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Things To Do Manhattan - This Weekend

Chinese New Year Parade, Athena Film Festival, Midnite Moment Times Square, Skating, Art, Film

manhattan things to do nyc February 24, 2018 / Things To Do Manhattan / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Weather. The temperature highs will be around 50 throughout the weekend, while the temperature lows will be in the low 40's.

There's an 80% chance of about a half inch of rain beginning Saturday in the evening running until about 1 pm Sunday, after which time it should be clear.

Winds will be 10 mph Friday and Saturday, rising to about 15 mph on Sunday. The humidity will be between 70 and 80% range throughout the weekend. Click for Manhattan Weather.

The photo at right shows the crowds moving along Mott Street just south of Canal in Chinatown during the Chinese New Years celebrations last year. In the past decade or so, Chinatown has also been moving north of Canal.

 

Friday & Weekend - Athena Film Fest, Midnight Moment in Times Square all Weekend

manhattan things to do manhattanThe photo at right shows the streets of Chinatown in Manhattan around dusk last weekend.

There's a female oriented film festival entitled, Athena Film Festival, at Barnard College on the Upper West Side all weekend.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum located at Pier 86 - at 46th Street and 12th Avenue [history / kids].

The Bryant Park Skating Rink opened 10/28/17 and offers free skating [bring own skates or rentals $20] from 8 am to 10 pm daily - weather permitting. The skating rink will stay open through March 4, 2018.

The Rockefeller Center Skating Rink opened on October 7th [it was 80 degrees] and they're open from 8.30 am to 12 midnight daily through early April 2018. They charge $32 / $27 / $25 for admission and there's a $12 skating rentalfee.

 

Saturday - Athena Film Fest, Midnite Moment, Skating

manhattan things to do nycThe photo at right was made by Socrates [Sculpture Park] annual artist collaborators, Tali Keren & Alex Strada, which they are premiering all month [February] in the Times Square Midnight Moment series, which begins every night at 11.57 pm and ends at 12 midnight. The series is closely related to their film entitled National Park which documents how someone hired to demolish the monuments of a national park set out to save them [art / free].

Socrates [Sculpture Park] annual artist collaborators, Tali Keren & Alex Strada, are premiering segments of their film National Park all month [February] in the Times Square Midnight Moment series, which begins every night at 11.57 pm and ends at 12 midnight [see photo at beginning of the Weekend Things To Do]. The series is closely related to their film entitled National Park which documentshow someone hired to demolish the monuments of a national park set out to save them [art / free].

There's a female oriented film festival entitled, Athena Film Festival, at Barnard College on the Upper West Side all weekend.

The Bryant Park Skating Rink opened 10/28/17 and offers free skating [bring own skates or rentals $20] from 8 am to 10 pm daily - weather permitting. The skating rink will stay open through March 4, 2018.

The Rockefeller Center Skating Rink opened on October 7th [it was 80 degrees] and they're open from 8.30 am to 12 midnight daily through early April 2018. They charge $32 / $27 / $25 for admission and there's a $12 skating rental fee.

Also see Film, Art & Theater events running through the weekend noted in the Friday & Weekend section above.

 

MOSTLY DONE. ASTERISKED EVENTS HAVE NOT BEEN UPDATED.

 

* At MoMA at 11 West 53rd Street in Midtown there are several exhibits including TBD [thru 3/19 & 3/5/17] - [art / film - $25 / $18 / Free].

* Anthology Film Archives at 32 2nd Avenue in the East Village is showing a EssentialCinema series this weekend by a couple of different curators [film - $11 / $9 / $7 - www.anthologyfilmarchives.org]. They began their Fall Film Screening Series last month.

* The Museum of the City of New York has several exhibits worth a visit if you like history [history]. One is entitled New York at Its Core which is about the city's rise onto the world stage, another called To Quench the Thirst of New Yorkers is about the 175 year old Croton Aqueduct, and the third is called Rhythm and Power which is about the evolution of salsa in New York.

 

Sunday - Chinese New Year Parade, Athena Film Fest, Midnight Moment, Skating, Art

manhattan things to do manhattan nycThe photo at right was taken last week down in Chinatown near Canal Street. The year of the Dog began last week and there will be celebrations over the weekend - see details below.

The Chinese New Year Parade begins at 1 pm along Mott Street between Canal and Chatham Square [at Worth St]. It moves eastward along Division and then turns north along Eldridge, and then west along Hester - terminating in Sara Roosevelt Park at Forsyth and Grand on the Lower East Side.

There's a female oriented film festival entitled, Athena Film Festival, at Barnard College on the Upper West Side all weekend.

The Frick Museum is showing an exhibit entitled Fired by Passion through 2018 [art]. The exhibit runs through August 2018 and showcases Masterpieces of Du Paquier Porcelain from the Sullivan Collection. They also offer periodic Sunday evening concerts which begin at 5 pm [$45 / $40] and appear to be widening their program offerings [art].

Socrates [Sculpture Park] annual artist collaborators, Tali Keren & Alex Strada, are premiering segments of their film National Park all month [February] in the Times Square Midnight Moment series, which begins every night at 11.57 pm and ends at 12 midnight [see photo at beginning of the Weekend Things To Do]. The series is closely related to their film entitled National Park which documents how someone hired to demolish the monuments of a national park set out to save them [art / free].

Also see Film, Art & Theater events running through the weekend noted in the Friday & Weekend section above.

 

Next Week - Black History Musical Celebration & Transportation Crisis

On Monday, February 26, the United Palace of Cultural Arts in Washington Heights is hosting a Lobby Series: Black History Music Celebration, where the doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 7.30 pm [free but rsvp at http://unitedpalace.org].

On Thursday, March 1st from 6 – 8pm, there's a panel of transportation experts who will discuss proposed solutions to solving NYC's mass transit service issues at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium at 365 Fifth Avenue (near 34th Street).

Click here for a listing of some suggestions we had for Valentines Day restaurants in Manhattan NYC.

 

Member Events Manhattan Farmers Mkts / Street Fairs

The calendar includes art exhibits at many of the major museums including MoMA, the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim,and theMetropolitan Museum of Art.We also list a number of foreign / indie film theaters. See art galleries & musical performances above in Friday & Saturday listings.

Click here for Manhattan holiday markets NYC or here for Manhattan holiday events NYC. We also provide a listing of Manhattan Street Fairs & Manhattan Farmers Markets where you can find unique items and fresh foods. Street fairs wind down in November and so do most farmers markets, but a few continue year round.

Lastly, but not least, we hope you'll patronize the advertisers who provide us with the funding to publish this web magazine. Thanks for your interest and have a nice weekend.


Legos Alive Festival in Manhattan NYC

The Legos Really did Come Alive This Weekend

manhattan things to do nycFebruary 19, 2018 / Lower East Side Neighborhood NYC / Kids Things To Do Manhattan NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

This past weekend I made my way down to Legos Alive at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, little realizing what was in store for me. I thought I would be covering a kiddie toy event for ages 6 through 12, which it was … but also so much more.

Pier 36 on the Lower East Side

Pier 36 is located along the East River on the Manhattan side. It's just north of the South Street Seaport along the east side [passing under] the FDR at 299 South Street. I walked the half / mile from the #4/5/6 subway stop at Canal Street.

Upon entering the voluminous Pier 36 facility, I found before me, a hodgepodge of competitions, workshops, video stations and vendor booths – all focused on bringing alive, what I remember as a kids toy building blocks kit … but that was a remembrance of many, many years ago.

Legos, at their core, is still a portfolio of building blocks kit, but it is now so much more, as you’ll soon see.

Legos Alive - it Really Brings Alive the Legos Creative Experience

manhattan things to do nycOne of the first things I noticed were life sized figures of action heroes – from Flash Gordon and Captain America to Wonder Woman and Superman. These life sized figures were all built using hundreds of Legos. And in the case of the small replica of a dinosaur, possibly even a thousand or more blocks. From a distance they looked almost real, but when I closed in on them, I could see the famous blocks of which they were comprised.

There was a competition in session, where teams of kids had five minutes to build the biggest bridge. They weighed the bridge to see which was the largest, as counting them would have taken quite some time. The winning one(s) weighed in at about ten pounds. Bravo.

Legos Alive Provided a Real & Virtual Experience

Workshops, Virtual Reality, Robotics & Design Software

I started to make my way through the exhibition space watching with interest as fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and all combinations thereof, huddled together in a creative effort examining, designing, building and then operating their Lego inspired creations. Using the photos I took of the crowd at the session I attended, and multiplying that crowd estimate by the five sessions they offered, I guestimated they may have had in the neighborhood of 10,000 visitors over the weekend, but a spokesperson estimated the attendance may have run as high as 16,000 or 17,000 visitors. The entrance fees started at $45 for a general session admission, which ran about four hours.

Legos Alive Robotics Software & Robotics Industry Trends

manhattan things to do nycOne work area was equipped with motorized and sensorized modules that could be used to create, what were in essence, toy robots. I’ve been watching the news as robotics is increasingly replacing industrial workers in all kinds of routinized activities. It’s not been lost on me that manufacturing, in a manner not unlike farming , is becoming increasingly mechanized.

Farming is today a largely mechanized industry, which in 2008 employed less than two percent of the American workforce [source: Wikipedia.org]. At the turn of the last century [1900] about 38% of the U.S. workforce [source: agclassroom.org] was engaged in farming. Similarly, manufacturing in 1915 employed 22% of the workforce, while today it employs about 10% of the workforce. And the number of people working in manufacturing has been steadily declining for many decades.

In both cases, it’s the automation that is replacing the workers. Car companies, for example require fewer workers per auto output than ever before because robotics are replacing the routinized jobs. And at the Legos Alive festival, I can only surmise that some of the great robotics engineers, may have been toddling around the exhibit hall with their parents getting a good taste of what they might do in the future.

The kids and their parents made machines with wheels that went forward, backward, turned left and right, picked up things and what not. In some cases the parents were clearly there to let the kids engage in the fun, but in a few cases I wasn’t sure if it was the toddler or the ‘big kid’ who was having the most fun.

LegoLand - Legos Themed Parks

manhattan things to do nycI met a woman from LegoLand, which is a separate company / brand of Legos. She had once worked for Legos, but eventually became involved in the LegoLand enterprise, which operates a couple of theme parks in the U.S. centered around the Legos experience.

The woman was clearly an enthusiast, and told me that LegoLand is on schedule to open a LegoLand Theme park in Goshen, New York a couple of years from now in 2020. She told me that LegoLand has been operating two other theme parks in the U.S. – one in Carlsbad, California [near San Diego] which opened in 1999 [she attended the opening] and the other opened in Winterhaven, Florida which isn’t far from Orlando.

She gave me a LegoLand brochure which invites parents and kids ages 2 – 12 to push, pull, steer, squirt, splash, crawl, climb and build their way through over 50 rides and shows of Lego themed attractions.

While we were conversing she and her co-presenter gave me a bit of the Lego history, which I’ll share with you. Legos is a Danish company that was incorporated in 1934 building wooden toys. After World War II, in 1947, they bought a plastic molding machine, which they used to make the now famous bricks. In 1967 Legos participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and in 1968 they opened their first theme park in Billund, Denmark, which is about 100 to 120 miles west of Copenhagen.

