New York

Yelp Review: Ninja Restaurant

It occurred to me that I’d never taken my son to a restaurant where strange people leap out from the shadows. I decided to rectify this situation immediately.

Upon researching dining venues peopled with faux-assassins, I came to realize that in all of New York City there appears to be only one. One! I was flabbergasted. What giant, cultured metropolis worth its salt has only one restaurant where you can pay lots of money for food while being kind-of attacked with swords? Once proud of my city, I immediately felt like I lived in some depressing third-world backwater. Clearly we can only call ourselves an “up and coming” city until we have a wide variety of dining establishments where men in skirts shout “Heeeya!” and place cold, dull steel against your throat.

My son, 6, was was completely and regrettably unfazed by what I would describe as an “expensive” dining experience. He still struggles with the concept of money being used to purchase goods and services. He and his foolish friends still barter.

The food wasn’t bad, just pricey for what you got. What he got was chicken teriyaki he liked and tempura shrimp he wouldn’t touch. The waiter rather admirably insisted that the vegetables be eaten before he would materialize with dessert. It takes a village.

Dinner took a while because instead of eating it, my son was absolutely fixated on the prospect of being set upon by the legendary, gratuity-dependent, shadow warriors. He sat back-to-the-wall, calling out “I hope nobody attacks me” at one minute intervals. I have to admit I felt betrayed that he devilishly permitted a smallish, pony-tailed man to creep up behind me and put a dagger to my throat as I tucked into a ribeye.

The arrival of the “ninjician” was the highlight of the entertainment – which until that point had consisted solely of the aforementioned shouting/leaping/thrusting people. He performed several tricks, the last one being quite impressive.

My son clearly enjoyed his time there and declared it to be his favorite restaurant. That hurts, considering I’ve taken him to some remarkable ones. I attempted to suggest that we were in a “special occasion” venue only – perhaps we’d visit when he got married. He was having none of it and asked if we could dine there again on the morrow. I said no because I’m the parent and I win.

[My Yelp page is here]

Somebody Saw Something, Said Something

freak-out.jpg
I know, I know. New York is a target and the terrorists hate our freedoms (but I’m certain they love our foreign policy) and something terrible is bound to happen in the city some day. Yes, and there’s not much you can do about a determined, evil person who has opted to engage in martyrdom operations because some sexually frustrated old man with a beard and spectacles radicalized him. But if we’re going to pull the fire alarm and close down Broadway every time someone litters, well, even the half-assed terrorists have already won.

You’d Think a Billionaire Like Bloomberg Could Afford Better Spokesmumblers

I’m not a management type by any stretch of the imagination but I think if I was hiring people to call voters and spread the word I’d at least make sure that they had some command of the language. Just because that’s what you need to effectively convey a message. Which is what this didn’t do:

In fact, the Mike for Mayor campaign has been working extra hard to lose my vote; calling repeatedly despite the fact I’m on the Do Not Call list and have been for years. I mentioned that fact to one caller who replied, “I did not know that.” He didn’t bother to take me off the list though, because Mumbles called the next day and left this gem.
Just this morning I received another call prompting me to give them an ultimatum: If they call again, I’ll be voting for the other guy. Whoever the hell he is.

Three Must-Have iPhone Apps for New Yorkers

iAvoid
Utilizes dynamic GPS to route you past annoying sidewalk representatives for Greenpeace, Children International, ACLU, Human Rights Watch, Save The Children, Save The Animals, DNC and Amnesty International. To name a few.
iavoid.jpg

MilkQuest
Excellent app for mapping out the price disparity of a half-gallon of milk at the 18 bodegas in your neighborhood.
bodega.jpg

iAwake
Hold up to your window to learn exactly how many decibels the gentleman parked outside your window is emitting from his tricked-out Lexus SUV while his friends have a violent argument in the street.
iawake.jpg

Five Haikus About People and Their Frickin’ BlackBerrys

LIBRARY
The tiny keyboard
Still makes enough of a sound
To distract, bastard
KINDERGARTEN TOUR
Very important
The future of his children
Never once looks up
THE PARK
A child on a swing
Daddy, daddy, higher please
But he is texting
STARBUCKS
Can I help you sir?
Excuse me, can I help you?
Sir? Can I help you?
GOTHAM BAR
All businessman types
Emailing just like at work
But here they are drunk

