Archive for October, 2009

This Pesky Recession

October 29th, 2009 No comments

While the multifaceted negative aspects of the recession have been well-documented I’d like to point out a few positive qualities of the recession I’ve witnessed thus far.

-Fabulous Parties
Were you at Patrick Duffy’s beyond-stylish send off party for the death of clothing label Yoko Devereaux on Tuesday night? You weren’t? Well it was at the Box and it was totally sensational. A coffin, performance art acts, rampant sexy naughtiness, and at least one person vomiting perilously close to my coat. Patrick is my favorite “overnight star” of the NYC scene. That bitch has been working it since back in the day at A.P.T.  And now, years later, when everyone finally has figured out how truly talented and sensational he is at nightlife events, he’s suddenly all over Page 6 and the NYT blog. Its about time.

-Subtlety, Taste, and Class.
A couple of summers ago I was trying to order two double vodka sodas at the bar at Nello in Southampton. The drinks were $48 (each!) and took forever to get. When I went to pay I looked down the bar and saw no fewer than 5 Amex Black cards tossed down to pay for similarly overpriced libations. Now I love a good time as much as – if not more than – the next guy. But this sort of Euro-trash conspicuous consumption was simply in bad taste. I never went back to Nello and I hear its on the ropes.

If that’s the case, good riddance in advance. One positive aspect of the recession is that it has reigned in some of the tackiest extravagances and reintroduced a bit of tact to the conversation. Glamour and style are in. Labels and flash are out.

When everyone was employed and being promoted at a dizzying pace many of us lived to work. Its pretty difficult, when the opportunity presents itself, to refuse previously unimaginable sums of money even if the employment that garners those sums is soul-crushing and relentless. Now that many of us are feeling, officially or unofficially, a little bit furloughed, we can collectively take this moment to just freaking relax for a second. Read a book. Invite friends over for a pot-luck dinner. Drink $9 bottles of wine with the roommates on a Tuesday night. Its easy to forget that despite the current hardships many of us face we remain truly privileged to be able to have food, shelter, and company. Being reminded of just how lucky we are and how grateful we should feel for all our many blessings is just another reason for why this recession may not be the worst thing to ever happen to us.

So even if you weren’t in a position to take advantage of the depressed real estate market to scoop up a fab loft in SoHo or a cute cottage in Amagansett for a mere $2mil, this downturn wasn’t all bad. As we emerge from it and (hopefully) return to financial prosperity let us not forget the prosperity of the soul that no soaring stock portfolio can replace. May the lessons we’ve learned stay with us for many a boom-and-bust cycle to come.


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Why Public Transit Matters in NYC

October 21st, 2009 1 comment

As most of you know I loathe the MTA. The subways in New York are a dysfunctional mess and an embarrassment to the greatest city in the world.

On Monday night I was returning home from the MET just past midnight after sitting through an exceptionally long production of der Rosenkavalier. Needless to say, one cannot get a cab in the post-opera crush. But even if one could, I prefer to take the subway. After hours of sitting its nice to surf home on a swiftly moving subway train.

Of course, that’s a fantasy. The reality is a wait of 15 minutes for the A train to come. Its running local. At West 4th street the F is running over the A line (though there are no signs posted or announcements being made to that effect) so the nearest one can get to 2nd Avenue is to take the BD to B’way-Lafayette and walk. This is easier said than done because the BD comes once every 6 years at night.

The MTA loves to blame people holding doors for the frequent delays we all endure. But who can blame the guy who sprints to jam himself into a closing set of doors when he suspects the next train might not come for fifteen minutes or longer? Thus a vicious cycle of delays is created further exacerbating the existing problems. In Moscow the trains come every minute and the doors close with the force of a set of jaws-of-life clamps itching to free an unconscious passenger from a burning vehicle. No one holds doors. Why risk life and limb (ho!) when you know the next train is moments away?

Our crappy subway system isn’t merely an inconvenience. In a city that exemplifies the axiom of “time is money” our frequently delayed commutes are quite literally collectively costing us millions of work hours each year. That extra ten minutes spent on a stalled train or waiting for a subway that is delayed more often than not is ten minutes not spent making a deal, ironing out a contract, cleaning someone’s house, or looking for gainful employment. It decreases our productivity and our earning power. And with that decrease comes a commensurate decrease in taxable income that directly affects the City’s bottom line.

