Archives for the month of: June, 2011

View of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

New York is truly a city that never sleeps. There are few places like it. While London comes closest to describing its vitality and Berlin has many of the same cultural activities, New York is genuinely distinct and apart from these other great cities.

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Bug Sculpture in Children’s Garden
However, one problem I have with New York is the feeling that I need to continually do things while I’m there. All that “doing” can be tiring, and it’s nice to take a break. But where do you go to escape all that energy? Central Park is nice, but it’s too exciting to be restful, even on weekdays.

I go to Brooklyn, and my favorite neighborhoods are Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. These places have many of the same amenities that make Manhattan wonderful, including plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops, but they also have quiet, tree lined streets with less noise and traffic.

Enjoying summer at BBG
If I’m really in need of an urban break, I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in the heart of Brooklyn. It’s seldom crowded, and it’s an oasis from all the grit and grime of the city. It’s hard to imagine you’re in the middle of a huge metropolis while surrounded by trees and grassy knolls. And for the record, the cafe in the Garden turns out to be an affordable restaurant with a rather good salad nicoise. So next time you’re in New York don’t forget Brooklyn.

Here is a video of some truly classic films. They bring back some good memories. How many can you name?

Maine isn’t just lobsters and picturesque lighthouses. It’s also home of the Whoopie pie. A Whoopie pie is a sweet confection about the size of a hamburger, made with two bun sized devil’s food cakes separated by a thick white filling. Whoopie pies are found everywhere. You can find Whoopie in grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and even upscale restaurants.

Last March, the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie was made in South Portland. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 1,062 pounds. That’s some insulin rush!


Even the Maine Legislature got into the act. This April, Maine declared the Whoopie pie the official “state treat” and the Blueberry pie, the official “state dessert.” I find it amusing that the Legislature had the time to pass such important pieces legislation. I guess naming the official state treat and dessert ranks right up there with fixing the state’s fiscal woes and dismal unemployment rate. So next time you hear a legislator say, “We can’t address this particular issue right now because we’re too busy working on the state’s economy and finding more jobs for our citizens,” just remember, the Legislature somehow found the time to name the official state treat and dessert. 

Maine isn’t just lobsters and picturesque lighthouses. It’s also home of the Whoopie pie. A Whoopie pie is a sweet confection about the size of a hamburger, made with two bun sized devil’s food cakes separated by a thick white filling. Whoopie pies are found everywhere. You can find Whoopie in grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and even upscale restaurants.

Last March, the World’s Largest Whoopie Pie was made in South Portland. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 1,062 pounds. That’s some insulin rush!


Even the Maine Legislature got into the act. This April, Maine declared the Whoopie pie the official “state treat” and the Blueberry pie, the official “state dessert.” I find it amusing that the Legislature had the time to pass such important pieces legislation. I guess naming the official state treat and dessert ranks right up there with fixing the state’s fiscal woes and dismal unemployment rate. So next time you hear a legislator say, “We can’t address this particular issue right now because we’re too busy working on the state’s economy and finding more jobs for our citizens,” just remember, the Legislature somehow found the time to name the official state treat and dessert. 

Even the squirrels in New York City are friendly! This New York squirrel in Madison Square Park was so aggressive that he climbed over the fence and then up my trouser leg looking for food. By contrast, Maine Squirrels are reserved and skittish.  


I don’t know why, but I found the sight of this Home Depot

in Manhattan odd. This is hardly the normal big orange box!

I saw this in Brooklyn. Isn’t this a clever way to keep your bicycle protected from the elements? 


I found this sticker on the Brooklyn Bridge.

KidRobot in Soho. Check out the link for some playful gifts. 

Is it just me or does this restaurant name seem incongruous? 
Even the squirrels in New York City are friendly! This New York squirrel in Madison Square Park was so aggressive that he climbed over the fence and then up my trouser leg looking for food. By contrast, Maine Squirrels are reserved and skittish.  


I don’t know why, but I found the sight of this Home Depot

in Manhattan odd. This is hardly the normal big orange box!

I saw this in Brooklyn. Isn’t this a clever way to keep your bicycle protected from the elements? 


I found this sticker on the Brooklyn Bridge.

KidRobot in Soho. Check out the link for some playful gifts. 

Is it just me or does this restaurant name seem incongruous? 

Pale Male and Lima Watching Over Their Chicks

Despite the stereotype, New Yorkers are probably the friendliest people around. From a person throwing you a causal smile on the street to a bird watching enthusiast eager to discuss the nesting habits of red-tailed hawks (named Pale Male and Lima) living near Central Park, New York City is people oriented. Sure New Yorkers can be curt and brusk, but for the most part, they seem ready to engage in a real conversation. Not just a friendly “hello” so common in uptight California. (I can say that because I’m an uptight native Californian.)

For example, last Wednesday, I had an interesting conversation with a retired Merck chemist at a local diner on 3rd Avenue. We happened to be sitting at adjoining tables and started to converse. This guy helped develop statins, the drugs that lower cholesterol. In his opinion, statins should only be prescribed to people with a history of heart disease. He would never take statins just to lower cholesterol since statins have so many side effects, including memory loss problems.

See what you can learn by going to a diner when people are willing to talk to strangers.

Pale Male and Lima Watching Over Their Chicks

Despite the stereotype, New Yorkers are probably the friendliest people around. From a person throwing you a causal smile on the street to a bird watching enthusiast eager to discuss the nesting habits of red-tailed hawks (named Pale Male and Lima) living near Central Park, New York City is people oriented. Sure New Yorkers can be curt and brusk, but for the most part, they seem ready to engage in a real conversation. Not just a friendly “hello” so common in uptight California. (I can say that because I’m an uptight native Californian.)

For example, last Wednesday, I had an interesting conversation with a retired Merck chemist at a local diner on 3rd Avenue. We happened to be sitting at adjoining tables and started to converse. This guy helped develop statins, the drugs that lower cholesterol. In his opinion, statins should only be prescribed to people with a history of heart disease. He would never take statins just to lower cholesterol since statins have so many side effects, including memory loss problems.

See what you can learn by going to a diner when people are willing to talk to strangers.
Re-imagined Movie Poster (Craig Redman)
Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen
This is Not a Pipe
Rene Magritte (1928-1929)
Magritte said, “I’ve been criticized enough for this work.
Yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation.
So if I had written ‘This is a pipe.’ I would have
been lying.

I found these works of art in the Guardian. Enjoy!


Movie Poster for the film Grand Prix (1966)
It certainly conveys the feeling of speed
and excitement.
From the film Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
The photograph is a work of art
in itself!

Amnesty International Poster
Freedom in the 80s
Japan 1980
Amnesty International Poster
Le Colombre et le Prisonnier (1959)
Donated by Picasso
Poster
(1940s)
Re-imagined Movie Poster (Craig Redman)
Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen
This is Not a Pipe
Rene Magritte (1928-1929)
Magritte said, “I’ve been criticized enough for this work.
Yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation.
So if I had written ‘This is a pipe.’ I would have
been lying.

I found these works of art in the Guardian. Enjoy!


Movie Poster for the film Grand Prix (1966)
It certainly conveys the feeling of speed
and excitement.
From the film Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
The photograph is a work of art
in itself!

Amnesty International Poster
Freedom in the 80s
Japan 1980
Amnesty International Poster
Le Colombre et le Prisonnier (1959)
Donated by Picasso
Poster
(1940s)