Category Archives: new york city

Lame Adventure 430: Mediocrity Cast in Terry Cloth

Possibly you’re like me: whenever you think of sculpture your mind wanders in the direction of monuments to greatness. Solid structures cast in bronze revering brilliant and usually, long dead contributors to culture, society or politics — memorials destined to withstand the test of time.

Show biz legend George M. Cohan giving his regards to Broadway.

Show biz legend George M. Cohan giving his regards to Broadway.

Monument in Riverside Park to humanitarian and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Humanitarian and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt reflecting thoughtfully in Riverside Park.

Legendary three term New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village.

Legendary three term New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia applauding the weather at LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village.

Bonus sculpture: dancing farm animals I happen to like.

Bonus sculpture: dancing farm animals I happen to like.

Then, there’s the monument from one blogger, specifically Lois over at My Cruise Stories, to another, specifically me. The choice of material, terry cloth, is spot on for the blogosphere and perfect for the author of Lame Adventures. The fact that this towel sculpture is destined to withstand the test of bath time truly tickles my funny bone.

Immortalized with the greats as well as bath mats.

Immortalized with the greats and great bath mats.

Thanks Lois!

To learn how to create towel sculptures and to read Lois’ s blog about the cruise ship industry (she’s quite an entertaining authority) click here.

Lame Adventure 428: Angry Bird in the Hood

New York is a city that is well known for skyscrapers, glass, steel, concrete and asphalt, but it is also a place with significant urban wildlife. And I’m not dwelling on a dream I recently had where I lifted the lid off a garbage can in front of my apartment building and a skunk leaped out directly at me. Why my subconscious was thinking about a big, furry, livid skunk springing from a normally peaceful trash receptacle to scare the kale out of me, I can’t say. But the odor of skunk is familiar in my neighborhood, the Upper West Side. When I snapped this shot of the San Remo building while doing my laundry last week, what is not evident in the image is that there was the acrid scent of skunk permeating the warm summer air. Luckily for me, the skunk responsible for the stink chose to remain invisible. It even resisted the urge to take a flying leap in front of my lens.

Clouds or skunk vapors behind the San Remo's towers?

Clouds or skunk vapor behind the San Remo’s towers?

However, the topic of airborne urban wildlife has been weighing heavy on my mind. When I enter my Tribeca-based office in the morning at The Grind, and see a pigeon perched on the sill outside my window, I welcome that feathered sight. A bird on the sill is comforting. Its tranquil presence gives me the impression that it could be a good day.

A pigeon of peaceful presence.

A pigeon of peaceful presence.

That was until bird Angry Bird started coming around and began monopolizing the sill.

Angry Bird looking to pick a fight.

Angry Bird looking to pick a fight.

If a pigeon can be bi-polar, this is that pigeon. Of all the sills in New York City, why has this lunatic bird chosen to perch on mine?

"I like it here!"

“I like it here!”

Angry Bird is a pigeon with some serious anger management issues that lives to ruffle feathers. Angry Bird hates sharing the sill and has a mean hook with its flapping right wing.

"Get off my sill!"

Feathers flying.

If you need further proof, witness Angry Bird in action.

For the past two months Angry Bird’s bullying has diverted all the pigeons that used to sit on the sill outside my window to perch on the railing across the way.

Not troubling trouble.

Not troubling trouble.

This proves to me that bird brains are highly under rated. Pigeons may not be eager to perform stupid pet tricks, but it’s evident that the ones in Tribeca have all gotten the memo to stay away from my sill. It’s obvious that no one wants to get bitch slapped with that wild right wing.

"We like to eat a lot but we're not gluttons for punishment."

“We’re not gluttons for punishment.” (Note: shot taken before Angry Bird moved into the hood.)

My friend, Coco, thinks that Angry Bird, with its orange beak and black and white markings, might be part seagull. I think she might be onto something, but I am not going to feed that avian terrorist a piece of fish to find out. Then, it will likely never leave my sill and I’ll find myself forever grousing about this feathered foe.

"I'm feeling right at home."

