Friday, July 27, 2012

Where Skyscrapers Soar and Insomniacs Roam

Thought for the day:  People say New Yorkers can't get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and radio; the other guy took the engine.  [David Letterman]

New York sometimes gets a bum rap. It isn't true that the state's official bird is the Eastern Jaywalk, and though it MAY be possible to get run down on the sidewalk by a hustling bustling pedestrian, I'm sure it's rarely deliberate.

The city that never sleeps? Heck, no wonder.

Yes, I realize the state of New York is much much more than New York City, but for better or worse, when most people consider the state, NYC is what immediately pops into their heads. I mean, just consider some of the attractions that keep the fires stoked in this high-energy city: There's both  haute couture and haute cuisine to be found there, but let's not forget about the bargain shopping and the four thousand plus street food vendors vying to fill your belly, too. There's the high finance frenzy of Wall Street, and the bohemian lifestyle of  Greenwich Village. Artists and artistes, a plethora of museums and Broadway shows, carriage rides through Central Park, the giddy excitement of Times Square on New Year's Eve, honking horns and flashy neon lights, and the ethnic attractions of Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem. Oh, and let's not forget the beauty of Niagara Falls, the high-stakes dramas that take place in the United Nations building, and the symbol of America herself, the Statue of Liberty. With her multi-lingual, multi-cultural personality, New York City represents the essence of America's idealistic melting pot at its finest. New Yorkers may be moving too fast to smell the roses, but you're more than welcome to take the time when you visit. As long as you don't get in anybody's way. 

Ready to check out some pictures?

The Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France, was dedicated on October 28, 1886. Looks pretty darned good for her age, huh? Long viewed by the world as a symbol of freedom, liberty, and hope, Lady Liberty measures 305 feet from the pedestal's foundation to the torch, has a waistline of thirty-five feet, an eight-foot long index finger, and weighs 450,000 pounds. (Suddenly, I'm feeling rather svelte.)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

[Emma Lazarus]

Notice the yellow bricks in this picture? Kinda whimsical, huh? That's because the New York town of Chittenago was the home of L. Frank Baum. DING DONG (The wicked witch is dead!) any bells? That's right. Mr. Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz. Ergo, the town paves with yellow bricks, and has numerous businesses with names harking back to the story. They even have an annual Munchkin parade.

This obelisk, known as Cleopatra's Needle, stands tall in Central Park. This 1879 gift from Egypt is approximately 3000 years old, and transporting this 220-ton, 66-feet tall monument from Egypt to New York took nearly a decade. This particular needle is one of a matched pair, and its twin can be found in London. And a third, whose twin remains in Egypt, can be found in Paris. 

New York's subway system ran its first route in 1904, and it now has 722 miles of subway tracks. (And still growing!) Unlike most subway systems in the world, New York's subway runs twenty-four hours a day. (After all, nobody SLEEPS there, right?) And the musicians you can find playing there? Would you believe they have to go through a competitive auditioning process to earn a spot. So they are GOOD. Some of them have performed at Carnegie Hall.

WOW! Niagara Falls, a achingly beautiful mecca for generations of starry-eyed honeymooners.

This is pretty neat-looking, isn't it? Called Castle Clinton, this place was originally built in the early 1800s as a fort to defend Lower Manhattan. Over the years, it also served as a city aquarium, and prior to the opening of Ellis Island, as an immigration HQ. Now, this historic site has been restored to its original appearance as a fort.

Didja know that New York City was once the capital of the United States? Only from 1789 until 1780, but New York's Federal Hall, as pictured in the etching at the left, was where George Washington took his oath of office, while standing right there on that balcony. It's also where Congress introduced the Bill of Rights. 

Unfortunately, the building was razed in 1812. A memorial building now stands in its place.

WAIT! Know what? A static picture isn't nearly good enough. Check THIS out!

Woo, HOO! How about this? Would you believe an historical restaurant? Or pizzeria, to be more precise. Gennaro Lombari opened the FIRST U.S. pizzeria at this very location in 1895. Kinda makes me think this must be THE spot to get pizza while in the Big Apple. It's still going strong. (But um, under new management...)

