Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Post headline that will actually scare you: "1 IN 3 GIVE HALF PAY TO LANDLORDS"

From the Post today:

More than half a million New Yorkers are handing over at least half their paychecks each week for rent, a congressman said yesterday.

In just nine years, the number of renters paying half or more of their income to their landlords has surged nearly 15 percent - with The Bronx and Staten Island the hardest hit, according to Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens).

Weiner said the dramatic increase means that 1 in 3 New York renters is now in that unenviable category.

"You should spend no more than a third of your income on rent," Weiner said.

"That is [now] seen more and more not like a rule of thumb, but a pipe dream."

Weiner called for more federal funding for programs geared to affordable housing.

In The Bronx, nearly 117,000 residents, or 32.8 percent of renters, spend half their income on rent. That's up from 29 percent in 1999.

In the other boroughs, the percentage of residents forking over half or more of their pay is:

* Brooklyn: 29.9 percent, up from 25.5 percent nine years ago.

* Queens: 28 percent, up from 22 percent.

* Staten Island: 27.3 percent, up from 19.4

* Manhattan: 22.5 percent, up from 22.3 percent.

Meanwhile, more good news for renters in the city, as reported by David Seifman in the Post:

Operating costs for landlords of the city's million rent-stabilized apartment buildings jumped 7.8 percent last year, a harbinger that rent hikes this year will be larger than last.

The figures were reported yesterday by the Rent Guidelines Board, which meets Monday to begin the process of setting this year's rent hikes for leases signed on or after Oct. 1.

The final increases will be established in June after the usual round of public hearings.

Last year, when landlord costs jumped 5.1 percent, the board voted rent hikes of 3 percent for one-year lease renewals and 5.75 percent for two-year renewals.

Update: Gothamist has more information on the hikes here.

The ransacking of Pelham One Two Three

There's no point in bitching about unnecessary Hollywood remakes. Still! I'm getting increasingly annoyed after reading various reports on the latest version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three being filmed around town. With the hyperactive Tony Scott directing, I can only imagine how schlocky and over-the-top this will be. (The Hunger aside, just look at some of the stuff he has done.) The remake also stars Denzzzel Washington, John Ravolta (playing the bad guy, uh-oh) and James Gandullfini as the mayor. (Mayor McCheese, I presume.)

Here's one of the many videos I found on the new shoot:

Anyway, please tell me you've seen the original. (I'm actually surprised by how many people tell me they haven't seen it.)

Here's what you need to know:

Oh, and let's not forget the 1998 made-for TV version with Edward James Olmos, Vincent D'Onofrio and Donnie Wahlberg. Well, maybe we should forget it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There won't be anyone left to enjoy those safe, clean streets if we can't afford to live here

The new Citizens Committee for New York City Neighborhood Quality of Life Survey Report is now out. You can download the whole thing here.

Here are some excerpts, including the statement from Peter H. Kostmayer, president of Citizens Committee for New York City:

Every year, Citizens Committee for New York City conducts a citywide survey to find out what New Yorkers think about their neighborhoods. We want to know what they think is important, what they like about their own neighborhoods and what they don’t. We also want to know what they think should be done about it, and what they themselves are willing to do to help

This year we surveyed almost 3,000 New Yorkers, online and on the street. We held survey events in more than 45 neighborhoods, focusing on neighborhoods we serve, some of the city’s poorest and most stressed, found that these New Yorkers think first about safe neighborhoods, but with the exception The Bronx, they seem fairly satisfied that their neighborhoods are safe.

One thing that we found different about this year’s survey, is that there seems to be a growing interest in life in the streets and on the sidewalks. Safe streets, dangerous intersections, street noise, safe conditions for walking and bicycling all drew more concern this year.

We think this is a good sign. In a city of neighborhoods (there are more than 400 in New York City) where neighbors live cheek-to-jowl, and where open space and parkland is in short supply, there’s a lot going on in the streets and on the sidewalks. Making the streets and the sidewalks of New York safer, cleaner and quieter took a hit when the Mayor’s courageous congestion pricing plan was defeated, but that only means that we at Citizens Committee for New York City need to do more to help neighborhood organizations throughout the five boroughs do more to take back the streets.

And we will.

This is all fine, Peter. But there won't be anyone left to enjoy those safe, clean streets if we can't afford to live here.

