I’ll begin with the planet piece, as in “what planet are you even from?” So, there was this party of five who wandered in from Lark Fest seeking a table. They were neat in appearance and seemed reasonably intelligent. Their preference was for a table on the back patio, but unfortunately we did not have one available to accommodate 5. They were given a table inside and served water. Three members of their party had stopped at the bar for drinks prior to sitting.
Imagine my surprise when, a few minutes later, I went out to the patio and saw one of the women from the 5-top pushing tables together. When I asked her if someone had told her it was ok to do that she said, “No.” I explained the reason she wasn’t given permission to move tables was because it wasn’t, in fact, ok for her to take it upon herself to do it. I asked her to return to the table we had already provided for her and assured her that I would get to work on creating a comfortable spot for them.
I was able to combine a couple of tables, carefully arranging the chairs, without causing the rest of the patio to be “unservable.” I invited the group outside and explained the need to leave the chairs as I had arranged them to keep the remaining tables accessible. Naturally, no sooner had I turned around when one of the women had moved her chair to the precise spot which would prevent anyone from sitting in the two tables behind her, in effect taking up 4 tables for a total of 5 people. Seriously?
PS. We served a single glass of $8 wine to the table. Really.
Up next: the (Jake)Moon
My middle son is wrapping up his middle school academic career in a couple of weeks. There are a few events to commemorate the occasion, including a day trip to NYC, later this month. When I was in 8th grade, we also went to the city. I remember it vividly because I saw my first Broadway musical, Grease, and wore the brown sweater coat (the height of fashion in 1980!) my mother knit for me. It was a special day.
On Friday, he brought home the permission slip which detailed the itinerary for their day. Basically, they depart from Albany at 6:30 in the morning, returning at approximately 9:30 p.m. Their first stop is midtown where they have 2.5 hours scheduled at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. From there they head to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. I understand that not every kid has parents who believe in authentic experiences which reflect their locale, but doesn’t this sound incredibly generic? Is there anything about this that screams “greatest city in the world” to you?
But, wait, it gets better. The kids then head down to the South Street Seaport – and this is the part that really rankles me, where they have 3 hours to wander around, using the “buddy system.” Now, I’m sure (right?) there will be adequate supervision of the kids, but this segment of the trip, the lengthiest one, is completely unstructured. In the description provided on the permission slip, this cool, but small area, was heralded for its “mall and 15 places to eat.” Really?!? I’m sending my kid to New York to go to a mall and eat at some chain restaurant?
I’m pretty familiar with the downtown area where the kids are going to be. The Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center are right there. Why aren’t they bringing the kids to either of these free, yet, significant places? Maybe a ferry ride to Staten Island? There’s so much history in that area! How about Chinatown, Little Italy or the Tenement Museum, all of which are included in the 8th grade social studies curriculum?
Is it just me, or is this a true example of missed opportunity and lack of effort in planning? What do you think?
Do you remember that movie Kicking and Screaming? I think I lost the dvd in the divorce, but remember it as being about a kids’ soccer team and it was cutely funny. Well, let me tell you something, being a soccer mom isn’t remotely amusing. Practice three days a week and double-header games that begin at 7:50 on Saturday night are not cutely funny to me at all. As a matter of fact, they’re really annoying and inconvenient. Why are 13 year-olds beginning games at 9:20 pm? Is the dome in Latham that heavily scheduled, and if so, shouldn’t some thought be given to building another one in addition to the two already in use?
I understand that team sports are a positive influence in my (any) child’s life, but I guess I’m a little new to the game. I was pretty active as a kid, yet I don’t recall playing on any teams outside of school other than a softball team when I was a teenager – and I walked the 2+ miles to practice and games. Uphill, both ways, naturally. I don’t use my own mother as a yardstick for appropriate parental involvement, but don’t recall her ever coming to one of my games – or my even anticipating seeing her sitting in the bleachers. It just wasn’t expected.
These days, as Griffin follows a 90 minute morning practice with 3 consecutive afternoon/evening games kicking off at 4:40, I wonder how parents with multiple children with multiple activities do it. Do they drive minivans because they actually sleep in them? Is it that the parents have completely yielded their lives to managing their children’s lives? I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in doing that. Call me selfish if you will, but 5 hours of soccer leaves me wanting to do a little kicking and screaming of my own. Where are my cleats?
