Translation from English

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Horse is a Horse of Course of Course

Love this horse statue in the window of one of the many carpet stores in the lower East 30's on the East Side...

Wonder where it is from originally. I have seen horse statues before in Indian shops, but I suppose this great piece could come from anywhere in the Middle East--further East.

Zaitzeff- Hamburgers Pure and Simple

Love this small shop on Second Avenue in the upper East 30's in Manhattan...
Wow, does this place just state it succinctly on the chalkboard in front: Burgers, fries and beer...

Great alternative to a McDonald's if you ask me!

Astro Gems and Minerals Plans Move

Astro Gems and Minerals, one of my favorite places for "window shopping" in Midtown, will be moving uptown aways in a while ( it is currently at 34th and Madison).

What a great array of gem and mineral items there are at this store, indeed...Just noticed the Dinosaur Tooth very recently ( their windows are so full of fascinating displays --and they update them from time to time-- that I make a point of dropping by here when I remember to).

Also love the bird carvings ( such as shown here)..

More on Astro at:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shingles Duane Reade Store

My doctor wanted me to get a Shingles vaccination but said I would have to get one at a Pharmacy that was dispensing shots...

Rite Aid, where I go for my prescriptions, is giving flu shot shots but not those for Shingles. Checked with Nurse's Office at my clinic and found that Duane Reade Drug Store very close to me had a doctor there who gave the shots.

Getting the shot set up was harder than it needed to be. Staff at Pharmacy were confused about how I was supposed to pay for shot...

Got it all worked out eventually and got vaccinated.

I was a little surprised how insistent my doctor was that I get this shot, but from what I have been reading apparently the Shingles problem is becoming a big deal now.

Have an old high school friend who got shingles while on a trip to China...I had heard vaguely of Shingles but had never known anyone who had it.

My friend suffered a hell of a lot because of it and it almost did him serious nerve damage..

Let me see what I can find on internet about Shingles  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Problem with Cheaper Clothes Made in China

Some years back, it was not until someone pointed it out to me that I noticed that there were practically NO clothes, even high end ones, that still had tags in them saying "Made in U.S.A." ( Pendleton Shirts from out in Oregon seemed to have held on somehow, and my cousin and his wife in the far Northwest suburbs of Chicago seek out and seem to find American made products)...

Traditionally well made clothes, such as a parka I got from Lands End once, looked great for a while and then I noticed that after only a year or so the ZIPPER began to stick and disconnect...
I took it in to a dry cleaner/tailor and they told me forget it, they used to replace zippers but it had become so expensive that they suggested I just get a new parka.

Have checked with friends, and yes, this lousy zipper problem is widespread even on clothing from High End Stores ( such as Eddie Bauer). Lousy plastic zippers!

Some of my clothes made in China, like all wool Woolrich sweaters, seem to holding up just fine and seem like they will last for a long,  long time, just as American made ones used to in the Good Old Days..

The last product I saw that boasted it was made in the U.S.A. was on a Infomercial that they run in the wee hours of the a.m. on the local CBS station here, where the mustachioed middle aged man who invented the "miracle" comfy and durable (they claim) "MyPillow" made a point that it was made here.. of course, "made" may just mean assembled here, like some Japanese cars whose parts were actually crafted in Japan and then assembled at some plant in Alabama or somewhere where local authorities had given them a big tax incentive to get the jobs moved in ( and where there was no chance of union organizers making any headway).

Oh, for the days of those sturdy metal zippers....!!

The Persistence of Pay Phones

For some reason, a lot of pay phones, which they began to phase out ages ago. still exist on the Eastern side of Second Avenue between 23rd and 42nd Streets...

You sometimes see people, usually non descript men of indeterminate age, stopping by the phones and checking to see if there is a quarter somehow left in the  coin slot...just as Dustin Hoffman did as "Ratso Rizzo" in the film classic "Midnight Cowboy."

(Speaking of "Midnight Cowboy," the funniest story I have heard about that movie was recounted to me by someone from Dallas, who said some rather naive local matron took a bunch of cub scouts to a Saturday matinee screening of the movie not having any idea that it was not just another cowboy movie ( this story is probably invented, because I don't think some theater management people in Texas would have allowed a bunch of children into a movie like that....but you never know).

As to these phone boxes themselves, when I posted this photo on Facebook, someone commented, " What would you think if you saw some of these on display in some NYC museum as an "Art Installation"---you know, I would not be surprised at all! It is like the kind of stunt someone like Yoko Ono would have been up to in her earlier years.... 

Please Do Not Take the Flowers

All over Midtown Manhattan, there are areas where local block associations of sometimes it seems just a building or maybe an individual store owner have taken over cultivating flower or other decorative planting around the base of street trees...

At this little planting area around a tree on Second Avenue about 37th Street or so, now that Fall has come, typically someone has augmented the naturally growing plants with implants of flower cluster--sort of ready made bouquets..

HERE, a sign a sign says "Please, Do Not Take the Flowers"--  implying that maybe at some past time people have ( some people will take anything that is not nailed down in this City, and then there are some who are really just sort of kleptos)...

Those cluster plantings usually are not as hardy as the naturally growing flowers, and tend to fade and die suddenly after a period of time.

