Tom Hanks and Sandra Bulloch were all over our neighborhood this spring filming this movie. Watching the trailer released yesterday, I don't know if I can wait until December to see it. I may have to read the book, but this may be one of those rare instances where the film exceeds what's been put on the page.
For weeks prior to 9/11, I had been counseling my friends in the PR and advertising profession that anyone who tried to pitch a story or run an ad tied to the tragedy of 9/11 was stomping through a minefield with lead boots.
I was wrong.
I watched a remembrance special sponsored by State Farm, and prior to the start of the afterwards commercial-free event, I saw this short video, directed by Spike Lee:
All I can say is, I couldn't have made a better message about how resilient the city is, how it has worked to recover from that day, and what it is about New York that makes it unique and special. If you can watch this an not feel at least a little tightness in your chest, I feel sorry for you.
If you're interested in some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, here's two short videos for you:
In the 1970's, heroin may have been the drug of choice in New York City, but today, it's coffee.
There are approximately, 847,000 Starbucks inside the city limits. Or at least it seems that way. It's true there are locations where two Starbucks are across the street from each other. It's more rare to see someone walking down the sidewalks without a Starbucks cup in the hand than with one.
David Letterman famously said "If it wasn't for coffee, I'd have no personality at all." If true, it explains why most New Yorkers are such personalities. They drink a lot of coffee.
And they like to make it complicated. I actually heard someone yesterday order a double-nonfat latte with whipped cream. To his credit, the barista didn't blink.
There's three castes to coffee drinkers in New York City:
There's the Blue-Collar Drinkers, who will pick up a cup anywhere. A deli. A corner store. A restaurant. Diner. Doesn't matter. They just want coffee, or as Denis Leary famously screamed "Forget hazelnut, frappacino fapachino -- I just want coffee-flavored coffee!" [Link NSFW] They'll order their coffee just the way they want it -- something that's never done in the South. "Gimme a coffee sweet and light," which means they expect it to show up with the sugar and milk already added in. No self-serve here. This is New York -- I don't have time to tear open packets, buddy!
The Starbucks Crowd. This is either those who accept the convenience of the national chain, or actually like the product. There's no shame here, but there's a fine line between getting a nice venti mocca and getting something that takes 20 sylables to order. Most Wall Street types are Starbucks people. Make of that what you will. One guy even tried to visit and document every Starbucks in the city.
The Coffee Snobs. These are the folks who wouldn't be caught dead in a Starbucks. They seek out smaller, mom-and-pop or corner coffee klatches. They revel in the hipster atmosphere and admittedly these places by and love serve a much superior cup of java. I've documented some of these places here, and I'm still finding new places to love. My latest discovery Friday was Stumptown Coffee in lower midtown, which offered the chance to sit in a 80-year-old hotel lobby and enjoy your cup of joe.
I'm not saying New York City is a tough town, but last weekend a giant 10-foot inflatable University of Tennessee Smokey got stabbed.
Here's the story:
TrafficNYC is the official UT bar in New York. If you're in the Big Apple on game day, love the Big Orange, then that's where you need to go. There's even a Big Orange in the Big AppleFacebook group.
Last weekend, while UT was kicking a little Cincinnati tail, across the street at the Iowa bar, the Hawkeyes were getting their hats handed to them by rival Iowa State. And some extremely drunk farmers living in New York wandered across the street to the UT bar. Soon they started cutting down UT flags and badmouthing Rocky Top, gaining the ire of the 50 or so people assembled in the bar. Essentially, the owner and bartenders explained to these corn-growers that they needed to leave with them because their only route of escape was through a gauntlet of 30 or so angry Vol fans calling them "a-holes."
As they left, one pulled a knife and stabbed the 10-foot inflatable Smokey outside the front door. They darted across the street and weren't seen again.
Smokey was quickly taped up, and apparently the stabbing has given the UT mascot some much-deserved street cred here in the city. As one Facebook commenter noted, he may soon have a rap career.
So it's tough in New York, but rest assured Smokey's tough. And a lot of my fellow Manhattan Hillbillies have his back.
Apologies for my hiatus from blogging during the past few months. My work responsibilities cut back on the amount of time I had for documenting New York City from the Southern point of view.
Fortunately, my employer has been kind enough to help out by going bankrupt, exponentially increasing the amount of time I have available for writing.
Starting tomorrow, I'll be back documenting New York City as the hillbilly I still am. Until then, rest assured that everyone up here still talks funny and there's still no place serving good grits or barbecue.