Yesterday on Good As YouI read a story about the New Rochelle location of Cosi restaurant who had recently installed a display, a traveling photo album if you will, meant to put a human face on the fight for marriage equality. The exhibit is intended to be taken to Albany in May for a lobby session to show support for gay marriage in the state of New York. The hope is that we may soon catch up to neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut in providing some kind of legal recognition of gay relationships.
Sounds good, right? Cosi is so cool, so hip, so urban and progressive, after all they have 16 locations in Manhattan alone! Well, think again. After a "flood of emails" complaining about the display (it is suspected that they were not necessarily from New Rochelle patrons) the corporate powers that be at Cosi ordered the display taken down. (Insert descending tones of muted trombone here.) It was then that the Empire State Pride agendainstituted an email writing campaign (in which I participated) to tell the Cosi big-wigs just how we feel about being eighty-sixed at their New Rochelle location.
Lo and behold, when I logged on to Good As You today there was a follow-up story with a comment from one of their readers which says:
"Great news! Cosi agreed to let the pictures go back up; when I left the restaurant about an hour ago, they were there with hammers, remounting them. Thanks so much to everybody who called and wrote in - we did it!"
The irony is that I met Scott for lunch in midtown today and we actually considered going to Cosi but decided against it because of yesterday's news. Now it looks like we'll have to drop in for a pannini real soon. In fact, I think I'll be visiting them a lot more often in the future.
If you'd like to express your gratitude to Cosi for coming to their senses and making the right decision you can email them here.
Well it seems Tina Rosenbergof the NY Times is not the only one touting outlandish cures for HIV and AIDS. It took till this past December for AIDS activists in Toronto to finally speak out against South African Health Minister, Manto Tshabala-Msimang, MD for pushing an all natural vegetable diet on AIDS patients in lieu of anti-retroviral drugs. It prompted 81 world renowned scientists and doctors to petition South Africa's president for her resignation. Here's a quote from an articlethat appeared in December's issue of POZ magazine:
In the summer of 2000, with Tshabala-Msimang at his side, Mbeki (President of South Africa) proclaimed that poverty, not HIV, causes AIDS. However, in 2003 he announced a plan to quickly treat 380,000 HIV positive people with anti-retrovirals. Only 200,000 have received treatment thus far, and Tshabala-Msimang, continuing to tout her natural remedies, has repeatedly thwarted the rollout.
In a related story, according to an article in the Daily Mail, the president of Gambia, Yahya Jemmeh, who won his office through a powerful military coup back in 1994, claims to have cured AIDS altogether. That's right--he's found a cure! Saints be praised and hallelujah! So thank you very much Liz Taylor and AmFAR, all you high priced pharmaceutical companies and all the folks toiling away at the Aaron Diamond Institute, but your services are no longer required.
And that's not all boys and girls, the news only gets better because Mr. Jemmeh's cure is FREE! Here's a description of this new no-cost miracle cure:
A green paste is applied to a patient’s chest. A grey liquid is then splashed on, and finally the patient is given a bitter yellow brew to drink, followed by two bananas.
Patients are then advised to do the Hokey-Pokey and turn themselves about. That, after all, is what it's all about.
In response to this story, I'd like to quote the immortal words of Gwen Stefani, "This sh*t is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"
When SuzeOrman's name was announced at the Daytime Emmys last year as the winner for Outstanding Service Show, she sprang from her seat, embraced the woman next to her, kissed her and made her way to the stage. The woman was about Orman's age, similarly styled with a no-nonsense haircut and looked slightly uncomfortable in her evening gown. She beamed with the unmistakable pride of a loving spouse as Orman accepted her award. It was then that Scott and I looked at each other and thought "Holy cow, SuzeOrman is a lesbian!"
Yes, it's true. Apparently Orman will come out in an interviewthis weekend in the New York Times Magazine. According to the article, the woman Orman embraced that night was Kathy Travis, her life-partner. "We're going on seven years," says Orman. "I have never been with a man in my whole life. I'm still a 55-year-old virgin." Okay, thanks, Suze, that was maybe more information than we needed. We get the point.
The point of course is visibility. I love the idea of all those hard-boiled, money-grubbing Republicans tuning in to get financial tips from an out, proud lesbian worth "pretty close" to $25 million. SuzeOrman is the best selling author of several financial books, has hosted a series of PBS specials and even enjoyed a stint as an Oprah show regular before becoming host of The SuzeOrman Show on CNBC.
