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Archive for June, 2010

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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