Fast, safe, reliable, and affordable mass transit is not a luxury; it is a necessity to keep our economy, literally and figuratively, moving. If and when Bloomberg is elected to a third term, he must focus his considerable intellect and political might to fixing our pathetic system of mass transit. It should and must be priority number 1 until meaningful and permanent change is implemented.

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Trend Watch

October 19th, 2009 No comments

Josh has asked me to do more Trendwatches on the blog so let’s check out what’s hip, hot and now here in the Big Apple.

IN: Talking about being poor
Most of my very wealthy friends spend an inordinate amount of time discussing, over perfectly plated pieces of steamed sole and an ice cold martini, how broke they are. This is generally motivated by the plummeting value of their investment-backed trust funds or the loss of a job that, in truth, provided only some small supplementary income. This trend is getting boring, especially because the grand pronouncements are never backed by any cold, hard figures. Don’t we all, when engaged in such discourse, want to know – really – just how much money we are talking about here? You can’t help but wonder. And when the answers are less than forthcoming its so totally 25 cent peep show. That window comes slammin’ down so fast you wonder why you’re even there, just as you put another quarter into the slot.

OUT: Peepshows
Really. Why did I make reference to them? Those things haven’t been around in forever here in NYC. Right? Or am I walking by them and not noticing?

IN: Subway delays and schedule changes due to maintenance
This is clearly an annoying trend. Every weekend it seems like just about every line is being rerouted or not running at all. As many of you know, I think the MTA is America’s most dysfunctional city agency. Therefore, this trend is not surprising. Nonetheless, its super crappy.

IN: Random construction

Here’s a picture of Ludlow Street I took today:

Ludlow Street

As you can see, that shit is closed! Con Ed decided they needed to do some work and when better than a Monday morning at rush hour to start? Sounds like a good plan to me!

OUT: Loading your BlackBerry with the software update

Everyone seems to hate the new BlackBerry Messenger application so many people are opting out of the “highly recommended” upgrade that came out last week. I have the new BBM and it looks like Japanese anime. Its sort of lame but hasn’t crashed yet, as the old one was prone to do on a daily basis, so I’m sticking with it. The “Send Location” feature still doesn’t work (at least on ATT BlackBerrys) which is annoying but hardly a deal breaker.

IN: Women being oblivious that they are married to / in a committed relationship with a gay guy

I don’t think we need to expound too much on this trend. Its a sad one and all too pervasive among people who really should know better. I was at a cocktail gathering recently when a hand slid up my leg under the table. The hand was attached to a guy whose girlfriend was sitting across from me. Not cute. Just Say No.

OUT: Bye Bye Birdie

Man, that show got panned hard, eh? My very sweet, lovely, and talented pal Matt is in it and was (thankfully) spared the evisceration the rest of the cast suffered. No news is good news!




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The Sad, Real-Life Saga of the Boy in a Balloon

October 19th, 2009 1 comment

As I predicted last week, the balloon boy incident was all a hoax. The authorities in Colorado have issued a statement to that effect and the perpetrators of this appalling travesty are considering hiring “counsel.” Certainly they can’t afford a lawyer adept enough to get them off on an insanity plea so I surmise they will spend time behind bars. Perhaps the brainwashed wife will be spared the harshest of sentences because she is, after all, a total B-movie zombie. A judge might recognize the abject horror of her depraved servitude. We shall see. If I were both judge and jury, which thankfully our legal system does not allow, those two would be spending the remainder of their days doing hard labour in the gulag.

The important question though of what happens to their children remains unanswered. The foster system is a historically rough one and unsuited to the needs of any child, particularly those children who have been unwillingly and unwittingly placed under the microscope of the rapacious American media. Perhaps they will emerge unscathed…but it’s unlikely.

I commend the authorities in Colorado for their refusal to cave, as Wolf Blitzer did, to the manufactured indignation of Mr. Paternis Balloon Boy. Theirs was, in the end, a thorough investigation that yielded the correct conclusions. For that, we owe them our gratitude.

