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Archive for the ‘new york’ Category


labor day 2008: ms. liberty

our annual family trip to a nyc tourist attraction on labor day…a tradition that we just started doing a few years ago and kept doing. we discovered that tourists evacuate the city so the spots empty out and you have these massive places to yourself. mostly.

this year, we brought along my parents. my mom had been bugging me to take her on a cruise….i told her…here it is! cruise! boat! a 10 minute ride over……

we booked online weeks ago as special tickets are needed to ascend into the lady. many a unprepared visitor is disappointed to get onto the island but not able to enter into the monument itself. you have to book these at least a week in advance and during high season, way earlier.

when we got to the ferry point, there were two lines…..prepared and unprepared. they called them reserved tickets and flex tickets. reserved, sold in advance, have a specific time given to board for security checks. flex are the tickets sold to people who walk up to the booth that day. the flex line was 4 times(at least)longer than the reserved line. and when they saw that my dad had a cane, they brought us right up to the front!

here, the nerds in the family take the obligatory audio tour to learn more about the island and the statue. i only paid for one but the lady gave us two….again, the end of the season….labor day visiting pays off! all the tourists are already at lga, jfk and ewr.

we bought food onto the island which you are discouraged to do. but we’re cheap and we bought breads, mcdonald’s chicken biscuits and my mom bought a ton of beef and pork jerky. we did purchase drinks at the monopoly on site.

i dunno why we do this every year. to affirm our love for the city? to affirm our love for each other? to affirm our calling to the city? to affirm our calling to each other? because its fun? because its silly and stupid? just because?

the traditions that we inherit, the traditions that we create and that we choose to carry on define us in conscious and subconscious ways. it might be all these reasons…and others that we have not brought to the surface yet.

normally, we go to the tourist site…..top of the rock, empire state building…..closer to dusk and watch the sunset. but visits to the island end before that. and climbing the statue herself ends at 4:45. a bummer……i think i insist on doing this to symbolically transition from the hot summer to the cool magical fall. having missed out on that, fall does not seem like its arrived yet. technically, we do have a few weeks of my least favorite season.

the original torch is on display as you ascend as are replicas of the statue. theresa likes to pick noses. my dad does his best shaq imitation(kobe, tell me!…..), my mom reaches for the skies and the girls play with her toes.

you used to be able to go up higher all the way to the crown but 9/11 stopped that. there are rumors that they will open up eventually. but there is no elevator up to the top so that’s a healthy walk for the view. i believe that we will one day return here if access is granted. who knows how long they will keep it open or before al qaeda decides to attack again?

we took multiple shots trying to catch us and ms. liberty and this is the best of the bunch. we’ve gotten pretty good at these self portraits.

our noses look perfect in this one. the key to my heart is a good nose.

my parents liked tagging along even though they had to sit and rest a lot. afterwards we had dinner and even walked home on the upper west side. my dad assured us that he would not have a stroke.

at some point, they realized that chinese dramas would be on cable and they walked even faster.

love of family, love of city and calling affirmed. thanks, tourists, for your loot and booty; especially you european tourists with your valuable cash reserves.  you may leave now. see you again next year, somewhere in the city.

we close with the annual ancestor picture. unfortunately, theresa’s sneer is starting to look like her smile.

Posted under labor day, new york, some favorite(NYC)things, tsangs

if i can make it there…..one year test

showing love to the city for the next week or so…

our boy leonard chen beat me to it by posting and commentating on this great article about moving to and making it in nyc. here’s the premise from the new york times:

Sometime over the course of a person’s first year in New York, there usually comes that moment. It can happen in the first days or weeks, or after 10 months. It can happen repeatedly, or without people noticing, at least not at first. Newcomers suddenly realize either that the city is not working for them or that they are inexorably becoming part of it, or both.

so that first year is telling….whether this place is for you or not. here are my comments on the article with the ny times in bold and me in not bold….make sure to check out leonard’s thoughts on it as well.

