Friday, December 27, 2013

That's (Not) Entertainment

Monday, December 23, 2013
Those of us around here are still marveling at this weekend’s weather.  Saturday, a record high of 64°, topped by Sunday at 71°.  The start of Winter, and the shortest day of the year, acting like Spring.  It was unsettling.

The weather started returning to normal on this very quiet day starting a very quiet week in the dispensing of justice business.  Befittingly, I had a simple lunch at Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street.  However, I’ll take the time now to extol one feature of Wo Hop that I have ignored in describing my myriad past visits, that is, the mustard.  Along with tea (in a glass) and water, your Wo Hop waiter invariably puts down a small dish of mustard, real hot mustard.  More than a 1/4" dab will cause the normal adult human being to choke, gasping for air and cool relief, which means that a smaller amount adds a welcome kick to most dishes, especially the classic, Chinatown Cantonese food Wo Hop typically serves.  Unlike some people, I’m not ordinarily devoted to very hot food, such as vindaloo curry.  But, some Wo Hop mustard in a bowl of won ton soup or on a mound of shrimp fried rice memorably elevates the taste sensation.  Unfortunately, those little plastic packages of mustard packed in with your normal Chinese takeout food lack the necessary pungency, and often appear to be left over from a previous dynasty.  I haven’t inquired of the provenance of Wo Hop’s mustard, whether mixed on the premises or delivered in 55 gallon drums from across the Pacific or maybe just from across the East River.

Speaking of geography, the New York Times has a fascinating quiz on the geographic differences in American speech and vocabulary.  In other words, where do you talk like.  After answering the 25 questions, it identified me as a New Yorker (Surprise! Surprise!), by vocabulary and pronunciation.  For instance:
“Do you pronounce cot and caught the same?”
“What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?  Bubbler, water bubbler, drinking fountain, water fountain, other.”
Try it and see it if you are where you belong.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Today, and next Tuesday, are days which the State of New York encourages us to stay away from our workplaces, using vacation days.  I am complying and getting things done – a haircut late morning and then a visit to the New York Public Library’s performing arts branch, on the grounds of Lincoln Center, to see their exhibition of Al Hirschfeld’s work.  It is a comprehensive look at his career, full of familiar and unfamiliar delights.  However, I regret not visiting it sooner, in order to give myself time to make successive visits, and, to urge you to get over there before the January 4th closing.  I’m also motivated to take stock of my Hirschfeld holdings, not only my handful of drawings, but the books, posters, postage stamps and the like that I have collected over the decades, and then figure out what to do with them.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Weeks ago, we bought tickets for Domesticated, a new play at Lincoln Center, to help fill these nights where we will not be trimming trees, wrapping packages or guiding sleighs to welcoming chimneys.  Last night, we strolled the three blocks from Palazzo di Gotthelf to Lincoln Center with plenty of time to spare to make the 8 o’clock curtain.  However, we were surprised to find the theater’s lobby empty when we arrived save two ushers and one bartender.  Well, I jocularly said, everybody must be home trimming trees, wrapping packages or guiding sleighs to welcoming chimneys.  Not really.  Sometime in the recent past, theater management decided to push up the curtain time to 7 o’clock to accommodate the audience’s holiday schedule.  Apparently, every other ticket holder was made aware of this change, probably to avoid the embarrassment of a lobby full of grumbling Westchesterites or Long Islanders showing up at the wrong hour which had recently been the right hour.  Somehow, there seems to have been a communications dead spot in the immediate vicinity of Lincoln Center, and we proceeded innocently at the appointed hour, only to find that it was the disappointed hour.  The man at the box office gave us excellent seats for an upcoming performance with a straight face, at least in our presence.

I must admit that, up until this morning, I was unconcerned about the earnings of professional equestrians.  While there is an abundance of information on the industry/careers/opportunities in this field (see e.g., ), actual income data is sketchy.  One web site,, says that the average annual salary is currently $62,000.  Of course, there are several different jobs for a professional equestrian.  You might be a horse trainer, a riding instructor, a barn manager or a show jumper, which apparently is where the big money is.  According to the May 2, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine, in 2010, McLain Ward earned $1,280,788, the top among men, and Laura Kraut, the top among women at $627,907.  Of course, they were the best and I’m worried about the also-rans, or maybe appropriately called the also-jumped.

