Sunday, February 23, 2014

If You Love Me, Then You'll Clean Up After Me.

My streets, and others, look like Poop City. A reminder to the two legged creatures to keep the city clean.

(Available as a PDF for printing and laminating. Please send me an email if you'd like one.)

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Kindly Pick Up After Yourself. We Don't Have Maid Service.

Neighborhood cleanliness signs launching! If you'd like one of your own to print and laminate, please send me an email (also great for offices and for that untidy housemate).

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Stories from Underground - Pamela Lloyd

The transformation of Pamela Lloyd begins at the A train station on Dyckman Street in this first installment of Stories from Underground. We watch Pamela carefully apply mascara, lipstick, powder, and other beauty items on a train filled with fellow commuters as she explains the culture behind women who put on makeup on the subway.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ballgame - from Santo Domingo to NYC

Play ball! The baseball fields of Inwood Hill Park come alive during the summer months when local Little League and adult teams hit the diamond. The Inwood Little League sponsors a team from the Dominican Republic each summer and this talented group enthralled the crowds that gathered to watch. Once the season ends, the baseball fields stand empty and ghostly in the fog. Enjoy this salute to summer!

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame - William Mulligan Sings!

This timeless song is sung by none other than William Mulligan who brings a unique spin to this classic song. Shot on location in Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan and featuring the vocals of the Inwood Geese.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Inwood's Second Annual Three Kings Day Parade

There were sheep, camels, a donkey named Ted, the I.S. 52 marching band, toys, one restaurant, three kings, one senator, grilled cheese sandwiches, one small bridge, and a suggestion by one local (cough) to add a queen to the Three Kings Day festivities next year. Why not? We're uptown, where you get to write your own story.

Landon plotting his great escape to a rent stabilized apartment on Dyckman Street

Due to the rain, the parade was moved indoors to La Marina. The very photogenic four-legged creatures remained outdoors and gamely posed for photos in front of the George Washington Bridge. I was reunited with Landon the sheep who stars on my iPhone screensaver, a friendly face from our walk together from one end of Dyckman to the other in last year's parade. His sheepish companion, Nikki, was agreeable to posing with two of my woolen scarves.

This was the closest most of us - adults and kids alike - have been to sheep, camels, and Ted this year. They traveled all the way from an upstate sanctuary to La Marina. The crowd received toys (the kids only), lunch, several musical selections from the band which gets better every year, an opportunity to meet Senator Adriano Espaillat, visit a local restaurant, have their faces painted, and best of all, meet and greet the animals. The camels were a little snippy, Ted seemed a bit aloof, and the sheep seemed ready to follow anyone and huddled together for warmth at the end of the event.

Senator Adriano Espaillat and friends

Dromedary ready for his closeup

Looking natty!

Before he started nibbling on my bag. . .

Two kings (Fernando Mateo, Adriano Espaillat), a flock of sheep and a disco king

Well, someone had to do it.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Come On Over to My House, Bill and Chirlane

Dear Bill and Chirlane,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for the invitation to your new home at Gracie Mansion – and welcome to the island of Manhattan!

While I did stop by and enjoyed seeing my fellow New Yorkers of different shapes, sizes, styles, and colors, unfortunately, I’m not someone who enjoys standing on line. I did take some very nice photos of others who did but two hours is just not my thing. My favorite part of my visit to the promenade outside of the mansion was having the slippery walkway salted by a city worker who gamely threw the salt at my feet as if he were throwing rose petals. While maybe not romantic it was certainly thoughtful. I missed the opportunity to check out what’s in your medicine cabinet, find out who will be taking out the garbage, and rummaging through the refrigerator for a snack. Next time.

So after walking around a bit, I removed myself from the festivities and walked over to Chickie’s on 86 Street for a chicken gyro. Have been going there for years and the chicken is really pretty good. They have a Super Bowl special, too. You may want to check them out.

Since we’re practically neighbors, the only mannerly thing to do is to return the invitation and invite you over to my home for a visit. Why don’t you get settled in and then head uptown? Hopefully, my obsessive-compulsive neighbor will have cleaned the entranceway to my building and the elevator will have stopped lurching and jumping each time it stops. The good news is that there’s no waiting on line in mi casa except for the fact that I have one bathroom. We can all cope with this, I’m sure. And lucky for you, I’ve just about finished my yearly housecleaning so my home is spic and span and ready for company.

The one thing is, though, you can’t visit my home without being fed. I’ll do a brisket from Bob the Butcher (he sounds like a mob boss but the only thing he executes is meat) if you guys bring the salad. I’ve just figured out how my slow cooker works and what the “warm” button does. We’ll manage. I hope you like good old New York City tap water (does it taste the same in Brooklyn?) and I can get some root beer, if you'd like. If you have any dietary requests, please let me know. Not sure what side dish to prepare but I'll think of something. Everything goes better with feta cheese so I’ll pick some up.

I presume you'll be traveling with bodyguards who will have vetted this letter (references available upon request) so just let me know how many to expect. My apartment is egalitarian (translated: small) which means everyone eats together. My chairs, plates, and silverware don't all match and my vintage red formica kitchen table is a little wobbly but you must have other concerns..