(if you make it…)The subway begins to make sense. i forget how much of the system is intuitive. friends and tourists wind up in harlem all the time. its like the subway is alive….like parts of the amazon, designed to keep outsiders out. there is more to the trains than is advertised and posted.  the racist but still funny phrase harder than chinese arithmetic comes to mind. by comparison, my friend and other dc transplant calls the washington metro something akin to fisher price’s my first public transportation. but once you get it….you get this city. a related skill is knowing whether walking, cabbing, busing or subway(ing) would be faster. while some are puzzled, nyk’rs know what i’m talking about.

“It can be lonely, very lonely, and I knew I would find it hard,” said Lisa Phin, 25, who moved to New York from Dallas in late May. “But if you can stick it out for one year, you’re home free.” this is not a friendly city when it comes to community. the city almost makes you earn it. it suspects that you are a poser and will be gone in two years tops(but you should have left after that first year)…so it doesn’t pay attention to you.but if you tough it out, there’s a niche here for everyone. the best part of the city is that you can believe anything, wear anything, be from anywhere, be anyone….and have a place and find companions. you just have to work a little….and wait for things to develop and fall into place. But sometime during her first year, she stopped trying so hard. “I just realized that I didn’t need to find ‘it,’ that my place in the city would fall into place,” she said. “Now I don’t make an effort; I roll with things. It’s not just the city, it’s yourself that you have to deal with as well.” as a side note, this can be a friendly city in everyday interactions. outsiders are surprised that people genuinely try to help when asked.

Mr. Ingersoll painstakingly saved $8,000 over a year and a half in Seattle, working three jobs to prepare for life in the city of his dreams. He burned through it in no time when he could not find full-time work. Nothing comes easily, even if one can get past the dauntingly high cost of living. the upside of living in this crazy priced metropolis is that everywhere theresa and i vacation in the rest of the states….seems cheap; and is cheap(er)! when we first got here, we didn’t buy certain items like juice because we couldn’t believe what they were charging. but, we’ve become jaded to the exorbitant prices in the city. so we shrug at $3000 a month for a one bedroom in our neighborhood. we’re not surprised at million dollar apartments that middle class people live in. we accept that lunch is $10-$20 and cheap eats sometimes means under $30. we make up for it with an $81 all you can ride subway pass and……visiting your town and eating there. wink.

There also usually comes a time, early on, when newcomers must accept that the city is a power greater than they are. i think this is the key reason so many teens, college students and young adults are so stunted in their development….they’ve never had a place that pushed them or tested them beyond who they are. the places they live in are not greater than them…..they’ve become the kings of their cul de sac’s….its like the arrogance of winning your thursday night poker game every week only to discover vegas. in nyc, you can get humbled at every turn…and often, you are. people don’t like that and look for a place to settle where they are not so exposed. but for those who stay, this place can transform you if you are willing to learn in the crucible. “Every day you encounter situations where you have to step out of your safety zone, and it’s really kind of a self-discovery experience,” she said. “I see myself fighting it, but I also I see myself, every day, becoming a New Yorker.”

we start our fourth year here in a month.

Posted under new york

not so big house blueprint: magic, sacred space

in the book series, not so big house, the key to getting the most out of a small space are niches. even in big homes, what makes a home “homey” are the small little places that feel cozy and safe. where memories are made. so good architects, builders and home makers build little spots into a house or apt to make the space memorable and alive. i’ve been blessed to live in a few places with little nooks and spots that radiate with life.

we bought one of the not so big house books because we were moving from a 2400 sq/ft md house into a 1100 sq/ft nyc apartment. but it turns out the not so big homes in the not so big house books were not so not-so-big. they were huge places! we have different definitions of not so big house!

in these features, i’ll detail mundane little spots around our apartment…..the spots where we live…and life is made.

this is our bedroom…and where the magic happens. but not in the way you think. let me explain.