Crazy Old Lady Industries – First Quarter Report

crazy%20old%20lady.jpg
Dear Shareholder:
I’m thrilled to say that the top-line results for 1Q 2007 are quite promising, and we’re on target to have a banner year thanks to New York City’s demand for batshit-crazy old ladies.
We broke into double-digit growth early this year, in no small part because of our intense efforts to expand the Crazy Old Lady brand above and beyond cat-hoarding.
We’re in the public eye more than ever before due to new direction that takes us out of our dingy, unkempt, trash-filled apartments and puts us in the street. Literally. Cursing at trucks.
Our goal? Continue to innovate and improve upon the methods that put us in the spotlight and increase the Crazy Old Lady brand. For example:
* Waving arms and warning passers-by that children are in imminent danger of being kidnapped by pedophiles.
* Expletive-filled soliloquies delivered in nightgowns.
* Obsessive pigeon-nurturing.
* Frank discussions about the radio beams that are coming from that building over there.
* Berating hydrants.
* Defecating in storefronts.
I can’t possibly list all this year’s highlights while in restraints, but suffice to say: Squirrels are listening.
We fully expect to outdo ourselves this year, and we’re really glad you’re a part of it. It’s a great time for us – and a perfect time to harvest broken umbrellas.
As we continue into 2007 it is with confidence that I say the dark foreigners at the DVD shop on the corner are part of a grand plan to destroy America with their porn. Fortunately, Dan Rather bit my arm and I can hear angels.
Margaret Sameshirteveryday
East Village

All Hail The New York Transit Worker


booth2.jpg
‘Twas five days before Christmas and all through the town;
Not a train was up running, they’d all been shut down.
The turnstiles were locked and the stations were cleared,
in hopes that Old Bloomberg would give them their share.
The workers were nestled all snug in their booths;
Where oft they’re found sleeping, to tell you the truth.
Toussaint wants their pensions to be like the cops’ –
you know, ’cause it’s stressful announcing each stop.
Alas, from the public arose such a clatter,
Their leader seems not to have thought out the matter.
With shoppers not shopping and travel delayed,
public support dwindled, New Yorkers’ nerves frayed.
You dumb, lazy morons! The people did cry.
Pensions the same as the FDNY?
It’ll cost us a fortune, illiterate twits!
The people weren’t happy. In fact, they threw fits.
There’s strength in a union, or so they believed
but not before Christmas – now everyone’s peeved.
It’s terrible timing for stranding the masses;
If Reagan were here he’d have fired your asses.
booth1.jpg

Superficial Voter’s Guide – NYC 2005

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Bloomberg.jpg

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
"Republican"

Looks a little like you’ve been confronted by a mob of angry smokers, but it definitely says you’re the boss.

 

Ferrer.jpg

FERNANDO FERRER
Democrat

History is filled with mustachioed politicians, but they rose to power through revolution, putsch or brutality. That’s not coming through here.

 

Ognibene.jpg

THOMAS V. OGNIBENE
Conservative

He’s got the conservative look down. In New York City. Sure to take the Lower East Side by squall.

 

Blum.jpg

SETH BLUM
Education Party

What’cha got in there Seth?

 

Gronowicz.jpg

ANTHONY GRONOWICZ
Green

A party with a one-note platform is slightly absurd, but I can picture you angry over a wounded Spruce. Sold.

 

Silk.jpg

AUDREY SILK
Libertarian

Yearbook committee called. Wants photo back.

 

McMillan.jpg

JIMMY McMILLAN
Rent Is Too Damn High Party

Voter intimidation only works if you’re standing in the booth with us.

 

nophoto.jpg

MARTIN G. KOPPEL
Socialist Workers Party

Can’t be bothered to supply a profile or a photo. Must be busy teaching film.