This morning in my inbox I received an email from JetBlue with the subject heading "An Apology from JetBlue." At first I deleted it. I'm on their email list since I've flown with them a few times and I get an email about once every two weeks or so advertising some special fare or other. But this time I decided to retrieve it from my deleted mail and check out just what they had to say for themselves.
As in their press releases, sound bites and television appearances of their CEO, they own up to their mistakes and are falling all over themselves apologizing for their mishandling of last week's weather situation. They have even instituted their own passenger Bill of Rights. Anyway, here's a bit from the email:
"Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week."
While I would probably have been tearing my hair out, cursing flight attendants and banging on the windows to get off that plane had I been one of those passengers sitting on the tarmac for 11 hours last week, I still say I'd probably fly JetBlue again. Other airlines who've been around a lot longer have made similar bad judgement calls. In fact I remember sitting on the tarmac for 5 hours once before take-0ff, but I couldn't even tell you what airline it was now. Sure, part of the reason I'd fly them again is that they're a bargain airline (especially now) but there are reasons I choose them over other bargain airlines--I like them.
I like that the company is employee owned. I like the comfy blue leather seats. I like that there is no first class. I like my private TV screen with channels I actually enjoy watching. I like that they serve food out of wicker baskets instead of those cumbersome rolling carts that block access to the restrooms during service. I like the friendly, sometimes even sarcastic nature of the staff which actually takes a bit of getting used to at first. And I like the prices--a LOT. So I'm inclined to forgive them and chalk it up to growing pains. If their aim is to bring humanity back to air travel, isn't part of being human making mistakes? At least they apologize for theirs. Also, I personally have never had a bad experience with JetBlue. So, yeah, I'll be back.
How about you? Ever flown JetBlue? What was your experience like and would you fly them in the future?
Update 12:45 PM: Oops, "my bad" as they say. I erroneously stated that JetBlue is employee owned, confusing it with other airlines who have gone that route in recent years. JetBluewas founded in 1999, it did not go public until 2002. Thanks to KipEsquire for the clarification. The question remains however, would you fly JetBlue in the future in light of their recent operational nightmare?
Three hours left to party at Mardi Gras! Above is a photo I borrowed from Glenn (Bigezbear). This is the corner St. Anne and Bourbon Street, the gayest corner in the Quarter. Note the two teared Bourbon Street Pub, a famous gay bar that is busy year round and open 24 hours a day.
The very first drink I had there in 1995 was a Mai Tai (don't ask). I had been in New Orleans only a few hours at that point. Shortly after my drink was served someone threw up on me. And thus I was christened in the "bontemps" of New Orleans.
If you get a chance, check out Glenn's fabulous gallery of Mardi Gras photos. He captures every aspect of it from the sublime to the ridiculous with the true affection of one of NOLA' s native born sons.
While New York is usually ahead of the curve on most things over my home state of New Jersey, not so with civil unions. Last Fall the NJ Supreme Court voted to guarantee gay couplesthe same rights and privileges as straight married couples, making it the third state in the country to do so. Today was the first day NJ granted such civil unions. Couples started liningup last night at various municipal offices around the state for the stroke of midnight to be among the first to participate.
Below meet couple number one, Steven Goldstein and Daniel Gross, who tied their legal knot in Teaneck, NJ just after midnight. MazelTov, boys!
Update: Asbury Park, NJ's city manager, Terence J. Reidy: “Come to Asbury Park, baby, where it all happens.” Check out the NY Times articleon the history of NJ Civil Unions.
For better or worse, "the gay," has become a stock cast member on almost every reality show since the very first season of MTV'sThe Real World. Combine that with the lifestyle movement giving rise to The Food Network, Learning Channel, HGTV, and others producing a myriad of instant gratification decorating, entertaining and cooking shows hosted by a cavalcade of obviously gay men parading in and out of America's kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms every day. The only problem was, no one was talking about it.
It took Bravo'sQueer Eye for the Straight Guy (whatever any of us may think of that show) to acknowledge the elephant in America's living room: that gay men are a huge influence and (in many cases) are at the forefront of the most creative industries in the world be they fashion, culture, cuisine, home design or beauty. Finally, the gay community was being recognized for some of what we have to bring to the table as valid and worthwhile. With that "secret" out, it gave otherwise wholesome networks like HGTV and the Food Network license to include gays on reality shows of their own. I'm speaking specifically of Design Starand The Next Food Network Star.
