Miscellaneous


Dinette set

Sitting behind me on the LIRR, a clearly appalled girl in her 20s exclaims to her friend:

“She advertised it as a dining room set, but it’s a dinette set at best!”

Now, I get as infuriated by classified-ad exaggerations as the next guy, but judging by this girl’s obnoxiouly loud voice and completely-void-of-irony indignation, I’m guessing she doesn’t have enough friends to require the extra leaf and two chairs she’d been expecting.


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If you haven’t already, take Time Out NY’s quiz, “Do you belong in New York?” It’s a little Brooklyn-heavy but still much more amusing and more accurate than all those stupid Facebook quizzes you’ve been taking.

My score, as if you care: 83. Here’s the diagnosis that came with the score:
DO YOU BELONG IN NYC?
Yes, but sometimes you wish there were a better option.
You do love New York, and you fit in here better than you have anywhere else. You’re committed to the city, and you take advantage of all of its amazing food, culture, nightlife and arts. But you have nagging doubts about this relationship. Spend your whole life here? Not sure about that. Sometimes you wonder about that farm in your fantasies or even just a smaller city. But in reality, you know there’s nowhere better.

Sounds about right.

Beehive

According to findingDulcinea, private beekeeping has been illegal in NYC since 1999, but may be on its way back thanks to a new bill, and maybe to the Obamas.

Apparently many New Yorkers had been ignoring the ban, and “It was the already-present beekeeping community that encouraged councilman David Yassky to introduce a bill that would allow beekeepers to keep bees if they are licensed.”

I guess, in an election year, Yassky figures he’ll catch more flies with honey. (Thank you, I’m here all week.) I do like his idea of licensing them, though. I mean, you don’t want your neighbor to suddenly fill his apartment with hives without anybody knowing about it. Plus it’s almost worth joining the NYPD just for the off chance that I’ll get to respond to a complaint about bees and ask the proprieter if I can see his bee license.

Of course, allowing bees as pets isn’t all roses. (Sorry, I just can’t help myself.) I mean, if you think the DMV is bad, try spending a day at the BBL (Bureau of Bee Licensing, natch).

The most interesting part of the article, though, comes a bit further down, when it mentions that the same 1999 ordinance that banned bees also banned poisonous snakes, ferrets, and elephants. Elephants! Was this a problem prior to 1999? I can’t imagine that pet elephants were very widespread even when they were legal. I mean, just the mental image of the pooper scooper you’d need should be enough to dissuade you from the elephant section at Petco.


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Fleet Week 2009

It’s Fleet Week in New York and, like most New Yorkers, I love seeing scores of sailors in bright white exploring the city, and not just because this blog takes its name from “On the Town,” the underrated musical about three U.S. Navy sailors who find love and excitement while on the loose in New York.

My favorite staples of Fleet Week, in no particular order:

  • The requisite photos in the local papers of sailors in full uniform with Times Square mainstays like the Naked Cowboy (yesterday The New York Times had some guys with the Naked Cowgirl on their front page).
  • The Fleet Week sailors on the morning shows. (Friday morning they were on pretty much every channel, and on Saturday The Today Show will feature Navy vs. Marines tug of war.)
  • The large group of uniformed sailors at the Mets game (or Yankees game). I love the big applause they always get from the rest of crowd almost as much as I love the chants and cheers they do when one of their own throws out the first pitch, or gets shown on the big screen. It’s too bad they can’t do it this year, because the Mets were out of town and the Yankees are just too damned expensive.
  • The jokes about Fleet Week on late night television. Highlights of Letterman’s “Top Ten Things I’ve Learned During Fleet Week In New York City” last night include “Katz’s Deli has knishes that’ll make you plotz” and “I spent a month’s pay on Yankee tickets.”


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Every region has its own linguistic quirks. I’m not talking about accents (don’t get me started on people who say “Lawn Guyland”). I mean words and phrases that are unique to the area. Here are some of my favorite bits of NewYorkese.

1) New Yorkers don’t stand in line. We stand ON line.

2) New Yorkers say “the floor” when they mean “the ground.” Example: you’re walking down the street with someone, and they drop a piece of food, and then they pick it up. Your response: “You can’t eat that! It fell on the floor!” Many New Yorkers do this without even realizing it. And when you tell them, they don’t even believe you, because it seems like a nonsensical way to talk. But it’s pretty widespread.

3) We call a whole pizza a “pie.” Comedian Brian Regan attributes this to New Jersey, but it really belongs to the whole tri-state area.

4) “The City” means Manhattan.

5) Queens and Brooklyn are geographically part of Long Island, but when people say Long Island they always mean Nassau and Suffolk counties. NEVER Queens or Brooklyn.

More New Yorkisms to come in a future post. Meanwhile, enjoy Linda Richman.


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For those of who left a bit confused by this, Murray Hill is a Manhattan neighborhood, roughly defined as the East side of Midtown from about 34th Street to 42nd Street, depending on who you ask. I worked in Murray Hill twice, for a total of about 6 years.

(Side note: My favorite nickname for a neighborhood is for the several blocks just south of Murray Hill on Lexington, informally known as Curry Hill because they house so many Indian restaurants.)

If you haven’t spent enough time in Murray Hill to appreciate the song, well, come back here tomorrow when I have something new posted.


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Today, a belated shout-out to fellow New Yorker RB, whose always amusing, sometimes poignant blog The Wicked Witch of the Web mentions, as an aside, “My favorite thing about New York is that you can cry on the street and no one will care, but my second favorite thing is that the stress that stems from getting to, or getting into, a yoga class would make even the Dalai Lama feel murderous.

I wonder if they have yoga classes at 24 Hour Fitness Derek Jeter.

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