Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Take your mind back to a time long, long ago -- back to the hazy summer days of 2010. Return to September, if you will, when the only issue on everyone's lips was "The Mosque." Beyond the predictable frenzy on cable news, it seemed not a week went by without crowds gathering near Ground Zero, either to voice support for Park 51 and religious freedom, or to rail against The Monster Mosque and sharia. Opponents even issued an ultimatum: Stand with us, and you'll be fine. Stand with the mosque, however, and the voters will remember, and they'll drive you out of office, come November.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Seen in Jackson Heights, which has a small but noticeable community of Tibetans. But I can't help wonder: At what point does a member of a tiny ethnic minority decides s/he needs to "represent"? I suspect it requires some amount of solidarity -- no point in having a license plate that says "Tibetan" if there aren't any other Tibetans around, is there?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
As a kid who watched a lot of TV, I had a pretty distinct impression of New York City. From the perch of my La-Z-Boy in the suburbs of Houston, New York seemed bathed in bleakness. This was the late 70s, after all, and it wasn't "On the Town" we were watching, with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra glorying in the city's offerings, but "Welcome Back Kotter" and "Barney Miller." And even if "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" were less bleak, no one was having as much fun as the sexy singles of "Three's Company," set in sunny Santa Monica, California.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Years ago, I was asked by an editor to head to an Apple Core hotel, in midtown, to attend a mix-and-mingle with the reigning Miss Universe, Lara Dutta. Lara was not only beautiful, she was sweet and even though I didn't represent Esquire or Cosmo -- just India Abroad -- she made chit-chat with me for what felt like five to ten minutes. I remember feeling completely at-ease in her company, even grabbing a few of the Swedish meatballs during pauses (very brief pauses) in the conversation. And at some point, when I noticed I was standing on her foot, I thought, "That's pretty amazing -- she just let me stand there without saying anything!"
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Just when we were led to believe getting a mosque built in New York was guaranteed to cause controversy, here's an article in the Brooklyn Eagle that says otherwise. This $2 million project in Brighton Beach, meant to serve a community of about 5,000 Turkish-Americans, is set to be Brooklyn's largest mosque, but hasn't generated opposition:
After nearly a decade of fundraising and construction, the four-story American-Turkish Eyup Sultan Cultural Center on Brighton Third Street is scheduled to officially open in early December.
The mosque opened temporarily in August for Ramadan, and unlike the controversial Ground Zero cultural center, received very little attention. The Turkish cultural center also escaped the scrutiny of the Bay People, the Sheepshead Bay organization that has feverishly protested a proposed mosque on Voorhies Avenue.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Did you watch "The View" Thursday morning? Neither did I. But it's certainly worth watching this clip, if only to see two of the hostesses-with-the-mostesses, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, actually walk off the set of their own show. Is that allowed??
The tete-a-tete-a-tete took place over Park 51/Cordoba House/Ground Zero Monster Mosque. Whoopi and Joy didn't like O'Reilly's opposition to the project, and decided they'd had enough when he said Muslims attacked the Twin Towers (as opposed to saying "extremists" did it).
For extra credit, watch this longer clip at Entertainment Weekly. After the two storm off, Barbara Walters slams them for doing so, then turns to O'Reilly and slams him for equating all Muslims with terrorists. He apologizes, kind of. And Joy and Whoopi return to the sofa after about 90 seconds, suggesting that this was ultimately just a carefully coordinated bathroom break.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tip-pooling is illegal -- who knew?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
When St. Vincent's Hospital closed its emergency room earlier this year, everyone anticipated it would cause problems for patients and hospitals alike, but just how much of a problem? City Limits magazine comes up with some numbers:
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
This made the Irish papers a couple weeks ago but I only heard about it yesterday, when Councilman Danny Dromm made an issue of it: Mary McAleese, the president of Ireland, says she won't be able to attend the next St. Patrick's Day Parade, in New York, where she would have served as Grand Marshal. This would be a historic day -- the 250th anniversary of the event -- but according to the Irish Voice, McAleese made a conscious decision to bow out:
The turn down is said to be connected to the issue of gays being refused the right to march in the parade under their own banners, and McAleese's strong relationship with gay and lesbian organizations in Ireland.
As she will also be in the last year of her term in 2011, officials in the president's office were reluctant to become embroiled in a major controversy about her taking part in the parade, which has excluded gay organizations for over 20 years.
