Archive: new york

Things I Miss About New York: Racing to Read the End of the Chapter Before the Subway Doors Open at My Stop

This shouldn’t be a nostalgia day. It’s a perfect seventy degrees in the Southland while NYC is getting knocked with those freezing water rain pelts (I think there is another word for this).

I was just thinking about how all the fun has been taken out of reading ever since I moved west. This is partly due to the fact that no one reads books on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, so you can’t really talk about anything you’ve read, and – most importantly – appear intelligent. I think the thing that’s missing most, though, is that I no longer have subway car doors to race when the end of the chapter is in sight.

This is much more exciting than it should be, yet with all the competing media to get my entertainment dollar, it’s freaking awesome. The drama starts a few stops before you get to where you’re going. Let’s say you turn the page and it’s a full block of text without any of those little dot things (again, probably a word for this) to break up the page. And no one wants to put their bookmark between two pages full of text. That’s insane. In-sane.

But then you turn the next page and see that the chapter is over in around seven paragraphs. Then the conductor says your stop is next, and IT. IS. ON.

This is Waiting for Superman times a thousand. We can get kids to read without having them get smarter or ditch their video game mentality. I never absorb a single word under this kind of pressure, but I sure as hell am going to have my eyes cross every single letter. That’s part of the game. There are no cheat codes when it comes to beating the subway doors to the end of the chapter.

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Unfortunately, the closest equivalent to this in L.A. is trying to read without getting into a ten-car pile-up on the Santa Monica Freeway. While fun, the risk-reward ratio is obscene.

The bus isn’t the same. First, no one can read on a bus. L.A. is pot-holed enough, and the city decided to save money by not adding shock-absorbers to the Metro fleet. And things aren’t working out in your life well at all if you’re on the bus in the first place. You’e not going to sweep all those problems under the rug because you got your hands on the New York Times Bestseller List.

This is motivation in its own right to build the L.A. subway to parts of town where people live and want to go. Sure, you can read and race the L.A. subway doors, but there isn’t all that much drama when the train is going to the corner of Western and Normandie before you have to wait an hour for the next bus to get your unemployment check. At least on the bright side, after you have received your last explanation of benefits, you have something to peruse for the long ride home.

How Could Dominos Rescind Jersey Shore Advertising When Dominos is the Jersey Shore of Pizza?

Can be ordered extra crispy

Can be ordered extra crispy

Jersey Shore had its season finale last week with the genuine bombshell leading to Sammi and Ronnie breaking up (I’m not sure which was the guy and the girl).

Italian-American defamation leagues did their usual protesting and boycotting of MTV, arguing that the show promotes negative stereotypes of Italian heritage. The protesters then threatened to send a guy to break the executives’ kneecaps if he didn’t comply. My favorite boycott though was Dominos pizza pulling their ads from the network.

My first question was if Dominos was trying to take pride as an Italian institution. Just because you make pizza doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to start rioting when Inter and A.C. Milan face-off. This seems like the equivalent of dressing like Mario and Luigi for Halloween and then getting offended that Jersey Shore is demeaning to Italians.

Has anyone responded to an offer of Dominos pizza by saying, “I’m not feeling Italian food right now?” That sort of seems like Starbucks getting offended at shows with negative Jewish stereotypes because they sell bagels.

The biggest irony in the whole thing, though, is that Dominos is the quintessential product to advertise on the show Jersey Shore. Dominos pizza is in many ways the Jersey Shore of pizza parlors. Let’s run through all the similarities.

For starters, you just feel dirty when you indulge in both. I feel the exact kind of waste-of-life self-hatred after downing a large Brooklyn-style pizza as when I catch a Jersey Shore marathon. Both are overcooked, both are greasy, both are easy and cheap, and look appealing at first glance, but could easily lead to disease.

Not to mention that both the cast of Jersey Shore and a Dominos pizza have this sense of desperation to be liked and a willingness to be used. They’ll throw in all these sweet offers, like you can go to the club, or you can get in the hot tub, or you can get a free two liter coke and cheesy bread, and you’re like, “Great, I’m going to have an awesome night.” Cut to three hours later when you feel sick and your face hurts. The girl and pizza are gone, selling the same “amazing deal” to the guy you thought was your friend.

Do Foreign Umbrella Salesmen in New York Always Yell At You Because They Don’t Have a Word for Umbrella?

You'd be confused too if you were from Chad.

You'd be confused too if you were from Chad.

Whenever it rains in New York, the street vendors come out in full force to hawk umbrellas, but I could never figure out why they were more aggressive with their sales pitch than any other person along Times Square.

The knockoff wallet dude is always chill, sitting along the sidewalk playing dominoes with cell phone cover guy. As soon as it starts to get cloudy and if I’m walking down the street without an umbrella, I get yelled at African immigrants, like I wandered into a war zone from a conflict I feel guilty that I don’t know enough about. Or a soccer match.

I used to think that it had to do with basic opportunism, that when it rains, they have to meet their monthly quota of five dollar umbrellas that will collapse in an hour. But I think I realized that they are yelling so many words in such a frenzy because so many of the umbrella vendors come from places where it doesn’t rain.