Coincidentally, the winners for the first seasons of both these shows were out, proud, gay men. What's new about that you may ask? After all, didn't Richard Hatch become the most notorious gay reality show winner on Survivor I years ago? Well, the difference is that viewers vote American Idol style for the winners of Design Star and The Next Food Network Star. The prize in these cases is not money or a start-up business but rather, a contract to host a regular show on these networks where week after week average Americans will welcome these gay men into their homes, listen to what they have to say and take them seriously. What's more, the viewers themselves chose these guys specifically for the job.
Almost two years ago, former actors and Chicago couple Dan Smith and Steve MacDonagh were named the very first winners of The Next Food Network Star. The owners of The Hearty Boysrestaurant and catering company never hid their relationship or sexual orientation from viewers. In fact they used it to their advantage. In their audition tape MacDonagh gave a bit of good natured advice to Food Network producers saying "We're a gay couple and you should think about that because the gays right now? They're hot." Their married-couple chemistry, tongue-in-cheek bickering and ability to finish each other's sentences combined with their updated take on retro American comfort food proved a winning combination. Dan and Steve host a show calledParty Linewith the Hearty Boyswhich includes recipes and entertaining tips from their years of catering experience. It airs on the Food Network Sunday mornings at 8:00 AM Eastern.
This past September viewers voted for David Bromstad, a Miami based designer, as the winner of the very first HGTV Design Star. According to Metro Source NY, when Bromstad was chosen to compete on the show he made a conscious decision not to hide his sexuality from the cameras. He was a stand-out from the very first episode, not only for his superior design skills but also because he seemed so comfortable in his own skin. And what fine skin it is, too, stretched over about 180 lbs of Miami circuit boy muscle! Bromstad never missed an opportunity to ditch his t-shirt and show off his chiseled body to the hoards of desperate housewives (and gay men) watching at home. The producers chose not to show specific footage of Bromstad talking about his sexuality until the very end of the series, but the fact that he was gay could only be missed by the most homoblivious of viewers. In interviews since his win Bromstad talks quite openly and proudly about being gay. Bromstad's show Splash of Color will premiere on HGTV this March.
If you would like to counteract all the negative gay news lately (Isaiah Washington, Tim Hardaway, etc) with something positive, check out the feature article on the Hearty Boys in the January 2007 issue of Chicago magazineor the cover story on David Bromstad in this months issue of Metro Source NY.
The Tim Hardaway debacle is so outrageous, I hardly know how to respond to it. It is the purest most vile form of bigotry and hatred I've heard in a long time. Sparked by the news of former NBA player John Amaechi's coming out, there is nothing veiled about Hardaway's response, nothing that slipped out accidentally. His words were deliberately chosen in a public forum. (Check out my post "What's So Funny"and click on the YouTube clip to hear the venom spewed directly from Hardaway's mouth followed by a bizarrely inappropriate response from he Today Show staff.) But thankfully this multi-millionaire who lives in a vacuum is learning that it's not okay to talk this way.
I must admit I was impressed with the NBA's swift and appropriate response to the situation and wondered why ABC did not act in a similar manner over the Isaiah Washington controversy. After banishing Hardaway from All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas completely, NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours." He can probably also kiss his commentator career good bye.
Click herefor the latest on this story. (There is also a video clip with the article where you can watch Hardaway eating humble pie behind the security gates of his multi-million dollar home.) Also note the apology issued from Hardaway's agent compared to his own: "I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that." (How heartfelt.) You'll notice he doesn't apologize for his bigotry, just for voicing it.
Other bloggers have responded to Hardaway's remarks in much more eloquent, creative and interesting ways than I. Check out what Spider, Bigezebear and Joe.My.God(who can always be counted on to provide the correct contact information should you want to respond to the offending party) have to say on the subject.
Money was tight this year so Scott and I decided to keep our Valentine plans pretty simple. I volunteered to make a nice dinner, have the candles lit in the fireplace (it's non-working--decorative only), we'd enjoy our meal together and settle in for a quiet evening just the two of us. I'm pretty adept in the kitchen so I thought nothing of this. I can throw a pretty good meal together without even thinking about it. I do it all the time and can even time it to be ready when Scott walks through the door on his way home from work. Protein, starch, vegetable and sometimes even desert. Very Donna Reed.