Lombardi's Pizzeria

The United Nations HQ

Radio City Music Hall

ticker tape parade
I wonder if New York is the only city in the world that celebrates BIG events by tossing tons of ticker tape out the windows? The picture above shows the 1960 ticker tape parade that was thrown for Richard Nixon. By the end of the '60s, ticker tape wasn't actually used much anymore, so some of the ticker tape parades since then have been mostly confetti and scrap paper. (But, scrap paper parade doesn't sound NEARLY as cool.)

No matter what anyone thinks of New York... love it or hate it ... following the attacks on the Twin Towers, the whole world identified with them. And no doubt about it, the city, the state, the people ... are resilient. And their spirit shines brightly.

Okay, so does the Big Apple have any laws languishing on the books that deserve a big raspberry? Let's see.

  • It's against the law to commit adultery. (So take that hanky panky somewhere else, buster.)
  • Women may go topless in public, providing it isn't being done as a business. (Sorry, no hiding behind a sandwich board, ladies!)
  • BUT, it's illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing "body-hugging clothes". (Gotcha. Tight shirt, bad. NO shirt, good...)
  • Citizens may not greet each other by putting a thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers. (However, the ol' "one-fingered salute" is okeydoke.)
  • A fine of twenty-five dollars can be levied for flirting. 
  • It's against the law to throw a ball at someone's head for fun. (So only do it if you're teetotally ticked off, man. Gotta MEAN it!)
  • The penalty for jumping off a building is death. (Especially if it's a skyscraper.)
  • New Yorkers can't divorce for irreconcilable differences unless they (ready?) both agree to it. (That one cracks me up.)
  • It's illegal to walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in your pocket. (So get a cup.)
  • While riding in an elevator, you must talk to no one, and fold your hands while looking toward the door. (And if you must break wind, keep a straight face.)
  • It's against the law to wear slippers after 10 PM.
  • In Carmel, a man can't go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that don't match, and women can't wear high heels within city limits. (Wow, talk about fashion police...)
  • In Greene, it's illegal to eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalk during a concert. (Cashews are better, anyway.)
  • In New York City, it's illegal for a man to ogle a lady. The accused are forced to wear horse blinders. (But, officer! That's no lady ... that's my WIFE!)
  • In Ocean City, it's against the law for men to go topless on the boardwalk, or in the center of town. (Women? No problem.)
  • It's also illegal to slurp soup there.
  • Or to sell raw hamburger.
  • Or to play a pinball machine on Sundays.
  • In Sag Harbor, it's illegal to disrobe in a wagon. (Get out on the street, you fool!)
  • In Staten Island, it's illegal for a father to call his son faggot or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior. 
  • And you may only water your lawn if the hose is held in your hand. (So, what else would you hold it with? Um, never mind. Don't think I wanta know.)

Okeydoke, guys and gals. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

I've spent a good bit of time hunting appropriate (or inappropriate, depending on one's point of view) news stories to lampoon this week, and didn't come up with anything that really floated my boat. Some stuff that broke my heart, but nothing that made me laugh out loud. I could make something up. Nah. How about a few short lines on some of the stories I did find?

**  In an Austrian castle, four 600-year-old linen bras were found. (Nope, not mine. I've never been to Austria.)

** In Pennsylvania, a mother hacked into the high school's computer system and had, shall we say, a positive impact on  her kids' grade point averages. (Maybe she should've just made her little darlings do their homework?)

** An eleven-year-old boy, with neither passport, ticket, nor boarding pass, blithely boarded a commercial airplane in Manchester and flew to Rome. (Dontcha know some heads rolled over that breach in security?)

** A 25-year-old Oregon woman, who earned fifteen thousand dollars a year in 2009 and 2010, claimed an income of three million dollars in her tax return this year, and an owed refund of 2.1 million. And got it! Not for long, of course. She only had a chance to blow 150 thousand before Uncle Sam caught up with her. Earned herself five and a half years in jail.

** A Canadian man accidentally shot himself while trying to kill a mouse with the butt of his rifle. (Bet he uses a mousetrap next time.)


                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Fascinating information about New York!
    My numerous visits to the Big Apple have all been very pleasant and memorable. Wonderful sights, interesting people. A place like no other. I loved it.......but I sure as hell wouldn't want to live there.....

  2. I just spent a few days in NYC at a Thriller Writer's Conference and hated to leave.

    May I add a few to your list?

    The Empire State Building. It took only 13 months to erect it.

    Macy's. Great big store and pricey. Tip: If you have to pee, be careful where you go. I set off a security alarm that riled the entire store.