“Message to everyone: stay the hell away.”

Lame Adventure 427: Can we complain?

About two months ago I saw the Broadway play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill with my friend, Milton. He stood in line at the crack of dawn to snag a pair of terrific $40 rush ticket seats that were very close to the stage. These seats were so incredible that when Audra MacDonald, who transformed herself into Billie Holiday, took her bow at the end of the show, Milton threw caution to the wind and committed a cardinal sin of theater going: he snapped a shot with his iPhone. You’re not supposed to sneak pictures inside a theater, but more and more people are doing that these days with the proliferation of smart phones.

When everyone was applauding, Milton snapped this shot.

When everyone was applauding, Milton snapped this shot.

As we were waiting for Lady Day to start, I noticed that Joan Rivers was sitting across from us toward the back of the theater. Normally, Milton is the one with the celebrity spotting radar. He was very impressed that I noticed Joan. I was stunned because I hardly ever notice anyone. My natural inclination is to observe urban wildlife, bags stuck in trees, gum blots on the sidewalk or clouds. But sometimes, even when I attempt to photograph those sights, I get it wrong.

"Hey, this isn't the clouds above!"

Unintended selfie.

Fluffy clouds I was intending to take.

Fluffy clouds I was intending to take first.

As the crowd was exiting the theater at the end of Lady Day, a guy shouted:

Guy: Joan Rivers!

That alert prompted everyone to recognize her. She was besieged like metal to magnet. Milton was surprised that I didn’t join the masses that were photographing her, but I was on a Billie Holiday high. Later, I regretted not taking a picture. How often do I get to see a living comedy legend?

This past weekend, I volunteer ushered a very entertaining play at Second Stage Theater written by Laura Eason and directed by David Schwimmer called Sex with Strangers. When the house manager emailed the volunteers about accepting requests to usher this production, I leaped headfirst through my computer screen to get a slot, somewhat inspired by the thought provoking title.

There are four ushering slots per performance, three in the front of the house and one in the back, where I was assigned. The back can be a no man’s land if the box balcony is not busy, and there were only four people sitting in that section. They were offered a free upgrade to better seats, but three were content to stay in their assigned seats. I thought that was odd because they didn’t look brain damaged. Two explained to me that they like sitting in a section that was essentially all to themselves because they wanted to spread out. Extra legroom took priority over a better view.

As I was watching audience members file into the theater, my usually defective celebrity spotting radar activated for the only celebrity I can recognize: Joan Rivers. Yes, Joan and I were in the same theater at the same time once again. The play’s 3 pm Sunday curtain was delayed due to technical difficulties, something that can happen on occasion in live theater. Audience members were offered free wine at the concession stand. This induced a slight stampede.

Before heading to the concession stand, Joan glad-handed the ushers working in the front of the house, oblivious to the one working in the back. She went to the concession stand where she graciously mingled and took selfies with audience members. I snuck a few crummy shots of her from my post with my iPhone.

The best of my crummy Joan shots.

The best of my crummy Joan shots.

After the play ended and the audience had left, I was working clean up towards the front of the house when Joan returned with her entourage via the back of the house. She was meeting the cast, Anna Gunn and Billy Magnussen, back stage. And, once again, I got to miss meeting Joan.

Having the thrill of seeing this living comedy legend twice in two months, I have concluded that she is a celebrity who sincerely welcomes meeting with the public. I think that’s very stand up of her. If I have a third opportunity to be in the right place at the right time to see her again, and I probably have a better shot at winning the Triple Crown riding a saw horse, I’ll refrain from blurting, “Joan Rivers!” But, if she were on board, I would love to take a selfie with her.

Lame Adventure 426: Am I Being Tested?

I admit that I will never be mistaken for someone who is conducting a passionate love affair with their day job. What I do is label tile, an occupation that is equal to tossing years of one’s life off a cliff, but I make an effort to consciously label tile accurately. Labeling tile is an honest, and at times, a stupid living. A recent example of stupid: I received a delivery of tile samples where I discovered I was missing two tiles. I notified the vendor that I needed two more pieces of three-inch square tile, one in the color, Latte Matte, and the other in Steel Grey Matte. Pictured below is what the vendor sent me in the follow-up delivery.

