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Posts Tagged ‘long island’

Lots of emails and twitter messages: Are people on Long Island insane?

No, not all of us. And I don’t want to say that what happened at WalMart today is not indicative of Long Island but…..

I don’t go shopping on Black Friday. I don’t like shopping as it is, and I avoid the mall at all costs any time of the year. However, there was one year I decided to brave the Shop til You Drop crowd. It was about seven years ago. WalMart had a bicycle on sale and all my son wanted for Christmas was a bicycle. I didn’t have a lot of money at the time and the chance to actually get my kid something he wanted for a reasonable amount of cash was too good to pass up. So I went to WalMart the day after Thanksgiving. At 5am.

By the time I got there, the line was snaked around the store. The doors wouldn’t open until six. I thought about going home, but then I thought about the bike and my then-adorable child and decided that I – someone who had an abject fear of crowds and hated stores – would make the ultimate sacrifice and stand outside freezing for an hour, then enter the store with this horde of hyped up people just to see my son smile. Also, it would make for great martyrdom later on.

Six o’clock came and the doors opened. The line that was just perfectly formed in front of me dissipated into thin air as everyone rushed for the door at once. Visions of Who concerts danced in my head as I lagged behind the surging crowd. It was like Elvis just appeared in front of Graceland. Pushing, shoving, screaming. I waited until the last of the screamers got into the store and walked in behind them, heading straight for the bike aisle. Within two seconds, I was knocked flat on my ass by an old lady wielding her cane like a sword. Elbows were flying, people were literally running through the store to get to the aisles with the biggest sales, and they were pushing out of the way anyone that stood between them and that 50 dollar tv.

The store had been open all of thirty seconds and already the floor was covered with merchandise that people knocked off the shelves. There were kids crying, mothers screaming at each other in the toy aisle, workers yelling for people to calm down and in the middle of all this I just stood there, frozen in fear. I could feel a panic attack setting and I had no idea which way the bicycles were. It was chaos all around me. I willed myself to walk into the thick of things, keeping my son’s “I got a bike!” smile in mind. I finally found the right aisle and walked toward the boys’ bikes.

She came out of nowhere. She was about 400 lbs of solid fat stuffed into a fur coat and she was waving her hands in the air and screaming something. I froze again and she barreled toward me and as she got closer I could make out part of what she was saying “….AWAY FROM THAT BIKE, THAT IS MINE, YOU HEAR?” Her hands reached out for me. I was sure she was going to shove me right down to the floor and I managed to stumble backwards a few steps, but I backed up right into another woman who began yelling obscenities at me. All the while the fat fur lady was coming full force toward me. I sidestepped at the last minute and the fur lady did an inadvertent chest thump with the cursing woman and my fight or flight instincts kicked in. Hell no, I wasn’t going to fight. I was running. Fast. The hell with the bicycle. The kid would probably ride it for five days and get bored with it, anyhow. I was getting the hell out of there.

It took me ten minutes to navigate my way out of the store. I had to step over thousands of dollars of merchandise and run around at least three abandoned kids and one overturned shopping cart and what seemed like a thousand strong army of desperate housewives looking for the ultimate bargain.

I got to my car and just sat there, shaking and smoking, until I was sufficiently calm enough to drive to work. I never went out on Black Friday again.

And that is why the story of what happened at WalMart today does not seem inconceivable to me. I’ve seen the way people behave and, unfortunately, it seems to be a way of life here on Long Island. This is a place where everyone is always in a rush, where people drive as if they are the only ones on the road, where everyone acts as if they are owed something, where people have no problem taking up two spots with their Escalades or parking in handicapped spots. The longer I live here (46 years now) the more tired I grow of the self-centered, me-first, demanding attitude I see every day. This is why I have spent the past year talking about moving to California.

Maybe it’s like this everywhere. I’ve never lived anywhere else, so I don’t know. I just know what Long Island is like. I used to defend this place when people would make fun of it, but no more. The bad attitude here has become more prevalent in recent years. Nobody gives a shit about anyone else. I feel like I take my life in my hands every time I get in my car because nobody is paying attention to the people around them. They’re on their phones, they’re yelling at their kids (who are rarely buckled in), they’re sailing through stop signs. And it’s not just the driving. The attitude encompasses every part of the daily routine. I deal with it at work, I deal with it in stores. The rudeness, the sense of entitlement and the “gimme and gimme now” attitude is everywhere. It certainly doesn’t surprise me to see people stampeding over one another to save a few dollars on a television when just this morning I saw a woman who just got out of a new Mercedes stomp into Walgreens and demand the cashier get fired for shorting her A FREAKING PENNY in her change.

Like I said, I don’t know if it’s just here or if it’s everywhere, but what the hell has happened to our society?

2,000 people were waiting to get into that WalMart at 5am. They literally ripped the doors down because they didn’t want to wait for the store to open. They knocked the 34 year old WalMart greeter down, then stomped over his body and continued shopping as workers asked them to exit the store.

