Tag Archives: new york

When Your Third Place Does Not Want You: Elderly Entitlement and Fighting the New Old Korean Queens Gang

I’ve been following an ongoing saga in the New York Times concerning a local McDonald’s restaurant in Queens and how elderly Koreans in the neighborhood have taken over the place as their community hub.

This new, “old,” gang doesn’t really buy anything and they stay all day long taking up space and not making any money for the business.  There’s a Senior Citizen Community Center nearby, with van service for those who cannot walk that far, but the retired don’t want to go there because it’s in a Church basement.

The one thing you take away from reading about this ongoing conflict between elder entitlement and the business needs of McDonald’s is that the old people — like the Millennials behind them — believe they have the freedom and the right to sit wherever they want, and linger as long as they wish, with no repercussion whatsoever. Asking them to leave to make room for others is a cultural slap in the face that will not be tolerated.

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Writing Letters to a Dead Man: Dr. Howard Stein in Memoriam

Yesterday, I received the one phone call I’d been dreading for over 30 years: “Howard Stein is dead.”  It turns out Howard died back on October 14, 2012 after an eight-day hospitalization, but I didn’t learn of his death until yesterday.   I knew he was deathly ill the last year, and when his surgeon recently refused to do a final operation, Howard told me his heart had finally turned against him and become a “ticking time bomb.”

As I paged back through my calendar for the last six weeks to memorialize the final events of my life with Howard, I reflected back on our final telephone conversation on October 1, 2012.  He told me how much he appreciated the letter I wrote celebrating his 90th birthday.  He said he read the letter every day.  That meant a lot to me.  He was my master.

One the first day of October, Howard and I left it that Janna and I would visit him in Stamford, and that he would check his doctor schedule and call me back to let us know what day would work best.

I never heard from him again.

A week later he was in the hospital — never to see the sky again.

As you can see in the graphic below, I tried to call him on October 5th and 11th to check on our visit date.  There was nobody home when I called.  On October 22 and November 13 I wrote him letters — our one, ancient, guaranteed way of always getting in touch when time and tide and humanity and the phones failed us — to inquire about the visit.

I had no idea was writing to a dead man.

Now I know how Bartleby really felt working in the Dead Letter Office.

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Recovering from Hurricane Sandy in Jersey City

Monday night, at 11:00 pm sharp in Jersey City, New Jersey, the lights went out and stayed off until last night at 7:43pm.  That’s three days without power or heat.  Hurricane Sandy was a massively nasty beast, and we’re just now starting the recovery process.  We are hungry and scavenging for food.  Supermarkets are closed.  Few places have power.

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Subliminal Sexual Discrimination via Voices on a Train

I read something interesting online a while ago, but I can’t remember the source material.  The gist of the story was that the pre-recorded automated announcements you hear in train stations — and other public transit hubs and modes — are purposefully driven by subconscious sexual stereotypes.  The female voices you hear provide “information” about the current stop and next stop, while the pre-recorded male voices give you warnings and orders like, “Get out of the way!”

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