As it gets colder, many people who manage these plantings go in for decorative kale-- last winter, which was unusually mild, these plants often made it through the whole winter in places...only to be ripped out in the Spring for the planting for more "normal" decorative flowers. This seems unfair to the decorative kale to me, which seemed to have earned its stripes by making it through the harsh weather and providing a reminder of the Spring to come....I wouldn't mind if they let the kale plants grow all year round in some places. But then, no one is asking me...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Ubiquitous Dr. Oz

The Turkish-American nutrition guru of daytime television is now on the Fox channel in New York...

Dr. Oz, for me, typifies all that is trendy and often rather insufferable in its political correctness ( which is always changing, of course) designed to keep up with Yuppie and affluent Baby Boomer populations who have a lot of time to spend worrying about what is the latest fiat about what will improve their health ( and, never admittedly, extend their lives indefinitely...until a real cure for aging itself is discovered).
Dr. Oz and his wife has just been chosen by Us Magazine as among the most stylish New Yorkers there is link:

Of course, New Yorkers (at least Manhattanites) today tend to be mostly rich, self centered people anyway and it is not surprising that they fall all over themselves trying to keep up with Dr. Oz's
latest dictates.

I am not disputing the notion that probably most of what Dr. Oz is promoting is truly healthy living, it is just its cultural overtones which I find excessive... 

Midtown Architecture, around Murray Hill

The area around Murray Hill in Midtown is incredibly rich in different styles of are just a few examples:

First, A pure 1960's modern-International Style office building on the Eastern Edge of Murray Hill that is ALL business...
At the time buildings like this were erected, some architects and critics hailed its lack of any kind of stylistic detailing and or ornamentation as brilliantly futuristic -- ignoring the Manhattan was being filled with glass and steel boxes whose design was framed mostly by zoning laws.
It did not take long before there was a revolt against this austerity and unadorned utilitarianism and we began to see "Post Modern" buildings that have developed in all kinds of sometimes fanciful ways, often echoing their Art Deco and "Moderne" skyscraper neighbors..

Second, a classic example of the kind of building that still makes up a lot of the residential area of Murray Hill ( not so much residential now as home to Consulates, it seems)....this was built as the Civic Building about 1901 I believe and is now the Estonia House, which is more than just a Consular building but a center for the (not significant) Estonian population of New York City.

I chose this because it is such a pure example of form with its Beaux Arts style ( though most Murray Hill residences go back to stylistic periods earlier than that)...

Third, a "modern/post modern" apartment building just South of Murray Hill ( but where you still find places that call themselves "Murray Hill Dry Cleaners," etc.) with its unusual feature of having fire stairs built on the outside of the building as they only did in tenements mostly years ago (there are a few old high rise apartment buildings with classic iron NYC exterior fire escapes, but these are really pretty rare...there is one called "The Mango" in Murray Hill East--here is a link

The Mango, by the way, is a nice enough  building and apparently has roomy apartments that at least until fairly recently were being rented very reasonably for the area...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Consumer World

Some popular products just keep chugging along year after year, despite all sorts of criticisms about how they are bad for you or the environment or just plain hoaxes of a kind...

People love Oreo cookie products. This poster with the Oreo donut amused much more junk food can you get!

I just happened to be around the offices of the ad Agency (Tragos) representing another client when I saw them reviewing their intro campaign for Evian bottled Swiss water. This was back in the mid 1980's.

Tragos and his staff were laughing fit to burst about what a con the stuff was really, but how people would pay a lot of money for anything that was advertised the right way.

I don't know if Tide detergent is still as toxic for the environment as critics have always said, but as everyone keeps noting, "It gets clothes clean!"  I confess to using it myself, despite always resolving to try something like the newest version of the more benign ( I imagine) Arm and Hammer detergent.

Free papers and other papers

For many years now, we have been hearing about how print journalism is going the way of the dinosaur and everything will be on line..

NYC still has any number of free papers, including the popular "Metro" and " AM New York", which they hand out near subway see them left on subway cars and in every waiting room in the City.
A few older publications like The Village Voice are still around...

This dispenser up near Grand Central Terminal has both free stuff and  then papers like The Jewish Press and the NY Post which you have to pay for.

People vandalize these dispensers every once in a while but I get the feeling most people just ignore them. 

Summer Concert Blues

My experience with free concerts of any kind in Manhattan has always been bad! Recent one with performer named David Glover at a local park was just another example..

The concert was announced rather obscurely with a couple of posters on the Park Gates near the Midtown Tunnel entrance...starting at 5 p.m.

Knowing these events never start on time, I arrived at 5:30 and then had to walk around the park until I found the place where people were waiting,---the Children's Playground.

It was a nice summer evening and the crowd was very relaxed while waiting. Kids played on swings and other playground equipment while everyone waited for Grover.

Of course, Grover did not appear by 6 p.m....and a harried representative of the St. Vartan's Playschool which was sponsoring the event just appeared for a while to yell, "He's coming, he's coming/"

I don't know if Grover ever arrived or not. I had to go somewhere else and so I left...

As I said, it did not seem to bother the waiting crowd very much.

When I posted something about it on Facebook, one of my FB friends commented snarkily, "Well, they could have asked for their money back." Oh, ha ha....

This sounds sort of jaded, but when I thought about it later, I found myself just saying, "what else did I expect?" Having been through this kind of experience so many times before with NYC Parks Department concerts....