Everyone who helped rip that door open, everyone who stepped on that poor man and everyone who didn’t give a shit and kept looking for their god damn bargains as the emergency crews worked to save the guy’s life…you are all pigs. You’re less than human.

Happy holidays.

[Update: He wasn’t a greeter, he was a temporary worker sent to that WalMart today by his temp agency. Not that it matters, just like to have my facts straight as the news is updated]

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abandoned long island

I have this list of about 20 abandoned places on Long Island I want to photograph. I did the Bayshore roller rink last month, and now I finally got to the Brooklyn Water Works building.

sign

You can view the whole set here. I’ll be adding more.

July 27, 2008

Brooklyn Water Works, Freeport, Long Island

I had been wanting to photograph this for the longest time; you can see the ruins from the Long Island Rail Road right before the Baldwin station and every time we passed it I would say, let’s go there. So today, we finally went.

I had assumed there would be no way in and we’d have to climb a fence or duck through a hole somewhere, but what I didn’t know is that the building backs up to the Brookside Preserve. We just walked down to the preserve opening, took the trail around to the building and lo and behold, right behind the creek, the fence around the building just stops, as if in mid sentence. We were free to roam.

This used to be the Brooklyn Water Works Building. According to the Nassau County website:

"The Brooklyn Water Works Building, which stands just south of the preserve, was constructed from 1889-91 according to a plan by a well-known Romanesque architect of the time, Frank Freeman. Water was supplied via a conduit to Brooklyn from 1891 until the mid-1950s, when New Yotk City began relying solely on the reservoirs in the city’s northern suburbs."

The building was in operation until the 70’s, when the County bought it. The county then sold it to a developer who was going to turn it into condos. In 1985 there was a fire which destroyed most of inside of the structure (you can still see remnants of that fire in the ruins). It was then sold in 1986 to someone who wanted to turn it into a nursing home. As far as I know, the County once again bought the land, but I can’t find any news item that says what they had planned, if anything, to do with it.

I love abandoned buildings and that this one goes back to the 1800’s makes it even better. I usually get a feel for the place, I soak up the aura the past has left and imagine what it was like when the building was in use all those years ago. However, the beer cans and graffiti really take away from that.

Here is a photo of how it looked in the past.

More pictures later.

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abandoned long island

I have this list of about 20 abandoned places on Long Island I want to photograph. I did the Bayshore roller rink last month, and now I finally got to the Brooklyn Water Works building.

sign

You can view the whole set here. I’ll be adding more.

July 27, 2008

Brooklyn Water Works, Freeport, Long Island

I had been wanting to photograph this for the longest time; you can see the ruins from the Long Island Rail Road right before the Baldwin station and every time we passed it I would say, let’s go there. So today, we finally went.

I had assumed there would be no way in and we’d have to climb a fence or duck through a hole somewhere, but what I didn’t know is that the building backs up to the Brookside Preserve. We just walked down to the preserve opening, took the trail around to the building and lo and behold, right behind the creek, the fence around the building just stops, as if in mid sentence. We were free to roam.

This used to be the Brooklyn Water Works Building. According to the Nassau County website:

"The Brooklyn Water Works Building, which stands just south of the preserve, was constructed from 1889-91 according to a plan by a well-known Romanesque architect of the time, Frank Freeman. Water was supplied via a conduit to Brooklyn from 1891 until the mid-1950s, when New Yotk City began relying solely on the reservoirs in the city’s northern suburbs."

The building was in operation until the 70’s, when the County bought it. The county then sold it to a developer who was going to turn it into condos. In 1985 there was a fire which destroyed most of inside of the structure (you can still see remnants of that fire in the ruins). It was then sold in 1986 to someone who wanted to turn it into a nursing home. As far as I know, the County once again bought the land, but I can’t find any news item that says what they had planned, if anything, to do with it.

I love abandoned buildings and that this one goes back to the 1800’s makes it even better. I usually get a feel for the place, I soak up the aura the past has left and imagine what it was like when the building was in use all those years ago. However, the beer cans and graffiti really take away from that.

Here is a photo of how it looked in the past.

More pictures later.

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reprezent

represent

The newest additions to our living room. Now both our coasts get to reprezent, yo.

East coast, bitches.

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151. Twisted Sister – Burn in Hell
Twisted Sister is one of those “I saw them back when” bands for me. They were just a bunch of goofy Long Island kids trying to get noticed when I first saw them play at a local amusement park in the late 70’s. They drew 23,000 people to that show and still couldn’t get a label interested in them. But man, did they rock the house.

I’ll still listen to Twisted Sister once in a while when I get in a reminiscing mood, but Burn in Hell will always be my favorite; not for any sentimental reason, but for this:

Also, because it’s one of those songs. You’re driving in the car, just cruising along on a beautiful day, and this comes on the classic rock radio station and all at once, as if by some devlish voodoo, everyone in the car puts their fingers up in the metal sign and starts banging their head.

152. Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper
It must be Long Island band day! This is another “back in the day” band – sometimes they would show up at local bars as Soft White Underbelly and try to play a low key gig, but everyone knew it was them and thousands of kids would show up anyhow.