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Boy in a Balloon

October 16th, 2009 1 comment

So is there anyone out there who doesn’t believe this is a hoax? The kid goes on an interview and says, “you said we did it all for a show” and then passes gas. The dad says, “man” and then, very lethargically, begins to backpedal and get angry at the suggestion that the whole thing was a sham. This is the same guy who called a television station before he called 911 when the balloon took off and who has appeared on reality TV before.

The wife looks like a brainwashed cult member. The kid has said he was up in the attic with snacks and his toys. Do the parents keep the unused attic stocked with snacks and toys? And how could the police have not searched the attic? My first instinct (as was the first instinct of so many) was, “I betcha that kid is just hiding somewhere in the house.”

Plus, we had weather balloon and aviation experts testifying even while the balloon was in the air that it was unlikely to be carrying anything approximating the weight of a child.

The family was on the Today show today and the kid apparently vomited on air. Parading your kids in front of cameras for reality TV shows and interviews is bad enough. But in my opinion (phrase included to keep these whack jobs from using their D grade lawyer to sue me for libel) when your kid is so stressed from the blatant dishonesty and crushing media attention that he’s throwing up on air you deserve to be put in jail. Its emotional abuse and Children’s Services should be investigating the past and current practices of this family.

Of course we can all afford to be snarky about Kate and Jon and whoever the hell these parents are. They are deranged but they are also adults. We take pot shots at individuals less worthy of them every day. But when children are weaved intrinsically into the folds of a parent’s creepy obsession with fame we should all put down the snide stick and keep it real for a mo’. If the authorities do not begin adequately investigating this family, we should all take an active role in ensuring they fulfill their responsibility to the innocent children of hapless, narcissistic liars.

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Trend Watch

October 14th, 2009 3 comments

Has anyone else noticed the resurgence of Afros among young African-American men? I’m seeing teenage guys rockin’ the BIG hair all over the city. I’m digging it. Its all very throw-back: Michael Jackson when he was hot (and alive), ethnic-identity celebration fabulosity.

I snapped a pic of this young man on the downtown 6 at Union Square. Work it!

afro on the 6 train

Other trends I’ve noticed lately: plaid shirts on guys are so not going away. Fall seems to have re-inspired every man below 14th street to yank his best Steven Alan lumberjack special out of the back of the closet and toss it on for Sunday brunch. Its all very woodsy and masculine unless you happen to be meeting 2 other guy friends who are wearing similar shirts in which case it looks clashy/matchy, like a national flag designed by committee.

Boyfriend jeans: lots of girls are rocking them and looking good. This surprises me. I thought only Gwen Stefani would look good in them. I was wrong.

Trashy hooker heels: Rich girls in $1200 pumps that are knocked off from $75 drag queen pumps I saw on a bunch of decidedly male size 10 feet 2 years ago at clubs. This trend is not cute. Just ’cause they are Chanel does not mean you look good. When the heel plus platform makes the shoe bigger than your head, you are a tranny. No questions asked. Red or pink patent leather seals the deal.

What have I NOT noticed: scrunchies. Yes, I know, they are everywhere! Except not really. Sure, on the runways and in the windows of American Apparels everywhere. But when I look around Mayahuel over cocktails or Sant Ambroeus over brunch or the L train over…riding the L train, I see no scrunchies. And soon everyone’s hair will be covered in warm fuzzy hats so there will be no valuable cranial real estate left for the sad, droopy ol’ scrunchmaster.

Other vital trends:
-getting swine flu
-not getting swine flu
-pretending to get swine flu

Additionally, I think that this whole recession thing is behind us. I base my conclusion not on any data per se but rather on diners at Per Se. Chic groups of gregarious boozers seem to be rapidly multiplying throughout the city. Cocktails are flowing and everyone is out and cutting a rug ’till 2am. It goes without saying that yours truly approves of this trend and willingly participates in revels on a frequent basis.

Speaking of haute-fun, have you been to the Boom Boom Room at The Standard in the Meatpacking? Its apparently had its name changed to QT or some nonsense but that’s like how Gary Jackson’s mercenary army changed its name to “XE”. Please. Everyone in government still calls in Blackwater. If the directors of said company truly wanted a rebranding they would have changed the name to something other than an unpronounceable two-letter word. I digress. Boom Boom Room is utterly fabulous and I can’t stay away (except on Sundays and Mondays when its closed). Its packed with celebrities looking far inferior to the gorgeous wait staff and the cocktails are beyond yum. But what’s best is, of course, that view. Eighteen flights up no one can hear you scream with delight as you survey the city perched atop a slightly squishy cream-colored leather banquette.

