If you see something, run like hell. Bush does. — October 23, 2006
It's all about the camera — September 7, 2006

It's all about the camera

Yes, I am busy. It’s a good thing I have a crush on my new(ish) camera, or you’d hardly hear from me. Will post more soon. But for now, the camera will speak.

Here’s the railroad gantry here in Long Island City. As you’ve probably noticed before, I am obsessed with photographing it — usually via cameraphone, because I am usually Walking (capital W) when I’m there, and I don’t usually take my camera Walking — this time was the exception. But maybe I should. Maybe we’re getting to that next level of the relationship — you know, not just official dates and sightseeing in museums, but everyday exercise.

The Problem with Fresh Direct — July 19, 2006

The Problem with Fresh Direct

Fresh Direct, a local internet grocer, has drawn plenty of public criticism for a number of reasons. People complain about their idling trucks (which take up parking spaces and waste gas), their choice of which neighborhoods to deliver to, and their packaging methods, which can be wasteful. And then there was the lady who claimed her FD delivery guy mugged her.

In my own experience, I use Fresh Direct occasionally, picking up myself at their warehouse, cause I’m in the neighborhood, and cause I got used to doing that back when they–inexplicably–did not deliver to their neighborhood. And while I think they should find another packing method that does not leave boxes all over the city, as they deliver, I haven’t before gotten orders from them that were terribly overpackaged. Until now.

First, I opened one box, and found this box of tea in its own massive box:


At this point, I went for my camera. I wanted to document this ugly overpackaging moment.

Then, I opened the box below it (in the photo), and found this small pint of tomatoes (I think) in a plastic bag, again alone inside a massive box:


At this point, I was screaming and running around the apartment in horror.

If you ask them, Fresh Direct will say they pack items in boxes according to what part of the store the items came from (so cold stuff is in a box together in a cold place, veggies are together in an appropriate temperature, dry groceries together, and so on. But why not take a minute, before heading out the door, to consolidate items which could live together in one box? And why not find some system whereby your customers could recycle those boxes back to you?

Shame on you, Fresh Direct! I guess in the past I have ordered things which fit in a box together. This was the first time I have seen anything like this. And now I know why they’re losing customers, big time.

Technical Difficulties — June 24, 2006

Technical Difficulties

I would like, Dear Reader, to blog you some wee photos from a recent vc tour. But I have temporarily misplaced my camera’s USB cord. It’s some A male to B mini-male contraption that I simply don’t have extras of. It might have fallen out in the airport when we discovered the Sicilian’s backpack had come open. I should have a replacement shortly. In the meantime, I can only try and entertain you with camera phone pictures of beautiful Long Island City.


I don't blog much — April 16, 2006

I don't blog much

…not right now. But I walk a lot. And I have been taking some photos here in beautiful Long Island City (LIC, NYC). For the uninitiated, we are in Queens, just over the East River. It’s only technically Long Island (like Brooklyn is Long Island, you know?)

Soon the water taxis will be running and the “beach” bar will be up and everything will be rocking and rolling here in LIC.


This is the view northwards: Queensborough Bridge, the illuminated Pepsi sign (that’s the big red light you see, which looks like a hand pointing to the heavens, or maybe one of those foam hands people buy at sports games, which proclaim “We’re Number One!”).


This is an old railroad gantry, next to the pier (from which all these other shots are taken):

And this is the view across the river: that’s the Empire State Building lit up on the left, and the large rectangular building towards the right is the UN. This one’s especially for Warwick in Australia, whose folks lived in NYC a few years back while his dad was a UN delegate.


Okay, that was pretty easy. It isn’t high art–they’re all taken on my camera phone.

I will be doing more photo-blogging, kids. Stay tuned!

— February 22, 2006

I love having Silvercup Studios as a neighbor. But doggonit, now they’ve joined the ranks of people trying to block out the river views. I suppose its inevitable. I love the cool movie action, but I am not so hot on the 24/7 leisure community. This is their projected new development by the Pompidou Center architect. new silvercup development photo Okay, I will give them this: even though their high-rises are butt-ugly, I like their plan better than the rest of the plans to block out the water views. From this and other developments, soon hundreds of thousands more people will call my neighborhood home. I hope they like Fresh Direct and making their own coffee. Cause some of their real estate booming ilk just ran Ten63 outta town. And the only teeny tiny local “supermarket” is lousy.

Ten63: We Hardly Knew Ye! — November 13, 2005

Ten63: We Hardly Knew Ye!

nyt image of ten63 cafe Gee whiz. It wasn’t a year ago when I mentioned here and here a fabulous local friendly arty coffee hang-out Ten63. And now it’s closing. And there’s even an article in today’s Times about it.

What pisses me off is that they’re not closing for want of business. The place is a local hub. Instead, they’re closing because their building wants to expand and put in more residential space. And they haven’t yet found a local space to move the shop to that’s affordable.

My vision of the gentrification of my beloved neighborhood has been wrought with impending doom, in the form of high-rises crowding out the river access and local skyscape, in the ever-increasing popularity of the place which will eventually mean my rent goes even higher and I am out of here.

But since more rich and trendy people means more business, especially for amazing businesses, I never thought Ten63 would go away. But then I am not much of an economist.

The Times story notes:

The triangular three-story building that houses the cafe, and that once housed municipal offices for the borough, has been bought by developers who want to make it taller and convert it to residences.

For many in the neighborhood, such a change would be a great loss. With its high ceiling, concrete floors and staggeringly large windows, Ten63 has served as the central gathering place for the neighborhood’s growing crop of young professionals and families for nearly three years. They love its high-backed metal benches and hearty scones and its ample supply of glossy magazines. News of the cafe’s departure, which is scheduled for Saturday, has infuriated residents who believe that developers are rushing to build in a neighborhood before it acquires the grocery stores, schools, hospitals and other amenities it will need to support a growing population.

And later, it says,

On most days, Ms. [i.e. owner Talitha] Whidbee can be found seated behind the counter of Vine Wine, her new store farther up Jackson Avenue, where she sells inexpensive wine from small vintners. But the closing of Ten63 dismays her. “It’s been the community center in a lot of ways,” Ms. Whidbee said. “We have people who have met their neighbors from across the hall in the cafe.”

Before Ten63 arrived, there were few places in the neighborhood simply to hang out. When the cafe opened, neighbors at first couldn’t believe it was real, Ms. Whidbee said. Some thought it was a set for the now-defunct television drama “Third Watch,” which was often filmed in the area.

There comes a point when we will have crammed an awful lot of yuppies into an awful lot of new luxury condos. They’ll pay slightly less than they’d pay across the East River in Manhattan, but a lot more than people in older, local, less luxury digs. But they won’t have a school large enough to fit their kids, or a grocery store (yes, people, as opposed to an overpriced deli) that sells intact, non-rotting vegetables and fruits. Do you hear me, oh proprietors of the C-Town on 21st Street?

LIC, next Saturday, loses just a bit of its soul. Let’s hope it’s just temporary.


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