Today there are eight LegoLand parks around the world, with two and soon to be three in the U.S. The Goshen LegoLand theme park is about 60 miles mostly north and a bit west of New York [west of Newburgh and south of Middletown]. LegoLand is a company that is independent of Legos and has a licensing arrangement with them.

Legos Alive on Pier 36 on the Lower East Side

manhattan things to do nycI continued my journey into the greatly enhanced world of Legos Alive at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side [LES] and soon came upon all kinds of video games, including a virtual reality [VR] module where an exhibitor was giving kids virtual rides inside a completely fabricated, pixelated world. We could see what the kids were seeing on a video monitor as the exhibitor moved the kids around in a chair. Needless to say, this was a very popular attraction and I was thankful I didn’t have to wait in the line with a youngster. But that said, the parents and kids in line, seemed engaged enough watching the kids doing the demo.

I met Mark Guest, a spokesperson for Parallel Live, the company that organized the show a bit later on and he told me that this was part of the Minecraft software that Lego sells, wherein kids can create their own worlds inside the software and then go exploring in them. There was a workshop nearby where I met one of the fathers who gave me a brief description of what was happening, while his son toiled away.

Legos MineCraft Software

Building Pixelated / Animated Worlds & Exploring Them

manhattan things to do nycLego’s MineCraft software has two modes or zones as he called them. The first mode is where kids can build their own world including buildings and other structures, people, animals, farms, mansions and whole cities. After they build these they can go inside and explore the world they created. Kids can then animate the world they created. If you've seen the 2010 sci-fi movie, Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page and Michael Caine, you're a long way toward comprehending what I witnessed in this section of Legos Alive.

The second mode or zone is an immersive mine, where kids then put in the Virtual Reality [VR] headsets and then go and experience the world, which is what I had seen / mentioned above. I kind of found all of this very ‘mine boggling’ as I briefly reminisced back to the wooden building blocks I and my brothers played with as youngsters, paving wooden block streets and building one - and on a good day - two story houses.

Lego MineStorms Software - it's all About the Robotics

manhattan things to do nycThe second software package offered by Lego is called MineStorms. This software is the official Lego robotic module where kids can design and then use Legos to build robotic devices. I witnessed this too, watching as kids used the software, like we used to use instruction sets, to build little machines / devices. Legos offers a whole host of sensors, motors and you can use colored Lego blocks to program instructions into the device. For example a red Lego brick might indicate turn left and a green one turn right. Mark told me that someone had built a replica of the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. There was a Star Wars booth at the show, but by the time I landed there, my jedi energy had run low.

All in all it was a far more interesting journey than I had anticipated. I suppose it’s a glimpse into what is likely coming over the next century or so. And it’s possible some of the creative forces behind what’s coming, may have been toddling around the Legos Alive at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side [LES] in Manhattan this past weekend.

May the force be with you.

A last footnote is that Legos Alive is organized by Parallel Live which was founded and went public in 2017. Parallel Live is a company that is independent of Legos. It's run by a founder of Brick Live, which runs about a dozen and a half Brick Live events [which are similar to Legos Alive] outside of the U.S. around the world. Brick Live events are run independent of the Lego brand, but include / feature them in the event, while Legos Alive is a collaboration between Legos and Parallel Live.


Valentines Day Restaurants Manhattan NYC | valentines restaurants manhattan nyc valentines day restaurants upper east side ues upper west side valentines day restaurants midtown east village soho valentines restaurants 2.6.18 - 1525
Valentines Day Restaurants Manhattan NYC

Valentine's Day Restaurants In Manhattan

Romantic Places For Valentines Dinner in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, East Village, West Village, SoHo, Tribeca & the Lower East Side

February 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Valentine's Day is about a week away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with still means a lot to you.

It's generally hard to make restaurant reservations on short notice at a romantic Manhattan restaurant on Valentine's Day, and sometimes it's difficult to make them for the weekend preceding Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown or East Village; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.

Valentine's Day History - Romantic Restaurants In Manhattan

The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.

Click this link to view a brief guide of Valentine's Day restaurants in Manhattan where you will find links to Manhattan restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.



Has The Pulitzer Prize Committee - Like the Corporate Media - Lost its Way?

Updated February 21, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

The following is an open letter that I sent to the Pultizer Prize Committee on January 25th, 2018 along with a journalistic series I had written in 2017 and sent to them in 2018 entitled Rupert Murdoch and the Rise of the 21st Century Propaganda Press. The series, which you can view by clicking the link, tells the story about how multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch appears to use his media outlets as propaganda machines in order to promote pols who will grant him favorable tax legislation, favorable executive rulings and favorable industry regulatory legislation.

Murdoch also appears to be able to manipulate the course of governments and public policy. He appears to have done exactly this in the case of the Iraq War, whereby Murdoch appears to have sent three English-speaking democracies to war - not only for oil - but for his cable network TV ratings too. In Britain in 2016, regarding the Brexit referendum, Murdoch appears to have hijacked public policy in his favor - not the nation's - by pushing through a seismic policy change that enables Murdoch to have greater autonomy over how he conducts his multi-national media business - free from any meaningful government interference - and the Brexit referendum vote also gave Murdoch a huge purchase price discount, because of a devalued British currency.

While the Corporate Media obsesses over the Russian Collusion Investigation - they are distracted from putting in the spotlight what appears to be the REAL 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION STORY - which is Rupert Murdoch's election meddling to further empower and enrich himself at the expense of the republic and its institutions.

In Trump's first year, Murdoch was the recipient of numerous tax breaks, and breath-taking deregulatory actions in Murdoch's industry via FCC Rulings and telecommunications legislative changes. All of this has received scant news coverage, as the Pulitzer Prize Award winning corporate media, were too busy covering Donald Trump's Tweet distractions. By giving preferential treatment to Trump's tweets, which the American public is able to directly access on their own, the corporate media has failed the American public by regurgitating and hence amplifying the President's shock jock statements - instead of doing their job of providing the American public with context-based news reports about the important issues of the day.

To: The Pulitzer Prize Committee

I am making what I expect will be my final submission to this committee for consideration of an award. What follows explains why I will likely discontinue making submissions to this committee - which I think should be mandatory reading for all committee members now, and perhaps for some good measure of time into the future.

I no longer see the Pulitzer Prize Committee as a part of the solution to the disintegration of journalism in America, but rather I am increasingly beginning to view the Pulitzer Prize Committee as part of a systemic problem. The problem is that those who should be among the keepers and protectors of our nation’s First Amendment rights are either flailing or failing to do their jobs. And some, in what has become something out of a Superman comic book, have become the leaders of a ‘bizarro’ press movement, where everything gets turned upside down. The fake news becomes the real news, and the real news becomes the fake news.

Good Governance Begins with an Honest Look in the Mirror

Let’s start with holding up a mirror to the Pulitzer Prize Committee, which is comprised of about a third of people who live and work in the academic world, nearly a quarter of whom work for the billionaire / millionaire owned or supported press, and over a quarter of whom work for the branded print press – two [10%] of which originate in Texas.

Composition of the Pulitzer Committee is not Representative

My point here is that the Pulitzer Committee Board is comprised of people who are by definition living in an ivory tower world [academia], or in a patronage world [wealthy-owned or sponsored organizations], or in a world of the past [print]. Here we are two decades into the 21st century, and only one member of the committee is associated with a pure online information company, and it [Pro Publica] is funded with millions annually by a billionaire. There is not even ONE person on the Pulitzer Prize Committee who has any idea what it’s like to work in the burgeoning, economically challenged, pure online news world, which suffered two major casualties this past year – the closure of DNA Info and the Gothamist [owned by the same billionaire].

Demographically the committee has checked the boxes of ensuring women and minorities are represented on the committee, but they fail miserably in geographic representation as there is a huge East Coast urban bias, which parallels the mainstream / corporate media - which is why they got the 2016 presidential race so wrong. And the committee does even worse when it comes to socio-economic representation, as the committee members appear to be middle / upper middle class people, or as they say in France – petite bourgeoisie.

Yes the Pulitzer Committee is ethnically and gender correct - but in the 21st century modern day world where socio-economic class has become one of the fault lines and at least as important a lens through which to see the world – the composition of the Pulitzer Committee is oh, so demographically out of touch.

In fact the committee and its corporate alumni friends are so disconnected from the American masses, that I'm not sure they even really realize it.

Pulitzers: Rigged System & Trump-Style, Self-Congratulatory News Awards?

The result of a skewed representation on the Pulitzer Committee, is that over half of the Pulitzer Awards this past year [about 60% of the awards - 8 of 14] went to news organizations that were represented on the Committee by one of their alumni. I can’t help but see parallels to Donald Trump’s awards to himself. Are they really any better?

I. Corrupt Use of the Media: NY Daily News & the Queens Library

In 2015, I submitted for consideration a series of reports I published regarding how it appeared the Billionaire Real Estate Developer and Publisher of the NY Daily News was abusing the power the press, in tandem with two local NYC pols, to oust the President and Board of the non-profit Queens Library. Based on circumstantial evidence, it appeared to be an attempt to take control of the non-profit organization [which they did] and it appeared to be an attempt to start monetizing the prime real estate upon which the Queens Library branches stood … as the Brooklyn Library was in the process of doing.

In the Fall of 2016 the Queens Library President won an out of court settlement sum of $7 million [reportedly] and was not found guilty of any of the allegations made by the pols and NY Daily News, following investigations by the FBI, the NYC Department of Investigations, and an intensive year-long audit by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office [he was one of the pols and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was the other].

I was not recognized by the Pulitzer Committee for carving out an independent narrative which captured how Mortimer Zuckerman appeared to be misusing the power of the press, perhaps because at the time I submitted the story, it was unclear whether the President and Board were actually innocent of the allegations and innuendo put forth by the NY Daily News. Prior to doing this series, which I considered Pulitzer-worthy journalism [even the NY Times got it wrong by essentially blessing the NY Daily News narrative], I had never considered competing for a Pulitzer Prize. Until three years ago, for the most part a Pulitzer Prize meant nothing to me.

II. Corrupt Use of the Media by Rupert Murdoch: Attacking Mayor de Blasio & the 2016 Presidential Campaign

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Wall St Journal and NY Post replaced Mortimer Zuckerman’s NY Daily News as the central figures of the second series I began in 2016 that I submitted for consideration to the Pulitzer Committee last year [2017]. In this series I took an unprecedented deep dive into four decades of Rupert Murdoch’s past, digging up material from around the globe [primarily Australia and Britain] and here at home, where I unearthed a whole cesspool of circumstantial and hard evidence demonstrating that Murdoch uses his media outlets to promote pols, who then appear to favor him with executive rulings and legislative changes, while attacking and undermining those pols who do not.

As in my 2015 awards submission, I was reporting a narrative that ran ahead of the public’s awareness, as writing about Murdoch’s use of his media properties as propaganda outlets in 2016 [submitted in early 2017] may have seemed a bit harsh.