The story of my life in three tiles.

The story of my life in three tiles.

One of the many reasons why I enjoy living in New York so much is that I love the culture. It’s everywhere including in the street.

It's those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

It’s those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

But I also love the theater. Last week, my friend, Milton, treated me to the current Broadway revival of the musical Cabaret playing at Studio 54 starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. This was my Christmas present. When Milton purchased the tickets in 2013, the best seats available were for this performance in July. We’re two patient people who were fine with celebrating our Christmas in July. For those of you who appreciate feedback about shows (the rest of you skip to the next paragraph): this is a terrific revival of a brilliant musical. We were both entirely in our bliss. Alan Cumming has been playing the role of the Emcee off and on since 1993. He was born to play this seductive character. Milton noted that for a guy who is not very handsome, Alan Cumming is so charismatic in that role, he becomes the sexiest guy in the world. This revival is a first for Michelle Williams who had never appeared on the Broadway stage before. She’s cast as Sally Bowles, a role I had only seen on film played extraordinarily by Liza Minnelli. Michelle plays Sally as someone sincere but with minimal talent. Her Sally is infinitely heartbreaking. When Liza powerfully belts the title song, Cabaret, in the film, I recall feeling uplifted. When Michelle’s Sally sings it earnestly on stage, I had the impression that she’s thinking that she’s going to follow the lead of the friend who died “from too much pills and liquor”. She was so vulnerable. We thought she did a fine job in that pivotal role. It’s a shame that she did not score a Tony award nomination. We thought she got robbed. It was a great night of theater in New York City.

Usually, Milton and I find ways to get discounts on our theater ticket purchases. One way is to subscribe to a theater company’s season. One of the theater companies we subscribe to is the Public Theater. Recently, we had to order all of our tickets for the 2014-2015 season. We got great seats at great prices on all the dates we wanted. I had the tickets mailed to my apartment. Imagine my dismay when I opened my mailbox to find our tickets in this envelope. My friend, Coco, suggested it could double as a skateboard ramp.

Special delivery.

Special delivery.

It rained buckets that day, but if my letter carrier had a beef with Mother Nature, was it necessary to direct the hostility on our theater tickets? This person had to shove our ticket envelope into my letterbox, and then they rolled and plunged two catalogs and that week’s issue of The New Yorker on top of the envelope. This took concentration and force. I told Milton that I sniffed the envelope and was relieved that it did not noticeably smell like urine.

There are days when I don’t feel like labeling tile samples, but I’m not going to take a hammer, smash them to smithereens, and send them off for display. By doing my job relatively whole assed, I can afford to attend the theater. As for my letter carrier, I’m unsure what to think other than I’m irked.

Irked!

Irked!

I wish he or she would invest in another way to express hostility, preferably far away from my mail, possibly at a more appropriate place like an active volcano. Occasionally, I have to junk discontinued tile samples. Maybe I should offer them to my letter carrier to throw when feeling rage.

At least our tickets are smiling.

Our tickets are smiling.

Lame Adventure 425: TV Tales

Unlike my friends and family, I would prefer to watch a squirrel in a tree eat its breakfast scone than watch TV. But perhaps, my friends and family would enjoy watching that squirrel if it were on TV. Maybe even the squirrel would like to be on TV, if it was paid in scones.

It's a good day to be a scone-loving squirrel.

Let’s negotiate a rate in foodstuffs.

The expense of TV irks me. Last year, my cable TV provider increased the cost of service. With taxes and fees I would be paying about $110 for hundreds of TV stations I had no interest in watching. As much as I hated forfeiting the few stations I liked, I refused to shell out over a grand a year for a service I watched scant hours a week, often in a semi-coma. So, I pulled the cable plug. My TV-loving friend, Milton, the unofficial advocate for the TV industry, suggested I purchase an RCA digital TV antenna to still view the major broadcast networks. I thought that idea was brilliant. When I hooked the antenna to my TV, I could only access snow. We learned that my TV was obsolete and incompatible with the antenna. Minus that costly cable hookup, my 86-pound set was reduced to the electronic equivalent of a beached whale rotting in my apartment.