That completely explains it, because the yelling is partly out of a panic for, “Dear God, what the hell is happening,” and they have to try and sell their wares in the moment I walk past them, but they don’t have a cultural link to the phrase, “Would you like to buy an umbrella?”

Therefore, what I interpret as yelling, is really them kindly saying, “Buy a water sky cover roof no wall protection heaven wet fall rubber device miracle building handheld!”

It’s like if I were to move to the African plains, and suddenly found myself in a stampede, it would take me a minute to come up with the word stampede since I’d have no idea what was going on. So in yelling at people, I’d say, “Animal zoo moving forward giraffe lionhead stomp bad ouch no!”

The moral is that we have to use Martin Luther King Day to reflect on cultural differences. Even if buying an umbrella is as easy as, “No sky bad water deflection house stop now!”

Fuck It, I Want to Brag For Once

Can't One Alum Donate a New Copy Machine?

Can't One Alum Donate a New Copy Machine?

There’s like one day every few months where toiling away like a douchey L.A. stereotype by sitting in Insomnia Cafe writing on a pirated Final Draft 7, having no money, no social life, living in a worthless city and going back to undergrad when I’m uncomfortably old for it, can be slightly justified.

So, fuck it, for once I want to brag. A TV pilot I wrote is a finalist in a screenwriting competition: and it feels fucking fantastic whether it wins or not.

As in maybe, just maybe, ditching a kickass Astoria apartment (36th Street stop, $700/month, my own bathroom and my own balcony), regular temp work in Manhattan that paid over $20/hour and the thing that makes New York best of all – New York girls live there, for the cultural wasteland of L.A. might not have been the worst choice I could have made.

And another thing is that I’m going to argue that my jubilation today is a case for pessimism. Because I had discounted myself so much and forgotten about the script entirely and wrote it off as just another stack of papers to the “learning experience” pile, I was even more happy when I found out that it’s doing well. If I was optimistic about it and expected it to get there, I would either fail and be let down, or succeed and be happy but not thrilled.

But what if I keep writing and the scripts get a little bit better with each one and something gets sold some day and with enough work and focus and good ideas I can actually become a working writer.

Keep the expectations low.

But holy shit man.


Do Architects of Crappy Landmarks Dream That Their Structures Will be Destroyed in a Michael Bay Film?

The Bayonne Bridge connects New Jersey douche bags and Staten Island douche bags

The Bayonne Bridge connects New Jersey douche bags and Staten Island douche bags

The pinnacle for an architect is no longer recognition and awards, but rather it’s getting your structure destroyed in a Michael Bay disaster movie. I wonder if the architects of crappy structures and landmarks – be it in major cities or crappy towns across the Midwest (I’m looking at you, Cincinnati) – dream of this during construction.

Slate did an article last week on movies always blowing up the same landmarks: It seems to be the same buildings in every disaster movie: Empire State Building, the White House, Golden Gate Bridge (somehow still standing when Star Trek takes place. Just to have it be destroyed), the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument. I’m sure something would get destroyed in L.A. if anything iconic existed in L.A. I don’t feel like aliens are going to travel thousands of light years to destroy In and Out Burger.

But what about the lowly World’s Largest Ball of Yarn or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or that ridiculous Ferris Wheel in London that always gets neglected for destruction for Big Ben?

I think it would be more meaningful if the aliens came to Earth and destroyed some stuff while making a point about the state of modern architecture. Yeah the symbolism in destroying the Statue of Liberty is more significant, but does that really pass for a metaphor right now? Ending your freedom by destroying the symbol of freedom? Can’t you come up with something just slightly more clever?

I think it says something more significant if you have a master race destroy the Pompidou Center and the Disney Concert Hall in an ardent stance against Postmodern Architecture. Aliens can be snobs too.

The closest we ever came to achieve this goal was in the Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds. The aliens travel all the way to Earth and what New York-area bridge do they destroy? George Washington? Brooklyn? Verrezano-Narrows? Nope, they destroy the Bayonne Bridge, connecting Staten Island and New Jersey. Nice. Aliens waged a war with Earth, but took out the vital pipeline of Jersey douche bags and Staten Island douche bags. That’s an alien race that I can get behind.

Bad Dates In New York Are Better Than Bad Dates in Los Angeles

The underrated art of eavesdropping on other people's dates

The underrated art of eavesdropping on other people's dates

Dating in Los Angeles is miserable, not so much because of the rarity of a really good date, but because there’s nothing good about the bad dates. In New York an extremely bad date can be arguably just as good as a pretty good date. In New York, a great date is the best, but after that I think I’d rather have a really bad date before a pretty good date.

This is all based on the formal scientific rankings of: very good, good, pretty good, kinda good, and so-so. But a very bad date in New York City is awesome.