during one of our housewarmings, i gave the folks a tour of the place….lagging behind, ricky yu entered the room and saw the desk right next to our bed…he assumed that this is where i write my sermons. and while i was showing others the master bath, we heard ricky say behind us…”so…this is where the magic happens.” we turned to see ricky, a little embarrassed realizing that most in room thought he was noting the king sized bed.

but some “magic” does occur here….since space in nyc is a premium, many spaces double or triple in function…

in this space, as you can see by the piles of books and papers is where i sometimes meet with god in meditation, prayer, readings, connection with nature. these are the windows i look out of when i pray….

there is a collage of man and god that is in my mind as i pray. when i see the inner courtyard with old buildings and gut renovations, i am grounded in reality…..my head is not in the clouds filled with illusions and delusions. i am reminded of the fact that i still live on a broken earth with all kinds of people with real lives and real problems; sometimes too real and sometimes much realer than mine. even realer than the real thing. but in the midst of the grittiness, i still see the majesty and power of god surrounding, peeking through, illuminating, permeating……this is the backdrop that pray with.

i am blessed to have these windows and so much light in my apartment…..here’s a shot before we moved all our stuff in…you can see that they are pretty epic. yeah!….upper, upper west side.

Posted under new york, not so big house blueprint

…some of our favorite(NYC)things….yummy noodles

when people come into the city, we are always surprised by where they want to visit or go eat. they are equally surprised that we do not frequent those places or want to go eat there. no. i do not want to eat at ruby tuesdays , bennigans or tgifridays in times square. then they ask where we go……so here are the places we like…not the best or the cheapest or whatever category….just where we go and go on a regular basis:

people ask where we go for chinese food…..this is one of the places…

…..one of theresa’s favorite, favorite restaurants period. maybe because they advertise one of their specialties as being chinese bibimbop. that’s the way to appeal to koreans. but the way to pack your place with actual chinese is to serve authentic stuff.

my mom used to pick stuff up from here and transport it on the chinatown bus all the way to maryland. the food was good warm but its best served piping, piping hot.

yummy noodles is located at the corner of bowery and this alley. no joke. this alley is home to many hole in the wall joints. it looks understandably scary to tourists…so the places attract many locals and tourists in the know. or those who are lost. sometimes its better to be lost than lucky. if you need a better cross street, its closest to bowery and canal.

there used to be a japanese toy store here in the 70’s that had power rangers and voltron figures way before america discovered them. i used to come and lust after these magical figures that were way too expensive for our middle class budget. but when the products became mainstream and i actually had cashflow of my own, i lost interest. lust sometimes is about wanting what you can’t have.

the place has standard chinese fare that is very tasty…a lot of regular chinese people come and dine which is a good sign…its THE sign for a chinese place. if you see too many outsiders, the place maybe closer to panda express than what real chinese eat.

another good sign: my uncle who is a filthy rich doctor channels his inner ghetto and comes down and eats in this moderately sanitary joint.  that’s a compliment when the upper class come and hang with the masses because of the eats.

the prize specialty ironically is not a noodle dish but are these rice dishes cooked in clay pots at extreme heat. you can add chicken, pork, sausage, veggies, mushrooms, eggs….then its steamed to yummy perfection.

just ask my wife!

Posted under new york, new york eats, some favorite(NYC)things


a killer(s) week

we were pretty content(ecstatic)with getting tickets to the small borgata show of 3,700 in atlantic city. at the time, it was the only north american appearance in 2008…later, when other shows were announced, the ac show was still the only local appearance.

but then the killers announced a fan club only show at the highline ballroom in chelsea, with a capacity of 700. we had last seen the killers with 50,000 plus in austin in the heat and in nyc at the garden with 20,000. if 3,700 was going to small and intimate, what would 700 be like?

this is a true fan club perk. some clubs offer gear, cd’s and access to tickets….but i’ve never seeen a band do a show just for fans.

the highline ballroom is right next to the highline, an old stretch of elevated train tracks that is set to be a park and oasis of nature in the city. in the future, this will be one of the blazing hot places to live but haggling over property has slowed the process.