For about a year I streamed TV onto my computer via Aereo, an $8 subscription service that the Supreme Court put out of business last month with a ruling that Aereo was basically committing theft. As much as I personally disagreed with that ruling, I knew the networks had a very solid case. Once Aereo shuttered, I considered buying a new TV, if only to use my RCA antenna to watch the broadcast networks.  Then, the people that manage my building informed me that they would be vacationing in Poland for three weeks.

Building Manager: Is there anything you’d like us to do for you before we leave?

Me (light bulb to self): Here’s my opportunity to unload the 86-pound eyesore!

Now living in a landfill.

For services rendered: next stop, a landfill.

Over the July 4th weekend, I researched TV models. I concluded that a 32-inch Samsung Smart TV would fit my needs. Recently, I visited my neighborhood Best Buy store where an affable dude sporting a hickey only the size of Topeka sold me a set that fits within the confines of my budget: cheap. Even though the box was a tad cumbersome, it was light affording me to carry it home on the bus. I appreciated that fellow passengers did not seem to detest me too rabidly for traveling with a space-hogging parcel.

Much more portable than its heavy as a boulder predecessor.

Much more portable than its heavy as a boulder predecessor.

Setting up my smart TV proved a bit problematic. My decade old Apple Airport Express is borderline obsolete. In addition, when I was reciting its serial number to Apple’s automated prompt, my iPhone somehow called my across the street neighbor. She texted me about this. I explained what happened, but I have the sinking feeling that she thinks I’m an orifice, and not the ear canal.

Thanks to Jeff at Apple Support, he walked me though a few adjustments in a configuration that resulted in compatibility. Something else wonderful Jeff let me do was revise my wireless password. For ten years, it had been the name of a former friend’s cat, an animal that has long since died. At the time I named it after that cat, at the former friend’s insistence, had I known I would be stuck living with that cat’s name as my wireless password in perpetuity, I would have put a tad more thought into this.

When I set up my digital antenna, I was dismayed to discover that I could only access four obscure stations in New Jersey. After nine more tries, I was able to access ABC, provided I place the antenna on a pillow on my bed while shaking my right knee and positioning my left thumb at a right angle. When I blinked, I lost access to the four obscure stations in New Jersey. I suspect that this antenna could be challenging for the long haul, or until Milton visits and tries to work his magic on it. One thing I do not want to do is pay for cable ever again.

I accepted my friend Beagle’s generous offer to sponge off her Amazon Prime i.d. as long as I promise that I will refrain from ordering porn. Fair enough.

Einstein, the Smart TV getting ready to show off.

My Smart TV ready to flaunt its inner Einstein.

Lame Adventure 424: Gay Pride 2014

For the fifth year in a row I have attended Gay Pride with my dear friend, Milton. This celebration in lower Manhattan is the largest Gay Pride event in the country, and probably the world. Together, he and I photograph the march to share it with the Lame Adventures audience. Each year, Pride seems to have more corporate sponsors vying for the LGBT dollar, more politicians attending, signifying the value of the LGBT vote, and an ever growing crowd of marchers participating, many dressed in ordinary street clothes anemically waving a rainbow flag. Milton misses the old days when the majority of the participants were flamboyant. He has concluded that with more and more states allowing same sex marriage:

Milton: We’ve become as boring as everyone else.

Have we?

Glam Dyke on Bike at parade's start.

Glam Dyke on Bike at parade’s start.

Dyke on Bike getting spray misted by Tiny Tim lookalike.

Dyke on Bike getting spray misted by Tiny Tim lookalike.

Obviously, three nipples and one pink flamingo.

Obviously, three nipples and one pink flamingo.

Eagle Scout: the Boy Scouts had quite a presence in this year's festivities.

Eagle Scout: the Boy Scouts had quite a presence in this year’s festivities.

Angel in America.