Every accent is spot on. Urinals looking out over the city in the men’s room with naughty rulers etched into their dividers. Frosted mirrors everywhere in the single toilets that appear to hang over the side of the building. A smoking balcony with a barely-there railing that gives one the illusion of (and perhaps the reality of) the possibility of a very windy trip to the ground floor. I have not yet seen the whispered-about plunging pool on the other side of the eighteenth floor but when I do, rest assured, you will be the very first to know what I think.

Of course, special thanks to the fabulous people running the show there for accommodating me and my crew time and time again.

Because I love this stylish, 70s style Studio 54 for today it will surely be shut down due to code violations or slide off the top of its tower and plummet to its demise. That’s Murphy’s Law. So get there soon and devour that view.

See you in the trenches.


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Bloomie and NYC

October 8th, 2009 3 comments

Last week I attended an LGBT event for Mike Bloomberg’s re-election campaign after I got done teaching a free SAT class at the LGBT Center in the West Village (it was an LGBT kinda week, folks). There are many things I love about our dear mayor but one of the things I love most about him is the fact that he’s totally loaded. There are obvious reasons why this is a good thing: he won’t bow to pressure from special interest lobbyists cause he doesn’t need their support, he knows how to successfully run a company and keep it on budget, etc. I’m not terribly interested in these reasons. What I like are the events. And there are lots of them. A bbq on the lawn of Gracie Mansion to kick off Gay Pride Week? Oh yeah. Random sightings at Toys for Tots (a notoriously homo event, in case you were wondering…). Um hmmm. Boozy woozie at City Winery hosted by Isaac Mizrahi and Cherry Jones? Score!

City Winery was a great place to have the event because they have wine…on tap. Like beer. Except its wine. Loves that. There were lots of attractive gays and some of them flirted with me which helped my self esteem to rise, as if on an eagle’s wings, to new and lofty heights. I felt empowered, emboldened to…wait, where was I? Oh right, the booze.

So yeah, these events are amazing. They are not, however, flawless. Here’s my gripe: I’ve had my picture taken with our good mayor many, many times. In every picture I look fabulous. Bloomie looks like he’s about to get mowed down by a speeding taxi.

Billy and Mike Bloomberg October 2009

Can his handlers work on this? Its kinda embarrassing. Thanks.



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Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds

October 6th, 2009 2 comments

In today’s New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis (say THAT three times fast!) forwards a not-so-shocking expose. People are fat! Not only that, they don’t care what they eat and are thus likely to remain fat! (Extra Extra Read All About it Here) At issue here is whether those calorie postings that now appear on the menuboards at fast food restaurants are doing any good. The answer appears to be a resounding no. That’s because in poor neighborhoods people tend to tell a surveyor, “oh yeah, I done made a healthy choice!” but actually, they are totally lying, and in fact ordered one million calories worth of food. (A large sprite = 310 calories! Who knew?) Said Sprite orderer (she also got some food products) remarked, “I don’t really care too much, I know I shouldn’t, ’cause I’m too big already,” she added with a laugh.

OMG diabetes! ROTF! LOLZ!

But not everyone was laughing. Some were seriously contemplating how to help big Bertha make better choices. One such person was some dietitian who said, “Just by contemplating healthier choices, they feel like they could have done it and maybe they will the next time.”  Ummm, apparently not. That’s kinda the point of the findings.

Personally, I love those calorie counts. Whenever I am forced to grab fast food between appointments I look at them and choose my meal accordingly. ‘Tis true, I dont often eat at McDonalds. But even at Subway, a frequent lunch choice, those calorie counts have proven useful. For instance, I used to grab the tuna sandwich, steering clear of any red meats or cheeses. As it turns out, that tuna must be LOADED with mayo cause it has one hundred and fifty thousand calories per serving. So now I get the turkey on 9 grain with tons of veggies. Booyah!

So while the calorie counts may not be doing the trick up on 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, they are making a difference down here south of Houston. Just another reason to give a thumbs up to good ol’ Bloomie and his band of singing cohorts.



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Today in the Times

October 4th, 2009 1 comment

**This post has been removed**

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