the usual suspects lined up for the tiny show at the highline after getting tickets through the fan club site: the victims! steph’s brother lawrence joined us in the late afternoon. he was confused why we were there so early for a 9pm show…

but he figured out early as we wound up in the second row. normally our early showing would yield a “better” result but the venue was so tiny….and even though we were not in the front, we were closer to the instruments, the band, the everything than we normally would be when we are in the front…at msg, acl and as you’ll see in atlantic city.

the show was electric. the boys had not played since last fall and had all that energy unleashed for their club. people from across the country and the world joined the mostly nykr crowd. they were alive the whole night! just about any show you can see after a band has been hiatus will have this explosion. sometimes, things come across slightly unpolished(a transition here, getting lost in the setlist there) but bands are eager to justify their existence and their souls are overflowing with emotions to be put on display with the audience being the beneficiary.

there’s no zoom here folks….they were this close. it was like we were on stage with them. if the drummer is about halfway on stage and the bass player(with the black bass) is on the far right, you can get a feel for the space.

the only downside of the night was that theresa almost went to jail when the drunk girl in front of her was flailing and almost swung her head into theresa’s face. she was getting dangerous. we tried to back up and give her some room but she kept pushing the radius of her head whipping. she gave theresa the finger when theresa said something. probably thought theresa was a meek asian girl from the table tennis squad. theresa’s more like the enforcer from the mixed martial arts street gang. luckily, the drunk girl’s (more)sober, cooler head, clearer thinking friend saved drunk girl’s life. the friend stepped in, tried to make peace and kept drunk girl’s spasms to a smaller range. so theresa did not go to jail. and the drunk girl did not go to the morgue. all this was happening under brandon flowers.

the setlists had a ton of b-sides from their sawdust album. they also did a few new songs: spaceman and neon tiger. they also did acoustic versions of sams town and smile like you mean it. my new live favorites were sweet talk, under the gun and shadowplay. here’s a sample:

friday, brandon lee took us to atlantic city to see brandon(flowers). we got there just as the security guards were figuring out what to do with the growing crowd. one of them went to the office and informed me that wristbands would be handed out soon.

we inadvertently created the crowd when we were talking to the guard and they finally dispersed us because they can’t have a cluster on the floor near the casino. they say its a fire hazard but i think its merely a profit drain.

theresa and i hung around like sharks with a taste of blood in our mouths awaiting the coveted wristbands. a few venues use this method…you get a numbered band and you come back later and line up in order. it costs money so some places forego it. but places like the boston garden which is near major mass transit entrances and at this casino where they would rather have you gambling…they don’t want people hanging around.

finally, the office delivered the wristbands, we got on line and snagged prime spots. feeling lucky about getting railing.

we had a few hours to kill so the kids played penny slots. casinos always have a hint of desperation to me so i try to avoid it and walked around instead.

later, we got some burgers and cheesesteaks at the food court because no one wanted to give the celebrity chefs in the hotel $50 for an entree.

food and gambling were not why we were here….we had our eye on the big prize.

prize obtained.

the benefit of the front row goes beyond the obvious. what is not clear immediately to those in rows 2 to the near back is how hot it will get in the middle. it can be a sauna with the humidity supplied by mr. i’ll shower after the concert and ms. jumps around a lot and mr. and mrs. i’m with fatty. it would kinda be ok if the sweat on you at the end of the show was yours and yours alone…but its not…so its(really)not ok. the front row gives you a vent…a steady stream of cooler air. and often, bands have fans blowing from some location and you get some of that breeze too.

another great attribute is that you can lean or sit against the railing. standing is much easier when you are supported by steel infrastructure. in between acts, we turn around and put our backs to the barrier to stretch and rest. if we do sit, our backs enjoy the same support.

other benefits we’ve gotten up front are safe places to hang our jackets or bags; leftover water bottles from security’s stash after the concert; setlists, picks and other props off the stage thrown into the audience.

its worth the extra effort and on occasion the loss of some sleep to get there early for a show.

the killers fans ahead of us in line were pros and had the same game plan we did(i guess we’re pros too)so we did not get the spot we had projected and wound up on the left…closer to the guitarist and away from the lead mike and the bassist. however, we noticed that the string of big light boxes did not have many gaps for the band members to cross over from the stage to the audience. serendipitously, there were a few gaps for them to step out and walk toward us…..