    Toys-R-Us. This store is A-mazzzzzzzing! I don't know, but I believe it is the largest toy store in the world and man is it simply awesome!

    Madison Square Garden. A timeless landmark for sports and concerts.

    Great post. I already miss NYC. One of these times I need to get there during the Christmas holidays.

    By the way, I am running a Blog Fest Aug. 10-12 called the Dog Days of Summer. I'd love to see you there.


  3. Amazing, weird and wacky all in the same post. How do you do it?

  4. Amazing, weird and wacky all in the same post. How do you do it?

  5. I love New York! And yes, I've been there. Even spent a summer in a resort community about an hour away from the city.


  6. I am proud to say I'm a New "Yourka" even though I have not lived there since I was 16 years old. I might be a country bumpkin now but you can't take that city out of your blood ever.

  7. I love NYC too (to visit) :-)

    Oh, my gosh, those news stories are crazy!

  8. I love the NYC museums! The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters, especially.

    BTW, I loved the story of the linen bras.

  9. Fantastic information on the big Apple. I've only been to NYC once and get most of my information from movies. I liked the movie "Baby Boomer" where it showed the quiet rural life of New York State. Quite a contrast to the city glitz.

  10. We took our daughters to New York for the weekend last month. We stayed in a hotel on Times Square (which must be one of the most crowded places on earth) and saw Spiderman on Broadway.

    I still can't get over how that kid got on that plane ...

  11. Last time I was in NYC I was limoed in and limoed out by Fox News to use 1 Minute of my 15 minutes of fame.
    That was over 5 years ago and I still have 14 minutes left. Ah...fame.
    Susan, thanks for stopping by. Your kind words fuel my day. are indeed impressive.

  12. Jon- I've only been to New York a couple of times, and one of them was for a funeral, so I didn't do much sight-seeing. But what little I did see, I really loved. My husband can barely stand to visit cities, so he'd never want to live in one, but I'm energized by crowds, and feel the same sort of immediacy and excitement in cities as I felt while working in a big hospital. 'Course, that'd probably wear off in due time, and then I'd miss the greenery and slower pace of the small town area we live in now. So, you're right. I'll settle for a visit.

    Jeremy- Thanks for the additions. My personal experience with NY is very limited, so I appreciate any input you world travelers have to offer. Your blogfest sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up, dear sir.

    Al- Because I'm an amazing, weird and wacky person.

    Al- Yep, still am.

    Janie- You've been around, round, round, round, you've been around. You'll have to tell us about your experiences at that resort sometime. (Visions of "Dirty Dancing" are whirling through my head.)

    Arleen- Gotcha. You can take the girl out of the city, but ya can't take the city out of the girl? (But I'll bet you didn't have your beautiful gardens and birds there.)

    Jennifer- Like Jeremy, I reckon you've probably been there for a conference or two. Lunch with your agent, all that good stuff. (And if you haven't, don't tell me... I'm enjoying the fantasy.)

    Connie- I would LOVE to visit the NY museums. Someday. I'd probably have to hogtie my husband to get him there. Yeah, that bra story was something, wasn't it? Kinda turned the history of ladies' underwear on its ear.

  13. May I add two more bits of useless information. Part of the Statue of Liberty was made where I did my shopping this morning; in the small town of Fumel. And, the first mayor of New York, Cap't Thomas Willet, went to my old school.

  14. Never fancied New York, but very interesting blog, all the same. Do they use real munchkins I wonder?

    I was on the other side of the falls when I got married, in winter, enjoying the frozen scene from the warmth of a very tall hotel, looking out at the States, which must have been New York, then. Next week we're hoping to go to Niagara on the Lake, a little less touristy, and very pretty.

    LOL on mouse man. Now where in Canada was that, I wonder. :)

  15. I love your state posts! This one makes me want to see even more of NY.

    Re the 600-year-old bra: since brassieres were supposedly not invented until about 200 years ago, this is obviously proof of time travel. ;)

  16. Holy cow, lived there for 30 years without knowing all the laws I was breaking. And now all these years later, on a rainy Yammy Friday, I find what a scofflaw I've been. Hope the statute of limitations has run out! :D

  17. Manzie- Hi-ya! It's great to hear from you again. I'm not at all surprised that you'd be more drawn to the more rural areas of New York. Maybe the optimal choice would be to live in one of those rural areas, and trek into the big city once in a while.