The Voice reports that organizers attempted to broker a compromise with McAleese, whereby she would have attended the huge, main parade as well as the much smaller, inclusive St. Pat's for All parade, held a few days earlier in Queens. But that would've been hard for her to fit into her schedule.
Dromm is openly gay and represents Jackson Heights. He is also of Irish descent, and sent a letter to the press yesterday, calling attention to McAleese's decision:
Regardless of her motive, President McAleese, a devout Catholic, has, in her decision not to attend, honored the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic’s promise of “cherishing all children of the nation equally.” Her commitment to this principle has been the hallmark of her career. Fighting for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legal recognition of LGBT families, President McAleese has been at the forefront of expanding the rights of all Irish. With the recent passage of civil unions, Ireland has far surpassed New York in its commitment to equality. Notably, Irish legislators overwhelmingly passed the measure, another refection of how far Ireland has come.
Brendan Fay runs the St. Pat's for All parade, and said this to Irish Central:
I was not at all surprised by McAleese’s decision to decline. President McAleese is known as an inclusive bridge builder, a leader who is sincerely committed to bringing people together. A hallmark of her presidency has been outreach to all groups and communities in Irish society, including Irish LGBT groups.
McAleese's decision also drew praise from the Irish Queers group, which is pressuring the NYPD to stop marching in the parade.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Prosecutors in the Times Square bombing case have introduced further evidence, prior to sentencing, indicating that Faisal Shahzad saw himself as part of a global campaign against America. This video includes clips from what appears to be a sit-down speech he made in a studio of sorts, prior to the May 1 bombing attempt.
"I have been trying to join my brothers in jihad ever since the 9/11 happened," he says in the video.
You can also see what investigators say the damage would've been, had Shahzad succeeded in exploding his vehicle.
Shahzad pled guilty to all 10 charges against him. He will be sentenced next week.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The developers behind Park51, the Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, have been conspicuously low-key about the project. But they've finally given us a slightly better sense of what they're planning, with the release of 3 renderings: one exterior shot and two interiors. All in all, the images suggest a highly contemporary visual aesthetic, dominated by an outer shell that could best be termed web-like or exoskeletal. The architectural firm is Soma.
Monday, September 27, 2010
There's something particularly relevant and zeitgeisty about participatory art. Like crowdsourcing, art that requires the involvement of the citizenry -- that is actually for the worse without it -- offers a nice, robust update on the democratic project.
Monday, September 20, 2010
There was a time when the immigration policies of various European countries might have seemed well outside the purview of a humble blog such as this, but Park 51 has changed all that. After all, the star of the September 11 rally opposing Park 51 was Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician whose Freedom Party has rapidly gained power on the basis of his anti-Islamic proposals, including taxing headscarves and banning the Koran. The prime organizer against Park 51, Pam Geller, also helps run Stop Islamization of America, part of a network of groups that includes Stop Islamization of Europe, Stop Islamization of Denmark (and England, and France, etc.).
So Americans are now participating in a much broader debate on the integration of Muslims into Western society.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Think your train's crowded? Try standing in line for five days just to board a train -- that's how bad the crowds are in the days leading up to the Lunar New Year for the 120 million-odd migrant workers who want to travel home for the holidays each year.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
New York is filled with people who have, 'how'd you get that job?' careers. And street fashion bloggers may have one of the most unique gigs in the city.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Anti-Defamation League caused a firestorm when it came out in opposition to the Islamic Center near Ground Zero. It claimed, with a rationale that has become common among critics, that while the developers had the right to build there, it was not right to build there. Many people in the interfaith community felt ADL had betrayed its core values.
Last week, the ADL surprised a few more people by announcing creation of an Interfaith Coalition on Mosques. From the release:
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I've only recently started eating at Shake Shack, and have fallen hard for their frozen custard (the blueberry, so very creamy). And after generally avoiding beef for years, I've made return trips for their cheeseburgers, which I've concluded are superior to those of Five Guys — certainly less unwieldy.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
On a clear, warm September Saturday, the mall at Lincoln Center was buzzing with fashion industry insiders scurrying to get to or from the latest shows and the curious onlookers who showed up to watch them. In simple terms, Lincoln Center was bumpin’.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
At about 11:05 this lazy Sunday morning, I had a sudden, seizing revelation: Fall for Dance tickets had gone on sale, just 5 minutes earlier. I tossed my almond croissant down on the table and ran to my computer. A few seconds later, I was on New York City Center's Web site, only to discover that I was Number 2,578 on the waiting list.