…right in front of the spot where we were parked. so the whole night they were in and out and up and down, right in front of us.

another great show with a few setlist changes and just tighter musicianship. the band is from las vegas so being in a casino seemed to really feel like home for them. brandon flowers is an underrated front man…he is teriffically expressive, fearless in jumping on and off of things on the stage…dave keuning, the guitar player is equally into it….the drummer, ronnie vannucciis almost always ripping it…mark stoermer, the bassist provides the steady focus holding down the band.

some postscripts: here we are at the end of the night with some of the flowers thrown from the stage…most of the flowers were given to people in the front row. refer to earlier comments about front row benefits.

our own brandon flowers! good night, everyone!

Posted under concerts, killer victims fan club, killers, new york

..some of our favorite(NYC)things…koronet pizza

when people come into the city, we are always surprised by where they want to visit or go eat. they are equally surprised that we do not frequent those places or want to go eat there. no. i do not want to eat at ruby tuesdays , bennigans or tgifridays in times square. then they ask where we go……so here are the places we like…not the best or the cheapest or whatever category….just where we go and go on a regular basis…

sometimes they ask us where we can get some nyc pizza. having only tasted dominos or papa johns, maybe pizza hut, they want to see what the big deal is. a lot of italians will tell you that the secret to nyc pizza is….the water? especially in brooklyn, they swear that water does something to the dough. most outsiders don’t know that nyc and ny state has one of the finest tap water systems in the world. in md, there was an italian store that shipped slices of pizza from nyc and sold them out of their freezer. the owner also said that the unique flavor was because of the h2o.

we go to the local koronet, right by columbia university. we can walk over from where we live….its famous for its two handed slices. that is not an optical illusion. that slice is the length of my waist.

if you don’t believe me, check out jeremy using two hands on that one slice behind the snapple. and dok ok posing with his monstrous olive and anchovy cheezy, doughy goodness. speaking of waists, this is how generations of columbia alumni have fattened up over the years.

i will concede that they are better pizzas…every pizza place in nyc does things differently with their own secret recipes handed down from the motherland or maybe just their mothers. and i think the best pizzas are out in brooklyn…..but that’s too far for us to go for a slice. if you come visit, we’ll walk a few blocks over for a pretty satisfying nyc pizza experience.

Posted under new york, new york eats, some favorite(NYC)things

all star game postscript

my yankee buddy jackie got the green light from her husband, larry to buy anything she wanted from the all star game. but she had the same attitude that i did. why buy today when its all going on sale tomorrow? its like buying christmas candy on dec 25 when you can buy it dec 26. or buying easter candy the day after easter sunday. i can wait one more day. and i did. so i picked up this shirt for $10 at 50% off or more. there were ample supplies of multiple styles.

larry said we were being chinese. jackie said…no….we’re being smart.

to thank me for taking her to the all star game….while she was doing her own yankee all star scavenging, jackie picked this up for me:

jerseys are expensive. but the all star jerseys were half the price of most authetics and with 50% off i was tempted to get one myself but after getting to go to all star week events, i was satisfied with my t-shirt. but jackie wanted to upgrade me. she got a jeter all star jersey. we’ll wear them for the yankee stadium tour and hopefully the playoffs! however, the yankees have been in a downward slide lately……

but thanks, jackie!