    Dianne- I'll bet you guys had an awesome time. Even better than fishing in the Poconos. (Maybe.) From what I've read about that little boy, this isn't his first "free" ride. Evidently, he's pulled the same trick on buses and trains, too.

    Wry- That must have been quite the experience. But, hey! You still have another fourteen minutes due ya. They may be better yet!

    Cro- Not useless at all! Quite fascinating. I trust that Willet went to school with your great, great, great (great, great) grandfather. HA! It's a small world.

    CarrieBoo- I think they used some of the original Munchkins for a while, but most of them are long dead, now. The scant pictures I could find of the event looked like a bunch of local kids dressed up and having a blast. Can't remember for sure where the mouse guy was... I'll have to go back and check.

    Linda- By George, you may have a point! One other interesting thing about those old bras is that they were decorated with lace, so they weren't just utilitarian.

    Laura- Tut tut, ignorance of the law is no excuse, young lady. Glad you're having some rain today. Maybe things will cool off a bit for you.

  18. "WAWA, ON - A Goulais River, Ontario" Which is pretty far north, above Sault Saint Marie. Shot himself in the forehead, no less! Only grazed it, lucky for him. ;) Wow...

    How cool that is used to be some real munchkins and now kids get to enjoy dressing up!

  19. CarrieBoo- I kinda thought it was Ontario, but wasn't sure. Makes ya wonder if some adult beverages were involved, though, doesn't it? (Hopefully, he didn't do something that dumb while SOBER!)

  20. It's against the law to commit adultery, how 'bout that. Wonder if the fact that it's on the books curbs the activity, at all ... ?

  21. I love this post, I visited NYC some years ago and had such a good time, this was a fun walk down memory lane. And I cracked up that women can go topless as long as it's not a business. I suppose that's reasonable LOL.

    I love your summer picture on your header, so cute! :)

  22. Suze- Somehow, I don't think people who have no problem breaking marital vows much care about a silly little law.

    Julie- Yeah, take off that blouse, lady, but ya better not get paid for it! Glad you liked the post... and my silly header.

  23. The first , last, and only time I ever went to NYC was on a bus for junior year in high school. We were supposed to see CATS. I spent the entire time in the ladies room puking. Car sick. Or bus sick as the case may be. I'd love to go to the Village someday.

    And how on earth did that kid get to Rome? Where were his parents?

  24. Dirty dancing my ass. I was married and had a three year old.


  25. Illegal to slurp soup? Its things like this that make East Coasters, well, East Coasters.

  26. Anne- Oh, bummer. New York didn't have a chance to make a very good impression on you, huh? That's too bad. That kid evidently walked away from his mother at a shopping center. Evidently, he's quite the "adventurer".

    Janie- HA! Hey, married people can dance dirty, too.

    Stephen- The East Coast doesn't have a monopoly on stupid laws. All the states I've covered to this point still have some archaic and bizarre laws still languishing on the books.

  27. Excellent post and carefully researched. I learned things and it brought back some memories of my 2 visits to NYC. But you husband doesn't like busy cities while you're energized by them? Are you sure you're not us?

  28. So much that I didn't know about New York! I especially didn't know that there were yellow brick roads in Chittenago and I thought that ticker tape parades were illegal now due to pollution. Loved the video of the Falls which, being a stay-at-home kind of gal, is the nearest I'll ever get to seeing the real thing.

  29. What a great tour of New York and surrounding areas. I'm due for a return visit. Pizza is always on my agenda when I go.

    Now off to figure out how to pull that tax refund scam and make it work without getting caught.

    Wrote By Rote

  30. It's illegal to slurp soup??? oh noes!

    I visited NY once and fell in love with the city. I hope I get to visit again one day.

  31. Geo- HA! Could be. Seems we have quite a few things in common, anyway. Maybe it's because we're all "of an age." Actually, he returned from 'Nam with such a keen sense of hyper-vigilance, it's very difficult for him to relax around crowds. (But he's gotten a lot better.)

    Rosalind- I'm so glad you watched the video of the falls! That's probably as close as I'll ever get to the real thing, too.

    Lee- If that gal was able to pull off such an obvious scam, it must not have been all that difficult. The getting caught part, now that's a different story.

    Lynda- Betcha they frown upon tea-slurping, too.