It’s a brief article in today’s newspaper that stirred my interest.  I learned that Georgina Bloomberg and Ramiro Quintana had a baby boy.  Ms. Bloomberg is Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s daughter, and she and Mr. Quintana are identified as professional equestrians.  They are not married.  So, I have to conclude that, as professional equestrians, they could neither afford the $35 fee for a New York City marriage license, nor even $13.49 at Walgreen’s for a dozen Kimono Textured Lubricated Latex Condoms.  Therefore, in the spirit of the season, please join me in a fund-raising effort for the young couple.  Let’s try to make sure that their child is raised in a financially-sound household with both parents present and married, able to expand their family by design, not chance.

Thursday, December 26, 2013
So, how did we like American Hustle?  Let me explain to you.  When we decided to go to a movie on Christmas Day, we knew that this wasn't the most original idea and we could expect large crowds with the same thought.  Therefore, this past Sunday without leaving home, I chose to buy tickets in advance from Fandango, assuring us that we would have seats for the 3:50 show, joined by Jill and Steve, our intrepid traveling companions.  When I presented the computer-printed certificate representing four admissions at the theater yesterday, the scanner rejected it.  When I handed the certificate to the lady at the customer service desk – this is a big establishment – she said, "Oh, this is for Sunday."  "No, no.  I got it on the computer on Sunday, for today."  Well, yes and no.  I went on line and paid on Sunday, asking for tickets for Wednesday.  The computer apparently had other plans.  Of course, that showing of American Hustle and every other reasonable alternative for hours afterwards were completely sold out.  Without an actual ticket, not some stupid certificate, no one was getting in.  The lady gave me four passes to be traded for tickets any time in the next two years.  So, that’s how we liked American Hustle.

To summarize the past two days, the message apparently from on high is for my young bride and I to amuse ourselves over this holiday.

I’m at work today and I just received any interesting e-mail message from Trip Advisor (, a web site that I use when planning travel, especially to unfamiliar places.  They’ve come up with some interesting lists from churning the many millions of submissions that they’ve received, and I love lists.  The top 10 cities visited this year are, in order, London, Rome, Paris, New York, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Orlando, Milan, Florence, and Bangkok, based on almost 460,000 London reviews to over 115,000 for Bangkok.  I’ve been to 8 of the 10.  And you?

Friday, December 27, 2013
My work day was enhanced by a visit from Kaylah M., a ninth-grader whom I met when conferring with Sonia Sotomayor at City College.  Kaylah is interested in a legal career and, even though things are very quiet around here in this holiday period, she wanted to get an introductory look at our court system.  We walked around, finding a few folk to talk to, and then went over to 100 Centre Street to see some criminal arraignments.  I viewed this time as an investment.  If I need a lawyer in the future, my decrepit contemporaries will probably not have the energy to pull my chestnuts out of the fire, no less rise from their seats.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Starting Somewhere

Monday, December 16, 2013
Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has been shooting lava and ash into the sky over this weekend.   The airport in Catania, Sicily, where we departed from 2 months ago, is temporarily shut. As you may recall, my ordinary boldness disappeared about halfway up the volcano, and I spent several hours in the parking lot while those intrepid explorers Jill and Steve, guided by America’s Favorite Epidemiologist, scaled the heights.  I wonder if this is the volcano’s delayed anthropomorphic reaction to my slight.

On the other hand, if want an eruption, how about the academic boycott of Israeli universities just voted by the American Studies Association, which “[a]s an organization with a longstanding commitment to social justice, the ASA has a responsibility to take a position on one of the leading social justice and human rights issues of our time.”  This is the first academic boycott ever undertaken by the association, whose president, Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego, said to the New York Times that “one has to start somewhere.”

By chance, the NSA spying program captured, in addition to the communications of senior European Union officials, Israeli government leaders, African heads of state and their family members, officials of United Nations and international aid organizations, officials overseeing oil and finance ministries, energy companies, and others, the ASA’s policy planning session leading up to the boycott resolution.  While the speakers are unidentified, the transcript indicates that there were at least four participants, and the first male is thought to be Marez, the group’s president.