The Corporate / Mainstream Media is Finally Catching On

But here we are one year later and today calling Fox News, the Wall Street Journal or the NY Post Murdoch propaganda outlets doesn’t seem harsh at all. In fact the Washington Post, New York Times and late night comedy shows [which have become, in part, political satire] are doing the same. So why the change?

No doubt in part because Trump is now president and Murdoch’s ‘news’ outlets have reached a new level of shrill in defending him. But also in part because I published a decades-long database of information cataloguing what seems to be Murdoch’s abuses and uses of his outlets as propaganda machines. This abuse of the power of the press appears to have greatly enriched him with tax breaks, favorable government rulings and legislative changes.

In my reports I cite reliable and verifiable sources, which the other media outlets can use to verify my narrative, and thus it enables them to get legal clearance within their own corporate organizations, and perhaps most importantly giving them the confidence to know they are telling the truth about individual events that fit into a lifelong pattern.

Last year I showed how nearly every major news organization was surfing on my sites. Since I began these stories just over a year and a half ago, over 15,000 visitors have clicked into them, and likely over (a) hundred(s) of thousands have been exposed to the story introductions which I post when the stories break on my four sites. For what one colleague of mine called stories with a narrow appeal, these stories have received an enormous level of public interest. Part of that interest was likely generated by the graphics I include, which I call the tabloidization or sensationalism of the truth.

My Regard for the Pulitzer Prize has Diminished Significantly

This year I decided to take a closer look at the Pulitzer Prize Committee and their work. What I found led me to question whether the Pulitzer Prize Awards have any meaning anymore – or whether they have devolved into some sort of pseudo news awards process.

The Committee’s choices as exemplified by the two examples below, have to be in part why the Pulitzer Prizes get so little public press, in spite of the fact that the Pulitzers are media awards. I have come to the conclusion that they get little press because they don’t actually DO anything – because the committee recognizes corporate sycophants publishing dribble about nothing meaningful - while failing to bring recognition to journalists who are NOT members of Pulitzer Prize Committee alumni organizations and the nationally branded media - who put in the hard work, make the economic sacrifices, and go to great lengths to inform the public about some of the most important issues of the day.

A. Pulitzer Prize for Political Press Releases Published as Editorials goes to Peggy Noonan of the WSJ

The committee's award to Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s former Speech Writer and currently a paid contributor on Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, made me gag. Her Pulitzer Prize winning pieces were the dribble of a corporate press release, fashioned as an editorial series.

Yet on the Pulitzer Prize website you tell the world, that Peggy rose,

“… to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns …”

And yet a year later the headline in a November 1, 2017 Vanity Fair story reads,

“A Different Level of Crazy": Is Civil War Breaking out in the Wall Street Journal over the Editorial Board's Coverage of Mueller?”

Yes, Peggy’s work was so meaningless, that it didn’t even have an impact on the people working in the offices next to hers. If the committee were stock pickers, not story pickers, they’d be out of a job by now.

It’s worth noting that Peggy Noonan works for Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, as it has been controlled by Rupert Murdoch since it was acquired in 2007.

B. Pulitzer Prize for Ideological Rationalization goes to WSJ Paul Gigot

The Committee awarded Paul Gigot of the Wall St. Journal with a Pulitzer in 2000 for his editorials surrounding the presidential campaign of that year. In Paul’s Pulitzer Prize winning editorials he advised Republicans to wait to coronate George W. Bush until after he won the primaries. Again I found this series to consist of meaningless dribble that one could easily pick up at one of the local watering holes. But today this is what the Pulitizer Committee recognizes as Pulitzer worthy work – neither persuasive nor insightful.

Since Paul’s Pulitzer Prize win, he has gone on to become the current Wall St Journal Editorial Page Editor where he’s been accused of leading a ‘fatwa’ against Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, failing to make important disclosures in the Op Ed section regarding Karl Rove’s ties to Republican fundraisers, and most disturbing of all - of suppressing a story about Trump’s mob ties shortly before the November 2016 presidential election. A December 20, 2017 Vanity Fair story is headlined,

“Wall Street Journal Killed Editorial on Trump’s Mob Ties”

I have to congratulate the Pulitzer Committee - you really know how to pick ‘em. Incidentally, Paul was a senior reporter, while I was the junior editor, of the Abbott Pennings Lance in DePere, Wisconsin back in the early 1970’s. If I recall correctly he was a rabid Nixon backer [this was around the time of the Watergate scandal] and it appears he hasn’t changed a bit.

Pulitzer Prize Awards: Is The New Key Criteria Who You Know, Not What You Know?

Thus it appears that to win a Pulitzer Prize, it’s more important to be associated with a large branded media outlet, and especially a Pulitzer Committee member alumni company, than it is to devote yourself to truly outstanding journalism.

Pulitzer Prize Awards: Out with the Old Criteria?

Have the days of Peter Dunne’s mantra for journalists to,

“comfort the afflicted [and to] afflict the comfortable”

ended at the Pulitzer Prize Committee?

The committee needs to know that they are part of the problem. And for the most part, that is why I am likely making this my last submission – because I want the committee to know what they really look like to anyone who bothers to do their homework.

Modern Day Journalism: What You Reap Is What You Sow

So, where we are today in American journalism? Few of the reporters seem to do anything bordering on serious study of the important issues confronting the nation. They look like a pack of poodle weenies nipping at the heels of the Great Dane [Trump] as he kicks them away when they become too much of a nuisance, or barks loudly to scare them away when they truly annoy him.

What You’ve Sewn Are a Bunch of Empty Suits

Why have media companies and journalists descended in the eyes of the public? Because modern day reporters represent a socio-demographic group very much like the committee. They appear risk averse in their reporting, appear to have attended the same types of schools, and regardless of ethnicity and gender - they appear to be largely from the same socio-economic class - a class that is increasingly disconnected from the working, middle and lower classes. As mentioned before that’s why literally ALL of the corporate media outlets missed the election of 2016. Only one California pollster and filmmaker Michael Murphy did not.

What makes the Pulitzer Prize Committee’s performance even more pathetic is that the committee evaluates stories and journalists AFTER the year has ended.

American News Organizations are Regurgitating Gossip NOT providing REAL NEWS

The corporate media and journalists that the committee patronizes with their awards have lost their way. They spend far more time regurgitating and discussing Trump tweets, than they do anything else.

Journalists are known to be lazy and few of them have done the research required to publish reports on important issues of the day, even though so much of the information lies at their fingertips.

Here's a Small Sample of the Real News Largely NOT REPORTED this Past Year.

  • With all of the Trump publicized deregulation this past year, how many stories have you seen that describes, details or analyzes the impact?
  • Trump’s tweet storms attacking Kim Jong-un have been most thoroughly covered. But what there hasn’t been much coverage of has been China expanding its sphere of influence in the South China Sea.
  • Where are the stories regarding Trump’s missteps with the Koreas, which have the U.S. left out of a potential Korean peninsula relations warming?
  • Trump campaigned as a fiscal Conservative, yet pushed through a tax cut that increases America’s national debt by over $1 trillion, at a time when the nation’s economy is adding jobs and increasing wages.
  • Trump’s Tax Cut was the part of the beginning of a new American Oligarchy that steals wealth from America's children. The Trump Tax Cut funding comes from debt shifted onto future generations and the immediate wealth benefits skew greatly to the richest of us all.
  • I could go on, but please consider one last issue which has received less press than any single major Trump tweet storm this past year. Why hasn’t anyone in the media publicized the First Amendment atrocities going on at the FCC under Ajit Pai [whose name is pronounced 'a shit pie' by detractors]? The entire nation’s online privacy rights were rescinded, Net Neutrality was overturned, and there’s been a huge rollback of ownership limits, and likely new permissiveness in media mergers.

The public has traded stories about these important issues in exchange for increasing our knowledge about Trump’s love of cheeseburgers, NFL kneeling, Trump’s bedtime, the revolving door at the White House, Ivanka’s weird relationship with her father, Melania’s hand slapping and so forth.

Repercussions of the Ongoing Degradation of the Fourth Estate

The consolidation of the American media [six companies control 80% plus versus 50 companies controlling the same amount in the 1980’s] is collapsing our nation’s ability to entertain real diversity and an honest discussion of the important issues and elected leaders that we need as a nation. And this shrinking of media ownership is like Orwell’s Newsspeak, a collapse of our ability to understand phenomena, learn new things and evolve as a society. It debases the conversation, enabling only a few – like Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer Zuckerman – to be heard.

Having a First Amendment right is meaningless if only a few people own the mass media.

This critical transition into darkness is going on right now, in front of our very eyes. And you – the Pulitzer Committee – are one of the primary contributors to the problem because you are awarding prizes to rats in the media factories for their meaningless mental masturbations.

Edmund Burke, a 17th century Irish English Parliamentarian said,

“All that evil needs to succeed is for enough good [wo]men to do nothing.”

So go ahead. Do nothing.

I am trying to do something, which is why – if you don’t help me make this narrative known this year - I won’t be submitting any more of my work for your review ever again.

Go ahead. Laugh. But it’s not funny.

Sincerely,

Michael Wood

Author - Rupert Murdoch and the Rise of the 21st Century Propaganda Press


The Women Keep On Marching

An Estimated 200,000 Participate in NYC Women's March

January 22, 2018 / Upper West Side Neighborhood & Midtown Manhattan Neighborhood / Social Issues / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

manhattan womens march 2018 photosIt was a beautiful Saturday morning as I made my way toward the NYC Women's March stepping off point at 72nd Street and Central Park West. As I drew closer to my destination, I saw a large crowd spread along the sidewalks and streets, managed skillfully by the New York City Police Department.

 

The crowd was a friendly one - consisting of all ages from toddlers to grandparents, including a rainbow of gender of singles, husbands, wives and friends - representing America's and New York City's great diversity. During this march they all convened together to make a statement by their very presence. The marchers' statements varied in specificity, but generally seemed to be one of protest against one President, Donald Trump, whose disrespectful personal behavior toward women and people of color, have not gone unnoticed. And to the people marching, the President's bad example as the nation's role model, should not go unanswered.

 

Women's March NYC 2018 from CPW to Bryant Park

manhattan womens march 2018 photosThe march began moving on schedule, reaching us a bit past 12.30 pm. We had lined up around West 86th Street, and the official parade starting point was West 72nd Street. We made our way south along Central Park West, past the Museum of Natural History and the New York Historical Society. Generally the mood of the crowd was a joyous one, but it turned a bit nasty and dark as we passed by the Trump International Hotel & Tower at One Central Park West at 60th Street, where some of the marchers expressed their opinions of the President in a politically incorrect manner - in a disrespectful style reminiscent of the President himself.

The official estimate of the crowd was around an estimated 200,000, which was a bit below the estimated crowd size of last year [2017], which was estimated to be around 250,000. Women marched in cities around the nation on this day, and some of the marches - like the one in Chicago - drew an estimated crowd of 300,000 significantly beating the crowd size of the prior year.

The march ended in Midtown near Bryant Park, where we dispersed and headed out for a bite to eat. All that walking can make a reporter hungry. Photos and story by Dantanyan UWS.


