 5-10 year old versions of the cars pictured. The Porsches are 10 years old and (from reviews) apparently in need of some carpet shampoo. So how did these cars come to be hawked in their twilight years by such a snazzy website? Well, an owner with extensive IT experience probably has a team and the knowledge to put together said snazzy site. And my guess is that ol’ George has got a couple of people left on the payroll with not a lot to do but wait for Daddy P to hit the slammer or bolt for lands far and wide. What to do with their time? Make them customer service reps at a fast-grossing car rental company, of course!

But where-oh-where do we get the cars? Hmmm. Oh I’ve got it! How about…out of Papa G’s garage! Hey, that’s a great idea!

See my theory is Gangsta GP Petroleum had these cars hangin around since the high-flying days when he and his partners longed to be like Madoff – ONLY BETTER – and wanted to monetize his investment (that’s finance talk for “pay the rent with stuff I’ve got lying around such as an exotic car, my wife’s diamonds, or the Cambodian slave we had imported”). So he spit-shines those babies, creates a website with ever-changing prices ($1,000/ day! $2,000 / day! $249 / day!) to project value and then gets them hawked on flash deal sites like Groupon and buywithme. Lots of people buy, a check hits your bank account a week later and BLAM, I can pay my Amex Black bill this month.

Now, of course, when hundreds upon hundreds of people in Boston AND New York rent these cars (I’m sure no one wants the weekend, right? Nah) there are bound to be issues in getting them all scheduled. But no matter, thats something to be sorted out another day, a day in the distant future, a day on which the Amex Black bill is not 10 days overdue.

xx

-B

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Summer in the City

June 30th, 2010 No comments

Well its summer in the city and the subway stations are sweltering (how’s that for some alliteration?). Jasper is up in Nova Scotia with his favorite person (Alex) pursuing his favorite prey (bugs and birds) and casting doubt on the validity of the phrase, “it’s a dog’s life.”

Back here in the concrete jungle, meanwhile, I continue to work on my projects and ring myself out each night before bed. The air conditioners are cranking and I am bracing myself for a hundred million dollar bill from everyone’s favorite company, Con Ed.

So what better way to beat the heat than to do hot list? Here we go:

WHAT’S HOT:

THE HAMPTONS. The Hamptons are always a great escape destination for us denizens of the most densely packed large city in the US. This year is no exception. The Tenth Annual Midsummer Night Drinks at Chad Leat’s stunning home in Bridgehampton to benefit God’s Love We Deliver was certainly a highlight of June. The glitterati gayz were out in their full regalia of pink shirts and carefully distressed Sperrys to booze the night away and make new friends. I managed to lose my car along the way (I left it at a friend’s earlier because I would be drinking, how responsible!) and had to be driven home by a new friend in an equally new Porsche 911 Turbo. Its a rough life, y’all. Between the swirl of parties, the thump of Day and Night, and some well-deserved beach time during the day and hot tub time at night, there is hardly a moment to ponder the just how lucky we are to have such a beautiful and charmed place so close to NYC.

TRAVEL. I’m off to London to see friends and then to Greece for a wedding. But even those who have less far-flung plans seem fired up for an out of town jaunt over 4th of July weekend. My hairdresser is headed to the Jersey Shore to do some surfing. Friends young and not-so-young are flocking to Fire Island for some shenanigans. And of course the Hamptons will be loaded to the gills with regulars and house guests galore.

LOBSTER. Its cheap thanks to a glut of Maine lobsters being trucked into NYC. Grab a lobster roll now before price hikes end this bit of belt-tightened indulgence!

THE IPHONE 4: Everyone who has one is being forced to pass it around at parties so the rest of us can ogle it. Reception issues? No one I know seems to care. Who talks on the phone anyway?

THE WORLD CUP: Viewing parties galore are bringing together folk young and old. And while bad refereeing has marred some of the goings-on, the crowds here seem to grow only increasingly fired up about watching these thrilling matches.