I love this song not for the cowbell. I love it because it was so mysterious to us back then. Not just the lyrics, but the overall atmosphere of the song. It was spooky and creepy and gave us shivers as we played it on the car cassette as we drove to one of the supposed haunted places on Long Island. We were sure the song was about vampires or Satan.

Turns out it’s about endless love.

Which, really, could be about vampires.

153. MDC – My Family’s A Little Weird
No, they’re not technically from Long Island (they were formed in Austin, then moved to San Francisco), but their lead singer, Dave Dictor, is. So we’ll continue with that theme here.

Take about ten hits of speed, mix it with a gallon of anger and a pound of pissed off adrenaline and then light it all on fire and stand in the flames. That’s MDC. This song is typical MDC breathless vocals and speed demon music that sounds like it’s coming out of your neighbor’s garage, combined with lyrics that make you think your dysfunctional family might not be so bad. Or maybe it speaks to you, like one of those “yea man, I know exactly what he means” songs. Grandma’s selling drugs, dad’s wearing a dress, there’s dead children and lying whores and….well, maybe my family has a few of these. So I shouldn’t be too judgmental. Glass houses and all.

154. Stray Cats – Runaway Boys
Yep, another Long Island band.

A very cool bass line, some very cool hair and a great mixture of punk and rockabilly that made you want to dance and kick ass at the same time.

155. Joan Jett – Do You Want To Touch Me There
Not from Long Island, but moved here in 1980 and still lives here.

I wanted to be Joan Jett. I wanted to look like her and dress like her and talk like her and be able to rock the fuck out like her. Then I grew up. And I still wanted to be her.

This was a tequila song. Meaning, you were in small, sweaty club and you just did about ten shots of tequila and you ask the DJ to put this on and suddenly you’re standing on a table screaming out the lyrics and swinging your bra around and you end up doing some drunken version of dirty dancing with some guy you wouldn’t normally get within ten feet of and in the middle of the dance you feel a hand slide up your skirt. I did want you to touch me. Just not…there.

That’s the Long Island edition of 300 songs (though there have been other Long Island artists done here already).

FAQ here
list of upcoming bands/artists here.
List of songs completed so far here
Link to all 300 bands, 300 songs posts

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seen on craigslist. or not.

Reply to:thisweathersucks@longislandiswet.com
Date: 2007-08-08, 8:51AM EDT

seeking guy named noah. last seen boarding huge ark with a bunch of pets and a couple of people. need him to swing by here and pick me up. will do anything for place on board ark, including but not limited to keeping your animals happy, if you know what i mean. i have an economy size bottle of Rain-X, two umbrellas and a mix CD of rainy day songs i can bring with me.

location: long island

  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 12345666

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real mexican food!

Todd definitely gets homesick for California sometimes. One of the things he misses the most is the availability of authentic Mexican food. I usually say something about Del Taco then, and he waves a dismissive hand at me and goes into one of his lengthy rants on how chain restaurants like Chili’s have no idea what Mexican food is supposed too look or taste like. Which then turns into a story or two about the Mexican dives he used to go to in Sacramento or the guy in Fresno who used to sell tamales out of a cart.

So I was on a mission to find a good Mexican place. There were a few around my neighborhood – well, they called themselves authentic – but they all turned out to be just glorified versions of Mexican fast food. I know there are quite a few places that are probably closer to authentic around where I work, but that town is not somewhere I want to go during non-office hours.

A few days ago a friend of ours started talking about tamales. Not only had I never had a tamale, I wasn’t even sure what one looked like. Of course, I got a full explanation about them, how they are made, how you eat them, the varieties you can get, etc.

hot tamaleI wanted a tamale.

After some Googling, we found a place about 30 minutes from here that seemed authentic enough. The reviews all but called it a dive, but said the food is so good that “foodies” have been invading this little Mexican community to dine at Fonda Coyoacan.

We took a ride out there yesterday afternoon. It was worth the trip. We finally found a place that Todd could compare favorably to his favorite places back in California. It’s a very small (about six tables) storefront restaurant that has little ambiance during the early afternoon, but you can tell it’s the kind of place that comes alive at night.

We had tamales; I had mine with chicken mole and Todd had his with chicken and green sauce. They were interesting; basically cornmeal and chicken stuffed inside a corn husk. Then I had papa con chorizo. Todd had incredibly messy, but tasty, huaraches.

The food was awesome. Rich, flavorful and nothing like the “Mexican” food I had become accustomed to on Long Island. I discovered through some more research that our very friendly server was actually the owner, Elvia Cardenas, who came here from Mexico in 2001.

I wanted to go back today, but I have a feeling it’s going to be packed with locals watching the Mexico/Costa Rica gold cup game (US plays Canada Thursday in the seminfinals, if you’re interested).

We’ll be back at Fonda Coyoacan next Saturday. There’s quite a few things on the menu I want to try.

So, Saturday’s lessons: Mexican food is not chimichangas and burritos, Todd doesn’t have to go back to California to get huaraches, and I’m pretty good at spackling.

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