The Penninsula Hotel in Manhattan

Luxury Historic Hotels in Manhattan Midtown NYC

January 8, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Midtown Manhattan / Luxury Hotels Manhattan Historic Hotels / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

manhattan restaurants manhattan rooftop bars photos nyc fotosOver the holidays I had an opportunity to visit one of the finest luxury historic hotels in Manhattan - the Penninsula Hotel. The Penninsula Hotel is part of a world renowned hotel franchise dating back to the mid 1800's in Asia. The first Penninsual Hotel was built in 1928 in Hong Kong, which is where I had my first encounter with their old world hospitality and elegance many years ago.

Historic Gotham Hotel is now the Penninsula Hotel

The Penninsula Hotel Manhattan was first built at the corner of 55th Street and 5th Avenue in 1905 as the Gotham Hotel. It's a beaux artes structure that suffered over eighty years of ill-fated turnovers, before being acquired by the Penninsula Hotel Group in 1988. Today the hotel is noted as one of the finest in Manhattan.

I entered the lobby off of 55th Street. There's a staircase leading up to the lobby off to the right and the Clements restaurant off to the left. Just off the hotel lobby is Gotham Bar, in a hail back to the hotel origins, which overlooks 55th Street off 5th Avenue.

The Clements restaurant is an elegantly appointed restaurant that was, for a short time in the latter half of the 20th century, the American location of Maxime's of Paris. The restaurant is adjacent to another bar designed to accommodate restaurant patrons while waiting for their guests.

Rooftop Bars in Manhattan Midtown NYC

manhattan luxury hotels manhattan historic hotels penninsula hotel manhattan midtown nycWe chose to spend our time on the rooftop of the Penninsula Hotel, as it has a nice view of the Midtown rooftops, as well as some looking south on 5th Avenue. It was a balmy winter day - about 60 degrees - and with the heaters out it was very comfortable. The rooftop bar is primarily for drinks - and for those who smoke - provides one of the few locales left in Manhattan where one can actually enjoy a cigar or cigarette while have a drink with friends.

Prices aren't cheap, as one might expect. Bottles of wine run from about $90 on up and cigars run in the neighborhood of $40 on up [I'm doing this by memory which may not be 100% accurate, but directionally close]. Anyhow it was a beautiful locale, the service was very good and the company was great.

But alas, all good things must come to and end, and after finishing our cigars and wine, we bid adieu or rather Tiajian 再见.


The Road Ahead 2018

A Few Axioms To Keep In Mind Throughout The New Year

things to do manhattan this weekendJanuary 2, 2018 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Holidays / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

For many of us, yesterday started the beginning of the new year.

I used to make new years resolutions that generally lasted a few days or few weeks. Over time I've given that up and have focused on a few guiding principles that I work toward throughout the year, every year.

1. The first guidepost is to keep things as simple as possible by letting things go, so I can change and evolve who I am. Over time it's important to learn to let go of the past which includes letting many of the people, projects and things - that were once so meaningful and relevant - fade away with time. This process involves discarding much of what one collects, in order to open up life to make room for new possibilities.

2. The second guidepost is to take care of the vessel that carries one's being - meaning taking care of the body because it's the only one we'll ever get, and it has to last an entire lifetime. This means consuming the foods that will enable the body to function properly and ward off disease, while recognizing that satisfying the mind is important too, as it's a part of the body. There are three elements to this guideline.

a _ Try to maximize consumption of natural foods while managing / minimalizing consumption of the delicious processed foods that come in packages. Read package container nutrition labels which indicate the amount of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol consumed per serving. The balance of natural and processed foods will shift depending on what's going on in life.

b _ Reduce consumption of toxins by first paying attention to the quantities consumed of them, and then by substituting the toxins with healthier choices. For example dilute a soft drink with seltzer water [cuts sugar], or swap in a lemonade for a beer [cuts alcohol], or swap in pretzels for potato chips [cuts salt and fat]. Over the years these little substitutions can add up to some fair measure of weight loss, and can aid in maintaining generally good health. But it's also important not to deprive oneself, too much, of some of the simple pleasures in life that keep one going - because my experience has been that whenever I'm too draconian, there's a subconscious rebellion, and the program doesn't work.

c _ The third element of this guidepost is to try to walk and bike whenever possible. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone as it enables getting somewhere, while also getting some exercise. And be sure to carve out enough time each night, for a proper rest.

3. The third guidepost is to try to move your life in the direction of your interests. This will likely take a great many years, as well as needing to make a good number of economic and other trade offs. But if successful, one can then spend most of their time doing the things that totally engage them. It's said that "when someone is doing something they truly love, they'll never have to work another day in their life."

4. And the fourth guidepost is to keep on learning, because "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". So the more you learn, and the more experience you get, the better prepared you'll be ... come what may.

May your new year be filled with promise and possibilities. Best wishes for a happy and successful 2018.


New Years Parties In Manhattan | manhattan new years parties nyc new years restaurants in midtown upper east side nyc village nyc new years parties in manhattan nyc 12/28/15 - 1799::: 1/1/16 - 1828.  12/29/16 - 2530.
New Years Parties In Manhattan

New Years Parties In Manhattan

New Years Parties in Manhattan, UES, Upper East Side, Midtown, West & East Village & UWS

December 29, 2017 / Manhattan Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

We've taken an look into some of the restaurants hosting New Years parties in the Manhattan NYC.  The restaurants in Manhattan offer a wide variety of party venues.

Picking the restaurant you're going to party at in Manhattan is something you should give thought to - not just for budgetary reasons, but depending on the time of you arrive and your plans for the evening.

Click here to read the rest of our report about new new years parties in Manhattan.



Trump Tax Plan: A Morally Bankrupt President’s Gift?

Are Billionaires Trump & Murdoch Bilking America’s Unborn Babies?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksUpdated 12/26/17 _ December 19, 2017 / New York City Neighborhoods / New York City Business / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

Like many of you, I have been watching the Trump Tax plan make its way through Congress. While Trump and his cohorts were whipping together the tax package, I was doing research on the possible implications of some of their tax policy proposals.

According to an October 20, 2017 PolitiFact report [based on the plan at that time, which has since been modified],

"... in the first year of changes, the top 1 percent are projected to draw a little over half the tax savings. The threshold of 80 percent going to the top 1 percent is projected for the tenth year."

While directionally this statement is likely to hold [meaning the plan is biased toward the rich], the exact numbers as to how biased the Trump Tax Plan will be for the wealthy - based on the final bill - remains to be calculated.

In this report we look at a number of tax cuts included in the final bill including repatriation of overseas profits, reduction of the estate tax, reduction of the corporate tax and the blue vs red state tax increase. We include a review questioning why the Trump Administration is pushing this deficit expanding / debt increasing fiscal stimulus package - when we're in a full employment economy with rising wages. We also include how the Trump Tax Cut Plan has been treated propagandistically by Rupert Murdoch's media outlets, as he appears to personally and corporately benefit immensely from the tax cuts.

 

But before we begin, we take you on a quick review at some key characteristics and prior dealings of the man behind the plan – Donald J. Trump.

 

I. Character & The Art of the Deal - Or Steal?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksIn Donald Trump’s book The Art of the Deal, he says,

"You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on …”

Is the Trump Tax Plan a Tax Boondoggle for Billionaires?

Based on recent polls regarding the Trump Tax Plan, it appears the American people are of the opinion that this a very bad deal for them and their children. Perhaps this is why the Donald appears to be rushing through what appears to be one of the greatest tax billionaire boondoggles in modern history, while telling the public that this tax plan isn’t good for him ... or his super rich family and friends.

 

Always Pay Attention to a Person's Integrity or Lack Thereof

To listen to the Donald, you’d think he has always been a champion, if not a living martyr, of the middle and working classes of America. But the facts don’t always square with the Donald’s narratives. And the Donald, seems never to admit blame. That’s why he has continually lashed out at the media who inform the public about him – calling all, but Rupert Murdoch’s vast mass manipulation media [Fox News, Wall Street Journal & NY Post], Fake News. Trump and Murdoch live in the Bizarro World, where so much of what they say appears to be the truth turned upside down.

In the graphic at right, I modified Rupert Murdoch's Fox News website front page celebrating the passage of Trump Tax Plan - in which it appears that the bulk of the breaks will go to the super-rich, including the multi-billionaire Murdoch, who is a global propagandist and powerful Trump supporter. I call this Murdoch's propaganda payout and it appears to be HUGE.trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucks

Law and Crime, a web magazine funded in part by A & E Network, states in a February 16, 2016 report that Trump was named in at least 169 Federal Lawsuits. They went on to say that,

The federal lawsuits that we reviewed date back to 1983 and involve everything from business disputes, antitrust claims and, more recently, accusations that Trump’s campaign statements are discriminatory against minorities. Some of the cases have been resolved, some were dismissed as frivolous, and others were privately settled. He’s been sued by celebrities, personal assistants, prisoners, people in mental hospitals, unions, and wealthy businessmen. Of course, Donald Trump has also done his fair share of suing as well.”

 

Slippery Donald – A Sales Promoter Who Must be Watched Carefully

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksWatching Trump promote and sell his tax plan to the American public reminded me of a report about how the Donald sold a Palm Beach mansion - Maison de L’Amitie at 515 North Country Road - to Russian Oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2009. In a July 28, 2016 story in Politico, reporter Jose Lambiet says of the deal,

 

“This is what he [Trump] does with everything. He puts a little veneer on things and he doubles the price, and people buy it,” … “He’s [Trump] all smoke and mirrors—and that house was the proof.”

 

Dmitry, the Russian Oligarch, paid $95 million for what Trump had paid only $41 million just four years earlier. Dmitry is now reportedly planning to demolish the mansion.

The question is whether the Donald snuck one by the Russian Oligarch, or whether the Donald is in cahoots with the Russian Oligarchs, and this was an indication of such?

The graphic / photo at right shows Trump standing in front of the Maison de L'Amitie. In the lower left I added his claim that he wouldn't benefit from the Trump Tax Plan as reported by NBC News on November 29, 2017; while in the lower right is a December 22, 2017 New York Times analysis indicating that the Trump Tax Cuts might enable him to take advantage of $11 million in tax breaks.

 

II. Trump & The Russian Oligarchs

Are These Birds of a Feather Flocking Together?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksA July 13, 2017 report by the New Republic informs us that,

“In 2015, the Taj Mahal [controlled by Donald J. Trump] was fined $10 million—the highest penalty ever levied by the feds against a casino [in years] - and [they] admitted to having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering regulations.”

The report references the book, Red Mafiya, about the rise of the Russian mob in America, by investigative reporter Robert I. Friedman. It appears that the laundered money came from the Russian mob, and further in the story we learn a bit more about what appear to be the Donald’s shadowy business dealings with Russia.

“In April 2013, a little more than two years before Trump rode the escalator to the ground floor of Trump Tower to kick off his presidential campaign, police burst into Unit 63A of the high-rise and rounded up 29 suspects in two gambling rings. The operation, which prosecutors called “the world’s largest sports book,” was run out of condos in TrumpTower—including the entire fifty-first floor of the building. In addition, unit 63A—acondo directly below one owned by Trump—served as the headquarters for a “sophisticated money-laundering scheme” that trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksmoved an estimated $100 million outof the former Soviet Union, through shell companies in Cyprus, and into investments in the United States. The entire operation, prosecutors say, was working under the protection of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whom the FBI identified as a top Russian vor closely allied with Semion Mogilevich. In a single two-month stretch, according to the federal indictment, the money launderers paid Tokhtakhounov $10 million.

Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted a decade earlier for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics, was the only suspect to elude arrest. For the next seven months, the Russian crime boss fell off the radar of Interpol, which had issued a red alert. Then, in November 2013, he suddenly appeared live on international television—sitting in the audience at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Tokhtakhounov was in the VIP section, just a few seats away from the pageant owner, Donald Trump.

After the pageant, Trump bragged about all the powerful Russians who had turned out that night, just to see him. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” he told Real Estate Weekly.”

 

A Tax Plan for the new American Oligarchs?

The U.S. has a Full Employment Economy & Wages are Rising

So Why is Trump Promoting Fiscal Stimulus in a Full Employment Economy?

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksOver the past few years the economy has been steadily adding new jobs, and wages have been rising. The unemployment rate is 4.1%, which means the U.S. is operating in a full employment economy. A full employment economy is defined as one where everyone who wants a job, has one, except those who are in transition. Normal transitioning is generally estimated at 5% of those who are employed. These transitioning unemployed workers are those workers who are making the change from school to jobs or vice versa, switching jobs or careers, moving from one locale to another, or making other relevant job or life changes such as illnesses etc..

 

So given we’re in a full employment economy where wages are rising, why are we incurring over $1 trillion in new debt to give the richest people in the nation / world tax breaks? The new jobs, higher wages argument seems deceptive as it just doesn’t seem to apply here.

 

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg Says "This Tax Bill is a Trillion Dollar Blunder"

trump tax plan for rich billionaires steals from americas unborn babies trump tax plan sucksFormer Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote an editorial dated December 15, 2017 on Bloomberg.com entitled "This Tax Bill is a Trillion Dollar Blunder".

In the editorial Bloomberg cites his rationale, including an anecdotal poll taken by Trump Economic Adviser Gary Cohn who on November 14, 2017 asked CEO's to raise their hands if they planned any additional hiring. In the video of the event I saw only two hands raised, and the moderator goes on to ask, 'Why weren't more hands raised?'. Go to YouTube.com and type in the search 'gary cohn asks ceos to raise hands' to see the video for yourself. The answer is that the top CEO's are sitting on trillions in cash, so a tax break isn't going to change the investment landscape for them with respect to adding jobs.

Bloomberg concluded his editorial with the following statement.

"The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future."

It’s also important to note that since the lows following the Great Recession of 2008 – 2009, wages have been going up between two and four percent, as measured on a quarterly basis.


Shopping the Lord & Taylor Department Store Midtown Manhattan 5th Avenue | lord & taylor photos shopping 5th avenue midtown manhattan holiday shopping nyc lord & taylor before closing floors in dec 2017
Shopping the Lord & Taylor Department Store Midtown Manhattan 5th Avenue

Shopping the Lord & Taylor Department Store NYC

Lord & Taylor is Consolidating its Ten Floors into Four in 2018

December 11, 2017 / Midtown Manhattan Neighborhood / Manhattan Shops & Shopping / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I recently heard that Lord & Taylor is consolidating its ten floors of department store space, into three or four, following the Christmas shopping season [mid January]. As a longtime customer, who has once enjoyed shopping recreationally, I decided to return for one last journey through the land of Oz … because certainly after Lord & Taylor consolidates its floors, the look and feel of a once great department store … will not be the same.

For better or worse, over the past couple decades, we have all witnessed the relentless onslaught of the big box and online retailers pummeling what was once called traditional retail. Traditional retail as we once knew it, began more or less in tandem with the 20th century, and New York City was, and still is, one of the great retail hubs.

Short History of Large Manhattan Department Stores 1902 - 1924

Macy’s at Herald Square. In 1902 the R.H. Macy Company had led retailers’ march uptown, to what is now Midtown, when they erected their first store at Herald Square at 34th Street and Broadway. Eventually this flagship Macy’s store expanded to encompass the entire block along the north side of 34th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. The Macy’s building was landmarked in 1978.

Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue. A bit more than a decade later the Lord & Taylor building was erected in 1914 [began one year earlier] at 38th and 5th Avenue. The building was designed by architects Starret & van Vleck – and from the start – was a venerable landmark. The Lord & Taylor building was officially landmarked in 2007. Architects of the building, Starret van Vleck, were also the architects of a number of other notable flagship department stores of the time, which according to Wikipedia includes Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Alexanders [was across 59th Street from Bloomingdales].

Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks Fifth Avenue, which was owned by Gimbels, erected its flagship store a decade later in 1924. The Saks store encompassed an entire block along 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, just south of St Patrick’s Cathedral, and across from the site that would eventually become Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center was erected in 1934.

Bergdorf Goodman. And in 1928 Bergdorf Goodman erected and opened a five-story department store much further north along Fifth Avenue at 58th Street, on the site previously occupied by the Cornelius Vanderbilt Mansion. During the Great Depression Vanderbilt purchased adjacent lots on the rest of the block, which he used to expand the store.



Rockefeller Center: Christmas or Holiday Tree?

The Large Holiday Tree was Lit Last Week & We Were There

rockefeller tree lighting event holiday things to do manhattan nyc holiday events manhattanPosted December 5th / November 29, 2017 / Neighborhood Midtown Manhattan / Manhattan Holiday Events / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Last Wednesday the large Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was lit for all the world to see. The festivities, including a live broadcast watched by millions, began at 7 pm and ended at 9 pm. Matt Lauer was quietly dropped from the slate of celebrities, due to sexual harrassment allegations. I arrived on the scene between 10 and 10.30 pm, hoping to get a photo of the tree and the crowds.

 

According to the Daily Beast the tree this year weighs 12 tons and is 75 feet tall and comes from State College Pennsylvania. Traditionally the tree is a Norway Spruce, as is the tree this year. Wikipedia provides us with a bit of the logistics involved transporting and erecting the tree, which has to be transported through New York City streets - the widths of which - limit the maximum tree height to about 100 feet.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting History

Both Wikipedia and Rockefeller Center tells us that the tradition was begun by construction laborers working on the erection of Rockefeller Center in the early 1930's during the Great Depression. One account has the first tree being erected in 1931, which was two years before Rockefeller Center opened in 1933, at which time the first official Christmas tree was lit.rockefeller tree lighting event holiday things to do manhattan nyc holiday events manhattan

Much ado has been made by numerous writers of the Swarovsky star atop of the tree, which reportedly weights 550 lbs and has 25,000 crystals. Wikipedia tells us that there were 50,000 LED lights hung on the tree.

NYPD Security & Barricades

The streets were barricaded by the NY Police Department when I arrived. Nonetheless there were hundreds of people milling about, trying to get a look at the tree, or possibly just trying to get across town. The barricades extended to about 52nd Street on the north, at 6th Avenue in the west, at Madison Avenue in the eastand about 46th or 47th street in the south at the time I worked my way around the tree.

I did have some luck getting past the NY Police Department barricades with my official press pass and thus got close enough to photograph the tree and remaining crowds exiting the area. I couldn't walk down the main promenade as the folks from Rockefeller Center had cordoned it off to clean it.

I spoke to a couple of policemen who told me they were glad things went well, but that they'd been there a long time and we're looking forward to going home. That sounded like a good idea, so I made my way out of the crowds and over to one of the subways in Midtown.

The tree at Rockefeller Center will remain in place until January 8th. There's a skating rink at the foot of it, which is open throughout the most of every day. And there are a ton of large floor-to-ceiling store windows with beautiful, artistic displays stretching north and south along 5th Avenue from Rockefeller Center which lies between 49th and 50th Streets.


Manhattan Holiday Events - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Events in Manhattan NYC | manhattan tree lightings holiday lightings nyc menorah lightings upper east side UES upper west side uws midtown soho tribeca tree lightings holiday celebrations xmas bowery manhattan nyc 12/7/16 1296 / 10.27.17 - 1892
Manhattan Holiday Events - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Events in Manhattan NYC

Manhattan Holiday Events - Manhattan NYC

Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, & Kwanzaa Candle Lightings in Manhattan & Holiday Markets & Events NYC

December 15, 2017 / Upper East Side UES / Upper West Side UWS / Midtown NYC / East Village & West Village / Tribeca SoHo Bowery / Holiday Events & Holiday Markets - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Holidays in Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Holiday lighting festivals and ceremonies have been on the rise in Manhattan in recent years. While some date back many years, some are fairly new.

Attending holiday lightings alone, with friends, or with the kids gives folks a chance to enjoy their own cultural heritage and provides an opportunity to learn a bit more about the cultural heritage of others.

Each lighting is a bit different, as some are orginated by the community, some by businesses, some are religiously oriented, and a few have arts organizations behind them. Please feel free to send us a notice of your holiday lighting event if it's not posted herein.

 

Manhattan Holiday Events & Holiday Markets Now Underway

This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a list of the holiday lighting events. The holiday lighting events are organized individually by each Manhattan neighborhood including the Upper East Side UES, the Upper West Side UWS, Midtown NYC, the East Village, the West Village, the Bowery, SoHo, Tribeca and more to come. Many include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally some snack like cookies.

Click here for a schedule of the Xmas / Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, Kwanzaa Candle Lightings - holiday events Manhattan - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa events NYC.



Manhattan Holiday Markets - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Holiday Markets in Manhattan NYC | manhattan holiday markets nyc christmas hanukkah kwanzaa holiday markets manhattan upper east side UES upper west side uws midtown soho tribeca harlem inwood washington heights holiday markets xmas markets bowery manhattan nyc 10.27.17 - 4
Manhattan Holiday Markets - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Holiday Markets in Manhattan NYC

Manhattan Holiday Markets 2017 - Manhattan NYC

Christmas Markets, Hanukkah Markets, Kwanzaa Markets & Outdoor Holiday Markets in Manhattan NYC

December 15, 2017 / Upper East Side UES / Upper West Side UWS / Midtown NYC / East Village & West Village / Tribeca SoHo Bowery / Holiday Events & Holiday Markets - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Holidays in Manhattan / Holiday Shopping Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Holiday outdoor markets have been on the rise in Manhattan since the dawn of the 21st century. While some date back many years, some are relatively new.

Shopping at holiday markets alone, with friends, or with the kids gives folks a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor and satisfy some of their yearnings and some of the yearnings of those we love.

Each of the Manhattan holiday markets is a bit different, as some are organized by community groups and others by business organizations. Oftentimes one can find artisanal products that are made in NYC or NYS.

 

Manhattan Holiday Markets Getting Underway

The Manhattan holiday markets get underway shortly after Halloween, with some coming opening up about the time of Thanksgiving. The Manhattan holiday markets are located in or near the following Manhattan neighborhoods - the Upper East Side UES, the Upper West Side UWS, Midtown NYC, the East Village, the West Village, the Bowery, SoHo, Tribeca, Lower East Side, Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights. Many either include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally snacks like cookies - or are near food vendors and restaurants.