Anyway, here's what the survey found in Manhattan (you can check out the report for all the boroughs):

Seventy percent of Manhattan residents rate the overall quality of neighborhood life
between good and excellent.

Residents rate the following five characteristics as the most important in determining the overall quality of a neighborhood:

• Close to public transportation
• Safe from crime
• Safe conditions for walking or bicycling
• Clean streets, sidewalks and open spaces
• Clean air

The characteristics with which Manhattan residents feel most satisfied are:

• Close to public transportation
• Close to parks and playgrounds
• Close to shops and restaurants
• A diverse mix of people
• Neighbors I can get along with

The characteristics with which residents feel least satisfied are:

• Youth programs
• A quiet neighborhood
• Decent housing at a reasonable cost
• Clean streets, sidewalks and open spaces
• Public officials who are responsive to neighborhood needs

The characteristics that Manhattan residents report as most important, but find the least satisfactory are:

• Decent housing at a reasonable cost
• Clean streets, sidewalks and open spaces
• A quiet neighborhood
• Public officials who are responsive to neighborhood needs
• Safe conditions for walking and bicycling

In the list of top neighborhood problems overall put together by the Post, "lack of affordable housing" was No. 4 (right before potholes!) and "too much growth, overbuilding" was No. 8 (right before illegally parked cars).

Priorities, people!

And this little piggy wants to turn three landmark homes into one

Oops. Outside my neighborhood again. But. Jeez.

As the Times reports:

When Andrew Carnegie decided to build himself a mansion in 1898, he headed to the northernmost reaches of the city at the time, situating his 64-room Georgian-style country home on a relatively undeveloped tract of land at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. There was even enough space for what was then one of the city’s largest private gardens.
Combining and Expanding A century later, when Dr. Mitchell Blutt, a modern-day tycoon made rich on Wall Street, wanted a mansion of his own, he found Mr. Carnegie’s neighborhood, now known as Carnegie Hill, not surprisingly plumb out of space.
To solve the problem, Dr. Blutt bought the two town houses directly east of his current home on East 90th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, in order to combine the three Romanesque Revival, four-story town houses into one 17,000-square-foot dwelling. His plans have prompted protest from neighbors, who see an intrusion of a suburban-style “McMansion,” and from preservationists, who fear that they would destroy the character of the landmark-protected buildings.

[Image -- Andrea Mohin/The New York Times]

Monday, April 28, 2008

EV Grieve Etc.: New group to fight gentrification in Chinatown

From The Village Voice:

The ongoing war between the forces of gentrification and the middle and working classes of the "old New York" has hit Chinatown too.
A new organization, calling itself the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, has taken aim at what it says are three threats to the neighborhood: a lack of affordable housing, a rezoning plan that could push upscale high-rise development from the Lower East Side to Chinatown, and a potential Business Improvement District that they say would tax small businesses out of existence.

[Image of Chinatown from 1909 via]

A penthouse for all seasons

Materialicious has this post today about a swanky penthouse in the East Village:

Pulltab Design was retained to design a series of renovations to a loft space along with a new penthouse and garden area atop an existing roof, accessed through the fifth floor loft.
Designed as a space for both reading and entertaining, the East Village Penthouse is part of a larger private residence located on the top floor of an early 1900’s Manhattan walkup.
In creating the indoor/outdoor space, a palette of materials (teak, bronze, zinc and Cor-ten steel) was selected allowing the design to season, through cycles of weathering.
For durability, the solid teak windows, doors and columns were assembled using traditional joinery details, inspired by the techniques of wooden boat building.

Designed as a living environment for all seasons, the penthouse allows for a reprieve from the busy nature of the city, while still connecting the owner to the wonderful and varied cityscape of the East Village.

I'm trying to figure out exactly what street this is...Any guesses?

More photos here.
Oh! So this place was featured in the May 2007 issue of Metropolis. Need to be a subscriber to access the piece.

[Photographs by Elizabeth Felicella]

EV Grieve: Figure of the day

The total cost of tuition (including room and board) at NYU starting this fall: $50,182

Increase over last year: 5.9 percent

Increase in the past decade: 65 percent

[Washington Square News via Gothamist. Image via Althouse.]

