On a rooftop in Brooklyn

25 01 2017

Yesterday both cats scrambled to get on to the windowsill to gawk out at what I figured was a pigeon.

Well, it was, but not in the way I was expecting:

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She really went to town on that thing:

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She hung around, snacking, for a good long time, before lifting off with what was left of the carcass and leaving just a puddle of feathers behind.

I’m not a bird-watcher, so even with the help of various online guides I can’t be sure, but chances are that bird o’ prey was a red-tailed hawk. They’re pretty common in the city, but this was my first up-close-and-personal sighting.

Pretty cool.





Wake up little Susie

3 02 2016

Jesus fuck:

subway sleeping

Subways are not for sleeping, says the man who has a driver.

[Y]ou make yourself a very easy victim and much more susceptible to a crime, says the man with bodyguards.

Why would you put yourself at that risk? says the man who thinks that telling tired people not to sleep is a way to reduce crime.

Hey, you want to protect me? How about paying attention to the jerk-off who’s trying to rob me?*

*Note: I have never been robbed on the train.

All right, all right, I get it: people who are sleeping are sometimes crime victims. And, as the story details, nudging people who are sound asleep in an empty car to wake up and tuck their iPhones back into their pockets is. . . not a bad idea, actually.

But jeez, Bratton, do you have to be such a dick about it?





Don’t let those Sunday afternoons get away

24 01 2016

It’s a snowy Sunday, so of course, the Jane Siberry song:

Last year we were told the city was going to get hit, so the governor—giving the mayor 15 minutes notice—shut the entire MTA system.

We got bupkes.

So I was a bit see-it-believe-it, but this is what it looked like at noon on Saturday.

009A proper storm.

This was the fire escape around noon:

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And then around 5:00:

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So, some decent accumulation.

It kept up well into the evening, at which point I headed outside; this was the entrance to my building:

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With the driving ban there were no cars on the streets, so I copied the other shadow figures I saw and trudged down the middle of the avenue:

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One bodega, at least, remained open:

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By morning the warm and the wind turned the fire escape sculptural:

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Beneath the blue, I headed to the park; I was not the only one with that idea, as every slope was smoothed by saucers, skinny cross-country skiers slowly glided along side trails, and snowmen appeared in fields and on fence posts:

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I’m a sucker for the melancholy view:

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But as I was walking out of the park, behind a guy smoking some skunky weed, and listening to David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes wobble out of the speakers by the ice rink, I did come across some incongruous green:

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It snows all across the north and the prairies; there’s nothing new about snow, there’s nothing special about snow in New York City.

Except it’s my city, and I like the snow, and I like the city.

And its incongruous green.





Circus Maximus MMXVI: Big time

18 01 2016

Former Virginia Attorney General and current Ted Cruz supporter Ken Cuccinelli, on New York values:

There’s lots of other things that go with that like cheesecake and big sandwiches.

Mm-hmmm.





Well, something’s lost, but something’s gained

26 11 2015

I went to the Neue Galerie yesterday to see the Berlin Metropolis 1918-1933 exhibit—but, alas, the exhibit was closed.

On a Wednesday! (I thought Mondays were when museums snoozed.)

Anyway, the upside to that downer was that it was early enough to stroll through the park.

I haven’t been through Central Park in, oh, a year, maybe? My favorite part is the very north, but angling down from East 85th to 72nd and Central Park West was still lovely.

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Once I hit the street again I kept walking west until I hit the train station. There were a lot of people out, but I’ve learned how to look around while dodging oncoming pedestrians; all I could think, as I gazed at the sculpted ironwork and stately facades, the cheeky cornices and inscrutable reliefs, was Oh, this really is a beautiful city.

I bitch a lot about my life—I’m middle-aged and living like a graduate student, I’ve tanked my own career—but I’m living in a city that I’ve loved since I was young, and teaching students from around the world at a city university which is open to them all.

I really don’t know life at all—maybe I never will—but I’m all right. I’m all right.

May you live a beautiful life in a beautiful city, however strange it all may be.





Black coffee

13 10 2015

Have I mentioned how I like my coffee?

'People Who Order Coffee Black Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths'

I learned the hard way that, in New York, if you want a black coffee, you have to specify ‘black coffee, no sugar’.

‘No cream’ is implied in black coffee, but, unlike elsewhere, ‘no sugar’ is not. You must be clear.

(‘Light and sweet’, by the way, means hop that hot caffeine up on cream—and it will often/always be real cream—and multiple scoopfuls of sugar.)

If the coffee slinger doesn’t know you, s/he’ll repeat this back you, skeptical: ‘Black coffee, no sugar?’

Again, this must be confirmed: ‘No sugar.’

If you buy coffee often enough at the same place, your java dealer will remember you by saying ‘black coffee, right? no sugar?”, then grin when you confirm this is so.

I very occasionally drink coffee and cream—a shot of Bailey’s in a mug of joe is a lovely winter drink—but sugar makes it unpalatable.  I once threw out a large cuppa because I had simply ordered a black coffee, and the server helpfully included the sugar.

That was a sad day.

It was also instructive, as I never made that mistake again.

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I think I’ve mentioned this story before, but it’s good enough to repeat: A former editor of mine at The Daily Cardinal once said ‘I hate coffee, but when I drink it, I drink it black, because real women drink it black.’

Now that’s a role model.





In the city

28 06 2015

When I was a kid I remember a poster of a black cat on a cement sidewalk.

“City Cat”, I think, was the title.

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A variation on a theme: “Windowsill Cat”.