Angel in America.

Bert and Ernie marching.

Bert and Ernie marching hand in hand.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio marching with his daughter, Chiara.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio marching with his daughter, Chiara.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a regular Pride attendee.

New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a regular Pride attendee.

Grand Marshall actor Jonathan Groff.

Grand Marshall actor Jonathan Groff.

Grand Marshall Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Grand Marshall Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"Orange is the New Black" float, substitute image for third Grand Marshall, LaVerne Cox, a member of that show's cast.

“Orange is the New Black” float, substitute image for third Grand Marshall, Laverne Cox, a member of that TV show’s cast.

Masked Man with Fishnets Friend.

Masked Man with Fishnets Friend.

Masked Man's no heel shoes that Milton found particularly fascinating.

Masked Man’s no heel shoes that Milton found particularly fascinating.

Pretty girls.

Pretty girls. Focusing on them caused me to miss photographing Edie Windsor.

Laser beam stare.

Laser beam stare.

Yes, that is a live bird atop this green bearded bloke's head.

Yes, that is a live bird atop this green bearded bloke’s head.

Live cat atop this guy's head.

Live cat atop this guy’s head.

Getup purchased with a gold card?

Getup purchased with a gold card?

Doing as the Romans do in New York City.

Doing as the Romans do in New York City.

The gladiators are here.

The gladiators are here.

The gay crusader.

The gay crusader.

Gay Yankee ingenuity when you lack a rear pocket.

Gay Yankee ingenuity when you lack a rear pocket.

Rainbow fan girl.

Rainbow fan girl.

Hello!

Hello!

Lesbian and proud, or just stretching her arm.

Lesbian and proud, or just stretching her arm.

Man in yellow literally leaving little to the imagination.

Man in yellow literally leaving little to the imagination.

Hello sailor.

Hello sailor.

Joyous cop.

Joyous cop.

Fleet of foot flag waver.

Fleet of foot flag waver.

Marching incognito.

Marching incognito.

Peacock.

Peacock.

Peacock network banner and a sign of corporate sponsorship.

Peacock network banner and a sign of corporate sponsorship.

Rainbow flag gown. What will they think of next?

Rainbow flag gown. What will they think of next?

Next is here. Hello Beardonna.

Next is here. Hello Beardonna.

Corporate sponsor Mastercard.

Corporate sponsor Mastercard.

Mastering the possibilities.

Mastering the possibilities.

Twerking.

Twerking.

Power pumping the asphalts in pink pumps

Power pumping the asphalt in pink pumps.

Splits and pass us the Aleve.

Splits and pass us the Aleve.

Dancing in the street.

Dancing in the street.

Starred and labeled.

Starred and labeled.

Magnificent!

Magnificent!

Didn't see that coming!

Didn’t see that coming!

Shirtless fellows in rainbow socks.

Shirtless fellows in rainbow socks.

Old Blue and Lavender Hairs.

Old Blue and Lavender Hairs.

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.

Serena Williams cross-bred Ronald McDonald.

Serena Williams cross-bred with Ronald McDonald.

Gay dads with kids.

Gay dads with kids.

Guys in red boxers gyrating on float.

Muscle Beach guys in red boxers gyrating on float.

Israel float and Michael Lucas.

Israel float and Michael Lucas.

Attitude Man.

Attitude Man.

Everyone say cheese and keep your wings still.

Everyone say cheese and keep your wings still.

Nice to know.

Nice to know.

Butterflies aren't free.

Butterflies aren’t free.

Apparently  Pride was watered its way down to Walmart.

Apparently Pride has watered its way down to Walmart.

Gotcha! Shooting the crowd!

Gotcha shooting the crowd.

 

Lame Adventure 423: Chew on This

Recently, I traveled to the land of my living ancestors: San Francisco. For much of the week before I left Manhattan, I diligently prepared for my getaway. I thoroughly cleaned my sanctum sanctorum, did laundry and made sure all of my bills were paid. I had even placed my Father’s Day card in my duffel bag weeks in advance, so there was no way I would forget to take it.

