Sunday, April 10, 2011

Early April

I interrupt this week to report on a stupid article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, dated April 3, 2011. It featured a few photographs taken by a Dutch photographer of people riding the subways between Grand Central Station and Wall Street. The Times wrote that the "resulting images speak to their anxiousness and uncertainty." The photographer was quoted as saying of the period in late 2008, "It was a very hard time for all New Yorkers, which is very visible in the pictures." Balderdash. With one exception, the people shown do not appear to be partners in the imploding Lehman Brothers or bank executives just risen from their knees after begging Washington for a bailout. They look like ordinary New Yorkers going to work in the morning, pressed close together and anxious primarily to get a cup of coffee to carry to their workplace. In fact, the one well-dressed executive type shown is very familiar to me and he is far from an economic bloodsucker digging us into a deeper financial pit. It is Dr. Roger Platt, a major figure in New York's public health system, a compassionate and dedicated physician, with a wonderful family and a great apartment. While Roger looks quite sober in the photograph, especially with his gray hair and beard, he always looks like that. And, no matter what Roger might look like on or off a subway train, to comment that "[a]lmost no one is smiling," is a ridiculous observation. What should a crowd of subway riders look like? If I entered a subway car loaded with people with goofy grins, I would exit immediately. If all this came as a surprise to the Dutch photographer, I'll be sure and avoid the Amsterdam underground on my next trip abroad.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ten Ren’s Tea Time, 79 Mott Street, is related to the Ten Ren retail tea shop at 75 Mott Street, a major league enterprise where even my boyhood friend Arthur was able to find his favorite rare tea leaves. TRTT offers only about six food items along with dozens of tea and beverage choices. The shop is long and narrow, with only 8 small square tables fitting two people at most. It has an active takeout business for its liquids.

I ordered crispy chicken ($4.50) and spring rolls ($4). Both dishes were very good and together made a respectable lunch. The spring rolls were the size and shape of cigar butts in a thin wrapper, lightly fried. The chicken was natural, that is, not machine formed, and coated in rice flour before frying.

TRTT also sold packaged rugelach and chocolate chip cookies under their brand. The prices were noteworthy, 4 rugelach for $1.50 and 2 medium-sized chocolate chip cookies for $1. If they are any good (believe it or not, I did not partake), this would be a great deal, although a strange place to find it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Last night at Madison Square Garden was turning into a disaster, in spite of the good company of Professor Nathaniel Persily. The Rangers fell behind the Boston Bruins 3 - 0 early in the second period. As you are so well aware, a three goal deficit in a hockey game is as big a challenge as making French toast with hard-boiled eggs. Then, I noticed that my gray slacks had chewing gum stuck to them, transferred from the armrest separating seats 7 and 8, section 309, row C. For the first time ever, I considered leaving a hockey game early, but, as a wee tot, I learned from my brother to stick it out. Mirabile dictu, the Rangers scored 5 goals in a row and win 5 - 3 with the Garden going nuts.

It seemed appropriate then that I had lunch with Gil Glotzer, justice seeker, so that we might divide up the tickets to the partial subscription we share to Mets games for the new season.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stanley Feingold is here for our periodic brown-bag luncheon, held today at Nick Lewin’s office. While no one in the crowd would venture a guess as to the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, the current leader for the Democratic nomination in 2016 was Andrew Cuomo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Most Chinatown bakeries have seating, but that still isn’t a reason to go inside except in a driving rainstorm. They generally offer big selections of pastries and cakes that exceed even my tolerance for sticky sweet things, and an assortment of savory items that could theoretically be eaten for lunch. However, these savory items are very, very doughy buns containing a dollop of stuff. The differences between stuff requires more sensitive taste buds than mine, although I am able to distinguish the stuff by color.

White Swan Bakery, 24 Bowery, is a cut above most others, because it has a small counter serving about half a dozen dim sum in addition to the usual bakery fare. I had shrimp dumplings, meat dumplings and a large portion of mei fun for $6.50. The noodles were B level, at least a full grade above the dumplings. I washed this down with a peach green tea slush ($2.95), not entirely consisting of sugar.

Friday, April 8, 2011

America's Favorite Epidemiologist and I joined other members of West End Synagogue, an impotent arm of the international Jewish conspiracy, on a weekend retreat to the northwestern corner of Connecticut. In fact, my young bride lead a session on transmitting Jewish values to your children, at least those who have not been inoculated. She did a wonderful job directing the discussion and drawing out the personal experiences of many in the audience. Our group of 60 or so upper West Siders survived the encounter with rustic New England, although 2 people were injured playing Ping Pong.

Just as I opened with a slight diversion, I must close with another. I thought, and you no doubt hoped, to be rid of macarons. However, the New York Times on Wednesday reported on the opening of a Bosie Tea Parlor, 10 Morton Street, which is beyond the boundaries of an entropic Chinatown. It stocks "the inevitable macarons (20 flavors including yuzu and chai, all $2 each, $20 a dozen)." Don't say I didn't warn you.

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