Last week as I sat in the waiting room at my therapist's office I perused her Martha Stewart Living magazine. I came across the recipe I mentioned yesterday on the very last page. It didn't look that difficult and I've made Linzer Cookies before. In fact I've tried several different recipes in search of just the right one. Well, if this is Martha's recipe, I thought, it must be good. Plus with that beautiful photo of them on the cover how could I go wrong? What a perfect valentine. I ripped the recipe out and shoved it in my bag.
I make it a point to read recipes all the way through before trying them. So I knew I had to toast the pecans and cool them completely beforehand (figure 30 minutes for that). I knew the dough, which was easily assembled, had to chill for a full 2 hours before rolling out. I knew that after rolling the dough out to an 1/8 inch thick, I had to put the pastry board back in the fridge to chill the rolled dough for an additional 20 minutes before cutting the cookies out. (Calculate 40 minutes for this, there were two halves to be rolled). Fine.
Finally, I preheated the oven. That's when the alarm went off "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, Warning: Carbon Monoxide. BEEP BEEP BEEP!" It was DEAFENING! Over and over again, "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, Warning: Carbon Monoxide. BEEP BEEP BEEP!" Carbon monoxide? What the hell do I do about that? Is it the oven? How much time do I have to live? Should I call 911? And what about the damn cookies I've already invested over 3 hours in? Not to mention that I haven't even started dinner yet.
A frantic phone call to my father followed. He told me to open the window (which I had already done) and then described the chemical make-up of carbon monoxide to me in great detail (he's an engineer) assuring me that it was most likely not the gas from the oven, but something burning off inside it. "Probably grease," he said. The VERY IDEA! "My oven is perfectly clean, Dad!" He then instructed me to just turn the oven off and see if the alarm stops. Great. Now I'll have to preheat all over again but maybe I won't die.
I used the opportunity to start dinner. The alarm stopped and halfway through dinner prep I preheated the oven again. Now I'm browning pork chops and cutting fluted little hearts out at the same time. And because it's a Martha recipe, she has to add the additional step of straining and reducing the cherry preserve filling. Why cherry and not raspberry like every other Linzer recipe? Well, I'm sure they had a big editorial meeting over at MSO Headquarters and decided to go with cherry because the color is more Valentiney. So now I'm reducing cherry perserves on the same stove top on which I'm braising pork chops. The cookies are in the oven with no alarms sounding and are sharing space with a baked macaroni and cheese I planned for a side dish. By the way, have I mentioned that I still hadn't showered at this point?
So, with the mac and cheese baking, I managed to dust with confectioners sugar and glue together a respectable amount of cookies with their reduced cherry preserve filling. The pork chops still had 20 more minutes to braise. To hell with a vegetable. I made a mad dash for the shower.
Just as I was working my hair up into a nice big shampoo commercial lather, my buzzer rings. My apartment is now 40 degrees from having the windows open for the last two hours. I clutch a towel, but still manage to drip water all over the floor on my way to buzz my gentleman caller in. I unlock the door, hop back in the shower and hope that it is indeed Scott at the door and not Norman Bates, because I'm a prime candidate for the Psycho shower scene at this point. Luckily it was him. The house was still a mess and a mountain of dishes were piled in the sink.
I threw something on and we sat down for our meal. I began apologizing for the mess and the lack of vegetable and the fact that it was freezing and that the flowers I planned to arrange were still in the cellophane. I explained how I was going to trim the pork chops into heart shapes but there wasn't time and I just wanted everything to be perfect for him. "Relax," Scott said "everything IS perfect." And that's when I burst in to tears--because he was right and I believed him. It WAS perfect. We were together. And really what else mattered? To hell with Martha.
The local weathermenare working themselves into a frenzy over the "big nor'easter" we're supposed to be getting. They're saying things like "Snow, sleet, freezing rain--it's a doozy!" Snowfalls are expected to total six inches. SIX INCHES! Big whoop--tell that to Oswego.
Still, it's nice to settle in for the night with some hot tea and brace for the storm--such as it is. It was conditioned in me since childhood that this particular kind of snowfall, one that starts late at night and is supposed to continue through dawn, is the best kind. It means the roads won't be clear before school starts and will most likely result in a snow day. A snow day!
