Friday, July 7, 2017

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Monday, July 3, 2017
"It’s Not Just Mike Pence.  Americans Are Wary of Being Alone With the Opposite Sex."  That's the headline for the report of a national survey of attitudes on the interaction of genders.

Men's fear of being overtaken by lust in the isolated presence of the opposite sex seems to correlate roughly with political party identification, education, and religion, although few of us seem to be temptation proof.  An atheistic Democrat with an advanced degree seems to be most willing to tempt fate.
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Happy Birthday to Aryeh Gold 88, David Goldfarb 88, Nate Persily 47, Meredith Silverman 37 and Zalman Richmond 10.  What a fruitful day.  Being linked to Michael Jordan is good, but I must defer to this quintet.  

By happy coincidence, Nate, a Stanford University professor, showed up in time for lunch today.  While I know that Nate has an adventurous palate, I also know that, following family tradition, he has a jones for Fairway's whitefish salad.  So, we ate at the Fairway Cafe, 2121 Broadway, which offered him not only the finest whitefish salad in the land, but also an everything bagel that was everything a bagel should be. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Today, the New York Times printed the results of another interesting survery, New Yorkers' (dis)satisfaction with the quality of local life and services.  The on-line version went up a few days ago and contains some useful interactive features, including the ability to look at individual neighborhoods.

I am pleased to note the irony that "the neighborhood that New Yorkers are most satisfied with [is]: Manhattan’s District 7, which includes the Upper West SideLincoln Square and Manhattan Valley.  Residents there tended to rate New York’s services higher there than they did anywhere else."   We Upper West Siders are generally recognized as world-class kvetchers.  Maybe someone listened to our past complaints.   
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I guess that I shouldn't be surprised that Oreo is the most popular cookie in the world, made in 18 countries, selling 40 billion annually.  Oreo is taking more and more shelf space in the cookie department, and continues to experiment with permutations and combinations of layers and flavors.  Here's a look at some recent versions that I seem to have missed.

The Oreo cookie has been around for over 100 years and, by coincidence, my brother informs me of another centennial.

As my maternal cousins and some of you close readers know, my mother's maiden name was Goldenberg.  In fact, her youngest brother Arthur used to distribute the candy as his calling card.  

Our Goldenberg name, as master sleuth Ittai Hershman proved, is a nom de New York, affixed at Ellis Island to replace Chelchowsky, the consonant-rich Polish name borne over there.  But note, we became Goldenbergs in 1909, 8 years before the candy emerged.
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An interesting op-ed piece maintains that, in spite of the high disapproval ratings of the present administration in the New York metropolitan area, local sports fans and, particularly, WFAN, the all-sports talk radio station, seem to remain supportive.

I agree and, in fact, I stopped listening to WFAN almost two years ago, having been a regular for 25 years, when it started to Foxify with the rise of Trump.  There are some interesting cross-currents between sports and political philosophy.  Conservatives extol personal responsibility, laud the hero, the loner triumphing over adversity.  Yet, the typical call to WFAN is all about teams, the state of the Mets or Jets or Nets or Yankees or Devils or Islanders or Rangers.  The caller's indignation is evident, while no one seems to be agitated about tennis or golf, the quintessential tests of individual accomplishment. 

Certainly, fans have their favorite individual athlete(s), but, in the long run, I believe that most fans wind up rooting for the laundry.  That is, they remain loyal to the uniform which, in their eyes, has the power to convert a devil into an angel -- not literally since a Devil is a hockey player and an Angel is a baseball player.  But, if that isn't collectivism, what is?

By the way, an interesting (but 4-year old) graphic of the politics of sports fans can be found at:

Another interesting graphic, one year more recent, shows the politics of NFL fans:
Thursday, July 6, 2017
On the way to delay a friend's recovery from major surgery, I stopped in Hell's Chicken, 641 Tenth Avenue for lunch, which I previously visited with William Franklin Harrison, destined to be a future President of the United States.  It wasn't my original destination, because that neighborhood, just west of the Theater District, has a decent collection of restaurants.  Traditionally called Hell's Kitchen, realtors are trying to relabel it Clinton, with no more success than getting the Clinton name on the White House.

Once upon a time, the area was populated by longshoremen in tenements working on Hudson River docks, cf. "On the Waterfront."  When those residents followed their jobs out of town, they were replaced by starving actors and struggling hoodlums, cf. Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novels.  Now, new buildings with high floors and matching rents have sprouted all over the place.  While the apartment buildings presumably have the latest and greatest amenities, many of the older restaurants lack serious air conditioning capacity, which caused me to bop in and out of several before settling comfortably into Hell's Chicken.  

The joint features chicken wings, but also offers a variety of Korean dishes.  I ordered a kimchi fried rice chicken burrito ($12), only in America.  The fusion worked well.  My experience was enhanced by the bossa nova music played at a civilized level in the background.     

Friday, July 7, 2017
We spent the late afternoon with Nate Persily and friends, as he extended his birthday celebration and visit to New York through the week.  We gathered on the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a fabulous spot that I meekly acknowledge I had never visited before.  Go there.  You need not pay the $25 recommended museum admission charge if you head right to the roof.
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We Upper West Siders will soon elevate our already high level of satisfaction with our neighborhood.  Jing Fong, the major league Chinatown dim sum palace, is opening a branch at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 78th Street.  It will occupy the space formerly wasted on Planet Sushi.  Palazzo di Gotthelf is exactly 1/2 mile away.  Oh, happy day.  

1 comment:

  1. Another birthday:

    Today, July 8--Joe Plut (the ex-mad hugger) is 81.