Female 1: “It’s time that we take our commitment to social justice seriously considering the terrible state of human rights throughout the world.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 2: “One party political systems are invariably oppressive.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 2: “Only a small number of regimes proclaim themselves to be one party, notably China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea.  That’s quite a collection.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Male 2: “Imprisonment so often entails human rights violations.  I think that we should look at incarceration rates.”
Female 1: “I have it here from the International Centre for Prison Studies, a British group.  First, would you believe, is the US.  The next few, you’d never guess – Seychelles, St. Kitts & Nevis, the US Virgin Islands.  Sadly, Cuba comes next.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Male 2: “Actually, I think capital punishment is the ultimate human rights violation.  Amnesty International keeps track of that.  The top offenders make an even stranger collection – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and us, I mean the US”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 1: “It seems to me that there’s a natural choice when you read the newspapers.”
Female 2: “Syria, gassing its own people?”
Several voices at once: “No, Israel!”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
[Chatter ensued.]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I thought I would try Division 31 Restaurant, to see if they finally are serving lunch on a plate, not in a hot pot.  No luck.  Worse luck possibly is the fate of Gold River Malaysian Cuisine, just a few doors down from Division 31.  Last week, I had a first-rate meal there and, finding Division 31 inhospitable, I thought to extend my examination of the menu at Gold River.  However, it was closed; the aluminum gate firmly pulled down over the storefront.  Nothing indicated its fate, and I hope this was only a momentary disruption in its new life.  For lunch, I joined hundreds of rollicking Chinese folk at 88 Palace, 88 East Broadway (May 21, 2010), for dim sum Hong Kong style.  $10 got me shrimp dumplings (4), shu mai (4), pork and vegetable dumplings (3), a plate of sticky rice and 3 crescent-shaped, fried dumplings containing something pleasantly obscure, and good, hot tea.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Boyz Club met for lunch today at Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway.  We ordered one dim sum platter for each person (11 different pieces for $12), and extra plates of duck dumplings, steamed roast pork dumplings, spinach dumplings, and fried shrimp balls, about $4 each.  One interesting thing about Dim Sum Go Go, in contrast to its popularity and high Michelin rating, is its remoteness from the myriad of subway lines in downtown Manhattan.  Maybe that’s a good thing to keep the crowds manageable.  Check your map before heading out.  Let me remind you though, don’t order the scallion pancake.

Thursday, December 19, 2013
One more day with my mouth open, not saying a thing.  It is supposed to be the last session of my Magnus Dentus Opus, although the need for some post-impartum adjustments may be inevitable.  After all, I’ve paid a lot for this new grimace.
Friday, December 20, 2013
After my three hour session yesterday, I returned to work with new teeth, an unfamiliar bite and sore gums.  I hope that the teeth remain, I grow accustomed to the bite and the pain wears off.  For the rest of the day, I am sticking to simple, soft foods, fried rice at Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, for lunch.  Mind you, that’s not in the way of a compromise.  Wo Hop’s fried rice (I often mix and match ingredients, today beef and shrimp) is probably the best fried rice in Chinatown, and served in large portions.  The only thing wrong with that is that you can’t reasonably order fried rice as a complement to another dish when eating alone, unless you don’t mind leaving over a lot of food, which simply is not my style.

Those of you who live around here, or just about anywhere in the Northeast, know that precipitation in the form of snow or rain has been the prevailing weather pattern for the last couple of weeks, combined with cold temperatures.  So, I’m stuck trying to explain what I have observed during this period.  Many of the racks in New York’s bike sharing program have loads of empty slots, presumably meaning that the bikes are in use.  For instance, this morning, admittedly a bit milder than recent days, around 9 AM, I counted seven bicycles in the rack on Reade Street, east of Broadway, which has 40 slots. Later, near 11 AM, the bike rack directly in front of the courthouse on Centre Street, just below Worth Street, had 24 bikes and 19 empty slots.  Where have all the bicycles gone?  Have they flown south for the winter?  Are Century Village and Pembroke Pines in Florida as full of blue bikes as blue-haired ladies from New York?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Is Your Gun Housebroken?