Posted under new york, yankees

…some of our favorite(NYC)things….shake shack

when people come into the city, we are always surprised by where they want to visit or go eat. they are equally surprised that we do not frequent those places or want to go eat there. no. i do not want to eat at ruby tuesdays , bennigans or tgifridays in times square. then they ask where we go……so here are the places we like…not the best or the cheapest or whatever category….just where we go and go on a regular basis:

this one’s for my friend, wilson: the shake shack

sometimes people dismiss this place as hype or even touristy…but i have never had a tourist ask me to take them here. i always have to suggest it. regardless of the detractors, this place has the best damn burger in the city. it is made with fresh steer meat and crack. on top of that, i can get a shake with crazy flavors like spiced cherry, raspberry lemon, salted caramel, raspberry jalapeno, blueberry…even basil? new flavors every month. check out their menus online: http://shakeshacknyc.com/menus.html

also online is a line cam as the line can grow pretty nutty at peak times. like a half an hour or more wait.

they don’t just have burgers…there’s brauts, chicken, hot dogs and veggie fare too(i’ve read). check their menu out as you wait on the mind boggling(long) line. but i go for the burgers and shakes….just ask wes what he thinks.

an outpost is going to open up on the upper west side…i’m looking forward to not having to always trek down to madison square park.

Posted under new york, new york eats, some favorite(NYC)things

MLB all star week

it was an epic week in the city….and for the city as new york hosted major league baseball’s all star game and turned it into a week of festivites. it started with this…..

25 years ago(if you were alive), if you were asked who’s next to join the pantheon of great concerts in the park ala simon and garfunkel : the police, u2 or bon jovi…..if you had the police or u2…you lost!

dj jazzy victor got the tickets at yankee stadium a few weeks ago….all of them free! so add bon jovi to the list of superstars that have done a free of charge show. 60,000 tickets…but only 50,000 would get into the main area with 10k in the overflow.

obsessive new york events attender greg wong went early and got a good spot in the middle of the crowd. some slept out over night or woke up in the early morn for the 2p doors. we were loosey goosey and we would have been happy sitting in the overflow in front of a giant screen. but we were glad greg went and spread his big blanket for the 6 of us. the two couples, greg and his friend stephanie. we will not mock this man’s obsession again! well, maybe…if he gets ridiculous!

…where we were seated, we wound up watching television anyway! the band looks tiny. but still a fun, fun night!

and i’m no bon jovi fan…i didn’t even know all the songs(i only own a greatest hits album)…however, i remembered enough: the hits and a few that were buried in my subconscious from my high school years. the crowd was electric the whole night singing and screaming, making the earth shake…selling even the unknown and less than stellar songs…even the laughable bad medicine…..the park exuded waves and waves of energy and even soul in the heart of the city….

bon jovi has become so americana, so mainstream…so popular in a band of the masses way….no longer the bad boys or rebels or big hair obnoxious…..they are like the beach boys or the beatles(if they were still around)….their songs are giant sing alongs; equally for those raised AND those born in the 80’s and 90’s.

they played 2 hours. an hour would have been good for a free show(see earlier posts for examples). an hour and a half would have been generous….but they were going for epic. they hit the stage at 8p sharp and 20 songs plus later…..

i love the fact that the band loved nyc….and nyc loved them back. it could all just be talk as in “thank you(insert city)”…except jon bon jovi now lives in the city and talks in we and 9/11 tones. 9/11 was 7 years ago and if new orleans, tsunami and myanmar talk have faded from our consciousness…where does that morn in the early fall inhabit in the mind of americans? for nykr’s, it happened last week and that’s the way bon jovi talked about it’s effect.

it is rare for nyc to allow a concert like this(the last one being 1981 for simon and garfunkel’s opus?)..especially for a rock band(unthinkable in the early 80’s)…for context, imagine a hip hop concert two decades from now…….so nyc had no holds barred in celebrating(and courting)mlb.

all star week continued with work out day and home run derby at yankee stadium! at first, i was bummed by how high the seats were….but later, we got great views of the majestic flights of the ball. the seats were not good for batting practice…but we moved down until the derby, so we got to see most of the light hearted interaction between players…and of the mascots!

theresa was not a happy camper….wondering what he husband dragged her to. since it was all star weekend, i let her wear her orioles cap. normally, opposing fans get showered with a-hole and the other f word that the gay community despises. it is not pc at the house that ruth built. but people were more tolerant during this all star truce. red sox fans did not get the same amnesty…they still got their sexuality questioned.

