Is Verdi Square to eventually become as blinding as Times Square?
This video billboard was switched on Monday morning atop the soon-to-open Duane Reed at 72nd and Broadway. To say that it's blaring images at night totally ruin the charm of this Upper West Side neighborhood would be an understatement.
Who green-lit this obscenity? I thought NYC had said that video billboards were only going to be allowed in the Times Square district.
Time for folks in the UWS to get up in arms and get this thing taken down before it has time to take root and ruin the neighborhood.
New York's restaurateurs have been in a tizzy for the past six months as the city's health department transitioned to a new grading system -- one apparently with some teeth.
Gone are the confusing numerical codes that listed "violations" but gave you little idea how to compare your corner pizza place with the Plaza as far as cleanliness was concerned. Now it's simple. You get a certain number of violations, you rate either an "A", "B" or "C" rating. Too many, they still shut you down.
The city has been more than fair during the transition. Restaurants that scored horribly -- and a lot of good, well-known ones did -- got two chances to fix things and eventually score an "A" score.
Well this month the fun begins. All the restaurants have pretty much exhausted their second and third chances, and are having to post their scores. Most of us know the "A" restaurants -- they're the ones who wasted no time putting their big blue "A" stickers on the front windows. The ones who didn't? Well, we kinda knew they were still having to get their acts together, and we started getting nervous about eating there.
This week, we noticed a new sticker in the window. "Restaurant Grade Pending." This was the slackers' attempt to avoid having to post that dreaded "C" in their restaurants. But, as the New York Post today noted, they don't have that option. They're supposed to put it up. And the Post has posted what they're calling the dreaded "Filthy Fifteen," the 15 restaurants with the worst scores. And -- surprise, surprise -- eight of the 15 didn't post their scores as required by law.
One nice resource that's always been useful is the city's online restaurant inspection guide. You can key in a restaurant name, type of food or location and get a rundown of scores and violations. It's like the Zagat Guide for people who don't want food poisoning. Not that at least one enterprising blogger hasn't already started to promote living on the edge by writing the "Guide to the Best C Restaurants" blog.
It's worth checking out the scores before you go eat in the city. Many of the places I thought were top-notch quite frankly aren't.
Spent my first September 11 anniversary in New York yesterday, and it was a sobering experience on a number of levels.
First, I took my children the day before on a tour of the World Trade Center site and the Tribute WTC Visitors Center that's currently located on the Southeast corner of the site. Very sobering. I've been there before, but my son, who had never seen it, was struck by the sizet of the space, and when the size of the buildings were described to him, the enormity of the twin towers and how devastating the attacks were.
Next, we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and were reminded looking back at the Manhattan skyline of how different it seems without those two towers perched near the southern tip. An outdated photograph on a display on the island showed what the view looked like prior to that awful day in 2001.
Saturday, we watched the ceremony that began at 8:46 a.m. on television, and the reading of the names was as lengthy and painful as it always is. Having the children of the dead read their parent's name and send words of love and loss is gut-wrenching.
Afterwards, there was a hate rally two blocks away, and I couldn't help but be struck at how those who insisted "my God is better and more important than your God" were thinking the same thoughts the hijackers did as they plunged their planes into the towers. I am constantly amazed at how we humans as a species can learn so little and be so blind.
Finally, we finished the day near midnight nearly 60 blocks away, taking in a awe-inspiring view of the city at the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, where I took the photograph at top of the twin beams of light that shine skyward every Sept. 11 night from the WTC site.
I wasn't in New York that day nine years ago. But as then-governor George Pataki said at the time, "Today, all Americans are New Yorkers."