Monday, December 9, 2013
If I were only devoted to sports, this weekend would have been a disaster. The Rangers lost two games back-to-back at home to traditional rivals. Then, the Giants flew all the way out to San Diego, California and forgot how to play football once they arrived there. Fortunately, there were other activities that provided sufficient enjoyment to rescue the weekend. Saturday morning, our synagogue welcomed new members; there was a lovely birthday party for Dr. Roger P. on Saturday night. Sunday morning, we heard Mel Scult, that formidable scholar, discuss his new biography of Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. Afterwards, we traveled to Shop-Rite in Englewood, New Jersey to refill the refrigerator and pantry depleted by Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrations. In fact, with the extremely early coming and going of Hanukkah, historically unprecedented it seems, my holiday bustling about is done. Of course, I will not ignore a bargain, as I found at the New York Public Library shop on Friday, rebuilding my inventory for next year’s gift giving. However, I don’t yet have a sense of urgency about being ready for the first candle on Tuesday night, December 16, 2014. 
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Just as our modern society recognizes certain differences between men and women, straights and gays, innies and outies, there is a gulf between pet people and the rest of us that sometimes bewilders me. Today’s New York Law Journal, for instance, describes the contest by a divorcing couple over custody of their 2 ½-year old miniature dachshund. A New York County judge ruled that the custody determination should depart from precedents which either simply rejected treating a pet as one would a child in a custody battle or automatically considering a pet as personal property, chattel in lawyer lingo. For better or worse, the methodology laid out by the judge went untested because the parties reached an agreement before the judge did. 
I’m not completely insensitive to the affection and feeling of companionship one might have for a pet, some pets at least. However, having worked in divorce court (officially – a matrimonial part of Supreme Court) for over three years, I’ve seen how warring couples can invest animate and inanimate objects with global significance, warranting a scorched-earth policy, if necessary, to effect JUSTICE. A sofa will remain unchanged if it is the object of such a controversy. However, I am certain that Junior would suffer under those circumstances and maybe Fido would as well.
For a short time in the spring of this year, 21 Division Street was home to CM Malaysian Restaurant (April 3, 2013). It closed quickly and the site was empty until recently when Gold River Malaysian Cuisine opened, totally renovated with a simple, undistinguished interior. The food, on the other hand, quite distinguishes itself. I started, as I invariably do in a Malaysian restaurant, with roti canai ($3.50), the Indian pancake with curry dipping sauce. The pancake was a little crumbly, hard to fold without making a mess. However, the sauce had a real tang and contained a few pieces of beef, not just chunks of potato. I chose beef rendang over rice from over 30 lunch specials, all at $6. There was a generous amount of rice and highly-spiced beef. They could have borrowed the title spicy & tingly beef from Xi’An Famous Foods without apology. In addition to the lunch specials, predominantly familiar Chinese dishes, the menu includes Thai and Malay items, such as Hainanese chicken, mee Siam and pad Thai, and more obscure dishes. My devotion to West New Malaysia Restaurant, in the arcade between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street, will surely be tested by future visits to Gold River.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
As a kid, I had a very realistic cap pistol. It looked like a Colt .45, all shiny chrome. My attraction to firearms ended about then. Possibly a bigger divide exists between gun people and the rest of us than between pet people and non-pet people, although standing on the outside in both instances, I detect a common need for reassurance and personality enhancement in many of those who grasp for animals and guns. Maybe the best (worst) expression of the emotional neediness of many gun people is the history of gun control legislation in the year since the murder of schoolchildren in Newtown, CT. The New York Times reviewed the approximately 1,500 bills dealing with guns introduced in state legislatures in this period. 
It found that 109 have become law throughout the country; 39 tighten gun restrictions, 70 loosen gun restrictions. For instance, as of now, Arkansas allows guns in places of worship; Louisiana allows issuance of lifetime concealed handgun permits; North Carolina (not alone) allows firearms in bars; Utah prohibits the sharing of firearms permit information with the federal government. This last one inspires me to suggest that the federal government prohibit its Centers for Disease Control from sharing information with Utah. 
Thursday, December 12, 2013
With the temperature stuck in the mid-20s, Michael Ratner and I drank a lot of hot tea at Mika Japanese Cuisine & Bar, 150 Centre Street (July 19, 2011). Otherwise, we went without hot food as we ate a lot of sushi and sashimi. We shared a Love Boat ($45), a large platter of about a dozen different items, all tasting fresh and good. Adding to our pleasure was the coupon from which covered the first $25 for only a few bucks. For the New York area, is worth keeping in mind. It does not represent the most elegant collection of restaurants, but you are likely to find a coupon for a familiar place and save some money. Coupon prices vary; they are almost always running a promotion. Two weeks ago, I purchased coupons for four restaurants (including Mika), with redemption values of $15 to $50, for $1.80 to $6, unbelievably low cost. You have to spend more than face value, typically 50% more to use the coupon, and fixed price meals are often excluded. However, with a little attention to detail, you can eat more for less, my mantra.
Friday, December 13, 2013
"Congratulations once again on your admission to Fordham University."
Congratulations to my older brother because he became even older today.
Oops!  It seems that while my brother's birthday is irrevocable, 2,500 Fordham applicants were falsely informed this week that they were admitted by early admission.  It seems that an outside contractor handling financial aid applications made a bit of a mistake.  In fact, 500 of these kids are being rejected for admission and 2,000 are being deferred.  Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Digest This