 

WINNER: BLOOMBERG
RUNNER-UP: GRONOWICZ

Continue reading…

Johnny Berlin

johnnyberlin.jpg
Dear Reader:
I humbly request that you attend the New York Television Festival screening of Johnny Berlin, a delightful film which features my name in the credits.
Even if my name were not in the credits I would urge you to see this film as it is unusual and entertaining. Much more entertaining than the “comedy” group I saw mocking D-Day casualties a few weeks ago in the Lower East Side.
If you live in New York it will be quite easy to attend the screenings since it is in New York and you live here. If you live elsewhere, please book a flight at your expense or try your hand at fractional jet ownership.
All that’s important is you attend the screening of Johnny Berlin, a refreshingly funny film directed by Dominic DeJoseph; executive-produced by Michael Stipe and Jim McKay; produced by Ted Green and most important to me, me.

Continue reading…

My Mayor Makes The City Safe

mayorsafe.jpg
Car Bomber lanes will be established on the Holland Tunnel. Anyone driving to the city in the Car Bomber lane will be subject to search – unless they refuse – in which case they’ll be sent back to New Jersey.
A newly established Best Friend Force will get to know everyone in the city and see what they’re up to.
Cabbies will report any suspicious passengers, unless they’re Pakistani, because we can’t expect cabbies to report their own countrymen.
To smoke out the baddies, fresh-faced young men and women holding clipboards will stand on sidewalks all over the city, asking everyone if they have a moment for jihad.
Anyone purchasing a bag from Manhattan Portage will be subjected to four powerful questions created by Scientologists to determine if they fit the profile. If they do, their warranty will not be honored.
Leaflets that say We know what you’re doing will be distributed to everyone on the subway in the hopes of totally freaking someone out.
All MetroCards will feature legalese on the back stating that anyone using the card for evil will be subject to prosecution.
People will be randomly asked to swear on the Bible that they’re chill.
Train service will be made even more unreliable in order to throw martyrdom operations off by several minutes.
Mini-bottles of Ketel One will be offered to random passengers. Anyone who turns one down is either a recovering alcoholic – or more likely – one of those non-drinking Islam people.
Cops on overtime will rally subway crowds by shouting Whadda we want?…When do we want it? – and if anyone answers JihadNow! they’re in big trouble.

Welcome to the MTA Subway Store!

freedom_rocks.jpg
Introducing the Orwell XL Transparent Backpack, for New York’s busy subway commuters.
The Orwell XL Transparent Backpack is the latest rage in the Knee-Jerk Reaction(tm) series of subway gear, trading over-rated privacy concerns for an empowering sense of security.
Not only will the Orwell XL vaguely ease the conscience of your fellow passengers, it helps make the NYPD’s Herculean task of scrutinizing millions of passengers slightly less improbable, thus improving our freedom.
Best of all, the Orwell XL helps eliminate all the time-consuming hassles of random, politically-correct police searches. Whether you’re a Muslim male between the ages of 18-34 or a hot blonde in a white dress, the Orwell XL Transparent Backpack suits anyone falling under a blanket policy of suspicion. That would be you.
The Orwell XL Transparent Backpack is available in one color: Very Clear. Its roomy interior offers plenty of space for your stuff, and there’s even a special pocket for your future National Biometric ID Radio Frequency GPS MetroCard.
Going to the gym? A Goth? Look for our transparent duffel bags and trench coats, coming very soon.

Report to Shareholders

dooropen.jpg
I am pleased to report a banner year for Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries.
Our earnings in 2004 reflect our commitment to a proactive and aggressive policy of standing outside the 14th Street Chase Bank and holding the door for people.
I credit our success to a simple and effective business model: Hold the door open for people leaving and entering the bank, because that’s where the money’s at.
Last year’s growth trend was no accident, and can be attributed to the fact that by standing in the same place every day during bank hours, we created a rapport with people entering and leaving the building. In other words, we built our brand, and in this business brand is everything. This is in direct contrast to our operations during the previous years in which we wandered dazed and bleeding down 2nd Avenue on an irregular basis.
As evidenced by last year’s outstanding performance, the one-location business model is a key to success in our industry.
In addition to optimizing our location, we introduced our new tagline: Please help me. We noticed a marked difference in returns after the introduction of Please help me, and have permanently phased out Quarter Quarter Quarter which, frankly, was never much of a focus group darling.
In the year ahead we will have our challenges, to be certain. There’s a pregnant teen outside Emack & Bolio’s seeking our clients. There’s been some hostility with the bank management. And I am bleeding. But these are all things that can be worked out.
Frankly, I am not concerned. We have the savvy and reputation that others in our industry lack. And we provide a valuable door-holding experience that Shrieking Pete does not.
I look forward to the year ahead. Under my stewardship I believe we can expect Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries to grow even more. I’m proud of where we are today, and I have you to thank for it.
Please help me,
Tavis E. Williams
Chairman and CEO
Standing Outside The 14th Street Chase Bank Holding The Door For People Industries

