Monday, June 29, 2015


I'm very excited. These shoes are my first hand-me-downs since probably 1977, when I got my brother's velour shirts or flare-leg jeans or something.

They were Ethan's shoes, and he got new ones, but instead of throwing the old ones out, he just left them in the foyer. I noticed them one night last week when I was taking the dogs out. I've been wearing them every day since.

Yesterday the doorman said, "Hey, nice shoes. Are those Van's?"

I said, "I have no idea. I don't know what Van's are." (It turns out they are.) So apparently I'm making a fashion statement in addition to getting free shoes.

Last night it was raining lightly, and I noticed my right heel was wet. Then I realized why Ethan got new ones--there's a small hole in the right heel. So I may retire these sooner rather than later.

But there's something comforting about wearing them. I think it's my psychological way of not letting go of Ethan.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You've heard of the Transcontinental Railroad?

This is the Transplayground Railroad.

Constructed entirely from high-grade sidewalk chalk, it was built by two itinerant laborers in the course of a single afternoon.

For a period of at least four hours (before the rain came), it connected two Central Park West playgrounds previously separated by hundreds of feet of desolate concrete and asphalt.

Many said it couldn't be done--the distance was too far, they said...the conditions too harsh.

And yet, little by little, they crossed the great plains, the foreboding mountains, and the unforgiving desserts. I mean deserts.

Until two playgrounds were at last connected.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wha--? McDonald's is closed??

Ethan wanted McDonald's for dinner, so he and Samuel and I trekked over to Broadway, only to be stopped cold in our tracks.

Something about the human psyche makes us believe that things are permanent, despite every indication to the contrary. How could a McDonald's that had been open since the dawn of civilization suddenly--not be?

When they removed the McDonald's sign, they exposed the remnants of the old sign underneath, which said "Teachers Too."

I looked it up online, and it was a popular neighborhood restaurant that closed in 1996. Barnes & Noble had just opened down the street, mom-and-pop stores were being pushed out by skyrocketing rents, and UWS residents considered the replacement of Teachers Too with--ugh--a McDonald's to be the final nail in the coffin. The UWS was officially dead!

And yet, we moved to the neighborhood in 1998, and like a lot of current residents, not only will I kinda miss the McDonald's, I'm also pulling for B&N to survive.

I think humans just don't like change. It reminds them subconsciously that they aren't going to live forever.

Monday, June 1, 2015

And then there was one (again)

16 Handles--the self-serve frozen yogurt shop--opened on the Upper West Side about four years ago.

It was a hit, so of course everyone else decided to open a self-serve frozen yogurt shop on the Upper West Side too. By this time last year there were four on Amsterdam between 75th and 85th:

Amsterdam between 75th & 76th: 16 Handles.

Amsterdam between 80th & 81st: Pinkberry. 

Amasterdam at 81st (three doors up from Pinkberry): Yogurtland.

Amsterdam between 85th & 86th: Orange Leaf. They came and went so fast this is the only photo I could find:

This doesn't even include Emack & Bolio's at 79th, which specializes in ice cream and whose yogurt isn't self-serve; and Tasti-D-Lite between 85th & 86th, which is some man-made chemical frozen compound that tastes like bland ice. But I digress.

Suddenly Orange Leaf was gone--not surprising, really, because by the time it opened it was definitely the last kid at the dance.

Then a few months ago--poof, Pinkberry was gone.

Then, this past week--poof, no more Yogurtland.

I made the trek to 16 Handles this weekend to pay my respects to the victor. I had vanilla-chocolate-banana with hot fudge sauce and strawberries on top. It was good. Damn good.

All hail 16 Handles.