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New York City Sights – Pre-Theater Parking?

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

People with tickets to see Denzel Washington in Fences at Broadway’s Cort theater will go to extraordinary means to get a good parking spot:

(to be fair, the building next to the theater is a parking garage, and the roof is just the top floor of the circular ramp that cars use to park. But I like the visual…)

Categories: New York, New York | No Comments »

Another Perfect Day at the Stadium…

Monday, May 31st, 2010

We celebrated our son, Avery’s tenth birthday today with a day at Yankee Stadium. We left the house at 9:30AM, got there when the stadium opened, toured the Yankee Museum (including the newly added 2009 World Championship Trophy and a special exhibit on Lou Gehrig, about whom Avery’s brother, Brandon, had recently completed a book report), grabbed some lunch, and enjoyed a picture-perfect afternoon as the Yankees crushed the Cleveland Indians, 11-2. Alex Rodriguez put an exclamation mark on this awesome day with a grand slam home run to blow the game open in the seventh inning.

Our own, personal fireworks came in the middle of the fifth inning when, unbeknownst to Avery, we added his birthday to the list of “Fan Marquee” announcements they make each game:

Click on the picture above for some great shots of a great afternoon at the ballpark…

Categories: Family Matters, New York, New York, Sports Talk | 3 Comments »

New York City Sights – Times Square Bomb Squad

Friday, May 7th, 2010

According to the NYPD, every time there’s a high profile incident in the city (like the Times Square bombing attempt from last weekend), reports of suspicious packages, activities, etc. go up by roughly 30%. This afternoon, someone left a cooler in a Times Square pedestrian area, prompting a concerned citizen to report it, which in turn prompted the NYPD to evacuate a three-block area and call in the bomb squad. As it turned out, the cooler contained water bottles and some books. Times Square was re-opened after a few hours of excitement.

While this isn’t funny in any sense of the word, it does provide us with this image, which I can honestly say reminds me of an ad for Toy Story 3, rather than the serious situation that it was.

Just goes to show ya: a picture is worth 1,000 words, but sometimes 995 of those words are wrong…

Categories: New York, New York | 1 Comment »

Vice President Out My Window

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Vice-President Joe Biden just left 30 Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. Since 30 Rock is visible outside my office window, I can provide you a blow-by-blow account of what it takes for this man to actually leave a building:

1:15pm – Three limousines, two black Suburban SUV’s, and a few NYPD police cars come down 50th Street and park in front of the Observation Deck entrance to 30 Rock. All three limousines have American flags on their right fender, and another flag I didn’t recognize (the State of New York flag, perhaps?) on their left fender. The second and third limousines have the Seal of the Vice President on the doors.

1:16pm – The NYPD sets up metal barricades along 50th Street from 6th Avenue down to Rockefeller Plaza (the length of the building).

1:17pm – 1:30pm – People walking along (or across) 50th Street, as well as people coming out of 30 Rock, are slowly but surely corralled behind the metal barricades. A crowd begins to form behind the barricades, all of whom seem to have cameras, most of whom are carrying signs of obvious tourism – NBC Studio Store bags, I Love NY T-Shirts, and the like.

1:30pm – With the street completely clear of cars and people, about half a dozen NYPD motorcycles appear from inside the parking garage in 50 Rock (right across the street from 30 Rock, and the building my office is in).

1:30pm – 1:45pm – The police motorcycles, along with secret service agents and on-foot NYPD officers fan out – standing roughly 10-15 feet apart along the entire length of 50th Street. Their main function seems to be to direct startled tourists who walk out of a building or try to walk across the street, unaware of what’s been going on for the last half hour, to stand behind the barricades and gawk with everyone else. Various men & women in suits mill about in front of 30 Rock, shaking hands with each other and smiling. One gentleman takes out a soft brush and begins dusting the third limousine. After he’s gone all around it, he puts the brush away and takes out a soft cloth, and then wipes the car down again. This is one clean car!

1:45pm – Joe Biden, along with about a dozen other people (including a small child dressed in a jacket and tie, who I assume was his grandson?) emerge from 30 Rock. There is a brief cheer from the crowd, stifled immediately by the concentration they require to take pictures. Biden briefly uses the interior car floor as a step-ladder, lifting himself up a foot or so, and waves in both directions. Secret Service then grab him from both sides, push his head down so as to avoid him banging it on the car roof, and begin putting him in the car.

(Click to slightly enlarge – this was a cellphone camera, after all…)

1:46pm – Vice President Biden stops the secret service, re-emerges from the car, greets a blonde woman standing in front of 30 Rock and poses for a picture with her in front of his limousine (one of the people that came out of the building with him appeared to be an official photographer).

(Click to slightly enlarge – as above…)

1:47pm – Vice President Biden gets back in the car (this time under his own power), and all the cars pull away, heading east down 50th Street.

1:48pm – The police remove the metal barricades, people begin walking down/across the street, and everything looks as though nothing ever happened.

I’d guess it took about fifty people just over a half-hour to prepare for and execute the procedure, “Joe Biden leaves a building.” And we wonder why it takes so long to get things done…

Categories: New York, New York | 2 Comments »

Oklahoma, it ain’t…

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

“Enron,” the Broadway play? Really?

