Archive for the tag 'open threads'

Source: Peter Nijenhuis/Flickr

Seems we’ve been having an awful lot of rainy days lately, especially as Tropical Storm Andrea whipped up more wet weather, including some record-breaking rainfall in the northeast.

I, for one, prefer sitting at home with a fine glass of bourbon and a good movie or ten, rather than trying to drudge through mucky New York City streets. But, then, I don’t have kids nor do I get cage crazy. If I did, I’d probably have to put on my big-boy-britches and keep busy.

So that got me thinking: what are the top rainy day activities in Sheepshead Bay, for kids or adults?

Whether it’s hitting a favorite restaurant or bar, taking in a movie, or getting the kids over to the plaster-and-paint shop, we want to know how you handle rainy days. Let us know in the comments!

Oh, and of course, it’s an open thread. So feel free to stray from the topic.


I don’t have much to say today, so instead, I’ll let public officials do some talking.

Check out this Tumblr I just saw for the first time, produced by ProPublica, an awesome nonprofit keeping investigative journalism alive.

Yep, it’s called “Officials Say The Darndest Things.” And a scary amount of New York officials are featured here.

Allan Rosen, author of our The Commute column, submitted this week’s open thread.

I thought there was a city law that all establishments must display pricing information.

Either there is no such law or no one is enforcing it. On a visit to Times Square last week, I noticed around 20 different food carts, none of which displayed any pricing information. Even the pretzel man didn’t say what his pretzels cost. The only exception was the nut guy who had a large sign indicating the prices for each type of nut he was selling. What is preventing these vendors from overcharging tourists or someone from an ethnicity or color they do not like as long as prices are not posted?

The problem does not end there. A few blocks away, the TKTS Booth the digital sign only stated 40 percent, 50 percent or 60 percent off depending on which play was being offered. Again, tourists are the most likely victims; some not being aware of the high price of Broadway show tickets. After standing several hours on line on certain days, I am sure many are surprised that even with the steep discounts a single ticket can still cost $50 or more, but buy them anyway just because they already invested all that time waiting.

But wait there’s more. I ate at a restaurant and the menu only disclosed calorie counts for beverages, no prices, except for wines. Then there are the parking garages, which used to display prices at the entrance that you could read before you entered. Now you can only see the prices after you are half way down the ramp and can’t back up because there are already cars lined up behind you.

Ads for cable and Verizon Fios also bother me because they never disclose what the applicable taxes and other fees are when stating their base price, fees that can add $15 or more to the monthly price or the ads that just say “shipping and handling extra.” But let’s not go there.

Displaying large easy to read prices at the gas pumps seems to be the only thing that anyone cares about, but what about the other violators? Or are these laws requiring the disclosure of pricing information no longer on the books?

I asked Councilman Nelson’s office to investigate exactly what the city laws require regarding the posting of prices and am awaiting a response. What also bothers me is that this trend of not disclosing pricing information seems to be increasing. I remember when the Department of Consumer Affairs made a big deal when stores did not post prices in their windows.  When was the last time you heard anything from that department? Does the lack of clear pricing information bother you, too?

In the past I have complained about the driving habits of our neighbors, but today it’s the pedestrian’s turn to suffer my wrath.

What the hell is wrong with the people walking the streets of Sheepshead Bay? A little jaunt from East 12th Street and Avenue Z to Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U today made me think I was recreating “Death Race 2000″ with pedestrians jumping out in front of my car trying to add to my point score.

Up first was a little old man, using a walker, who jumped, as much as an old man using a walker can, in front of my car on Avenue Z by Sheepshead Bay Gourmet. He stopped in front of my car to allow a truck to pass in the opposite direction. The next car wasn’t so lucky, slamming on it’s breaks to keep the old gentleman alive.

As I watched him mount the sidewalk, a not-so-little and not-so-old woman, with hair dyed a color never to be found in nature, entered the Avenue Z roadway from the north side, in front of the car that just laid down about 20 feet of rubber as it  screamed to a halt for the little old man. As she passed in front of me, she shook her fingers in some sort of taunting manner. Damn, if this was only the movie, lady, you would have added at least 20 points to my score. The little old man, hell, he was worth 100!

Driving up Ocean Avenue, I could see kids (40 points each) running across the street a block away. They were in the middle of the block and definitely not looking as they crossed. Over on Nostrand, between Avenue X and Avenue V, there’s so many people walking across the street and out from between parked cars it might as well be a pedestrian mall!

On Avenue U, it continued by the post office, by Jay and Lloyds and by Brennan and Carr. It’s not always kids, today’s offenders were mostly middle-aged women. What – don’t they break? Or are they like Tigger and bounce. Sometimes it’s tempting to find out.

My number one complaint is the parents with kids in strollers who push the child out into traffic as they cross. If this were indeed “Death Race 2000,” this would be an ideal situation as toddlers are worth 70 points! But no, I unfortunately drive much like Frankenstein and avoid the easy gets.

So, come on Sheepshead Bay. Play by the rules. Drive safely and if you’re walking, remember cars hurt when they slam into your flesh. Cross at the corners and with the light. Or, should we just let the games begin?

Good weather is here! Good weather is here! Hallelujah, good weather is here!

We can finally give up our curmudgeonly countenance, shed our sweaters, and, hey, maybe even smile now and then.

At least for a few weeks, before large dollops of sweat roll down our brows, burn our eyes, and make us wish for cooler weather.

God bless New York City, and this idiotic concept of four whole seasons…

Apartment hunting sucks.

Obviously I think Sheepshead Bay is one of the most amazing neighborhoods in New York City. But landlords around here all seem to think their mildew-lined windowless basement apartments are on par with penthouses in Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings perched on a mountain top with magical views of the Empire State Building in the foreground, the Eiffel Tower in the back, Mt. Olympus off to the side and millions and millions of rainbows raining down confetti on a beachfront packed with bikini-clad Brazilian models.

