Category Archive 'New York City'
17 Sep 2019
Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio announce the abolition of the NYC elite high school entrance exam.
George Packer (Y ’82)‘s poignant essay, in the Atlantic, on haute bourgeois parenting Manhattan-style is simply chock-full of information on the parental aspirations, obsessions, and the heads full of liberal nonsense of the new Upper Class.
The oblivious Packer delivers an appalling look at the world the douchebag elite left of my own generation has made. The characteristic combination of status-hunger, sanctimony, and stupidity of the new Woke Elite leads directly to the totalitarian egalitarian denouement that leaves Packer depressed, conflicted, and confused. What is a pious bourgeois bohemian to do when his children’s future status and the fanatical egalitarianism of the radical left come into conflict?
People of Packer’s ilk inhabit a very insular thought world, entirely molded by fashion, the elite media, and elite Academia. They are intensely competitive and ambitious, driven by their need to have, and to be, the best. They have to attend the best schools, have the best careers, raise the most successful children, eat the best dinner at the best restaurant, all the while having the best values and faithfully taking the most politically correct positions. They have no clue concerning their own provinciality and their own spectacular combination of naÃ¯vetÃ© and arrogance.
They lead lives of constant struggle and desperation, but they think there could be nothing worse than not being members in good standing of their own type and class.
When parents on the fortunate ledge of this chasm gaze down, vertigo stuns them. Far below they see a dim world of processed food, obesity, divorce, addiction, online-education scams, stagnant wages, outsourcing, rising morbidity ratesâ€”and they pledge to do whatever they can to keep their children from falling. Theyâ€™ll stay married, cook organic family meals, read aloud at bedtime every night, take out a crushing mortgage on a house in a highly rated school district, pay for music teachers and test-prep tutors, and donate repeatedly to overendowed alumni funds. The battle to get their children a place near the front of the line begins before conception and continues well into their kidsâ€™ adult lives. At the root of all this is inequalityâ€”and inequality produces a host of morbid symptoms, including a frantic scramble for status among members of a professional class whose most prized acquisition is not a Mercedes plug-in hybrid SUV or a family safari to Maasai Mara but an acceptance letter from a university with a topâ€‘10 U.S. News & World Report ranking. …
â€œIf you fail a math test you fail seventh grade,â€ our daughter said one night at dinner, looking years ahead. â€œIf you fail seventh grade you fail middle school, if you fail middle school you fail high school, if you fail high school you fail college, if you fail college you fail life.â€
Personally, I’d rather be a free American living in the worst shit-hole in Appalachia with normal ordinary American Trump-voters for neighbors than be a brainwashed zombie living among the kind of nincompoops that would elect Bill de Blasio.
06 Aug 2019
Leave it to the New Yorker to assign appraisal of some automotive-think books to a Jewish nerd who doesn’t know how to drive and who is afraid of cars.
Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?
For a century, weâ€™ve loved our cars. They havenâ€™t loved us back.
According to Heller, the triumph of the internal combustion engine was just another expression of toxic masculinity. He looks forward approvingly, from his Blue perspective, to a future of self-driving cars. No more autonomy. No more individualism. What could be more Blue State? What could be better?
You kind of wonder if the New Yorker would have given John Ruskin space for a column on making love to a woman or assigned Helen Keller to review Impressionist paintings.
Come friendly bombs and fall on Brooklyn!
27 Jul 2019
Left: Rachel DeLoache Williams; right: “Anna Delvey,” really Anna Sorokin in Marrakech.
She posed as a German heiress planning to lease for her own foundation a Manhattan building for a visual-arts center dedicated to contemporary art, which would also house a lounge, bar, art galleries, studio space, restaurants, and a members-only club.
She met fashionable young New York professionals at chic restaurants and bars where, Ooops! her phone failed to work when trying to charge the check, and she hadn’t bothered carrying a credit card. So her new friends obliging picked up the tab this time.
She took the dazzled Rachel DeLoache Williams, who worked at Vanity Fair, on a little outing to a [Â£5,485 a night] villa she’d booked at Marrakech. But it did not work quite the way Rachel was expecting.
On the morning we were supposed to leave, she asked for my help booking the flights because there was a problem with her card. I didnâ€™t think too much of it; this was just the way she was: disorganised. Iâ€™d seen her book things last minute so many times and I knew she would reimburse me.
