Google it

I have a friend who worked in an info booth in town for years. Whenever I wanted to go to lunch or whatever, I would say, “Put a sign on the booth and let’s go. Tell people to Google It!”

Actually, the city sort of did that. They removed the info booths and put in something like those LinkNYC things they have in NY, only they aren’t as sophisticated, you can’t go online or use the internet, it’s more of an advertising thing. I have another friend whose beautiful art is on the info link things as part of the City of Miami’s project, I would love to get some of my cartoons on them.

A few years back I was in New York and a Nor’easter was coming. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked the concierge about it, “What should I do Michael? Stay? Go home?” He told me he would let me know in the morning. I gave him my number and figured that being a concierge, he had some sort of in with the weather service.

I asked him, “How are you going to get the weather?” He said, “I’m going to Google it,” to which I laughed.

In the end, the airline contacted me and had me change my flight and I came home early because of the oncoming storm. Michael did contact me the next day about the weather, but I took an early flight and was already home in Miami by then.

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The grass is always greener

Recently when I was in New York, I was reminded of this cartoon from a year or so ago. It’s always funny to be that when I’m at the museums, I see people, including myself, looking out of the windows, rather than at the art.

I visited only two museums when in town – MOMA and The MET, must visits for me when I’m there. I didn’t visit one of my favorite places, the Museum of the City of New York, not sure why. I always like going through that Spanish Harlem neighborhood walking toward 5th Avenue to the museum.

The MET recently raised admission rates to $30 per person. They either want to keep large families out or want to keep art away from the masses. I remember when not too long ago it was pay what you want. When they started charging at a local arts festival in town, in Miami, when I asked why all of a sudden, they said, “We want to keep the riff raff out,” I assumed they meant me.

The magnificent Hudson Valley view from Washington Heights

I did get lost in Washington Heights, for some reason I was looking for Riverside Park and I ended up there. Yes, it reminded me of the the movie, “In the Heights.” The center part is very much like the movie, very chaotic, lots of people, bodegas and businesses. As you reach the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge, it turns into the beginning of the Hudson Valley and it feels as if you are upstate.

The boy with the mushroom hair

At the MET Museum I kept running into this guy/kid, he looked to be sort of young – 18 to 22 maybe. He was by himself and very interested in the art. I liked the way his hair sort of came up like a mushroom.

It was one of those instances where you keep running into people when you are somewhere, almost as if you are stalking them. I suppose I was if I took this photo. I just found him interesting, he seemed so cool. Not many young people visit museums by themselves and are so into the art. Perhaps he’ll be a big famous artists one day.

I’m glad to be home, but I’m looking forward to being back in New York in September and October – I’ve got a wedding to attend, Comic Con (yes, got my tix already), and of course pumpkin and apple picking upstate, We may do that in Connecticut this year rather than upstate New York.

I remember the green paint incident, one of my first days in NYC this this summer. I still have it on my clothing, the paint won’t come off. A souvenir of the summer of 2022.

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Selfish travelers

I was on a plane and as is the case often, a couple asked if I would exchange seats so they could sit together. I told them NO.

I think this is the first time I said no, as it’s happened to me more than once and I always accommodate people. But I think I’ve had it with that and I told them, “NO, I don’t want to move.” And for the rest of the flight, I felt uncomfortable and guilty. I avoided the guy who was sitting next to me the whole time, we didn’t speak, I didn’t eat or drink because I didn’t want the flight crew reaching over him and I didn’t want any interactions with him. I felt he was being a schmuck by asking me to move so his wife, who was sitting in front of him could sit next to him.

I know, I know, it sounds selfish on my part. But it’s not.

It was a husband and wife who wanted me to switch seats and they ended up sitting one behind the other for the trip. They also asked the lady sitting next to the wife, if she would exchange seats with the husband, who was sitting next to me, and she said no, too. She said she needed to sit next to the window because she feels “wonky” if she doesn’t. They literally wanted to take the window seat away from the lady or me.

I didn’t give a reason for not wanting to move, I just declined to move. And this moronic husband who wanted us to change seats says to his wife, “Oh well, you like to sit next to the window.”

I think people are getting tired of this seat swap, it’s become a regular thing. People just book flights and then deal with the seating situation later, I guess.

But I carefully booked my flight months in advance and I planned my seat months in advance – not over the wing so I have a view, and on this particular side of the plane so I could see the skyline as we lifted off, etc.

I’ve given up my seat many times over the years – one time to the large Bush family so they could all sit together, Jeb’s, not George’s. But this time I was not doing it. And through the whole trip, I ignored the guy next to me, so there were no pleasantries and it was an uncomfortable flight because of this. I felt guilty the whole time and I should not have been made to feel that.

And you know what? The lady in front of me who refused to give up her seat felt guilty the whole time, too. Know how I know? Because she didn’t talk the whole time to the wife who was seated next to her, but when they were departing the flight, she said, and I quote, “Goodbye, and I’m sorry.” So she felt the need to say she was sorry because she must have been feeling guilt about it the whole time, ruining her flight, too.

Selfish travelers plan ahead or just deal with the seats you’re dealt!

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Free water and the rich guy

A couple of us were walking around Madison Square Park on Sunday and we stopped to get something to drink from a food truck. There was a girl on the corner handing out Hint flavored water, but she said it was warm, so we passed that up and bought cold drinks from a store nearby.

We sat on a bench and drank and talked.

We were sitting across from Chelsea Clinton’s condo building. It’s a ritzy area, Jeff Bezos lives catty corner to Chelsea on the cross street.

And out came a guy from Chelsea’s building, I guess one of her neighbors. He saw the Hint water truck parked sort of out front and he said something to the doorman, who walked over to the truck. That’s it above.