Monday, December 2, 2013
Clear liquids, all day, all night.  Maybe it is appropriate that after a long holiday weekend, filled with special meals and parties, that my choices for today day are limited to water and apple juice.  This is to prepare for a medical procedure tomorrow, after which I expect to return to the path of gluttony.  This temporary period of restraint I am finding harder than the all-day total fast of Yom Kippur.  I’ve gone to work today and at lunchtime I took a walk.  I found myself besieged by enticing odors from sidewalk carts and the joints whose doors are opening and closing constantly for customers.  At least, on Yom Kippur, I sit relatively still in a big room filled with equally deprived Jews.  There’s no question that thoughts of refreshment often nudge thoughts of atonement aside while at services, but I feel that I am not alone in shul.  Among the other pious ones, a yearning for spirituality may well be at odds with a yearning for a pastrami sandwich.  I’m not trying to take my transitory deprivation too seriously, because there are too many folks around who will not be eating well again even after 24 hours have passed.  It’s funny how many politicians and their mouthpieces appear hyper-alert to the prospect of what they label class warfare, when, in fact, they have already won that war.  I’m not looking for the redistribution of wealth, just the distribution of wealth.  Too many have none, too few have most.  There are very few people that I could tolerate being stuck in an elevator with who claim that it’s the right way to run a country.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I think that I failed a test today.  It wasn’t the probe of my kishkes conducted by Doctor-Lawyer-Rabbi Traube, my personal gastroenterologist, which produced a satisfactory result, although, as usual, the 24 hours before was one of the most miserable periods of my life.  I wrote yesterday about wandering about the fragrant streets of Manhattan, limited to water and apple juice as refreshment.  Note that I later realized that vodka and gin qualified as clear liquids.  It got worse, of course, once I began drinking that foul liquid which prepares your insides for a closeup look.  Worsest (incorrect, but that’s how I felt), I was swallowing this devil’s brew as I was swallowing the Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

The test failure came as I was signing in for the procedure.  The clerk went through the typical inventory of inquiries, name, address, birth date, allergies, medications, and then asked “Religion?”  I barely paused and said “Pass.”  Now, except for some residents of southern California who took me for an Englishman because of my accent, my Hebrew heritage has been easily recognized and even proudly flaunted far and wide.  Yet, I could not utter “Jew” when asked.  Was my lack of candor rooted in the history of discrimination, a concern for civil liberties, stubborn independence or, merely, embarrassment?  I was on East 38th Street in Manhattan, damn it, not Dusseldorf or Damascus.  Ironically, I was about to put my ass in the hands of an orthodox rabbi who has a day job as a doctor.  Go figure.

The procedure went well and my exit from the hospital was eased by the company of Stony Brook Steve, who kindly came to escort me off the premises.  Once upon a time, just as you could walk into just about any building in New York City without ceremony, you could leave a hospital or treatment center by yourself if your legs could carry you.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Today’s Times has an interesting article about college faculty adjuncts, those poor over-educated schnooks who handle significant teaching loads for chump change.
For instance, the article identifies a married couple in the Boston area who teach 11 courses between them, at rates of $2,100 to $6,500 per course.  Given the actual time needed to conduct a 3 credit (hour) course, this does not produce a living wage.

When I was asked to depart from Cornell University, my expectations of ever teaching a college class again evaporated.  I managed to string together some teaching jobs in woebegone private high schools in order to delay visiting Vietnam for 47 years.  However, there was nothing educational or academic about these settings.  Fortunately, they lacked the drama of Blackboard Jungle, but also lacked its exciting soundtrack.