Categories: New York, New York, Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

New York City Sights – Times Square Advertising, Part Deux

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Two days ago, I posted a picture of a Weatherproof Jacket Ad featuring President Obama that hung over Times Square. Several commenters noted that The White House had complained about the ad and asked me to check if it had been subsequently removed.

Well, I must say, I’m impressed with Weatherproof’s marketing department:

President Obama doesn’t want to be in our ad? Fine, then, we’ll go with four Presidents who won’t complain – because they’re dead! The text in the upper-right corner (click here to see it more clearly) reads, “Fit for a President.” Which one, of course, they’re not saying…

Categories: New York, New York | 3 Comments »

New York City Sights – Times Square Advertising

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Walking through Times Square the other night, I saw what I can only assume is President Obama’s latest plan to reduce the federal deficit:

This ad cost the Weatherproof Jacket company twelve trillion dollars. (Kidding, of course)

Seriously, though, I was very surprised to see a sitting President appear in an ad for a product like this. I wonder if they needed (and received?) his permission to do this. And if not, I wonder what he thinks of them doing it. The clear implication here is that President Obama endorses Weatherproof jackets, and would recommend we all buy/wear one. Quite frankly, I think of the President (any president, not just Obama) as being above such things. And heaven forbid those jackets are made in some third-world sweatshop…

Googling around, all I find is the predictable political carping (the left: “he looks damn good in that jacket”; the right: “he’s a sellout for appearing in a jacket ad”), so my chances of finding out exactly how this came to be ae essentially nil.

Unless anyone reading this knows?!?

UPDATE: The sign has been removed, and replaced with a very clever alternative. Bravo, Weatherproof. Bravo.

Categories: New York, New York | 5 Comments »

Journalism is Dead! Long Live Journalism!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Two weeks ago, I got on a 7:45AM New Jersey Transit to New York City. Just then, power problems developed in the tunnel under the Hudson River, causing massive delays throughout the NJTransit system. Four hours later, when it became obvious that I was still at least an hour away from getting to my office, I gave up and came home. During the entire ordeal, the train conductors kept apologizing for the inconvenience while assuring us that they would pass on any new information as soon as they received it. Meanwhile, the passengers were on their blackberries, iPhones, and other mobile devices, receiving status updates from various websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and even NJTransit itself. Those who were disconnected were treated to a steady stream of information as passengers called out the latest updates to each other and recommended courses of action for folks with various intended destinations. At the time, we joked that the train conductor should get himself an iPhone so he could tell us more than what NJTransit was telling him.

Last week, I dropped a friend off at Continental Airlines’ Terminal C in Newark Liberty Airport about an hour before someone walked the wrong way through a security checkpoint, causing officials to evacuate the terminal. About 10,000 people crammed the check-in counters and baggage claim areas, waiting for the go-ahead to re-enter the terminal and get on their delayed (possibly even cancelled) flights. My friend gave interviews to Fox News and The Star Ledger, and even received update requests from a CNN reporter who had found his Twitter feed. As with the train delay above, no one at Newark Airport or Continental Airlines was making any announcements or providing the inconvenienced passengers with any further information.

The two incidents raise the following question in my mind: has information dissemination, particularly in the case of breaking news, broken down completely, or has it changed in a way that renders the old methods obsolete and unnecessary? Certainly, both NJTransit and Continental Airlines could have made repeated announcements over their public address systems and placed public relations people in the terminals to talk to passengers and the media, but these actions would likely have yielded repetitive and less accurate information than what the passengers were finding on their own. Which is worse? Not saying anything or repeating an unhelpful message over and over again? Perhaps we’ve reached a point where these organizations realize that the passengers are informing themselves and have chosen not to bother competing?

I’ll note that in both cases, passengers joked about the lack of information coming from official sources, but did not complain about a lack of information per se. Maybe all that’s missing is a shift in public perception, where people expect to find information on their own (or from their fellow passengers) rather than have it spoon-fed to them by “an official source?”

“Crowdsourcing,” like most everything else on the Internet, will really only get big when it gets small. Wikipedia became the gold standard for research by using the whole planet to (attempt to) catalog all of the world’s knowledge. Now, we’re creating mini-wikipedias for specific events, like a security concern at an airport terminal. Given time, familiarity, and a build-up of trust, this model could eventually out-pace the concept of “breaking news” from the larger news sources.

Or so I heard on the web

Categories: New York, New York, News and/or Media | 10 Comments »

Getting Ready for the Big Party…

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Now that Christmas is over, New York’s gearing up for the big party of the year:

Here’s hoping you’re someplace warm this New Year’s Eve. I know I will be (even at a distance of 30 miles, I’d still rather watch the ball fall on television…)

Categories: New York, New York | 1 Comment »

Some Christmas (Bronx) Cheer…

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

OK, quick Christmas quiz: when you see a guy on the streets of New York dressed up like a popular children’s character, carrying a bag that says “Tips,” and harassing tourist families for money, what’s the first word that comes to mind?

Answer: Pooh.

Categories: New York, New York | 3 Comments »

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