From The Villager, April 2-8, 2008, "E. Village food fight pits N.Y.U. vs. grocery":
Another neighbor, David Mallius, said, “Talking about market rate, in this neighborhood market rate is determined by NYU.” He noted how high-rise dorms change the character of a neighborhood and how hordes of students provide the market for bars that are overwhelming the neighborhood.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Everything old is new again"

The latest issue of The L Magazine has a piece a short piece on the new John Varvatos boutique on the Bowery:

In many ways, it’s the perfect setting for a designer looking to cater to aging rockers (Joe Perry, holla!) and I-have-a-job hipsters ($100 John Varvatos for Converse kicks!). Varvatos is trying to shelter the ghosts of the space, even if it does feel like Rent.
Yeah, yeah, it’s “oh so shocking” and “a classic example of the gentrification of the Bowery,” but, realistically, real estate is real estate in this city, and nothing is sacred. Take for example the sleek and stylish Stuart and Wright boutique in Fort Greene, which used to be a dry cleaner’s — the owners chose to keep the fantastically retro façade, including a big sign that reads “French Garment Cleaners” with an Eiffel Tower graphic. A lot of the stores in Soho have a gallery-esque look because, well, they were art galleries before they were overpriced retailers. The gargantuan Prada shop on Prince and Broadway used to be the visitors’ entrance and bookstore of the Guggenheim Museum’s Soho branch. Parasuco — the obnoxious denim giant on Spring Street — made the old East River Savings Bank into its flagship, a grand space composed of vaulted ceilings and marble. Everything old is new again.

Not sure if I'm following this logic.

Uh. In any event, I've been thinking about this space since Jeremiah Moss wrote this essay on the "it's better than a bank/Starbucks" syndrome. Specifically: Could there be something worse than a bank/Starbucks in that space? How about a Tennessee Mountain or Olive Garden? Or a Hooters? Or a Stage Deli-esque type theme restaurant with sandwiches named after bands who played at CBGB? (I'll be having the Television -- ham and turkey on rye with American cheese and traditional greens. You get the idea. And you can do better.) A Disney Store featuring a new line of punk-rock Mickey Mouse? A Madame Tussauds on the Bowery featuring interactive experiences like sing along with Joey Ramone? A Pinkberry spin-off called PunkBerry? What if the Bowery Residents' Committee sold the building to NYU, who promptly tore it down for a 40-story dorm?

[Photo by Jeremiah Moss at Jeremiah's Vanishing New York]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Picky, picky

On that note...

So this community garden on 8th Street is open from midnight to 5 p.m.? Or noon to 5 p.m.? I always get confused.

As Wikipedia notes:
Some people assume that 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. signify noon and midnight, respectively. The confusion also comes from 12 a.m. seeming to be the next hour in the 10 a.m., 11 a.m. series, but 12.01 p.m. being just after noon. In addition, p.m. is often associated with night so 12 a.m. may seem to be midnight.

This one is dedicated to the nights of New York City

Here's an exclusive sneak preview of the first single off the new record by Julian Casablancas.

Oh, wait.

Friday, April 25, 2008

EV Etc.: $801,000 for a basement

Well, it is in the Dakota.

From the AP:

While $801,000 may sound like a lot for a basement den that cannot legally be used as a dwelling, it isn't unusual to see well-off Manhattanites paying top dollar for auxiliary space, said real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller.

A 100-square-foot to 200-square-foot storage room in an upper crust building could easily sell for $150,000 to $350,000, if it had a sink or its own toilet, he said.

"Honoring a great New Yorker" (aka This week's sign of the apocalypse)

Tonight through Sunday, the Empire State Building will be purple, pink and white in honor of Mariah Carey.


Says the ESB's Web site, it's "Honoring a Great New Yorker: Mariah Carey Breaks Records With E=MC2 Album Release."

She's from Huntington, Long Island.

[Via Gothamnist]

[This week's sign of the apocalypse line via Sports Illustrated's weekly feature. It was too fitting not to use.]

Questions of the day

Why is this newish spa on First Avenue and 2nd Street called Water Front? (The East River isn't exactly that close.)

Meanwhile, I saw this sign go up Tuesday night on St. Mark's Place.

Does the neighborhood really need another Asian spa? Seems as if several other new spas have opened recently...