Travis Bickle On Broadway

How our taxi driver made Saturday night memorable.
1. Driver’s last name was “Goldfinger”, which is unusual.
2. Driver was American, which is also unusual.
3. Driver had a thick New York accent, which is amusing.
4. Driver was smoking, which is illegal.
5. Driver flew down Broadway and Seventh with his hand on the horn, braking abruptly and cussing like a sailor, which is uncomfortable.
6. Driver said “I wanna chop someone’s fucking head off tonight” which is disconcerting.
7. Driver launched into tirade because another taxi stopped to pick up passengers, which is illogical.
8. Driver was very mad at “niggers” for making him go around their garbage truck, which is objectionable.
9. Driver claimed “The bigger the nigger the smaller the radio” was a common expression, which is peculiar.
10. Driver pulled up to a woman and offered to throw us out of the car if she got in, which is awkward.
11. Driver ranted about “bitches”, which is disagreeable.
12. Driver overshot our destination by a few blocks and didn’t turn off the meter when going back, which you don’t complain about under such circumstances.

The Platinum MetroCard

metrocardplatinum.jpg

Underneath the streets of New York is a world of luxury, privilege and service. The Platinum MetroCard is your invitation to be part of it. With its unique privileges and outstanding benefits, the Platinum MetroCard is perfectly tailored to fit the lifestyle of those folks who are successful, yet still have to take mass transit.
You’ll not only enjoy all the traditional benefits standard MetroCard holders enjoy, you’ll also enjoy unprecedented class and service. The subway is your oyster.
Member Benefits:
MTA Miles
Every dollar you spend is a mile earned, redeemable for tissues and gum.
Elite service
You’ll board the train first. And you’re guaranteed a seat without a hobo or sticky residue on it.
Peace of Mind
Leave your bags unattended in the station or on the train without consequence. And if you see something, you don’t have to say something. (Si ves algo, no problemo)
Exclusive benefits
Upon entering the station, you’ll be handed free newspapers for your reading pleasure courtesy of Metro News or A.M.
Comfort
Your seat is your own. You can relax knowing you don’t have to surrender it to the elderly or pregnant.
Hygiene
If you accidentally touch the handrail, just ask your steward for a complimentary antibacterial towelette.
Public Address? Not for you.
The conductor will personally tell you where the train is headed – audibly, in clear and understandable English.
Hassle-free travel
While waiting for your train, take advantage of the Platinum MetroCard member booths in stations where they haven’t been closed.
Honesty
No rehearsed sob stories from panhandlers. They’ll tell you straight out they need money for drugs.
Perks
Complimentary nuts roaming through the train, and a chance to purchase batteries for $1 from the roving Duty Free guy.
Service
An experienced MetroCard Swiping Assistant will swipe your card for you, so you can concentrate on other things.
Freedom
Take videos and pictures on the subway without being interrogated.
Feel at home
Upon arriving at your station, the superintendent of that station will greet you on a first-name basis.
Save time
Expedite your station entrance and exit via the Platinum member turn-style.
Entertainment
Free live shows for your pleasure, from the sleeping heroin addict to the untalented saxophonist with AIDS.
Exclusive events
Be among the first to ride the Second Avenue subway line when it debuts in 2033.
A world of subway privilege awaits. Don’t put it off any longer. To apply for the Platinum MetroCard, stand near any station entrance and tell people you’ve arrived.