Once ensconced in the business world, in 1982, I had the opportunity to return to the front of a college classroom.  I was asked to teach a one-credit course on computers in the law office, as an adjunct, at Bronx Community College, a division of the City University of New York (CUNY) (which I always considered to be a gimmick to vitiate the glory of CCNY).  Since I treasured the opportunity to prance in front of a group of college students again, money was no object, which was just as well, because I got something like $37 per hour, that is for the one classroom hour weekly, and my job as a management consultant was paying me well.  I loved this gig and I think the students, aiming for jobs as paralegals, not lawyers, benefitted from my efforts, which came at a time when law firms were finally beginning to catch up with other businesses in the use of computers.  However, although invited to continue, I made that my first and last semester, because the college’s isolated location in the northwest Bronx prevented me from doing what I thought was needed to do justice to the subject – Show and Tell.  I wanted to take my class in and out of law firms and computer showrooms so that they could see the real life examples that I tried to illustrate with brochures, promotional materials and snappy patter.  The one hour that they were to spend with me would not have even covered the time on the subway to get to the nearest computer installation of any interest (in those days when computers were larger than hair brushes).

If asked to teach a course, any course, in college today, instinctively, I would lunge at the opportunity.  However, given my decent current earnings, I hope that I would defer to someone who could really use the $3,000 or so for the semester.  After all, that equals the $3,095 median monthly rent for an apartment in Manhattan “according to a report today [October 10, 2013] by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Douglas Elliman Real Estate.”

I was not looking for a new place to eat today as I went to purchase plumbing supply items, armed with photographs of the inside of my toilet tank to better identify the needed parts.  However, as I walked back from the hardware store, I glanced at the storefront at 139 Centre Street, which houses ABC Pharmacy, a new business.  In fact, a bunch of new independent pharmacies have appeared in Chinatown recently, in contrast to the contagious spread of Duane Reade over the rest of Manhattan Island.  I wonder if Obamacare makes a special provision for Chinese druggists?  In any case, upon closer examination, Queen Bakery Inc. shares the space with the drugstore.  It’s a small space almost entirely clad in marble with three tables and about ten chairs.  It does not display the typical array of highly decorated cakes and pastries, nor did I see any hot dogs wrapped in lard-laden dough.  Instead, it offers a small group of noodle soups along with a collection of buns for immediate consumption or takeaway.  I had wonton, noodle and beef stew soup ($5.25).  The only unmentioned ingredient was lettuce, which pleasantly wilted in the hot broth.  The beef was flanken by any other name; the wontons (about 8) were in a thin, non-gummy wrapper.  The portion was ample and I felt satisfied on my first day back in control of my gastrointestinal tract.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Again, it took four or five tries to find half a Peking duck.  I guess, in Chinatown at lunchtime, one is the loneliest number.  Yee Li Restaurant, 1 Elizabeth Street, had a good, juicy duck, which also equates to too much fat ($19).  It was served with four round, spongy buns, scallions, cucumber and carrot slivers, hoisin sauce and pastel shrimp chips.  There was a hefty leg and wing and much of the carcass along with the pieces of skin and meat to be wrapped in the buns.  Not a bad deal overall, if you take the trouble to trim some pieces of duck before ingesting.

Friday, December 6, 2013
I had lunch with Marty the Super Clerk, who controls the administration at 71 Thomas Street, the lonely little courthouse in Tribeca.  Today, I was delivering theater tickets to him which will be his wife’s Christmas presents.  This has become an annual ritual for us since it is easy for me to stop in the theater district on the way home from work, thereby avoiding the onerous surcharges on tickets ordered by computer or telephone.  Also, Marty recognizes me as a bit of a culture vulture, aware of current Broadway shows, and willing to put aside, at least temporarily, my own idiosyncratic taste in order to choose something to delight them on a future weekend in Manhattan away from their suburban New Jersey nest.

On my way home, I stopped in midtown to shop for gifts, Hanukkah 2014 gifts, at the New York Public Library's shop.  I was very pleased with the results of this foray, as I expect at least a few of you will be about a year from now.  Waiting for the uptown bus on this rainy night after shopping, I saw a fabulous sight, which I hope I've captured for you.