NYC in all its black-and-white glory, yesterday and today

I opened up the 20th anniversary issue of the New York Press this morning. And the photo on Page 4 got my attention. It's a shot of a cab in a snowy Times Square circa 1988. The photographer is Matt Weber. The caption included his Web address. My day job has sapped any creativity that I may have had this week. So I'll just lamely say wow.

He also has a flickr stream, where I found the above photo. Too many to choose from to help illustrate this post and his work.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Life before...and after the luxury high rises on the LES

Spending too much time on YouTube these days...I came across these videos by Paul Dougherty, a longtime video maker.

Here's his YouTube page.

Also, check out the his other videos, including inside shots of St. Brigid's.

[OH!: Just found that Jeremiah had linked to these back in January! Sorry Jeremiah!]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Questions of the day (in which I don't have answers)

When people moved into apartments on lower floors with nice Eastern views at 2 Gold Street (which opened in March 2005) did they know another high-rise was going up right next door in 2008 that effectively obscures the nice Eastern views?

How soon before the southeast corner of Third Street and Avenue C....

looks like the northeast corner of Third Street and Avenue C?

Who is this ad supposed to appeal to?

Madison Street, 5:48 p.m., April 23

Madison Street, 5:47 p.m., April 23

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Scenes from a walk

Haven't actually walked on Irving Place in a while. First, I was happy to see that John's Shoe Repair is still around. We all know what happens to little shops and services for people who aren't rich. Given what's going on in this neighborhood, I wonder about how much longer this gem can survive.

Meanwhile, came to the corner of 14th Street and Third Avenue. Scaffolding! And that wasn't there when I passed by Sunday. Uh-oh. This doesn't look good. Housing and a bank? [Housing? Ha! That sounds affordable. No, make this overpriced condos.]

I've seen this guy several times in front of the St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery. Lovely spot, of course. Just curious why he's doing a painting of Dunkin' Donuts. Maybe he just likes their coffee.

Hello ladies!

Dumpsters. An all-too-common site. There's another one just a few hundred feet away in front of another building on the other side of 10th Street. Renovating apartments. Raising rents.

Still, what a day.

Hate to see what they'd say about a place they didn't recommend

For some reason I came across this listing for Mona's on Not For Tourists:

"Depressing. Recommended."

Oh, don't let that heavy breathing bother you -- these are really nice apartments

Wow. These apartment rental videos give me the creeps. Perhaps these would seem less like a slasher movie with some, say, smooth jazz accompanying the video.

Oops! Someone's home!

Who left the toilet seat up?!

He talks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

St. Mark's and First Avenue, 1993

Meanwhile, a few doors down...12 years old favorite that never gets old.

"...a very conspicuous display of the wealthy sucking up and devouring even more of the soul of downtown NYC"

Bob at Neither More Nor Less has posted his photos and recap of the John Varvatos protest from this past Thursday night.

He writes, in part:

No matter how well meaning Mr. Varvatos' intentions may have been , and actually be , what many local artists and musicians saw in his Thursday evening extravaganza was just another example of a very conspicuous display of the wealthy sucking up and devouring even more of the soul of downtown NYC.

As always, he took many great photos, such as this one.

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Graffiti and groceries

According to today's New York Post:

Graffiti arrests and complaints are skyrocketing as so called "taggers" treat city walls as their personal canvases, new police statistics reveal.

The NYPD recorded and unprecedented 81.5 percent surge in graffiti-related complaints from 2006 to 2007.

Unrelated, but in the Post:

NYU officials and an East Village grocer are working to settle a bitter rent dispute that's threatening the existence of one of the last affordable food stores in the neighborhood.

Negotiations between NYU and the Met Foodmarket - which occupies the ground floor of a university-owned building at 107 Second Ave. - came to an abrupt end earlier this month when the store was offered a three-year lease at triple the current rent, said owner Michael Schumacher.

City Councilwoman Rosie Menendez is mediating the dispute and yesterday, at a meeting in her First Avenue office, the two sides edged toward an agreement, Schumacher said.

"We had a very constructive meeting. Based on our conversation, they seem to want to sustain local businesses. I'm hopeful," he said.

Alicia Hurley, the NYU vice president for government and community affairs, said, "We're hopeful, as well. It is certainly our intention to keep him in the space."

