Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Another Blow to NYC Culture

It's been a steady creep of gentrification hitting all corners of NYC, a steady loss of the unique, quirky, and fascinating in exchange for the new, shiny and luxurious. It's a slow, steady movement, like that of glaciers or tectonic plates, but every once in a while a cataclysm erupts and it becomes glaringly obvious what's changed.

Ye Olde Tripple Inn, a dive bar in midtown Manhattan, is closing this week. The building will be torn down to make way for a new condominium development.

I know the Tripple from the show Felber's Frolics, a comedy show run by Susie Felber where I and many of my comedian friends would gather on Saturday nights to take our chances with a volatile crowd. Sometimes the show was the best show you'd see in weeks, sometimes it was the most painful experience in a comic's life, and sometimes that was the same night. Susie, and her brother Adam side-kicking with the crapiola keyboard, were there once a week for years. And before the Frolics other people like Freddie Prinze (sr.) ran shows there.

It was legendary.

The Tripple isn't trendy or fashionable, it has a dartboard and decorations for every holiday hanging from the ceiling year-round, so on paper it seems like an easy transaction. The city loses a dive bar and gains a construction project and real-estate tax revenue. It's the same fate that has befallen legendary rock club CBGB's.

And I'm trying not to sound like one of those bleeding hearts who passed around petitions trying to keep CBGB's open by appealing to the altruism of real estate developers. That'll get you nowhere.

But at some point enough unique cultural character will be lost that the condos won't be worth much to anyone. Manhattan will become a bedroom community for people that work in... Manahattan. People come to New York and say things like "Ooh, there's CB's, the rock club I've heard about." They don't say "Oh look, luxury condos, just like every other freakin' city in the world."

And thanks to the Supreme Court's latest eminent domain ruling, it looks like more will be lost in the name of development.

And just my luck too. I finally get a rent-stabilized joint and the next thing you know it'll get razed to make way for a T.G.I. Friday's.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A(n?) historic weekend

Went to two games at Yankee Stadium to watch the Cubs get swept. They've never won at Yankee Stadium so I was glad to hear that it will be torn down in a couple of years.

Yes, the "House that Ruth Built" will be torn down and the Yankees will move to a new stadium that will be built across the street from the old one. I'm guessing they're going to call it "The House that Ruth Rebuilt with Help From the Home Depot."

Or maybe "The House that Nine-Dollar Beers Built."

How about "The House That Jeter Built, with Hardwood Floors by Bernie Williams and Some Nice Lighting Fixtures Installed by Alex Rodriguez"?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Already behind

Okay, so I guess it's getting a little late to catch up on last week's trip, let me just say it was a rockin' good time. The B.O.R.E.D. Tour was a lot of fun, I got to go to my fave Armenian restaurant, the beach a few more times. It was all good.

On the flight home there were two kids sitting behind me. They were about 7 and 5 years old, siblings, and their parents were in the row behind them, which meant the kids were basically unsupervised. They played with their dinner trays the whole flight and I had to be that guy, the one that looks over his chair and has to explain to them (ten times) that when they bang on the tray it jolts the back of my chair. Their parents never poked their heads in to see why strangers were scolding their children nor did they do anything to keep their kids under control.

Next time I'll ask the flight attendents to move the kids behind their parents, so when the kids dick around with the seats it's their parents seats.

Or better yet, next time I see kids near me on a plane I'll just tell the flight attendents before the flight that I think I heard the kid say something about completing his jihad against the infidels.

"Yeah, that's him, little Dylan Mohamed over there."

Take note parents: keep your kids under control on the airplane or they're getting sent to Gitmo.

And you know what they do at Gitmo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm supposed to hate this place?

Thursday was beach day #1. Not bad. As a jaded New Yorker I'm supposed to dislike this place?

Thursday night I went to the green room of the Jimmy Kimmel show for their taping, a trip which includes free food and booze, then I went over to the Improv to see Chicago friends I've known for ten years, New York friends I've known for 8.

Yeah, this place is horrible. So spread out, people are phony, blah blah blah.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First of all, the Cali ride

[from Wednesday, June 8]

So when I landed in L.A. I soon realized that I wouldn't be too successful with the ladies on this trip. The rental car agency made sure of that by putting me into a Chevy Aveo.

No, I had never heard the Aveo either. I'm not sure they're even legal in the U.S., I think they sneak them in under some sort of N.A.F.T.A. loophole.

It can't be a good sign when the most prominent feature of the car's interior is the hazzard light button. The button is round and bright red and it jumps out at the driver as if to say "you'll be needing me at some point so I've made myself easily available."

Oh well. Without the distraction of L.A. bimbos thinking I'm some sort of player I can concentrate on the show Saturday and my meeting Friday. As long as no one sees me drive up I think I'll be o.k.

Notes from Cali are forthcoming

Just got back from Cali and I have posts to catch up on. I wrote them down in my "old school blog" which is actually a moleskine notebook. As soon as I download a freeware app that can transfer moleskine-formatted data into ASCII text I'll get 'em up here.

And btw, holy crap is the NYC weather gross. High 90's and humid. Can't wait for those summer smells!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hope you had a good Bike Month

Today when I walked out of my apartment I discovered that the neighborhood was filled with cyclists. A little research and I found out today was the culmination of Bike Month and there was a big to-do called "Tour Brooklyn."

The event, and month I guess, are supposed to promote bikes as an alternate form of transportation, but all I saw were people riding their bikes back to their cars and putting them on bike racks.

It's more like additional transportation rather than alternate--a yuppie biathalon. Drive your S.U.V. to Brooklyn, dismount, get on your bike and tour all the the neighborhoods that have been gentrified so far. Finish in time for a latte and win a smug sense of self-satisfaction!