From there, it was a trickle effect. At the airport, Anna â€˜accidentallyâ€™ checked her wallet, which meant I had to pay for everyoneâ€™s dinner (she brought a photographer and her personal trainer, too). Her card still wasnâ€™t working for the rest of the trip, so I began adding things to a tab (dinners, kaftans). I had presumed our villa was pre-paid, but at some point the hotel manager began asking to speak with Anna.
The penny drops
On the third day of the trip, I walked into our villa and the hotel managers were standing in the doorway. Anna was sitting with her phone on the table in front of her, like she was waiting for something. A call, apparently. One of the managers turned to me and asked if I had a credit card. They were firm. I looked to Anna and she said â€˜use it for nowâ€™. My stomach sank. It would have felt weirdly ungrateful to show my annoyance, so I gave it to them. I was told the charge was only temporary â€“ it wasnâ€™t â€“ and I left the next morning, a day before she did.
This is when everything started to unravel. Every day I asked her for the money back and every day she promised it would arrive. I thought she was just doing a characteristically bad job of following through with logistical things. It was $62,000 [about Â£48,800] in total.
This went on for an excruciatingly long time â€“ two months â€“ and my life started falling apart. I was having panic attacks constantly, not sleeping. It took me a strikingly long time to even ask myself the question: what if she never pays you back? Because that would mean Iâ€™d have to look at how that would impact my life, and I knew if I did that, I wouldâ€™ve lost it. I already wasnâ€™t saving any money â€“ New York is expensive, and I was barely breaking even â€“ so to be set back 60-something thousand dollars? It felt like, â€˜I am never going to get out of this hole. This is where it ends for me. Iâ€™m not going to get to buy a house, Iâ€™m not going to get to be a real adult, Iâ€™m never going to have kids.â€™
More book excerpts at Crime Reads.
But, cheer up, Rachel wrote up the story of her misfortunes as a book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, and she will probably come out ahead in the end.
10 Dec 2018
Women Boxing on Roof, New York City, 1930.
02 Nov 2018
Rockefeller Center in 1933, before it was surrounded by tall buildings.
01 Nov 2018
Mandarin Duck ((Aix galericulata), native to East Asia, photographed in Central Park by Dennis Newsham.
A rare duck is going viral online after finding a new home in New York City.
The Mandarin duck, known for its multicolored feathers and hot pink bill, is native to East Asia. The big question: Why is it here, in the middle of Manhattan?
Photographer Dennis Newsham canâ€™t get enough of the duck.
â€œI took a couple hundred [pictures] because itâ€™s a rare bird and I was trying to get some action shots, and I got some of it flying,â€ Newsham said.
The Harlem man isnâ€™t the only one flocking to the park to get a glimpse.
The bird was first spotted on Oct. 10th and videotaped in a now viral video.
Since then, New Yorkers and tourists are swarming to the pond in the southeast corner of the park near 59th and Fifth.
31 Oct 2018
Taki is just a trifle negative about today’s New York.
NEW YORKâ€”In the dark she still looks good. The mystery and magnetism linger until dawn, and then you slowly see the lines and the harshness. Like a lady of the night who has smoked 10,000 cigarettes, the coming of the light is the enemy. New York ainâ€™t what she used to be, thatâ€™s for sure. Sheâ€™s a tired old place, with the upper-class vertical living gone to seed, and the honky-tonk fun side of the city gentrified and made boring. Michael Bloomberg as mayor did his best to ruin the glamour of the city, allowing glass behemoths to make the Chrysler Building, one of the worldâ€™s monuments to architectural brilliance, be buried amidst glass monstrosities. Bloomberg was and is a lowlife who knows how to count to 50 billion but couldnâ€™t tell you Admiral Nelsonâ€™s Christian name if his miserable life depended on it. The present mayor, de Blasio, is a lowlife wop without the billions.
What happens in the sky is felt in the streets below. The once-exclusive Vanderbilt Avenue, where stores sold expensive tennis gear and hunting shotguns, is now a dark and dreary place, and just as well. The Vanderbilt was the hotel where the swells metâ€”under the clockâ€”since before Fitzgeraldâ€™s time and long past Takiâ€™s. It was gone with the wind when Bloomberg types descended on the city like the northern jackals who went down south.