I don’t know if it’s because there are more people around and there’s public transportation, so you always have an out, or because the crazy people are the craziest in the planet. But in New York, I’ve been on dates with girls who have done the following: told me a detailed account of her rape story; taken Xanax which was kept in her necklace locket; tried to have sex without a condom and she wasn’t on the pill; was asked to role play as a rapist.

Those are awesome bad first dates. And in New York, you’re always around people, so you can go up to someone else and say, “Hey, look at the psycho I’m on a date with.”

But in Los Angeles, bad first dates are just bland. There is nothing exciting about them, because most just consist of boring actresses who talk about their attempted careers all night. They hide the psychosis and make you stick around for a while to find them, which isn’t fun for anyone.

Plus if you’re on a bad date in L.A., you’re stuck in the car with the girl all night, so there’s no escape. In New York, you can be near any subway stop and say, “OK, see ya,” but in L.A., you can’t necessarily be out at dinner near La Cienega and Melrose, and walk away with a hearty, “Good luck.” You could, but you’ll lose the chance to ask her friends out.

Why do Runners Get Assaulted? Shouldn't They Be Running, How Fit Are Rapists?

Do what you can to get out of NY apartment

Do what you can to get out of NY apartment

This one will probably annoy a lot of people, but those are the ones that tend to get all the traffic, so let’s go for it. Why is that joggers always get raped, mugged and sexually assaulted? Shouldn’t they be jogging? I mean, how in-shape are these rapists?

This makes no sense to me. They’re already jogging. How important can the jogging routine possibly be that you’ll refuse to run any faster when you see a guy with a knife? Does the willingness to get assaulted outweigh the conditioning that’s dependent on a consistent heart rate from steady pacing?

This is why you always hear about joggers getting assaulted. You never read a news article about a runner being attacked. Or a sprinter. They’re good. They’re really running. Very few rapists target the marathon. No stamina.

And how are all these rapists getting in such tip-top shape to catch up with these joggers? Is this an LA Fitness class that I haven’t heard about? “Are you hear for Abs Express?” “Nah, where’s rape cross-training?”

Although now that I think about it, rapists should be the motivation for people to start running. How about a campaign to solve obesity and overcrowded prisons at the same time? We release the rapists – we’ll keep collars on them so they know where they are and when they’ve gone too far – and they stalk lazy folk. This gets people jogging, and more importantly, gets them jogging fast.

No more assaults on joggers because they’ll all be better runners.

18th Street Subway Station

Subtitle: "You lazy bastard."

Subtitle: "You lazy bastard."

The problem with living in Morningside Heights has nothing to do with its distance from lower Manhattan. I have no problem with waiting for the late-night 1 train, the time it takes to get uptown isn’t a problem and the neighborhood is one of the best in the city.

But it seems like my patience for all of that immediately dissolves every single time the 1 train has to make a stop at that goddamn 18th Street Station. That one stop is a singlehanded “Fuck you” compliments of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

This has to be the most unnecessary stop in the entire system. Is it really that much of a pain in your daily routine to walk from 14th Street the entire four blocks to 18th Street. I’m so glad we could create an entirely new stop to cater to these people who just deem that kind of trek as being ridiculous.

And the weird thing is that I could care less when the train stops at 18th Street any other time of day. It’s only when it happens at 1:30 A.M., that I think the entire train lets out a collective, “Oh, come on! Really?”

Why Europeans Like New York Jews

500 lb. Maury Pauvich guest in America

500 lb. Maury Pauvich guest in America

I’ve had a lot of success with European women in the past. Not relegated to any country in specific, but just as a continent, I seem to do better there than women in any other continent (maybe neck-and-neck with North America).

I was discussing this with other likeminded New York Jews (by the way, doesn’t that sound like a last-place Major League Soccer team? F.C. New York Jews?), and was shocked by similar results. It was unanimous: European girls love New York Jewish guys.

I thought about it for a while and figured out why this is: we’re the safe experimentation version for Europeans to try dating an American. They’ve all heard about that Wild West cowboy, frontier, hunter uncivilized New Worlder (that’s right, New Worldler), but they don’t really want to have to put up with it, so they go half-way and date a New Yorker.

It’s the trans-Atlantic version of a white girl who wants to date a black guy, but sorta hedges her bets by dating a light-skinned black guy, or a guy with one black parent and one white one. She wants to rebel against her parents, but doesn’t want to get in too deep in the process. That’s where New York Jews come in handy.

Accidentally Lead Parade

A housecat got revenge by popping a hole.

A housecat got revenge by popping a hole.

Ever try and cross a street, but your path manages to perfectly intersect a massive street demonstration and you find yourself accidentally leading the gay pride parade?

One second you’re just minding your own business, trying to walk across town and the next you’re leading a movement of sorts. It’s a difficult position because you want to get to where you’re going, but you don’t want to come off as a scab.

You want it to be a good parade also, not something embarrassing. If you find yourself at the head of the KKK rally simply because you were trying to cross the street at an inopportune time, you don’t want 60 Minutes throwing a camera in your face and being like, “You, sir, what do you have to say on behalf of your fellow racists?”

Lose-lose situation kinda thing.

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