Click here for our report about the Xmas / Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa Holiday markets in Manhattan NYC.



De Blasio Wins 2nd Term by Landslide

Nationally Democrats Pick up New Jersey & Hold onto Virginia

November 8, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / Gotham Buzz NYC.

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesCity-wide & Borough-wide Offices. Mayor de Blasio won a decisive victory against Republican challenger, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, on Tuesday by winning nearly 67% of the vote.

In fact it was a landslide for nearly all incumbent Democrats who won by comparably wide margins, including Letitia James for Public Advocate (74%), Scott Stringer for NYC Comptroller (77%), and all five Borough Presidents including Gale Brewer (Manhattan - 83%), Eric Adams (Brooklyn - 83%), Ruben Diaz (Bronx - 88%), Melinda Katz (Queens - 78%) and James Oddo (Staten Island - 75%).

Mayoral Election Results by Borough. De Blasio won four of the five boroughs by wide margins including roughly 5:1 in the Bronx, 3:1 in Manhattan and Brooklyn and approaching 2:1 in Queens. Malliotakis won her home borough of Staten Island approaching 3:1. Staten Island has a significantly smaller population than the other four boroughs as it has only between 20% and 30% the population of any of the other boroughs.

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesTrump Referendum & Job Performance Approval. Several pundits speculated that in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one - this was an NYC referendum on the Trump presidency. This may be so, but some mention should also be given to how well NYC is performing vis a vis other cities in terms of jobs creation, improving performance in the public schools, fiscal management and low crime rate.

New Jersey Governor Race. On the national front, newcomer Phil Murphy (D) beat Lieutenant Governor Kim Quadagno (R) in the governor race in New Jersey. Murphy received 55% of the vote while Quadagno received 43% of the vote. Murphy will replace Chris Christie (R) who has an approval rating of 19%. In exit polls, 11% said they cast their votes in support of Trump, while 32% said they cast their votes in opposition to Trump.

Results for the Three NYS Proposals on Ballot. The first Proposal - to change the NYS Constitution - lost overwhelmingly with 83% voting NO. The second Proposal - to take away pensions of some government employees found guilty of some crimes - won overwhelmingly with 73% voting YES. And the third Proposal - to allow some 'development' in public parks won in a close vote - 52% vote YES while 48% voted NO.

Virginia Governor Race. In Virginia, the latest polls were once again off significantly, predicting a tight race that wasn't. Democrat Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam won 54% of the vote while Republican Ed Gillespie who was the former Chair of the Republican National Committee won 43% of the vote. Gillespie won the rural parts of the state, while Northam won the urban areas. Gillespie was reported to be using Trump-style campaign tactics to win the race, but from Japan, Trump distanced himself from Gillespie's loss.

We Elect Pols but Not Publishers. In the graphic at right, you can see the pill face of the unhappy Billionaire which I superimposed over the face of the Mayor. The power-hungry, media mogul's outlet had published the headline 'Stuck with the Bill' - which he published in defiance of the two-thirds of the NYC voters who came out to re-elect the Mayor. He appears to be working toward conquering the U.S. so he can make us a 'Fox Nation', like he did Australia.

We don't get to elect publishers, but every time you purchase one of his papers, or click into his TV stations or websites, you are indirectly supporting him [NY Post, Fox News, WWOR Ch9, WNYW Fox Ch5 and the WSJ]. Some of the people in his organizations do good work, but many of those he puts front and center, appear to be highly paid propagandist mouthpieces who push what appears to be his greedy, deceitful, power-grabbing agenda. The story below provides more detail.


NYC Mayoral Debates Fall 2017

Dietl Effervesces, Malliotakis Attacks & de Blasio Defends

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesOctober 15, 2017 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Queens Politics NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

I attended the Mayoral Debate at Symphony Space on Tuesday, October 10th, where former NYC Detective [1970 – 1985] and security firm businessman Bo Dietl [Independent], New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis [Republican Staten Island] and Mayor Bill de Blasio [Democrat] squared off for one of two general election debates. The debates are sponsored by the New York Campaign Finance Board and are a requirement for those candidates who receive matching funds.

 

NYC Mayoral Debates - Opening Statements

Each candidate came out and made opening statements. Bo Dietl talked about his time working the streets as a policeman in the 1970’s and 1980’s and how since then he has run a successful security firm that also employs minorities. He described his two opponents as Column A and Column B candidates.

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debates malliotakis dietl de blasio nyc mayoral debates 2017Nicole Malliotakis told us how she is the first member of her family to obtain a college degree and a Masters of Business Administration and that she is the ‘American Dream’. She went on to say she would fix our schools, transit system and homelessness.

Bill de Blasio said that his two opponents were both right wing Republicans and that he was the only one that would stand up to Trump. He went on to say that crime is down, test scores at NYC public schools are up, but that there’s more to do and he needs New Yorkers’ help to continue making progress.

There was a small, but very boisterous minority of rude and disruptive people in the audience, who began their noisy tirades with the opening statements. It wasn’t until near the end of the program – that one of [several of] the loudest shouters and screamers was finally escorted out.

Click here for a fairly full recount of the NYC Mayoral Debates with Malliotakis, Dietl & de Blasio.


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Manhattan Holiday Events - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Events in Manhattan NYC | manhattan tree lightings holiday lightings nyc menorah lightings upper east side UES upper west side uws midtown soho tribeca tree lightings holiday celebrations xmas bowery manhattan nyc 12/7/16 1296 / 10.27.17 - 1892
Manhattan Holiday Events - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Events in Manhattan NYC

Manhattan Holiday Events - Manhattan NYC

Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, & Kwanzaa Candle Lightings in Manhattan & Holiday Markets & Events NYC

December 15, 2017 / Upper East Side UES / Upper West Side UWS / Midtown NYC / East Village & West Village / Tribeca SoHo Bowery / Holiday Events & Holiday Markets - Kwanzaa, Hanukkah & Christmas Holidays in Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Holiday lighting festivals and ceremonies have been on the rise in Manhattan in recent years. While some date back many years, some are fairly new.

Attending holiday lightings alone, with friends, or with the kids gives folks a chance to enjoy their own cultural heritage and provides an opportunity to learn a bit more about the cultural heritage of others.

Each lighting is a bit different, as some are orginated by the community, some by businesses, some are religiously oriented, and a few have arts organizations behind them. Please feel free to send us a notice of your holiday lighting event if it's not posted herein.

 

Manhattan Holiday Events & Holiday Markets Now Underway

This is not meant to be a complete list, but rather a list of the holiday lighting events. The holiday lighting events are organized individually by each Manhattan neighborhood including the Upper East Side UES, the Upper West Side UWS, Midtown NYC, the East Village, the West Village, the Bowery, SoHo, Tribeca and more to come. Many include the serving of some beverage like hot chocolate and generally some snack like cookies.

Click here for a schedule of the Xmas / Christmas Tree Lightings, Hanukkah Menorah Lightings, Kwanzaa Candle Lightings - holiday events Manhattan - Christmas, Hanukkah & Kwanzaa events NYC.



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Table of Silence Transcends 911

Lincoln Center Dance Commemoration Transcends Hate through Love

September 11, 2017 / Upper West Side Neighborhood / Modern Dance Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

table of silence 911 lincoln centerThis morning at 8.15 am over one hundred dancers began a spiritual commemoration of the events of 911 with a modern dance performance in the main plaza at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. This was the seventh year of the performance, and its meaning seems to grow - rather than diminish - with time. It's about the classic and timeless struggle, between giving into hate, or striving to love.

The dancers were all dressed in white, and they created a resplendent symmetry mimicking nature's own. The performance was accompanied by a bit of minimalist music - originating from a beating drum, the air passing through a conch shell, and the human vocal cords.

The dancers transformed the plaza at Lincoln Center into a table, with the bountiful water fountain in the middle. Plates appeared, signifying the sharing of a feast ... a spiritual feast ... a prayer for all humanity.

We feel a heavenly sharing of being together, in a single place, at a single time. It's a solemn place, a sagely peace, a peace with each other, a peace within, and a peace with all the world ... even as the world continues to swirl around us, as does the NYC traffic ... but we remain centered ... as one.

At exactly 8.46 am the performance stops. All is still in Lincoln Center Plaza as we observe a minute of silence together. It's a silence within, as we are surrounded by the ambient noise of the city during rush hour. Sixteen years ago at 8.46 am the second of two planes struck the World Trade Center wreaking havoc. Taking lives. Creating chaos.

Cleansed of hate and vengeance - we depart to go on with our days. We have defeated the terrorists, by not giving into their desire for an endless cycle of violence and hate.


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NYC Marathon Streamed Thru Manhattan

manhattan things to do manhattanNovember 13, 2017 / Upper East Side Neighborhood / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Parks & Sports / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

On Sunday, November 5th the NYC Marathon came streaming through Midtown and the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Over 50,000 runners completed the 26 mile run from Staten Island over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge through Brooklyn and Queens. They ran north along First Avenue on the Upper East Side [see photo at right] and crossed the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx and did a U-turn crossing back over the Third Avenue Bridge before coming down south along Fifth Avenue and ending in Central Park on the southwest corner of the park.

manhattan things to do manhattanThe average time it took the runners was four hours and 39 minutes. Given many had left Staten Island at times ranging from 7 to about 10 am, this put the average crossing the finish line sometime between about noon and 3 pm. Many took longer, but as we all know, they are to be applauded for their hearty endurance.

I met one man while taking the subway uptown who told me he had run many a NYC Marathon, but had injured himself while prepping for this one. Nonetheless, he had friends who were running in it and so he was going to hop in the run in the Bronx and run down to Central Park with them before hopping out again. He said that to him the NYC Marathon day was the best day in New York City.

The first NYC Marathon was run in 1970 with 55 runners in Central Park organized by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta. In 1976 they expanded the course to the streets of NYC and in 2016 the NYC Marathon had grown to become the world's largest marathon with over 51,000 finishers running the five borough course.


The Solar Eclipse of 2017 in NYC

The Solar Eclipse: A Shared American Communal Experience

August 21, 2017 / Queens Neighborhoods / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.

manhattan solar eclipse photos nyc 2017I set about to experience the solar eclipse of 2017, departing for Manhattan at about 1.30 – a bit after the eclipse was to begin. As I made my way to the subway, I met a woman who was heading to Hunters Point South Park to do the same. She offered me the use of her eclipse glasses, which I examined but it was far to early to really use.

The eclipse glasses were opaque and I couldn’t see through them. Apparently they only work when you’re looking at the sun. The glasses this woman had were sponsored by Cisco Systems through a science camp in Rochester, NY. Consumers were advised to be careful about which eclipse glasses to use, as apparently some would not filter out the harmful, eye-damaging rays of the sun. One eclipse audience member told me that the glasses were being sold online – ten for $100. I’ll have more about the protective glasses a bit later as I used the glasses to take what I would call ‘meaningful’ photos.