We assumed he was going to complain about them being there and ask them to move along. But no, the doorman came back with two cases of free water. Not bottles – cases. The free samples.

The rich are different. Cheap, the rich are cheap.,

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Matisse’s – The Red Studio

I checked out the Matisse exhibit at MOMA yesterday.  Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911), depicts the artist’s work space in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Of course I had to add Starry Night here. Since I was at MOMA, I had to visit my favorite painting.

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Why the NYC OMNY MTA system is a scam

I’m unhappy with the OMNY MTA system, remember how I wrote about what a great idea it is? Well it sucks.

I’ve been using the unlimited weekly card for years – right now the cost is $33.00 for a week’s worth of unlimited rides which is 12 rides at $2.75 each, which is 6 round trip rides.

Well, if you use the OMNY system for the same purpose, it only works from Monday through Sunday. So if you start using it on Saturday, which I did last week, it is useless for that Saturday and Sunday. It literally starts on Monday and goes through Sunday. Read that again. If you start using the OMNY payment method any day of the week other than Monday, then you are screwed out of days.

I lost 7 or 8 rides from last Saturday or Sunday, a waste of $22.00, where if I used the MetroCard as I have for all these years, that would not be the case.

I called OMNY to complain and was told by some guy, “Too bad, that’s how the system works.”

So my suggestion is, DO NOT USE THE OMNY MTA SYSTEM. It’s a ripoff. I don’t consider myself a stupid person, so I consider their ad campaign stupid and the whole system is stupid. It screws over visitors especially.

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I finally visited Wegmans. It’s a super market, but it’s a super super market.

My mother spoke about it for years. Whenever she went upstate NY to visit my nephew in college, she returned with reports about Wegmans. It was never about the trip itself or of my nephew, it was about Wegmans.

A few years ago, they opened a Wegmans at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, NY and I’ve been meaning to visit, but I would forget about it. But yesterday, I remembered, so I took the F train from the city and visited.

It’s right next to the King’s County Distillery and there among a lot of the old navy yard.

They are opening a Wegmans in the city, at Astor Place, in about a year, so NYC will have two now.

It’s hard to describe Wegmans, it’s a supermarket, but huge. It has restaurants inside and a coffee shop, a pizza place and loads and loads of groceries. It’s almost like a Costco but with just food, no clothing or books or anything like that.

It’s an experience, sort of like the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.

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Green paint and the city

So I’m in NY for a bit.

My flight left Miami on time, actually a half hour late, which is incredible since it seems that thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled all over the U.S. this summer. The whole flight was uneventful, which is the best kind of flight.

I finally remembered to try out my new technique to getting to Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport. I always think of it when we’re on the way stuck in traffic.

What I did was, I got the Uber at the airport, but instead of the driver taking me all the way to the city, I had him drop me off at the Vernon-Jackson subway station in Long Island City. I’m very familiar with this site as it’s where my cousins usually pick me up when I’m going to their houses in Queens or we are heading out to the Hamptons or even if I am just going to Long Island City for anything.

The Vernon Jackson station is one stop from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

This saves a lot of time and money as it shortens the trip by a lot. The driver was even appreciative. He was glad not to have to go all the way into the city and sit in tunnel traffic for a long time. Even on a Saturday, getting into the Midtown Tunnel and getting to the city is a project.

So I hopped on and off the train in no time and was in the city in no time flat. I even used the new OMNY system that I wrote about recently, it worked like a charm.

Some first world problems I had – my first Mr. Softee ice cream of the summer, actually of the year melted all over my hand so I threw it out. The prices keep going up, but they still give you one thin napkin to maneuver the melt.

I also managed to get green paint on me in the subway somewhere. Later on I had gone to Union Square, which is my usual thing and as I came up from down under, I must have touched the paint on the railing or something and for the rest of the day I looked like a slob as I walked around the city and also Hoboken, NJ.

The paint was fresh from the signs they were painting for the SCOTUS protest at Union Square.

All in all, it’s been an interesting start to summer. But it’s been hot and humid, very hot and humid.

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Land crabs and tourists

Land crabs looked like this after it rained a few decades ago.

I’ve noticed something – but maybe it’s nothing.

When I was a kid, come winter, every other car on the road was a foreign plate – you know, from a different state. It seemed that everyone drove down to Florida.

Over the years, that disappeared, I didn’t notice it until the last couple of years when the foreign plates showed up again. In droves (no pun intended).

I am guessing that maybe it had to do with the pandemic, and maybe people felt safer driving their own cars than being crammed up together in an airplane and I noticed it even more during the period when flights were being delayed or canceled by the thousands, I guess people felt they could depend on their own cars rather than the airlines. Also, I know it was very hard finding a rental, I tried, so I guess bringing your own car along was the thing to do.

Now I notice the cars with the out of state plates are gone. But the airlines are starting to cancel flights again, so who knows. But then again, it’s summer, so there really aren’t tourists here in summer.

Another thing I noticed when I was driving today was a large sign that warned people about land crabs. I don’t know if it was warning them not to drive over them or not to pick them up.

When I was a kid, that was an issue. After it rained, the streets were full of land crabs who were flooded out of their holes/homes. You had to be careful not to drive over them or they might puncture a tire. These crabs were all over – by the hundreds – they even appeared in back yard pools. They would break the screening around the pool areas and just end up in the water.

I have not seen that for years because of all the over-development. I thought the crabs disappeared due to that, so it was interesting seeing the sign today, warning people of the crabs. The sign might be left over from the big rains/tropical storm thing we had a couple of weeks ago. But again, I didn’t even know there were any land crabs to be warned about, I haven’t seen any in decades.

So far, as of today, I haven’t seen any tourists or land crabs. Things a good thing.

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