07 Oct 2018
My 1983 arrest photo, taken at 4 in the morning. I look tired and disgruntled.
I’m a Baby Boomer and consequently, at this point, a geezer. My original Yale class arrived with short hair, wearing jackets and ties, at a non-coeducated Yale featuring strict parietal hours (meaning no girls in your room after 10 PM). I was, by the merest of accidents, at Woodstock.
I am going to confess, reluctantly, that I very recently turned 70. 35 years ago today, when I was 35-years-old, half a lifetime ago, I made a citizen’s arrest in New York City which involved reducing the culprit to possession by shooting him in the leg, causing me to be arrested, thrown into the NYC jail system, and charged with First Degree Armed Assault, plus some firearm possession charges (which –oddly enough– were never really discussed as the whole thing proceeded).
My shooting incident occurred a year earlier than the famous Bernhard Goetz Subway Shooting. I could easily have been what Bernhard Goetz became: a nationally-famous test case involving the private use of force against the then-epidemic minority violence terrorizing New York City.
I was, of course, smarter than Goetz. I used the threat of publicity to persuade the Manhattan DA’s office to back down and actually follow the law. Publicity was not in their interest. And it was not in my interest. Had the story broken, no doubt they would not have backed down, the Grand Jury would have indicted me, and I’d have been convicted, gotten a criminal record, and served time for something.
I saved the local CT newspaper article, some of the legal correspondence, and other material related to the event in a scrapbook at the time, and a few years ago, scanned the most interesting bits into my computer.
If anyone wants to read the story of all this, here it is: Shooting a Rapist.
05 Sep 2018
Somebody has to try these things for the rest of us. Jason Gay did.
I ate a $180 steak sandwich. Not for me; donâ€™t be ridiculous. I did it for journalism.
Letâ€™s dispense with the obvious: A $180 steak sandwich is an indefensible purchase. It is a foodstuff strictly for vulgarians, a decadent symbol of 21st-century gluttony and the over-luxurification of everything. To buy it is to wallow in oneâ€™s privilege, oneâ€™s shameless indifference to the plight of humankind.
Other than that, itâ€™s pretty tasty. …
Unlike, say, the beignets at New Orleansâ€™ Cafe du Monde, the Don Wagyu $180 sandwich seems to be less of a foodieâ€™s bucket-list experience than a freak-show curiosity: How could a sandwich cost as much as a plane ticket to Florida? This is, after all, the type of thing that makes the rest of the planet think New Yorkers are out of their minds. Was the $180 sandwich a legitimate food experience or some kind of commentary on late-stage capitalism?
I should call the sandwich by its real name: the A5 Ozaki. The â€œA5â€ is a reference to the summit-grade of Japanese beef, and â€œOzakiâ€ is the farm from which Don Wagyu gets the meat (the only U.S. establishment to receive it, the server says while Iâ€™m there). Don Wagyu also serves more affordable Katsu sandosâ€”thereâ€™s a $22 off-menu burger, for exampleâ€”but the $180 Ozaki is the cleanup hitter at the bottom of the menu. It is served medium-rare.
Ordering the A5 Ozaki is not a showy experience. The lights do not dim, the kitchen does not clap; it does not require much more of a wait than a turkey club at a diner. A slice of beef is encrusted with panko, fried, placed on toasted white bread and served quartered, like a preschoolerâ€™s PB&J. Nori-sprinkled french fries and a pickle spear are the only accompaniments.
Breaking news: I liked it. Iâ€™m not a food critic. I hardly know my cuts of meat, and I cannot offer a detailed analysis of why the A5 Ozaki is $100 more of an event than the closest-priced item, the A5 Miyazaki. I will not try to justify paying such an absurd amount for a single piece of food, especially one that can be tidily consumed in the space of five minutes. But the A5 Ozaki was light and buttery to the point of being almost ethereal, as if the sandwich knew the pressure of delivering on its comical price.
Which, of course, it does not. There is no sandwich that is possibly worth $180. But thatâ€™s the thrill (and the crime) of extravagance, is it not? Eating this thing felt right and completely wrongâ€”more like a caper than a lunch.
19 Feb 2018
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