There were many reports published about how one can damage their eyes by looking directly at the sun. The Washington Post noted that the damage can begin in as little as one and a half minutes, and that looking at the sun in a sequence of little peaks at a time, may not prevent you from doing real damage. It’s worth noting that one can also damage their camera by pointing it directly at the sun for a long period of time. The New York Times noted that the longest the full eclipse will last, is less than three minutes, and that in many places in America it will last less than a minute.

manhattan solar eclipse photos nyc 2017Historically, it’s worth noting that the moon eclipsing the sun happens every 18 months, but most eclipses happen over the oceans which cover about two thirds of the planet earth surface. According to the New York Times, the last time America experienced a full solar eclipse was in 1918, a full 99 years ago, so few if any who are old enough to experience the eclipse this time, are likely to see it again.

The eclipse began along the west coast in Oregon at about 1.15 pm, the peak was at about 2.45 pm and the final was at about 4 pm. I’ll note a few of my times as we run through the rest of this report.

Anyhow, I arrived at Lexington and 77th Street about 2 pm, about 45 minutes before the peak of the eclipse. A few folks were standing in the street looking up, so I shot a photo of the sun at that time, but it didn’t look like much at the blinding rays of light blocked any real photo clarity.

Rest of story with plenty more photos coming at a later date.


Click here for things to do on the Upper East Side and fpr Contacts lens & eyeglasses in Jamaica. Midtown Dentists and Midtown Chiropractors, and Islam Fashion NYC.


HARLEM / INWOOD / WASHINGTON HEIGHTS


Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

Medieval Festival is a Fascinating Event in Washington Heights

medieval festival fort tryon parkOctober 4, 2017 / Washington Heights Neighborhood / Sports & Parks Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

 

On Sunday, October 1st, I headed up to Washington Heights to attend the 35th annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park. It was a beautiful fall day as I rode the A train north from Times Square. I met a beautiful young princess from the Bronx on the train wearing a Medieval headband of flowers in her hair. We started talking about the Medieval Festival and lucky for me she had attended it previously and gave me a few important tips.

 

The first tip was to get off the train at the 190th Street stop because Fort Tryon Park is situated on a bluff [the forts always were so they could spot trouble ahead] and the 190th Street subway station is equipped with elevators which take you up to the park level which overlooks the rest of Washington Heights. She also drew my attention to the jousting contest which was to begin at 5 pm. medieval festival fort tryon park washington heights neighborhood nyc

 

When I arrived at the top of the hill, I began my journey through the Medieval Festival which included numerous ye olde vendors selling food and clothing and gifts, as well as all sorts of other things including beauty items. But what was most peculiar were the various acts and events going on all along my walk north to the Cloisters.

 

Click here for additional photos and a video of the jousting contest, as well as a brief history of the Medieval Festival, the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park.


The Dykman Farmhouse

Where the Cows Come Home in Historic Manhattan ...

dykman farmhouse museum washington heights manhattan nycSeptember 25, 2017 / Washington Heights Neighborhood / Manhattan History / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

I had an opportunity to visit the Dykman Farmhouse in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan this past weekend. The event was their third annual Fall Festival where they offered cider tasting in commemoration of the historic Dykman apple orchards and cider mill, as well as a cheese and waffle tasting. The cheese was Dutch and came from Holland providing a holistic, historic and delightfully happy event.

The Dykmans were a Dutch family that came here in the 1600's and built the Dykman Farmhouse in the early 1780's. Their land holdings on the north section of Manhattan fluctuated, ranging from about 340 to 200 acres of land in northern Manhattan. In the mid 1800's [circa 1870] the Dykman heirs held several auctions, which liquidated most of their holdings, including the Dykman Farmhouse.

 

Historic Dutch Settlers Farmhouse in Manhattan

dykman farmhouse museum washington heights manhattan nycIn 1915 two of the Dykman heirs repurchased the farmhouse and turned it into a museum in order to preserve a small shred of the colonial past of Manhattan. The sisters and one of their husbands helped find furniture and other home furnishings to recreate the colonial past, and they opened the Dykman Farmhouse Museum a year later in 1916. The Dykman Farmhouse is the oldest farmhouse in Manhattan.

I came upon the farmhouse walking down Broadway just south of 205th street in Washington Heights. It's on an elevated piece of land, which sets atop the land enclosed by a brick wall. I walked up the stone steps into another time dimension, because even though it's in the heart of Washington Heights, surrounded by tall buildings, the sisters purchased and preserved a large enough tract of land to provide the visitor with a sense of being in the country.

I continued walking on a stone path which ran along the front of the long porch at the front of the house. On the far side of the house there was the large yard, which not just protruded to the side of the house, but expanded deeply beyond the back of the house, where a few tall trees provided an inviting, picnic-like setting. The back porch was similar to the front porch in that it provided sufficient space for one to congregate in an expansive relaxed manner, which the guest musicians who were performing were relaxing.

 

Artisanal Beer Created in Washington Heights

dykman farmhouse museum washington heights manhattan nycMeredith Horsford, the Dykman Farmhouse Museum Executive Director, provided me with a brief tour of the house before we joined her other guest in the Dykman Farmhouse celebration. I'll provide a tour of the Dykman Farmhouse in a second story at a later date, so that I can tell you about the celebration now.

There was an artisanal beer maker at the event whose name is Juan J. Camilo. Juan is from the Washington Heights neighborhood and just four years ago, he created and launched Dykman Brew. He told me he had started home brewing about eight years ago and that the Chelsea Brewery in the Bronx currently brews the beer. I'm a pretty interested beer drinker [preferences range from Becks to Guinness to Peroni], and I don't find myself enjoying most new beers. But the Dykman Brew was an exception, as it is a smooth, rich, flavorful beer. Juan told me it's sold in many Washington Heights neighborhood stores, as well as in stores in other parts of the city, that you can find on his website - www.dykmanbeerco.com.

 

Artisanal Dutch Cheeses made in the Old Country

dykman farmhouse museum washington heights manhattan nycI also met a woman who helps Beemster Premium Dutch Cheese market their cheese in the U.S. She had samples which I tasted before we delved into the artisanal Dutch cheeseworks. The cheese was a semi-soft, creamy Gouda cheese that in addition to a nice taste on its own, would likely go well with just about any accompaniment.

She told me that the cheese is aged for 18 months on wooden planks in old historic stone warehouses before it is made available for sale. That the cows are herded on Dutch polder land [land reclaimed from the sea] which provides rich grazing. She noted that Beemster is one of the most - if not the most - sustainable dairies in the Netherlands, but that there are bilateral trade issues with organic certification which is why they can't yet make that claim on their cheese. The cheese tasted great before we started talking, and possibly even a bit more so after I had heard her tell me about it.

Live Music & Entertainment in Historic Washington Heights

I sauntered back around to the rear of the farmhouse where unfortunately [for me] the musicians had stopped playing. They were discussing their gigs around the city and how to get to and from them.

Anyhow, the third annual Fall Celebration at the Dykman Farmhouse was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. They have other upcoming programs, such as Oktoberfest. Check out their website for details and we'll periodically post some of the bigger events as they arise in our Weekend Things To Do post which is done sometime every Friday.


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Is Singing Beach a Twilight Parallax?

Tina Howe's New Play at Here MainStage Theater in SoHo

July 25, 2017 / SoHo Neighborhood near Tribeca / Manhattan Theater & Summer Plays / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

manhattan things to do manhattanLast Thursday I had the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal of Singing Beach written by American playwright Tina Howe.

Tina Howe has won numerous awards and honors as an American Playwright including placing as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1983 [Painting Churches], the Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Play in 1998 [Prides Crossing] and the Lilly Award Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Tina told me that the play, Singing Beach, was something she had started nearly a decade ago, but had put on hiatus after a couple of years of toil because she just couldn’t get it right ... until now.

In the photo at right we watch as granddaughter Piper, played by Elodie Lucinda Morss, segues into another dimension taking us aboard the S.S. United States in Singing Beach, a new play by Tina Howe.

 

Singing Beach - Modern Themes

The play, Singing Beach, explores a number of themes. One of them is how family members respond to the caring needs of an aging, non-functional family member. In the Singing Beach play, the near-comatose elder is the father of the mother character [Mary], and the grandfather of granddaughter character [Piper] – whom together represent the female axis around which the play revolves. In a more cosmic parallax sense, the play actually encompasses three generations of women, as the grandmother’s presence is felt by the void left when she passed away a year earlier.

 

Singing Beach - Director, Producer & Playwright

manhattan things to do manhattanTina Howe’s new play is directed by Ari Laura Kreith of Theatre 167 and produced by Jenny Lyn Bader. The play opens on a beautiful beach, Singing Beach, which is a reference to a small, exclusive half-mile stretch of beach near Manchester by the Sea, which is just north of Salem in Massachusetts. The beach is known for its unique sand, which periodically emits sounds, when the wind hits the beach sand in just the right way.

The ghostly sounds of Singing Beach appear to be a metaphor in the play. Shortly after the play opens, we’re told there’s a storm, with potentially lethal gale force winds approaching. Will the storm wreak havoc, misery and by virtue of its destructive force, shake up and change everyone’s reality?

Shortly after the first scene, we’re taken into the dreamy parallax stream of subconscious in granddaughter Piper’s mind - in a transition that is far more subtle than the windy transition taken by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. After Piper takes us aboard a transatlantic steamer, she appears to have far more fun than Dorothy, but is traveling in an environment that might be more mortally dangerous.

In the photo at right are Director Ari Laura Kreith, Producer Jenny Lynn Bader and Playwright Tina Howe at the Here Theater in SoHo.

 

At Here MainStage Theater in SoHo thru 8/12

I’ll have more on this as the week progresses, but in the meantime Singing Beach is being performed at the Here MainStage Theater at 145 6th Avenue at Dominick Street in SoHo. The play runs through August 12, 2017, but seating is very limited.

You can purchase tickets online [$30 / $20] at the Here.org website by cutting and pasting this url into your browser box - http://here.org/shows/detail/1920/


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Lil Frankie's in the East Village / Bowery

Frivolous, Fun Fare in the East Village

rooftop bars nyc bar 65 rockefeller center nycSeptember 17, 2017 / East Village Neighborhood / East Village Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

It was Sunday, August 27th, a week before the school year was about to begin, as I made my way down to the Bowery to meet an out-of-town guest and family members for a farewell dinner. It was a nice end-of-summer evening as I came above ground in SoHo, and I had a little time so I browsed around.

I made my way up to Lil Frankie's at 19 First Avenue, only a couple doors north of Houston Street. Lil Frankies was bustling. It's a cash only restaurant that serves pizza and assorted Italian fare at affordable prices - meaning most of the appetizers and entrees run between $10 - $20 apiece.

The photo at right shows the store front of Lil Frankies on First Avenue north of Houston in the Bowery / East Village.

Thankfully we had a reservation so we didn't have to wait. The restaurant is divided into two sections, one in the open area surrounding the bar and opening out onto the street, and the other in the back room which is made not quite so claustrophobic by the use of mirrors.

rooftop bars nyc bar 65 rockefeller center nycWe started with a plate of fried calamari which was fresh and tender. This was followed by main entrees including margherita pizza, wood roasted chicken and a pappardelle with veal ragout. I had ordered the pappardelle which was served while still hot, with the pasta cooked al dente, providing a dense, flavorful texture to accommodate the tomato based ragout sauce which surrounded the tender bits of veal.