[Image -- Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"One definitely gets the impression time stands still at Sophie's"

Bank the Nine has posted his "Sophie's photo roundup, part five," where you'll find many other black-and-white shots like this one of Johnny.

Updated: con·de·scend·ing [kon-duh-sen-ding]

From the highlights-of-the-week in the Pulse section of today's New York Post:

Yes, CBGB is now a high-end clothing store -- boohoo, it's unfair, etc., etc. -- but the spirit of Bowery rock lives on at the Morrison Hotel gallery, which now occupies the former CB's Gallery space connected to the legendary concert venue. Thursday, the gallery opens its new exhibit "Rockers," which features 280 pieces from iconic photographer Bob Gruen's collection including up-close-and-personal snapshots of John Lennon, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and the punk bands who once rocked the room next door, including Sid Vicious. Opening night runs from 7 to 10 and entry is free.

Suggested rewrite:

The spirit of CBGB lives on at the Morrison Hotel gallery, which now occupies the former CB's Gallery space connected to the legendary concert venue.

Update: Check out the comments...Alex from NYC makes a good point on this item. Sid Vicious never played CBGB...

East Seventh Street between A and First Avenue, 7:45 a.m., April 20

Because nothing classes up a corner better than an ATM

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today is Record Store Day

Please support your local, independent record stores today. (More here.)

As the Times reports:

For a local music shopper with a memory of even just a few years, the East Village and the Lower East Side are quickly becoming a record-store graveyard. Across from Jammyland is the former home of Dance Tracks, a premier dance and electronic outlet, which closed late last year, as did Finyl Vinyl, on Sixth Street. Stooz on Seventh Street, Sonic Groove on Avenue B, Accidental on Avenue A, Wowsville on Second Avenue and Bate, an essential Latin store on Delancey Street — all gone, to say nothing of stores in other neighborhoods, like Midnight Records in Chelsea and NYCD on the Upper West Side.

“Rent is up, and sales are down,” Malcolm Allen of Jammyland said as he sold a few Jamaican-made 45s to a customer last weekend. “Not a good combination.”

Here's one to support.


EV Etc.: Page Six on the John Varvatos protest

With bold-faced names! That guy from the Garfield movies was there!

The revelers inside, who included Gina Gershon, Damien Fahey, Bobby Cannavale, Breckin Meyer and Jakob Dylan, ignored the demonstration, which continued for the duration of the party. The bash ended up raising $30,000 for Save the Music.

The whole piece is here.

Perhaps some credit Page Sixers for those who covered it...?

Friday, April 18, 2008

EV Grieve goes to the movies (not often, though): "If people don't like it now, they will"

I'm not one to go around recommending movies. But! There's an excellent documentary opening tonight at the Anthology Film Archives. My Name is Albert Ayler explores the free jazz saxophonist’s too-short life and legacy. It plays through Tuesday night.

I had a chance to see the film during its premiere at the Anthology Film Archives last November. It's directed by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin, who spoke about Ayler after the November screening. This is the result of nearly seven years of work. He built the film around various audio recordings of Ayler’s voice from interviews. Collin also found archival footage from Stockholm and New York featuring some scorching live performances. All this is rounded out by talking head interviews with friends, family and musicians who knew Ayler. Their stories are just a small part of the film, which humanizes the enigmatic musician who died in 1975. He was 34.

Oh, and that headline? Ever confident, Ayler always had this to say about his rather jarring brand of jazz, “If people don’t like it now, they will.”

Here's a little background on Ayler:

Last night: "I am on the side of New York City fucking rock 'n' roll!"

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York has the first recap of the John Varvatos protest last night.

A few highlights:

Rebecca, Billy, and their posse chanted "Down with $800 pants!" Not everyone agreed. Heated exchanges ensued. Arturo Vega, Ramones artistic director and designer of their logo, got into the fray. He had just been telling the documentarian, "It's natural. Everything dies and transforms. The excitement is still here. The tourists will come. In there, you're closer than ever to rock 'n' roll."


Aside from Randy Jones, the cowboy member of the Village People, Jett was my most exciting celebrity sighting--and the 12-year-old in me who once roller-skated like crazy to her anthem "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was almost, for a moment, taken in by the fairy tale being spun by Varvatos, a fairy tale that so many of the older New Yorkers on the scene wanted desperately to believe.