Dear Lady Squatting In Our Midst

Dear Madam:
New York City has jaded me in many ways – in part because the streets are littered with the insane, the degenerate and the hopeless. Truth be told, whether we’re forced to contend with pierced twenty-something loafers asking for cigarette money or toothless drunks sleeping on dried dog-urine, most of us find it all quite routine. Boring even.
It’s obvious that every psychiatric facility emptied its inventory onto the streets. That, combined with the sad fact that people no longer feel the slightest bit of shame asking strangers for money, means that the sheer quantity of wretched souls makes it impossible to recall any particular details about them. In the end, they are merely folks that wanted something for nothing, or carried on conversations with a lamppost. Tired, tired, tired.
However, once in a great while during a routine stroll down the mostly well-ordered streets one will encounter a person with whom interaction leaves some kind of lingering memory. Or, in your case, an emotional scarring so horrible that while it was being violently laser-etched into my brain it incinerated all happy memories from 1968 to present.
The last such person to make a vivid impression and earn a few bytes of my memory was an old black gentleman two years ago. It was a sunny autumn day, a weekend, fairly cool. He had apparently been enjoying the contents of the empty fifth in his hand. We arrived at the scene after the fact, but it didn’t take a degree in forensic science to determine what had transpired. At some point post-consumption of his adult beverage, the gentleman had experienced the urge to empty his bladder – yet seems to have not had the motivation to actually bring his bladder somewhere. Instead, he’d removed his enormous penis and emptied the bladder’s contents upon himself and a section of the sidewalk in close proximity to his penis. Apr�s-pee, his beverage got the better of him and he took a nap, exposed penis in hand.
This image was fairly unique, I’d even say extraordinary, and so it’s one I still recall quite vividly. I considered it my ultimate New York sidewalk experience. Until Sunday.
Sunday was a lovely day. Sunny and brisk. The baby was well behaved and dozed right off after a bottle of milk. While my wife pushed the stroller, I followed behind alongside my buddy Mike – a former improv comrade visiting from out of town. We were recovering from a lovely night that had begun with visiting a friend at Saturday Night Live and ended in the wee hours at some After-After party filled with bimbos. In fact, I had hoped to be writing about that evening right now, and had already begun organizing the paragraphs in my head as we strolled towards SoHo.
But you had other plans.
The mind is never prepared to process the visual of an obese, middle-aged woman in a pink hat leaning against a car, pooping. The mind can not be trained to suffer that horror in any capacity. Nor should it have to.
When it does encounter such a traumatic optical assault, the brain’s first response is to deny. This isn’t happening. But reality can’t be denied. Even though countless brain cells die trying to prevent the acceptance of such foul memory, it ultimately breaks through. It then makes its way to the recesses of your brain – to one of the small villages therein. Perhaps a place called Memoryton. Once there, it rapes and murders everyone in the village. Then it sets fire to it and slaughters the goats for good measure.
That was the effect of seeing you before us in broad daylight, propped against some poor soul’s tire whilst grinning, pooping and making full eye contact with every passerby.
And there were many.
My wife was smart enough to sense that something was amiss, and was able to divert her gaze and guide the stroller in a different, safer direction. She was unscathed. But Mike and I and certainly many others were not so lucky. If you had been Sodom, we’d have all been salt.
Madam, I’ve seen dead people, grisly crime photos and a guy from New Guinea with testicular elephantitis – but it was you who provided me with the most disturbing visual image to date. And nature was an accessory to the crime too: The sunlight was perfect, illuminating your underside just enough to create a darling silhouette of your ongoing efforts, as well as a few accomplishments which rested peacefully on the newspaper you placed underneath yourself.
And how proud you were. Beaming with joy as you made eye contact with us. All of us. But Mike in particular. Mike is traumatized – quite so – and if he survives he may very well never come back to this city again.
That visual, the smile, your roundness, your pink hat and the cursed eye contact: it was the perfect recipe. Kudos. You have earned a place in the memory books of dozens. Perhaps hundreds. In my book you’re somewhere near the front, well ahead of the time I nearly lost my fingers in a freak watermelon-cutting incident. Probably a few pages ahead of the crazy Jesuit priest.
Our time together was brief, but somehow it seemed like an eternity. Perhaps because the image will be with us long after the earth is swallowed by a supernova.
We’ll never forget you. Just ask Mike. Or the unsuspecting French people who passed us. Or the scores who shared what should have been a most intimate moment. Countless people now ask themselves the same two questions: Why did we look? and Why did you look back?
Congratulations madam. You’re a somebody. And if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

