Monday, April 28, 2008

The City Moves Slowly For Some

I went to the gym for the first time in a week and some change. It's been a struggle lately for a host of reasons; I'm dead on my feat from work, I can see daylight when I leave work, I've had to run lots of errands and my iPod broke three weeks ago.

My iPod is my medium of choice for listening to both radio and television news. Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers and some occasional NPR programming fill my ears as I commute to and from work and as I try not to injure myself at the gym.

Without my iPod my eyes wander upwards to the television talking heads glowing from the monitors above the machines my sweat drips on.

Today I walked onto the floor of the gym, spotted a cardio machine to use, glanced above and saw the teletype flashing something along the lines of linking Barak Obama to Louis Farrakhan insinuating there's some sort of relationship between the two.

I turned around, went back into the locker room and stayed in a sauna for a half hour.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Originally uploaded by Runs With Scissors
Sixth and Seventh Avenues south of 14th Street in NYC used to offer great views of the World Trade Center. One spot in particular, at Greenwich Avenue and 7th Avenue South had a great view. The fence around a lot there has served as a wall for a memorial.

I've been thinking a bit lately about GW Bush's now famous Sept. 14, 2001 speech. In the audience that night were the leaders of Great Britain and France. I was encouraged to see them there. I naively thought that J. Chirac and T. Blair flew to Wash. DC to counsel Bush about the best and most proven means in stopping terrorism like changing foreign policy to eliminate factors that influence people to pursue terrorism and working to be less violent than the terrorists themselves.

Instead the world heard the words, "either you're with us or against us." and the "axis of evil".

Once upon a time I worked within the management of a Fortune 50 (Not 500) company. My direct manager who served in the US Army as a 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam taught me this; There are two things you can never go back on in life; missed opportunity and the spoken word."

It saddens me that the last six years have been such a sad and bloody affair.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

August 23, 1989

August 23, 1989
Originally uploaded by Runs With Scissors.
A faded and peeling painted mural of Yusef Hawkins stands seemingly silent on a side street across from Bedford-Stuyvesant's Restoration Plaza. Seeing this deteriorating mural it's not difficult to imagine that it's possible that many people who walk by it don't know who Yusuef was.

After taking a few pictures of the mural I began thinking about what life was like in New York City in the 1980s. In particular the police killings Michael Stewart and Eleanor Bumpers as well as the white mob violence directed at blacks in Howard Beach and in Bensonhurst came to mind. As I walked down Fulton Street thinking of how when i went on dates with black women we would be refused service at restaurants and have to endure sly comments on the streets of Manhattan. Is it me or does it seem like these sorts of things just don't happen in the city anymore? Maybe this paled in comparison to what Rev. Al Sharpton and others who had watermelons thrown at them during their marches through Bensonhurst, or Micheal Griffin's unfortunate death.

I remember Mayor Ed Koch publicly asking for Sharpton not to march in Bensonhurst and the outrage that followed. Looking back it seems that these events may have been turning points for the city in how people relate to one another.

Could it be Sharpton is owed credit for changing New York City in a positive way?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


VANISHING CITY MIDDLE CLASSBy TOM TOPOUSISPrintEmailDigg ItStory BottomApril 3, 2007 -- The middle class is fast becoming an endangered species in New York City, where the costs of housing and health care have soared faster than salaries over the last decade, according to a survey of city leaders that was released yesterday.Almost all those polled - 92 percent - said it's harder for families today to work their way into the middle class, which the survey found requires an income between $75,000 and $135,000, a far cry from the city's median family income of $49,374.The squeeze on the middle class has left the city with a widening divide between rich and poor, with fewer families in the middle, said John Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at CUNY.

VANISHING CITY MIDDLE CLASS By TOM TOPOUSIS - Regionalnews - New York Post Online Edition

Blogged with Flock

Monday, April 02, 2007

Knucklehead Alert!

Knucklehead Alert!
Originally uploaded by Runs With Scissors.
So I'm out having a great time with my new Flickr friend taking pictures in our neighborhood when these two characters come along.

The schmo in the suit is screaming, "Oh no, no, no. Don't take my picture!" The other rocket surgeon is yelling, "You're doing it all wrong. I'll tell ya how to take pictures."

Yep you guessed right, "Mr. Photography stands behind us while we're shooting pictures of other things blabbing on and on about how we need to get up early in the morning to take pictures of cherry blossom trees in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. So I'm thinking, is it worth $150 and a two week repair to remove my zoom lens from this guy's face?

And wouldn't you know it, as this is all going on a third dinosaur brain carrier walks in between us saying, "Don't take my picture unless you're going to make me famous." I yelled, "Come back. I'll put you on the Internet!"

Gotta love Brooklyn for its diversity and character.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"This Way Please Mr. Jackson..."

About 40 or so paparazzi were neatly lined up against metal barricades with their HUGE lenses waiting for their shot. Some of them turned and looked me up and down as I came from the other side of 23rd street and started shooting from between parked cars.

I started to laugh at myself with my silly 'nifty-fifty' lens.

"Hey, who'ya with?!" shouts one of trapped photographers. I reached into my wallet and gave the guy one of my Flickr calling cards; I guess I could have told the guy that I'm married these days.

He said I look like some Russian photog he worked with the other night by the World Trade Center.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Open Lot To The Past

Open Lot To The Past
Originally uploaded by Runs With Scissors.
There aren't many empty lots like this left in New York City, yet once upon a time there were many. Sometimes, in some neighborhoods they were all that could be seen.

Given all that has changed in my city in the last 20 or so years, a certain part of me wants to save a few of these lots; a place or two to commemorate the lousy past. It could be like a monument that make us say to ourselves, "I remember when Howard Cosell told the world, The Bronx is burning".

The strongest memory I have when I approach this lot on my way to yoga each Saturday is when I was a reckless teen hanging out on the Lower East Side's Alphabet City. There at a party in the dead of winter, sweaty bodies dancing to the Tom Tom Club in a dark, steamy living room. I took a moment to go out to the fire escape for some air and to let the acid kick in.

The rear view of the building was nothing but an empty lot. Imagine if you will, an entire New York City block with just a building or two on it! Laugh if you want, but I was there as the glass reflected up from the overgrown weeds. I saw the glimmering become an ocean with large waves splashing up against the tenement I was in.

You can't have my memory, they ripped out the weeds, dug a big hole and built their luxury lofts on top of those waves.

The Bronx may not be burning, but my memories live on.