Get over yourself. Your apartment sucks, you charge too much, and your requirements are a joke. Can Sheepshead Bay real estate get a reality check, please?

I don’t have time to write an open thread today because Optimum Online makes me return their modem to their “store,” or else they won’t stop billing me – and of course their store is in a location without mass transit.


The open thread is now open.

It’s that time of year again!

As we reported earlier today, Democratic District Leader Ari Kagan publicly announced he is running for the 48th Councilmanic District, officially kicking off the beginning of a heated campaign that appears to have at least five primary contenders, and a likely general election challenger.

Given that the area has seen a number of nasty campaigns lately, and the growing political power of Russian-Americans has proved appealing to the city press corps, the race is likely to garner quite a bit of attention.

But before it gets that far, we’d like to ask you what you want to see discussed in this City Council election. Would you prefer the candidates focus on rebuilding after Sandy? Or is education a higher priority, given the rate of school closures as of late? What about development, or quality of life concerns?

What are your top five issues in the race for the Sheepshead Bay council district?

My girlfriend just sent me a link to this article. It starts:

According to sources, local boyfriend Martin Daniels was compelled to display secondhand outrage Monday as his girlfriend, Linzi Rosario, vented about a recent incident in which a coworker behaved inconsiderately toward her. “Ugh, I can’t believe she did that,” Daniels reportedly forced himself to say, employing a tone of disgust he hoped would convince Rosario he understood why she was upset.

This doesn’t bode well. First she saw that episode of South Park where Jimmy learns how to talk with girls, and now this. She’s pretty much figured out where most of my conversational skills come from.

Is clubbing her over the head and making off with a woop-woop-woop an option?

The open thread is now open.


I’ve been riding the subway a lot lately.

For the past four years or so, I haven’t had to. My commute, as it were, comprises of going from the top of a flight of stairs to the bottom, through a room, ’round the way, and suddenly in a small subsection of my home with cheap carpeting, fluorescent lighting and all the other trappings of a humble, modern office.

But my girlfriend lives in Central Brooklyn, and, since Sandy, when my home also became the home of displaced family members, I’ve found my way out to her place to spend evenings and weekends.

And, thus, a commute is born. A commute “of sorts,” anyway, since I get to choose my own hours and can operate the entire business on my cell phone, if need be. And commutes are rarely anything if not mandatory, so the optional nature of it makes the word “commuting” somewhat imprecise.

But a commute we’ll call it.

Another book for Hally Toesis to read. (Source:

So my commute now is about 20 minutes on the subway at whatever time pleases me, and so surely that means you won’t see me during rush hour. No one wants to be on the subway during rush hour. Not when Mr. Lee gets on at Canal Street with his red shopping bag sweating fish juice that inevitably finds itself perspiring on your leg, or when the Showtime Boys elbow out the space needed to defy gravity, or when Hally Toesis stands at the pole, face to face with you, mouthing the words to Fifty Shades of Grey with breathy whispers, punctuating the decadence with whiffs of tooth decay.

No. No one wants to be on the subway during rush hour.

And so I find myself on the train during “regular” hours. My Midday Commute.

And I’ve learned something about commuting, as it were, in the middle of the day. During regular hours. And yet, there is so very little that is “regular.”

I ride along with the dregs of society. The animals and the malcontents and the mouth-breathers and the twits. Yes, I’m sure they’re there during rush hour – no, I know it – but the herd appears thinned when buffered by the somewhat normal city dwellers. In those situations, the dregs just don’t stand out until they start muttering to themselves, and even then only get sideways glances from the complicit straphangers, for whom, I imagine, the greatest fear must be to have another straphanger call them a weenie for changing seats or, gasp, alerting a conductor to one disturbance or another. (Well, I suppose if conductors went about addressing disturbances, we’d have quiet subway cars that never make it anywhere.)

The dictionary has two definitions of dregs. “1) The remnants of a liquid left in a container, together with any sediment or grounds. 2)The most worthless part or parts of something.” Guess which one I’m talking about.

So I ride the train in the middle of the day with the dregs, and anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows I occasionally let off a little steam just to be consoled by friends and perhaps, hopefully, maybe, hear a kind word from the world that I’m not alone, not crazy, not one of the dregs myself.

Like last week, I shared this story: I sat down on the train and saw an Olympic-sized pool of spit sloshing its way closer and closer to me on the humped curve of a Q seat. I didn’t see it when I sat down, and I was reluctant to move – because some straphanger might think me a weenie – and so instead I sat and I glared at it and glared at the guy two seats away who kept making hocking sounds – the mating call of the dreg, I suppose – who I assumed summoned this watery golum from the depths of the shambling mess of his existence.

And I looked across the row and saw a mouth breather, the kind of person who you can’t help but imagine a bouquet of bacteria bursting forth with every exhale. And down the line, one of the twitchers, whose bodies always jerk and jive in exaggerated response to the subway’s rumbling ride.

He looked like this. (Source:

There was a guy whose ass hung out of his tighty whities, which hung out of his jeans, and none of which – ass included – was where it should have been, anatomically speaking. He was testing out his ringtones, which all appeared to be purchased in 2003 from one of those commercials that aired on late-night cable television; the ones that told you how you could show your friends you were at the cutting edge of technological achievement if your phone blasted a midi of Chingy’s “Right Thurr” when mom calls.

And between all of these people there was me. Me and no one else. The ratio of dreg-to-Ned was about 16-to-1.

But I ride the subway in the middle of the day because no one wants to be on the subway during rush hour. Maybe I ought to reconsider, before that dreg-to-Ned ratio worsens.

The open thread is now open.

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