Taxi of later this afternoon


The NY Times has a piece about the new cab design that won the “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition last year and will be rolled out as the official new taxi design for the next ten years. While there are some welcome changes including more room, elimination of the middle bump, better individual climate control and USB chargers, there are also a lot of stupid design decisions that I hope they manage to change before this goes through. Notably:

– These vehicles need better access, they will be more difficult to get into for the elderly and disabled.

– What idiot thinks it is a good idea to do away with openable (roll-down or automatic) windows? There goes a pleasant taxi ride in spring when one wants to feel the breeze on one’s face. There goes the ability to use the wind as AC instead of destroying the environment. And there goes the ability of many late night partiers to quickly throw up outside the confines of the cab, rather than in.

– And although this is but an aesthetic quibble, these things scream “soccer mom“.

– Let’s hope the photo below is not current, because they also really need to get rid of their stupid light system. I don’t give a rat’s ass if the driver is off duty, I only need to know if a cab is available or not available. (Please let this story be true.)

put on your mom jeans and get inside

Way back in 86


I was walking around yesterday morning and was passing the corner of 57th and 10th avenue when it hit me. This was the first apartment I had ever lived in here in New York, as an architecture student on work assignment semester, way back in 1986. Got that? 23 years ago. I shared this 6th floor walkup (formerly) two bedroom apartment with 5 other students for the semester. We each paid (if I remember correctly) about $225 a month for what was essentially a shelf large enough for a bed. The  rooms were divided into cubbyholes or shelves, three where each of the bedrooms had been, sort of. And I was one of the lucky ones, having arrived early I was able to claim a cubby hole with a window. The worst off was poor Joe, who had what can only be described as the coffin above the low ceilinged bathroom, probably measuring about 6.5 ft x 6.5ft x 3 ft tall, right under the roof  with no windows or ventilation (and we were nearing summer to boot). I remember the guy who had the second worst room-coffin, Josh, in the one right “across” from Joe’s, and how their tiny doors would hit each other as they climbed out. One morning Josh left early for work, and left his door too ajar, trapping Joe for several hours in his own coffin. We did have a small kitchen and common room to hang out in, but it wasn’t even large enough for everyone to sit in at the same time. Still, I look back fondly on that first adventure of living in New York. All these years later, it is good to be back living here again. The city maintains that spark of excitement, that fundamental something that (in its incessant churning and changing) is central to its beauty and allure.

back in 86

And some random NYC notes


– An absolutely astonishing number of people wear black here. And about eighty percent of them head to toe.

– I hear a lot of complaining about a wide variety of things on the subway. Including the subway itself.

– So far, it seems like a lot of people are nice enough to hold the door for the person behind them, but a much smaller number care to give up their seat on the subway.

And so this is Xmas…


Well, the night before Xmas anyway. I am alone and trying to decide what to do. I went out earlier to live the quintessential NY cheesecake experience, but that only lasts so long. Perhaps I will go out to a bar and prey on some emotionally vulnerable guy who is out at a bar on Xmas eve because his family has rejected him for being gay. Or maybe I will just stay in and go to sleep.

UPDATE: I ended up watching “Superbad” on DVD and going to bed. All in all, pretty swell.

Here, hold this…


Josh, Gabe and I had a fantastic dinner at a place called Trestle last night, after which we went to the Eagle for a drink, met a really dull 28 year old Italian guy (who could have passed for 45), walked around squinting like crazy trying to make out the faces of people, decided to take our leave, trotted down to a club called Hiro(which was cute with good music), noticed that the line at the coat check was crazy long, and feeling a bit lazy and non-committal, we carried our winter coats around the club, looking somewhat silly, drinking and chatting a bit before deciding that we were in fact pumpkins and heading home.

Josh just told me to remember to add the part about the bitter, freezing cold wind.

Kickin’ it in NYC


Thanks to my cousin Josh, I got to fulfill a childhood dream: to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall! Ok, perhaps it wasn’t a childhood dream exactly, but I do remember hearing about the famous Rockettes all the while growing up. To my young kid self growing up in the boring old Midwest, they represented something uniquely New York and big city, a kind of innocent American Classic of another era. Being in the season, we went to see the “Christmas Spectacular“. It was a kitschy delight, with amazing dance numbers and many encores of that famous line of synchronized, high kicking, Rockette leg action. Although most of the dance numbers were very old fashioned, Busby Berkeley inspired routines, there was some pretty amazing technology present as well. There was a lot of CG on the back screen and some impressive 3d going on too. They for some reason felt the need to insert the story of baby Jesus at the end, something that made it distinctly less secular, but what the hell, it was still an amazing show.

From to NYC