While my humble rent stabilized apartment is not decorated with the antiques of Gracie Mansion, I guarantee that you will be riveted by my growing collection of tchotchkes; books about boxing and James Thurber; sculptures from Africa, the Museum of American Folk Art and my own;  and numerous finds from neighbors, thrifts shops, and Etsy craftspeople. You’ll love the carved wooden pig wearing pearls which gives new meaning to pearls before swine, robotic cats made of recycled materials, and the antique barbershop chair covered in Marimekko fabric. A warning: Please don't touch the handmade clothing rack made of pipes in the bedroom. It might fall over. You’ll see that I have many books but they are not available for lending, should you be inclined to ask. No, I don’t have any cats. We’ll watch some of my videos on YouTube after the Jiffy Pop has popped and I’ve prepared my outstanding chocolate malteds. When you watch the videos, you’ll find out more about the people who live in our two cities. There's one with a young man who's a guidance counselor by day/drag queen by night and a Holocaust survivor from Washington Heights. You know, when I think about it, there's more than two cities here.

Allow me to let you get back to the business of running our city. On a final note, the last time I had people over, someone removed a rare spoon into their possession, a fight ensued, and the strawberry shortcake landed behind my desk. I know this won’t happen when you’re here. Your security team will take care of any squabbles, I'm sure, and I won't be serving strawberry shortcake.

So let me know when you're free!

Oh, and one other thing. Please remove your shoes at the door. 

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's about time - Yokarina Duarte

Let's face it. We're all pressed for time these days. Putting on makeup in the privacy of one's home used to be a thing of the past. Now you're likely to encounter at least one person displaying their grooming habits during a subway ride. But for the very busy Yokarina Duarte, community liaison for New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, her journey begins - above ground.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

I am Ivan (most of the time) (full length version)

I am Ivan (most of the time) (full length version) features Ivan Perez of Washington Heights: counselor by day, drag queen at night. 

This longer version explores the transformation of Ivan and includes a lengthier interview with Ivan/Madison Banks, who talks about what it feels like to perform in drag and the challenges of dressing up as a woman in performance. This version also includes dynamic footage of Ivan in performance.

Performance footage shot at Mamajuana Dyckman in New York City as part of TGIM Happy Hour on Monday nights.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Postcard from Staten Island: Hurricane Sandy (originally posted on November 19, 2012)

November 16, 2012

Howdy, everyone.

Spent the day in Staten Island. Oak Beach. 
Sun shining here.
Freezing when you have no heat.
Walking among the detritus of homes past.
Trees, houses, stores, families uprooted. 
Toys stuck in the mud.
Two homes with “for sale” signs.
American flags flying everywhere.
No one home.

And you?

For the best views, so to speak, please scroll down slowly.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's about time: Rita Rosenthal

What keeps 102-year-old Rita Rosenthal going? Or as one uptown restaurant owner gently gently inquires on-camera, "What does she eat?!"

You'll have to watch this latest episode of It's about time: Conversations with New Yorkers about time to find out the secret of longevity for this Washington Heights resident.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

How do you like your eggs?

How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning? takes a look at the G's or Gus's Luncheonette in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood. It takes its name after the previous owner who is Greek and has been owned by Candido Angel, an immigrant from Mexico, since 2001.

This neighborhood institution prepares more than 3,000 cups a coffee a week. Angel and his employees work as a team and even the neighborhood men get involved in helping him opening his store in the mornings. So - how do you like YOUR eggs?

The video is an offshoot of We are Inwood and is inspired by a song made famous by Dean Martin. This version is available on iTunes and is orchestrated by a company called Pro Choice Karaoke, the only instrumental of this song that could be found. Great version!


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Monday, August 26, 2013

A Conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda

A Conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda featuring a cast from Inwood showcases Lin-Manuel's love of his upper Manhattan neighborhood. Raised and still living in Inwood, Lin-Manuel talks about growing up in a house on Payson Avenue, his subway commute uptown and downtown, and how the neighborhood has inspired him.

The Inwood community includes Jason Minter of Indian Road Cafe, Manuel Ramirez of Dichter Pharmacy and Soda Shoppe, actresses Oona Higgins and Carly Ayala, Franchesca of Mr. Nice Guy burger truck, fashion designer JuanKey Miranda (no relation to Lin-Manuel), Dorka and her client Scarlett from Dorka's Unisex Salon, Rob Kleinbardt of New Heights Realty, and Corona and Barry Waldrop.

The music selected is a nod to Lin-Manuel's wedding video; He surprised his wife, Vanessa, with a performance featuring their families using the same song.

A Conversation with. . .is an offshoot of a larger project, We are Inwood.

Feel free to share!

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Thursday, August 08, 2013


Meet the folks at Bizcochos de Colores, a family owned business on Sherman Avenue between 207 and Isham in Inwood.

Delicious fruit filled cakes, tres leches, flan, cheesecake, danish, and other sweet treats along with coffee, chinola, and more. Custom cakes and party favors are also on the menu. Two dollars for a piece of pineapple layer cake!

Stop in and say hello to the creative (and former Inwood Little Leaguer) Jonathan Lebron and his friendly crew. All baked goods are baked and decorated on the premises. The store is a little hidden under building scaffolding on the east side of the street.


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