WHAT’S NOT:

THE HAMPTONS. Jeez, 27. I know its boring to complain about the traffic but its just getting out of hand. The place is a parking lot! Circumnavigating all of the major roads using back routes is the only solution, but its ecologically unsound to use a circuitous 15 mile route for what should be a 4 mile drive. Not to mention annoying. Plus all the citidots who haven’t gotten behind the wheel all winter and spring are now finding their sea legs, so to speak, making for some rather close calls. Combine that with day drinking and a BlackBerry to human ratio of approximately 4 to 1 and it makes for some rather unsettling journeys. iPhones and Domaine-Ott Rose soaked glasses down people!

PRIDE. While I had a rather lovely day on Sunday bouncing between parties and hosting one myself with the indomitable Patrick Duffy at BES, the crowds at the parade itself seemed awfully small. Has World Cup enthusiasm robbed NYC of some of its Pride energy? I know not…but its a theory.

COCAINE. Reports of drano-laced stashes are dampening enthusiasm for the white stuff among Manhattan’s chicest, most underemployed set. Of course, that’s not such a bad thing.

THE DISCONTINUED W AND V TRAINS. Budget cuts have led to a characteristically poorly thought-out redesign of the most dysfunctional transit system in America. The M has been rebadged to (sorta) take over for the V. Also the W went away and the G got all messed up. Bus schedules are being slashed. Meanwhile, the residents of NYC overwhelmingly rely on public transportation, not private automobiles, to get to school, work, and other commitments. Public transit is a public good that serves as the engine to many sectors of our economy. Not only do MTA budget cuts overwhelmingly impact the least economically-advantaged in our society, they also slow the entire city’s economic recovery. As I often say, time spent waiting for a subway train is time not spent teaching a class, cleaning a home, or answering a hedge funder’s phone. There is a limit to how much an individual can accomplish on a commute. We need a transit system that lives up to NYC’s reputation as the most vital, productive, exciting city in the world.

For a fascinating analysis of NYC’s traffic terrors, check out this recent article in Wired magazine. In it, Felix Salmon discusses Charles Komanoff’s awe-inspiring proposal to improve the flow of people around our fair city. In contrast to recent MTA service cuts and fare increases, Komanoff’s work suggests buses should always be free, because the efficiency with which passengers can board is more valuable than the change in their pockets. Predictably, driving a private automobile during rush hour should be taxed heavily. Komanoff’s research strongly supports my position that we are on the wrong track (pun!) with regards to the future of our mass transit system.

xx

-B

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A Weekend in the City

June 25th, 2010 No comments

While a weekend in the country is always lovely, its sometimes nice too to stick closer to home. I spent one of our first warm weekends right here in our fair city gallivanting with friends and doing some work. Jasper was in on the fun and the two of us spent some time running around his favorite NYC haunt, the dog run at Tompkins Sq Park. After Jasper was sufficiently exercised, he was rewarded with a trip to the pub.

Jasper and Billy at Heathers

We dropped by Heathers on 13th and A to celebrate the birth of my friend Michael. While there Jasper made friends and took in the scene from my lap. If the Dept of Heath is reading this, please note that Jasper is a service animal. That’s because I’m crazy as a loon. K? Thanks.

I also took the SATs that same weekend. Not because it matters, just because I like to stay fresh. Plus I’m into standardized tests. But lemme tell ya, what I do not like is being transported back into the realm of teenagers. I took the exam at a public school on Ludlow St. not far from my home. One is supposed to arrive at 7:45am so I usually show up sometime between 8:15 and 8:30. Everyone has been assigned to their rooms, I check the board and dash in. Usually the exam hasn’t started. Its all good.

This session, I arrived at 8:15 to find two impossibly long lines of students snaking out of the auditorium. Huh? Why? I got on one of the lines and when I was finally permitted entry into the auditorium I figured out why. The school officials were checking everyone in and examining their identification. Normally this is done in the exam room. The standard procedure is just to tack up the sheets with everyone’s names and to stay out of the melee.

