Monday, May 2, 2011
The Office of Court Administration (OCA), my ultimate employer, has announced that it plans to continue firing staff to meet budget pressures, after terminating about 70 of its headquarters crew. Now, it is moving into the field around the state, looking at lawyers, clerks, court officers, janitors, and technology folk. OCA has announced that the firings will occur May 18th, a Wednesday, the end of our two-week pay cycle.
I have no way of predicting my fate. I've been with OCA over 9 years, but in the New York County law department 1 year and 4 months. Further complicating the reckoning of my seniority (which is a factor, but not the only one) is my dividing my time between Civil Court and Supreme Court, one of those Talmudic distinctions in court structure no longer found even in Jerusalem. One thing to remember though, one rabbi is worth 10 years.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
On the first day of the rest of my job, I found New Tu Do Restaurant, 102 Bowery, which I thought was in fact new. But, it was only new to me since it had moved across the Bowery about 2 ½ years ago. It’s a medium-sized place, looking bright and new inside, with a mirror down one long wall, a pagoda effect at the ceiling line, and a 3' x 5' glass panel etched with an image of the Statue of Liberty.
I ordered Banh Hoi Thit Bo Lui, described as grilled beef on rice vermicelli and salad ($11.95). However, the ingredients were not served on top of each other, but rather on four different plates, a dozen pieces of beef rolled and grilled, cucumber slices, shredded carrots and marinated tear drop onions, squares of woven vermicelli (rice noodles), and a heaping plate of greens that I could not figure what to do with, even as I cleaned off all the other plates. A mildly sweet sauce came with it, and, of course, as with any Vietnamese restaurant, containers with 5 sauces were on each table.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Not that I’m obsessed with May 18th, but would you like to know about other famous events on May 18th?
323 – Alexander the Great died.
1152 – Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
1652 – Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal.
1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate.
1860 – Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward.
1872 – Bertrand Russell born.
1897 – Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, published.
1904 – Jacob K. Javits born.
1911 – Gustav Mahler died.
1910 – The Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet.
1917 – The Selective Service Act of 1917 passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription.
1934 – Dwayne Hickman born.
1953 – Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
1970 – Tina Fey born.
1980 – Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington, killing 57 people and causing $3 billion in damage.
1995 – Elisha Cook, Jr. died.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
New York City has taken fusion cuisine to new levels. We have Cuban-Chinese, Indian-Chinese, Japanese-Chinese, Kosher Chinese as examples. Today, Cinco de Mayo, I’m reminded that we have Mexican-Chinese, particularly Chinese-owned and operated taquerias. This began apparently with Fresco Tortilla on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan in 1991, started by a young immigrant from Fujian Province, who subsequently opened a half dozen or more restaurants. Former employees then went ahead on their own and opened more restaurants, usually named Fresco Tortilla as well. Google found 17 places in Manhattan called Fresco Tortilla in whole or part. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/02/nyregion/where-east-meets-tex-mex.html.
There is a Fresco Tortilla at 383 Canal Street, so that’s where I headed for lunch. Now, you geographers might know that 383 Canal Street is between West Broadway and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue). That is very far from Chinatown. In fact, it is about two short blocks from the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, running under the Hudson River to New Jersey. I was willing to consider it part of my (ad)venture because of its position on Canal Street, a main artery of Chinatown. However, there ain’t no Fresco Tortilla at 383 Canal Street, at least not anymore. Although disappointed, I wasn’t ready to abandon ecumenical dining so quickly though. Having walked many blocks, I turned around and walked many more blocks due east to Emperor Japanese Tapas Shabu Restaurant, 96 Bowery. Now, roll that over your tonsils for a moment.
The decor was random, but the space offered some attractive architectural details, specifically one long exposed brick wall and a very high ceiling covered in tin. The dozen of so large tables had 4 burners embedded on the surface for the shabu shabu, a Japanese hot pot. Although the redundancy was eliminated from the name of the restaurant, I'm very old fashioned about these things. However, I didn’t want anything so fussy as shabu shabu, or shabu, for that matter. Instead, I ordered a bento box with eel teriyaki, rice, marinated grass and honeydew chunks ($7.75 tax included). Bento boxes must have been the creation of one of those neurotics who do not want different food touching on the plate. They are neatly compartmentalized, with rice in one square, fruit in another square, eel (fortunately at rest) in its own square. I don't mean to spoil it for my neurotic friends, but it all gets together in the end.