During my run the other night I got to thinking about a new building being constructed on New Scotland Avenue. I think the previous building on this particular lot was affiliated with a house of worship, and this new construction is a church, I believe. What strikes me each time I run by, is the lack of a BBL or Columbia Development sign. This building is identified as a Bunkoff project, a name refreshingly unfamiliar to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no personal beef with either BBL or Columbia, but I am so weary of seeing their names on so very many of the building projects in this city, our city. There must be other outfits out there capable and prepared to add to the landscape of New York State’s capital city, right?
It seems to me like Albany has been on the cusp of “happening” for decades. The individual pieces grow tantalizingly close to falling in place, but something prevents them from locking firmly together. Could it be the city’s leadership? Is it possible that the mayor and his preferred business associates have been so busy taking care of each other that they’ve neglected to take care of anyone else?
A few years ago, federal funds came into my neighborhood and sparked a renaissance. Streets and sidewalks were improved, lighting was added, and independent businesses started to find a home in the Delaware Avenue south area. Individuals invested their time and resources and together are forging an identity for our little piece of Albany. Christ, I made up a word for it and it stuck – DelSo, my home.
Imagine if more citizens and neighborhoods start doing this? What if other residents start taking ownership of their blocks? If folks began saying that it isn’t okay for one builder or developer to “own” the opportunity to create the landscape we all share? Maybe those established contractors could take on the task of mentoring some of the smaller outfits as they strive to get in on the action? I know, I know, I’m an evil socialist or something, right? That might be the case, but what definitely is true is that there needs to be a greater distribution of the opportunities presented by sharing a city of nearly 100,000 people. It’s time for something new, folks. Please share your thoughts.
When I see you wearing your baseball cap sideways, I know you think you look like this:
Hate to break it to you, but, in reality you look way more like this:
Now you know. You’re welcome.
I’m a bad Capitalist. I have no urge to accumulate possessions or wealth, I only aspire to pay my way fairly through life. I am always able to see that someone needs something more than I do – that $3 that rounds the tip up to a nice even number which doesn’t require change, those extra few bucks in my checking account that the Regional Food Bank
could use since my pantry is more than sufficiently stocked. It isn’t as if I believe people shouldn’t have to work or that it is unreasonable to expect adults to make a contribution to society, particularly when they are able-bodied and healthy, it’s just that I can see that I have more (fortune, opportunity, smarts, survival skills – you pick) than many others and I’m good with sharing. And I will never understand why anyone feels the need to have a net worth of X billions of dollars.
Do you think that being a multimillionaire somehow provides a person with a more meaningful existence? Are their thoughts really worth more than mine (Warren Buffet
aside)? Are they happier and more fulfilled? I don’t think so.
Should the president of my union
being making $345,987?? I don’t think so. Does the fact that he is, make me sick to my stomach? Absolutely. Is his position comparable to that of President of the United States
, who receives a salary of $400,000. Yes, yes, I know there are numerous factors beyond mere salary when it comes to compensation, but, really? I don’t think the job descriptions or responsibilities are all that similar between those two positions.
This morning I made my second visit down to the tent city known as Occupy Albany. I arrived with 2 loaves of freshly baked bread and a sense of guilt that I was not doing more to support a movement that proves that residents of my country are not afraid of making people, including themselves, uncomfortable when it comes to examining the deterioration of our country’s values and sense of priorities. I left with regret that I can’t do more to support their activities other than bake bread, take some photos and publicly acknowledge their efforts. What can you do? And – what should we all do?
Are all politicians essentially narcisists? Is there some cachet which I simply don’t understand in having one’s name emblazoned upon recycling bins, trash cans, a fleet of city vehicles and various signs around our city? I don’t believe the position of mayor is permanent despite the number of years Jerry has been on the job and I have to wonder what the eventual related expense of having his name removed from all of those publicly owned city assets will be. And why in God’s name is Gerald diminutized to become Jerry?
Years ago, I remember there being a sign welcoming folks to the New York State side of my hometown Greenwood Lake, a nine-mile body of water which straddles N.Y. and N.J. I can’t recall if it was Governor Carey or Governor Cuomo the first who decided that his name being on that particular sign was extraneous and more than a little self-indulgent. Since that time, decades ago the sign has simply stated “Welcome to New York, the Empire State.” Doesn’t that say all you need to know?
|image from upstatenyroads.com
Wouldn’t it make
cents sense to stop wasting taxpayer money feeding the egos of elected officials? I know who my mayor is – I even pulled the lever for him a couple of times in the past. I might even miss him when he’s gone, something which will eventually happen. I hope he takes his signs with him.