Well this school had their own methods and said methods were redundant and dumb. Thus, we started terribly late. Also, it was hot. And when I say hot, I mean like boiling hot. Five hours of a standardized test in a hot, sweaty room is less than fun for most (the heat couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm, but I’m strange). The poor kid next to me kept falling asleep. Proctors were yelling at young people to take off their hats and such. I’m thinking, jeez, give the kid a break. If he wants to wear a Yankees cap while he suffers through the exam, let him. I doubt there are any gang initiations happening in the room…

So remember folks, though your adult life may not have turned out quite the way you had hoped, at least ya ain’t in high school no mo’.

xx

-B

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Day and Night

June 8th, 2010 No comments

Well summer has arrived and many of us are decamping to the Hamptons to enjoy a bit of sun and sand and debauchery. My friends Andrew and Kevin were kind enough to invite me to spend Memorial Day weekend with them at their lovely home in Bridgehampton where I did some swimming and drinking and got burned on a section of my leg I neglected to properly coat in sunscreen. Let that be a lesson to you all, make sure you get those kneecaps covered!

While there I dropped in on various friends and helped myself to libations at their homes. Thanks said friends! I also brunched at East Hampton’s newest party-spot, Day and Night.
When I say I brunched what I in fact mean is I arrived after brunch, did tequilla shots, and danced on a chair. Those familiar with Bagatelle will feel right at home at Day and Night. It has the sort of freewheeling, terribly dear sense of careless luxury that embodies the restless spirit of the young and wealthy out east. There is a velvet rope and a doorman who seems not to know who anyone is, plus people imploring, “But I just valet parked my car! Please…can’t I come in?” No.

I arrived alone to meet friends and breezed in. Note to readers who desire swift entry to popular spots, come alone. No one but the supremely self-confident attempt to backpack through China solo or show up at Avenue at midnight without an entourage in tow. If you’re alone, you’re meeting people inside. Probably lots of them. Or popping by to say hello to the owner. Normal people don’t show up places by themselves. People who do belong. They don’t wait on line.

I digress.

Once inside I avoided chatting with several people and grabbed my friend Olivia off a chair to snag a drink. Some rando bought us all shots and we were off and running. Collective groans were emitted from tables recently hit with bills from brunch – one I spotted was nearly $3,000 – and then people sighed and dropped hundred dollar bills or black cards into big, messy piles before stumbling off towards a friend or lover or the bar.
the scene at Day and Night

As Olivia and I chatted a handsome young man ambulated over in a seemingly less-than-sober state. On the bridge of his nose rested a new pair of limited edition Ray Ban Aviators. I noticed the young man had lovely eyes, something I could behold only because the Ray Bans were missing one lens.

“Oh man,” he moaned. “They’re not even mine. They’re my friends. Now I’m going to have to go and get him a new pair somewhere.”

Deflty, Olivia removed the glasses from his face and popped the remaining lens out of its casing. She gingerly replaced the guy’s Ray Bans on his face and handed him the lens.

“There,” she said with much self-satisfaction. “Much better.”

I had to agree. The kid looked rather chic in Aviators with no lenses. He looked at me with a questioning stare.

“Its true,” I chimed in. “You look good.”

And with that the young man smiled, dropped the remaining lens onto the ground, and smashed it beneath his heel. With this he turned and slipped back into the crowd without a word.

“He’s cute,” I said to Olivia. She shrugged and asked me to find her designated driver, and, finally, her car.

We failed in at least one of those tasks so Olivia and I parted ways and I made my way back to Bridgehampton. Later I met a cute Mormon and a guy who is on that new Bravo Real Housewives – Kept Boys Edition.

Let’s hope my lovely weekend is a precursor to many more this summer!

Xx
-B

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