With tomorrow being Valentine's Day, I thank my lucky stars that I'm no longer in the flower business. Getting all the flower deliveries out for an ordinary Valentine's Day is hellish enough, let alone trying to do it in the slush and ice of a winter storm. My condolences to all the florists out there. Better you than me.
Brunch in SoHo, sounds enticing, right? I thought so, too. Scott convinced me that there was a restaurant, a one, Great Jones Cafe, worthy of taking 2 trains more than 100 blocks on a 30 degree day just for the andouille sausage, eggs and New Orleans style grits. A recent Mac convert and since we were in the neighborhood and all, Scott first suggested that we pop into the Soho Mac store.
The visit was strategically timed on the heels of my hard drive woes as I teeter on the great divide between Mac and PC. Now if Mac is hip, then Mac in SoHo is hip to tragic proportions. And I'll admit--the store is impressive. A grand staircase of Lucite stairs (I snapped the photo myself) seems to transport one to a futuristic white plastic world where everyone wears black t-shirts. At the top of the stairs is a giant screen with theatre style seating, a kind of church where one can witness conversions from old PC users to new Mac die hards. There are rows of ipods, sound docks and laptops, one more shiny than the next. Oh, how they gleam! And then you look at the price tags.
I don't care how sleek and trendy they are, the Mac laptops cost upwards of $500 more than PCs with essentially the same capabilities. And if you want a black laptop as opposed to what I guess is considered the less desirable white, you'll pay $300 more for one that has the exact same guts. So, sorry Mac, but I'm going to need a little more convincing, I'm not buying your brand of crazy today.
After our little shopping trip, my blood sugar was so low I gobbled up my New Orleans style brunch in record time. It was de-lish and admittedly, worth the trip.
This past week in review has presented opportunities for such blog lampooning one hardly knows where to begin. In fact, some of the stories don't even need lampooning, they simply speak for themselves.
Take for example Ted Haggardwho says after three months of counseling he's "completely heterosexual." There. No commentary needed. It's perfect just as it is. Say it slowly "Ted Haggard completely heterosexual." Funny, right?
But maybe not as funny (or tragic) as the Depend Undergarment-wearing astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who crossed the country from Houston to Orlando fatal attraction style with such urgency that not even bathroom breaks figured into her plan to commit murder against a romantic rival. Nut. Job.
And that brings us to story number three, the death of Anna Nicole Smithwho collapsed and died a mysterious death in a Miami hotel room. Anna leaves behind a five month old daughter and a paternity suit circus worthy of the true reality TV star/gold digger/Playmate of the Year she was. It will include not only the two men in her life we already knew about but also one of ZsaZsaGabor's ex-husbands. Again, no commentary needed.
Well, sports fans, with all the computer trouble I've been having lately I haven't had a chance to comment on this year's celebration of neanderthalism and lowest common denominator dumb jock ideals, the Superbowl, or as I call it, the Homophobe Bowl. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new when I say that American football is filled with ignorant, grossly overpaid and grossly overweight "athletes" who are deified by the public and live in a vacuum where being openly homophobic is perfectly acceptable.
This attitude has apparently spread to one of the Superbowl's sponsors, Mars, makers of Snickers bars,who launched not only an unbelievably offensive and homophobic ad campaign ("The Kiss" pictured above), but established a website (which has since been pulled) where viewers could watch alternate endings to the ad and vote on their "favorite." Perhaps Mars was trying to measure exactly how homophobic their consumers are for future offensive ads. In addition to this poll, there were clips of NFL Players watching the ads and showing their open disgust at the sight of two men kissing. I assume the players were okay with their images out there on the web for all to see as a kind of public record of their hatred and disgust toward the gay community. Apparently this was supposed to be funny as if to say "Look how much these guys hate fags! That's HILARIOUS! I'm laughing so hard I might wet myself!" Well, hardeehar-har, Mars. Thank you.
And I really liked Snickers bars, too. Humph.
Thankfully, after complaints from GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, Snickers has pulled their ads from the air and the web and have released a statement to the the NY Timesin which they defend the ads and explain that humor is "subjective" (as in, you have to hate gays to get it) but no where do they apologize for offending the gay community or perpetuating violence against them. We're still waiting for that apology, Snickers--the sooner the better. Then you can all head off to rehab. To add insult to injury, the winners of this year's Homophobe Bowl were the Indianapolis Colts headed by Coach, Bible Thumper and Chief Homophobe, Tom Dungy who openly attended and was even "honored" at an event by the Indiana Family Institute, one of the leading proponents of the gay marriage ban in the state of Indiana. On Sunday's win Dungy credits God as the MVPproving that he is one of those misguided Christians who thinks God actually cares who wins a ridiculous sporting event. Sorry Tom, but something tells me He probably has bigger fish to fry, like, I dunno, AIDS in Africa, genocide in Darfur--all that jazz.