Hearts and flowers-free sentiment.

Hearts and flowers-free sentiment.

As sentimental as I get.

As sentimental as I get.

The pre-planning for my trip went spectacularly. I even remembered to get gum.

Gum is an issue with me. I am not a gum chewer. I don’t like the taste and I think that chewing it plays Russian roulette with my dental work. But, I always chew gum during take off and landing because the plane’s cabin pressure wreaks havoc with my ears. One of the consequences of not being an aggressive gum chewer is forgetting to pick up gum. As a passive gum chewer I often have to purchase it at the airport and pay more. This time, not only did I remember to pick up gum in advance, I considered where to get it.

Instead of going to my neighborhood everything store, Duane Reade, I decided I would try the guy at my corner newsstand. I was in the mood to bargain. His selection is vast. Instantly, I was overwhelmed. I knew I would prefer a minty flavor, but when I started reading the ingredients, it all looked like a nauseating concoction of chemicals. I have been eating predominantly organic all year to compliment my fitness routine. I didn’t want to put any of this crap in my mouth, but I had no choice due to my ear situation. So, I relented and decided to go with original flavor Trident.

Newstand Seller: A dollar fifty.

Me: Really? Are all of these a dollar fifty?

He pointed at a few packs of bubble gum.

Newstand Seller: These are a dollar.

Me: Well, that’s a drag. I don’t chew bubble gum. In fact, I don’t chew any gum. I’m just getting it because I’m flying on a plane.

I put the Trident back. He reached down and handed me a pack of Stride Sugarfree Sweet Peppermint flavor.

Stride.

Stride.

Newstand Seller: You can have this one for a dollar.

I bought the bargain pack of Stride that reeked of mint and headed over to the laundromat to fold my clothes. As I’m folding I start thinking about my pack of bargain gum. I realize that I’m so unfamiliar with Stride, in my head I’m referring to it as Strive. As I am securing my socks (none went missing this load; I felt victorious over the machine), I wondered:

Me: Did he sell me that pack of Strive for less because it’s made in China? Could a key ingredient be lead?

Suddenly, I feared deplaning with incubating stage three tongue cancer. Is it conceivable that I’ll say hello to my sister upon arrival and goodbye to my sex life upon return?

It appears that Mondelez Global LLC manufactures Stride in East Hanover, New Jersey. Even though every ingredient sounds straight out of a mad scientist’s laboratory, Stride has its own Wikipedia page, which eases my mind considerably.

Ugh.

Ugh.

That makes no sense since Ebola, phenylalanine, and possibly one of my ancestors, (the) Village Idiot, have their own entries, too.

About phenylalanine, that’s in my pack of Stride. But why? It’s an amino acid that’s found naturally in breast milk, but unnaturally in gum for complicated reasons that almost make my head explode. One thing I know for certain: I am not going to put Stride in my pie-hole.

Hey look, a pigeon was on the ferry to Angel Island!

Hey look, a pigeon was on the ferry to Angel Island!

Angel Island with (possibly) pigeon-free sailboats in foreground.

Angel Island with (possibly) pigeon-free sailboats in foreground.

So, I visit the organic department of my market, Fairway, where I unload $2.38 on two packs of made-in-Rhode Island Glee Gum. It’s aspartame free with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives and “made with Chicle for rainforest conservation”. Excluding the “resinous glaze, beeswax and carnauba wax”, coupled with the sky-high probability that Glee Gum is a frontrunner in the Department of Tooth Decay, it seems like a safe alternative to the oral deathtrap that is Stride. After balking about paying a dollar fifty for a pack of Trident, I end up paying $3.38 total for three packs of gum to chew on the plane.

Glee gum with little guy who does not look glum like purchaser.

Glee Gum with happy dancing little guy who does not look glum like Glee Gum purchaser.

Appropriately, I have no idea what I did with that pack of Stride. Hopefully, it did not fall behind a chair and is now in the process of burning a mint-scented hole in my carpet.

Thurber the family dog, "Your gum problems are so first world."

Thurber the family dog, “Your gum problems are so first world.”