The Mayor Introduces Operation Sh

From: Mayor Bloomberg
To: New York
Re: Operation Sh
As you know, our city enjoys one of the lowest crime rates for a city of its size. For that, we owe our fine police department our great thanks – with the exception of the one guy who sodomizes perps with plungers. He’s a bad apple, for certain, but the rest of them: Heroes.
The efforts of the NYPD have led to a low number of per-capita homicides, ass-kickings, stabbings and other violent acts. The fact that these serious crimes are not being perpetrated means our citizens, residents of the greatest city in the world, live free from fear. Free to direct their attention to other threats. Like loud conversations.
When I established the 311 hotline – which I introduced with little-to-no fanfare and barely took credit for – I expected it to provide the city government with a big picture of what concerns New Yorkers had. And that it has done.
I expected the #1 complaint to be garbage, dog-poop, or menus left in foyers by hard-working-but-illegal Asian and Latin men.
I was wrong.
The people have spoken. Unanimously. Softly.
What you have all been most vocal about, quite ironically, is noise.
When one lives in a city of ten million, one expects, and deserves, perfect silence. I understand. That is why I am directing all police departments to concentrate their police-type skills to the prevention and prosecution of auditory offenses.
I’m calling it Operation Sh.
Operation Sh will get noise off the streets once and for all, that we may go about our lives in peace and tranquility. Remember how quiet New York was during the blackout? That’s what we want. But with lights.
No longer will you wince when you hear a mega-decibel, bladder-shattering fire engine air-horn. I’ve instructed our Heroes to whistle. From this point onward, a soft whistle means a fire engine is crossing the intersection. In some cases, it could mean a Hero likes your breasts, but always look both ways just to be safe.
Certainly, some motorcyclists will be upset. For decades they’ve enjoyed the thrill of waking thousands from sleep as they opened the throttle on their expensive surrogate penises. But no more. “Loud Pipes Save Lives” may be their motto, but “Please Shut Up” is ours. And we have the law on our side.
How many times has an approaching homeless man’s slurred pitch for cash been drowned out by the repetitive, evil twinkle emanating from the Mister Softee truck? Too many, I’m sure. From now on, Mister Softee can deliver his jingle in print format only. Now, you’ll be able to hear the drunk guy’s request for a quarter. And when you rebuff him, you’ll clearly hear the “God Bless You” that’s really a “Fuck You” in disguise.
Bear in mind, Operation Sh is equal opportunity. Loud is loud, and whether it’s Eminem, Jay-Z, or Mahler, you need to keep your bass under wraps.
From dogs barking to militant union construction guys to inconsiderate babies, Operation Sh is going to tackle the biggest problem facing New Yorkers today. What Rudy Giuliani was to porn and Al Sharpton, I have been to tobacco, and I will be to sound.
In the immediate future you will see numerous uniformed officers on the streets. You may see them standing outside your local pub, straining to hear the jukebox. They may have their ears pressed to buildings to lock in on an overzealous Bichon Frise. Perhaps they’ll be cupping their hand to their ears, auditing air conditioners, or shushing you during heated arguments. Whatever they’re doing, know that they’re contributing to what will be the most successful shushing in New York’s history.
We’ll be spending a lot of energy and money on Operation Sh. It’s a noisy city, and our police forces are willing to work overtime to do what it takes. I hope you’ll join us and be one of the millions of New Yorkers who’ve thrown open their windows to announce to the world that they’ve had enough. If you do that, please keep it down.
One day, if you’re still here, we’ll be proud to be residents of the greatest, most smoke-free, most tranquil city in the world. The city that never shrieks.