Cubed picks up Jeremiah's post. They take away their five favorite moments:

5) The sign that read "40-40-$40,000 dollars a mo-onth. We're gonna be evicted!"
4) Protester Reverend Billy: "Punk was an egalitarian movement, it was about low prices."
3) Ramones posse member Arturo Vega told a documentarian, "The excitement is still here. The tourists will come. In there, you're closer than ever to rock 'n' roll," and then got into a shouting match with the protesters.
2) A member of The Misfits yelled "I am on the side of New York City fucking rock 'n' roll!" and then spat on a sign.
1) The photo [below]

I'll post more highlights as they roll in...

Meanwhile, unrelated! Speaking of fairy tales...(Even though it's not Christmas...)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"I did warn him about the ghosts of the dead rockers and junkies that haunt CB’s and the Bowery"

Scoopy's Notebook in The Villager this week includes the following item:

Billy Leroy of Billy’s Antiques & Props said a man identifying himself as John Varvatos came into his E. Houston St. tent last week and purchased a $150 lamp for his new boutique at the former CBGB space on the Bowery. Saying he knows what “the street” thinks of the Varvatos shop, Leroy said he checked it out and was pretty impressed. “I am glad it is not a bank or a Starbucks and I think John did a tasteful decorating job,” Leroy said. “However, I did warn him about the ghosts of the dead rockers and junkies that haunt CB’s and the Bowery, and offered him an exorcism kit when he was buying a cool lamp.”

Meanwhile, the Varvatos shop has its official opening tonight. There will be protestors. Get the details here. (Via Jeremiah)

Meanwhile 2:

Scoopy also reports that the Manhattan borough Parks Department commissioner has signed off on a permit allowing concerts to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square riots to occur Aug. 2 and Aug. 3.

[Image via Lionel Rogosin's On the Bowery, 1956]

"I'd like to see a city in which everybody can have a niche and survive"

That's Jeremiah Moss, the proprietor behind Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, an influential, must-read site for anyone who cares what's happening to this city. He and Lost City's Brooks of Sheffield are featured in The Villager this week in Patrick Hedlund's "Mixed Use" column. Hedlund is a good guy who wrote the nice feature on Sophie's/Mona's in January. I'm happy that he's giving these sites some press.

Anyway, read the piece here. And visit these sites.

Any more friendly and I would have thought that I was at the DMV

So I had a stack of coins that I needed to cash in. Will usually lug them over to the Coinstar machine at the Food Emporium. Easy enough.

Meanwhile, I always walk by the newish Commerce Bank branch on 10th Street and Third Avenue. Made something of a vow to never go into any of the 37 bank branches that have opened in this three-block radius. Still. The bag was heavy. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light...Anyway, Commerce doesn't charge a fee for the coin machine. Plus, I figured I'd save a few blocks of needless exercise. And I was curious about the spiffy new branch. I was immediately greeted by a Commerce hostess/representative. She took me over to the coin machine. She asked me if I had ever used one before. I said yes. So she showed me how to use the machine anyway, and explained that there was some contest in which I could try to guess the total amount of coins. She went about all this as if she was the prom queen forced by her mother to be nice to the kid with the thick glasses and asthma. (I don't wear glasses or have asthma. But you get the idea.)

After the coin counting had ended (I missed my guess by $25!), I stood in line with my coin receipt to hand to a teller. There were three tellers working. And no line. Each teller had his or her head down, intently working on something. I stood there for a few awkward minutes before I started coughing, clearing my throat, etc., to perhaps alert the tellers that someone was standing there. Finally a teller motioned me forward. The machine didn't take a Susan B. Anthony $1 coin. I asked the young man if they were still in circulation. (Perhaps this might be worth, say, $1.15 now!) He sighed and said yes. I asked him then if I could please trade it in for a bill. "As you wish," he said. At the end, I said "thank you." He did not.

Unless it's a live-action American Apparel ad

I often see NYU students returning to the dorms after a night of what-not during my early-morning walks in the neighborhood on weekends. Kids these days! I was being a little creepy and snapped this picture a few Sundays ago. (Forgot about the photo until this morning.) I can say with some certainty that -- aside from some kind of scant undergarments -- these young women weren't wearing anything under their coats. Surprise! Surprise! Indeed.