I was told that the fresh tomatoes and authentic mozzarella, combined with the flavorful dough used in creating the margherita pizza made its out-of-town recipient one happy camper. And that the roasted chicken was moist, tender and deliciously flavored with lemon, capers and sage.

The ambiance was festive, the service was excellent, and it was a bit loud as Lil Frankie's attracts a youthful audience. And since the youthful members of our party were about to return to school, Lil Frankie's turned out to be just the right pick.

Lil Frankies is a fun, casual place to get together with family and friends.


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New Years Parties In Manhattan | manhattan new years parties nyc new years restaurants in midtown upper east side nyc village nyc new years parties in manhattan nyc 12/28/15 - 1799::: 1/1/16 - 1828.  12/29/16 - 2530.
New Years Parties In Manhattan

New Years Parties In Manhattan

New Years Parties in Manhattan, UES, Upper East Side, Midtown, West & East Village & UWS

December 29, 2017 / Manhattan Restaurants / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

We've taken an look into some of the restaurants hosting New Years parties in the Manhattan NYC.  The restaurants in Manhattan offer a wide variety of party venues.

Picking the restaurant you're going to party at in Manhattan is something you should give thought to - not just for budgetary reasons, but depending on the time of you arrive and your plans for the evening.

Click here to read the rest of our report about new new years parties in Manhattan.



Le Monde French Restaurant UWS

Le Monde is where 'the World' Meets on the Upper West Side

October 10, 2017 / Upper West Side Neighborhood UWS / Manhattan French Restaurants UWS / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

le monde franch restaurant uws french restaurants upper west side nycIt was mid September and school had recently begun as I made my way toward Le Monde French restaurant on the Upper West Side. Le Monde is located along Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets - only a block away from the Samuel Tilden monument along Riverside Drive. Tilden was the first presidential candidate to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote back in 1876. He had been the Governor of New York State. But I digress.

Le Monde is a classical French brasserie, with dark wood paneled booths; a small hexagonal piece, stone tile floor; high ceilings with fans and cafe style seating outside along the street. Given it was a near perfect night, we chose to sit outside.

After being seated, the sommelier was first to welcome us. We went with a Bordeaux. I skipped the appetizers and went straight to the Coq au Vin, while my dining companions ordered the Steak Frites and the Organic Chicken. The wine arrived shortly after we ordered it and our conversation turned to the new school year.

After the food arrived we all went silent for a bit as we savored our respective choices. The Coq au Vin had a mellow flavor to it. The small pieces of chicken were tender and likely had been marinated and were accompanied by vegetables including medium-sized mushrooms cooked al dente, as well as carrots, garlic and onions in a thin wine sauce. On top of the stew there was a portion of Dauphinoise gratin, which are thin cuts of potatoes cooked in a layered manner and brown atop.

The 12 oz steak and fries seemed to hit the spot as the young man who ordered it didn't come up for air until he was largely done. He said it was tender and flavorful and the fries slightly moist on the inside while crisp and salted on the outside.

The organic chicken had come with asparagus cooked al dente. The chicken was moist and served simply.

Meanwhile the street traffic seemed comprised of mostly coeds from Barnard heading down into town, while the people in the restaurant seemed a mix of neighborhood folks including several young couples, possibly from nearby Columbia.

The prices seemed reasonable for NYC, with the appetizers coming in around $10, while the main courses ranged between $16 and $30. Le Monde, where 'the world' meets on the Upper West Side.


Queens Library lawsuit and Queens Brooklyn tile stores near Williamsburg.

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Scroll up to see Holiday Markets & Holiday Events.

Cigar Stores in Manhattan: Davidoff

Midtown Cigar Lounge with Fine Selection & Ambiance

August 15, 2017 / Midtown Manhattan Neighborhoods / Shopping Manhattan Midtown / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to take a break at the Davidoff Cigar store located in Midtown Manhattan. I have visited the store on several prior occasions, stopping in for a quick take out order of a fresh cigar or two. But on this day I had a bit of time available, so I decided to reward myself with an 'eat-in' cigar.

 

Davidoff Cigar Store - Men's Gift Stores in Manhattan

cigar stores manhattan gift shops mens shops midtown manhattan nycI like entering the Davidoff store. It's a tightly appointed men's store, complete with more than a full range of sizes and strengths of cigars. They also offer all of the accessories one might need to properly care for and to assist in the consumption of cigars, meaning humidors and ash trays and lighters and the like. They also offer other men's accessories like wallets and brief cases that match the quality branding of their cigars.

 

Inside the humidified cigar room I began browsing the selection. While looking through the cases, I started conversing with another customer who recommended a Dominican made cigar he favors. I was in a receptive mood to try something different, so I bought a regular sized, medium bodied, lighter tobacco cigar, which cost in the neighborhood of $8 - $12 [can't remember the price or name right now] and headed into the smoking lounge to enjoy my purchase.

 

Cigar Lounges in Manhattan: Davidoff Cigars

cigar stores manhattan cigar loungers midtown manhattan nycThe smoking lounge is at street level on 6th Avenue between 56th and 57th streets. As it was a quiet Saturday on a cool spring day, the pedestrian traffic was fairly light. During the weekdays and holidays it's bustling. The mood of the room reflected the calmness outside, as there were about a half dozen men, ranging in age from about the mid thirties to mid sixties, sat reading the paper, conversing or quietly staring into space contemplating a business deal, a family issue or the universe.

 

I spent the better part of an hour talking to the guy who'd recommended my cigar. We covered the family and kids, the job and what's doing in the world, both here and abroad. It was a pleasant conversation and I left the Davidoff store on 6th Avenue just south of 57th Street feeling pretty good about things and planning to make a return visit in the not-too-distant future.


Farmers Markets & Street Fairs in Manhattan

manhattan street fairs September 15, 2017 / Manhattan Farmers Markets / Manhattan Street Fairs / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

 

Many Manhattan farmers markets are open year round, but there are also a number of them that are seasonal. Some of the seasonal Manhattan farmers markets begin opening in the Spring, with nearly all of the rest of them opening no later than the first two of weeks in July. Click here to view the schedules of many of the farmers markets in Manhattan.

Manhattan street fairs are entirely seasonal, with some of them hitting the streets in early April. Manhattan street fairs rise markedly during the spring and lighten up a bit during the dog days of summer [July / August], and rising again in the fall. By the end of November most of the Manhattan street fairs go on hiatus. Click here to view a full schedule of Manhattan street fairs. Click here for Bronx street fairs.


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Update: LaGuardia Airport Development Project

First Phase Moving Along with Second & Third Phases About to Begin

April 24, 2017 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Real Estate / Gotham Buzz NYC.

laguardia airport construction redesign LGAI attended a Community Board One meeting at the Astoria World Manor on Wednesday, April 19th. People representing the LaGuardia Airport development project were scheduled to provide the community with an update regarding several of the multi-billion dollar renovation projects associated with LaGuardia Airport, that are either currently in the works or nearing the end of the planning process.

The presentation was split into three parts: 1) LaGuardia Airport development project construction updates, 2) traffic mitigation efforts and 3) community outreach including job opportunities related to the projects.

Click here to read our report on the LaGuardia Airport development project & expansion, related job opportunities, its possible impact on travel times to the airport and the public hearing details on May 3rd, 2017 in Flushing. We have also included a small bit of history about the airport and the fight over the property and development in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The graphic at right was created as part of the LaGuardia Airport development project.


Click here for Jackson Heights realtors.


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Algonquin Hotel NYC

Midtown Manhattan Hotels near Times Square

nyc hotels near theater district algonquin hotel photoManhattan Hotels NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

The Algonquin Hotel has a storied past. It was built in 1902 and was once the watering hole for the writers, actors and artists of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920's.

Many of the writers for the New Yorker magazine, including editor Harold Ross, were members of the Algonquin Round Table. The Algonquin Round Table regulars also included the editor of Harpers magazine, Art Samuels, as well as Alexander Woollcott who was a playwright, the NY Times drama critic and an early radio personality at CBS. And of course, author and screenwriter, Dorothy Parker.

The Algonquin continues to maintain an old world charm, while providing all the modern amenties. The room where the Algonquin Round Table met is intact and the Algonquin has a restaurant that serves an elegant breakfast, lunch and dinner at 59th West 44th Street in Midtown, near the Times Square theater district.

Click here for a map with links for the Algonquin Hotel one of the leading hotels in Midtown Manhattan which is shown in the photo at right.

And click here for the Algonquin Hotel business listing on this site which includes a link to their website and telephone number for them, as one of the leading historic hotels near the Theater District NYC in Midtown Manhattan.


*** IMPORTANT ISSUES ***


NY Post Propaganda, Fox News Distortions & NYC Elections

Will Murdoch's Propaganda Outlets Impact NYC Municipal Elections & the NYS Ballot Referendums of 2017?

nyc mayoral debates october 2017 nyc debatesNovember 5, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

How Reliable are the Polls?

On Tuesday November 7, 2017 New Yorkers have an opportunity to assert their will at the ballot box. While the polls indicate Mayor de Blasio will win re-election, it’s important to recall that only a year ago, all but one of the polls forecast that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency.

Having reliable information sources is important to making good choices.

In the 2016 presidential election we saw a corruption of a lot of information that was published and videocast about the candidates, which was used in an attempt to manipulate voters' view of them - aka propaganda.

The following provides a look at the dominant NYC news information provider with an eye to how fair and accurate they have been in their reporting of NYC news. The report contains links to additional information related to this report, as well as additional information about the impending NYC Mayoral election.

Billionaire Murdoch's NY Post & Fox News Appear to have Spent the Past Couple Years Distorting NYC News

One billionaire, Keith Rupert Murdoch, controls a guesstimated 40% of the branded, local, major media outlets in New York City - including the

  • NY Post
  • Fox News Network
  • WWOR TV Channel 9
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • WFOX TV Channel 5

Murdoch appears to use his media outlets as one giant propaganda machine, pouring out billions of impressions around the world into unaware voters / consumers minds. The Murdoch media oftentimes appears to contain misleading, out-of-context narratives that seem intended to manipulate audiences into believing / feeling positively or negatively about politicians / government officials based on distorted reporting of allegations, sensationalizing nits and sometimes outright fictions fabricated or amplified by contributors of the Fox Fake News Factory. These impressions often enough appear to further Murdoch's insatiable appetite for money and power, by removing or promoting pols into positions where they can be used to advance Murdoch's profit-seeking interests.


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ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper rupert murdoch fox fake news ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper
ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper ny post propaganda paper

Murdoch also controls a number of national publications he’s acquired over the past decade or so, such as Barrons and National Geographic. Oftentimes, if not always, it appears that Murdoch changes editorial staff and reporting standards soon after Murdoch acquisitions have been completed. Generally those changes appear to change what was once a respected news organization into what seems to be a Murdoch propaganda machine. We’ve been reporting on what appears to be Rupert Murdoch’s nefarious use and abuse of his media outlets in a series we’ve entitled Murdoch Media Madness / Fox Fake News / NY Post propaganda.


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