Dungy made history this year as the first African American coach to lead an NFL team to Superbowl victory. It is a shame, however, that such an accomplishment should be marred by his openly homophobic views. Once again, as in the case of Isaiah Washington, one can't help but notice the irony of an African American man's apparent bigotry and hatred toward another group striving for equal civil rights. It boggles the mind.
You may have been wondering where I've been the last few days. I wish I could say somewhere warm (it was 18 degrees here today), but alas, no. I've spent the better part of the last three days on the phone with Dell tech support dealing with the death of my hard drive, its restoration, near death experience, emergency surgery, recovery and finally, the purchase of an external hard drive--something I should have done years ago. I wonder if any of this has anything to do with those cracks I made about Microsoft the other day.
Well, I won't bore you with the details. It has a happy ending in that I didn't end up losing anything, but it was quite a headache. Thanks to one very dedicated tech support guy somewhere in India who performed what might be the equivalent of bypass surgery on my computer, it survived.
This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzz! Oh, sorry, Mary, thank you for playing. Good answer but you rang in after the buzzer--you needed to ring in before the 2000 election. You know, before you campaigned for your father and the Republican party which has done everything in its power to keep people like you from becoming parents. And forgive us, indeed what bad taste it is to use children as political props--at least your child anyway. It was in bad taste when the Christian Right did it and its still bad taste.
Okay, next question: What about the thousands of "blessings from God" languishing in foster care? Are they deserving of parents even if some godless same-sex couple wants to adopt them even though everyone knows queers don't make good parents?
Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment.
Bzzzzzzzzzzz! Ooooh, sorry, Mary, once againgreat answer, just after the buzzer.
And that concludes this round of "Day Late and a Dollar Short." But don't worry Mary, we have some lovely parting gifts for you: a lifetime membership to the NRA, 10 years of newsletters from Focus on the Family and tickets to Pat Robertson's 700 Club for you and Heather--that woman you live with. Enjoy!
And so it seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree--Daddy Dick isn't responsible for answering Wolf Blitzer's questionson the subject and neither does Mary have to own up to why she would support a political party that actively campaigns against her own interests. It's just more of the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude of the Republican party headed by a couple of guys who've never seen battle in their lives but continue to wage an immoral war at the cost of billions of dollars and the death of thousands of other people's "blessings from God."
This week I've been doing some work for my friend Peter and his mother who are old time New Yorkers. Peter grew up at 82nd and Westend (around the corner from where I live now) in a gracious old prewar building with full time doormen and elevator men in a 14 room apartment with two maids rooms at a time when no one in New York had ever even heard of a co-op. His mother is probably 70+, sharp as a tack, still works and has run her own successful business for years which, incidentally, is specifically for women in construction. Get it? She's a pretty strong lady, the type one might have called a "dame" in another era. She has a great sense of humor and has been known to posess some of the unique eccentricities Manhattan woman are sometimes known for including a failed marriage to a crazy opera singer and more recently the companionship of a distinguished gay pianist in his 60s who's all too happy to accompany her to the theatre or a dinner dance should she need an escort.
As we were finishing up yesterday Peter and his mother, along with her pianist friend (also a native New Yorker), were discussing their old neighborhood on the Upper West Side. Now, anyone who lives in New York knows there is a distinct difference between Eastsiders and Westsiders and at one time it had everything to do with social class. Peter's mother remembers that time all too well and recounted a story for us of an Upper East Side dowager from those days remarking to her upon learning her address "The West Side? The only time I go there is when I go to Europe!" to which the three of them roared with laughter. I didn't get it. Peter's mother, who doesn't miss a thing, noticed this and said, "Oh, he's too young, he doesn't get it!" She then went on to explain that the West Side piers were where all the trans Atlantic luxury liners used to dock. And here I was thinking "Why? 'Cause they flew out of Newark?"
I was slightly embarrassed for a moment but took comfort knowing there are still things I'm too young to get.
Photo: The Queen Mary II docked on Manhattan's West Side.