theresa asked when the game was going to get started….”there’s no game???” she had never seen a derby before. but once the balls started launching into the sky….it was like fireworks and my baby was like “oooh….and ahhh”. this might be the most fun she’s had at a baseball related event.

then. then. then…….josh hamilton stepped up to the plate.

theresa was disappointed that she didn’t know many of the players in the derby(so was mlb). no celebrities. no big names. no sizzle. but i told her…..this guy…this was the guy we came to see. he’s a freak of nature!

my wife thinks i’m a genius! taking her to this event and pointing out to her to watch this guy.

she would have noticed without my help. josh hamilton launched moon shot after moon shot. he had 28 hrs in the first round. the next highest was 8. the totals of the three guys behind him were 23! he hit shots into the upper decks….the back of the bleacher walls…one could have left the park if he angled it over another 15 feet. at one point he hit 12 in a row on 12 straight pitches.

the stadium rocked and chanted his name…an opposing player! at one point, the whole upper deck was standing; maybe the whole stadium was. i already knew…but espn later confirmed and gushed that this was the greatest performance in hr derby history. even though josh hamilton lost the derby in the final round, he won the greater victory: the hearts of the people. there’s a sermon illustration there somewhere. or an application for the wars we fight.

by the end of the night, my sweet t was much happier. another glorious night in gotham.

the very next night….i went to the all star game with my yankee buddy, jackie. i think that she maybe the most fanatical(but reasonable)yankee fan i know. for example, during the introductions and game, we booed the red sox players but clapped for terry francona, the sox manager.

so we left our spouses at home, got there way early to settle in for a long night of epic baseball.

and that’s called foreshadowing, kids.

some of the early highlights and sights were seeing giradi and his son shagging flies, arod and jeter taking batting practice and fielding groundballs, the rows and rows of “free” seat cushions neatly assembled for arriving fans, the gap where josh hamilton almost sent his homers out of the stadium, player introductions including the biggest cheers for rivera, and the yankees actually playing in the game

the pre game hype is where you get most of your goosebumps. the game itself usually is a yawner.

joining the all stars were hall of famers at every position including many old time yankees which gave the crowd a thrill:wade boggs, yogi berra, dave winfield, reggie jackson. the boss, george steinbrenner also showed up for a victory lap around the park and to deliver ceremonial baseballs.

a stealth bomber also passed overhead….ironically, the crowd cheered. usually, the arrival of stealth bombers brings out fear and trepidation….not joy. more bizarro weirdness living in the united states.

the game buzzed along and we had some great moments like papelbon giving up the go ahead run. then wagner losing the lead. rivera pitching just under two innings and almost winning, a ton of great defensive plays that stunned me until jackie reminded me:”well, they ARE all stars”

but if you didn’t hear…it was a long, long, long night of baseball.

i think jackie is the only person who would’ve stayed the whole game with me. regular folks would have had to work the next day…theresa would have wanted to go home by the 9th inning….so midnite rolled around, 1am passed…a sobering wake up call was the 14th inning stretch!!!

i was running out of room on my scorecard and down to my last column. i asked jackie, how much longer she was willing to stay….3am? 4am? she said the 15th inning would be it…so in the bottom of the 15th, on a fly ball, there was a runner headed for the plate and……though he looked out from our angle…the ump called him safe. we laughed out loud in delirium. we said the umpire wanted to go home too!(later on replay, he did look safe)….and our night ended at 1:37 in the morn.

it was the longest game in all star history and the espn experts were saying it was one of the most memorable. perhaps one of the best in a long, long time. it was all these things for us.

the all star game comes to a city maybe once every 30 years…the last one in ny was 1977…its perhaps a once in a lifetime experience…and at my age, that might be more so!

but with not one but two new stadiums in the city, we might get the game again sooner. nyc did such a great job hosting with events all around the city..at the javits, the parade and the concert..i suspect baseball will want to come back in the next decade…maybe twice in the next 10 years!

but if not, it was a glorious, epic few nights in the city. thanks, mlb and nyc for putting on a great show. this is way better than driving around the burbs and winding up at the mall.

Posted under new york


free stuff in nyc: conan, coldplay and shakespeare in the park

the irony of living in this expensive city is that there are so many free things to do. sometimes, there’s even free swag! theresa says they have to make it up to us for what we pay in housing and taxes. however, when i look at gas prices around the country….i think we got it pretty good with only having to pay $81 per person per month for travel costs. i’m not looking forward to paying what it will cost us to drive around california in about a month.

before we lose conan to said california and the tonite show, we will try to catch our boy as much as possible. i have a closet full of free conan late nite t-shirts. strangely, no t-shirt this time around.

the fan club include me, t, steph and my favorite australian….theresa had to work so this time we invited conan studio newbie, jason tseng. green was the clearly the color of choice as steph and i continue to exhibit uncanny fashion prophetic abilities and were dressed in that color…..pei li sorta got the memo.

based on our place in line….as well as our usual luck….guess where we sat in the studio?

no front row at the free coldplay concert at msg…well, sorta…..front row in the upper level!!!

this is coldplay’s only nyc appearance this go around listed so far…and all the tickets(all of them!) were given away for free(free!) via a lottery held worldwide. had no luck winning the lottery but its better to have friends than luck. my groomsman and lifetime friend, steve lau and i have been getting tickets for each other for the past decade. a few u2 shows, an upcoming sox/yanks game at the stadium and of course this……

the concert itself was short…16 songs but just over an hour. this is their usual amount of songs but usually they go longer time wise. but when you consider old heads like u2, bruce springsteen and even bon jovi play 20-24 songs and for hours…you wonder what coldplay is thinking. the excuse used to be that they did not have enough songs. we’ll see what the story is this time.

good to hear the new tunes but i suspect most came to hear the greatest hit parade. whenever i hear a band, i want to hear new stuff….it sounds different live! the new album has some instant hits and a few gems that need multiple listenings…and live versions would help. but i’m in the minority:people came to hear yellow and in my place.

chris martin is a good showman….when the cameras are on. most people think he’s on all the time because they usually see him at the grammies or the mtv movie awards. but i’ve seen him do a few subdued shows when there was no tv or filming. if he wants to propel his band to u2, e street band or even richie sambora status, he’s got to bring it every night. i’ve seen more energetic shows from arcade fire, mute math and the killers.

but i give coldplay mucho credit for doing a number of free shows. none of those bands i mentioned have done a free show……yet. more on that soon.

our annual rite of summer is taking in free shakespeare in central park. the delacorte theatre is an open air semi-circle venue that has the park as its backdrop. with a light summer breeze and the setting sun fading into dusk, its a magical atmosphere. this year’s offering was hamlet which features a violence warning and disclaimer. just the way shakespeare should be: bloody.

in the interest of keeping the arts accessible to the common man, all the tickets are free. you can however make a donation and surprise! they thank you with a handshake and a ticket!

but unless you are willing to make a “donation”, you have to get tickets the old fashioned way:

you have to get in line! and early! they hand out tickets at 1p but some camp out or come before dawn. we usually shoot for 6am or a bit earlier.

no cutting. no saving spots. no leaving the line. no switching out or swapping people or relieving people(though we have done that out of necessity….but people really can’t tell us asians apart!….does steph in a cap really look like theresa in a cap??)

being used to waiting for u2 all day long, this is easy time. we’ve waited at 5:30am until 9p for the boys to take the stage. besides, we have portable lounge chairs that even have foot rests. you do have to sometimes brave the elements but the passing rain is worth it! each person can ask for 2 tickets and they will do their best to accommodate groups.

and viola! the twins sans hats, dave and i wait for our friends and dates for the evening show.

“twins”: look at that skin tone difference: its like day and night!

Posted under coldplay, concerts, new york