Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jon the Godfather???

On Saturday I attended the First Communion celebration for a friend’s daughter and while at the Church, another friend asked me to be the Godfather of his son. I immediately thought that it would be cool to be someone’s “Godfather,” but then I started to think about it and realized I know very little about what it really means to be a Godfather.

I am going to talk to some good friends who are from Mexico and grew up in the Catholic church to get their insight before I make a final decision.

I told my friend and his wife that I felt honored to be asked, and wasn’t sure if I was qualified. Later in the day they refereed to me as “Padrino Jon” which in English is “Godather Jon” so I know they like the idea, but I gotta find out a little bit more for myself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If you See Something, Say Something and be prepared to WAIT!

9:00ish – Walking in the corridor towards the 7 train from A train at Port Authority I passed a screaming preacher, except he was walking next to me and others around me following us and literally screaming until the steps to go down to the 7 train platform.

9:10 – I walk back through the corridor to three transit police officers who I saw earlier to make a complaint against the preacher. They appear to be busy with another civillian and tell me they’ll look into it, even though they didn’t have any information like, who, where, etc.

9:20 – Unhappy with the response from the three police officers and doubtful they will do anything because #1 they don’t know who I am talking about and #2 where the inciddent occurred, I got the dispatch office of the 7 train. I am told they can’t call a police officer, and I need to go tell a token booth operator who can call for police.

9:30 – I go to booth near West 42nd and 7th avenue part of the subway station. The attendant Robin is helpful and says she will call for an officer if Im willing to wait.

10:00 No officer and the attendent says that according to MTA policy, she can call if an officer hasn’t arrived within 30 minutes. I tell her that I’m willing to wait and to please call again.

10:12 (almost 45 mintues after the original call) I see three officers walking past us from a distance. I motion to the token booth attendant who opens the door to her booth and yells at the officers to come over and explains how I have been waiting “for an hour.”

10:15 Officers listen to what happened and say they will talk with the guy.

Later in the day I call the New York City Transit Customer Service Line (718-330-3322) to compliment the attendant and complain about the “No Response” from the police. The operator tells me I need to call the Transit Police (718-694-3640) to discuss the lack of response.

Later in the afternoon I call the Transit Police and speak with a helpful officer who answers the phone “Transit Wheel” and says that a 20-25 minute wait is normal, but 45 minutes is unacceptable. She said that maybe the attendant did not report the complaint. Each token booth is assigned a number and I told the officer the number of the booth I went to and she was able to use the number to locate the Call for Service. It was dispatched at 9:48 and closed at 10:51. The call was for a “religious person in station harrasing customer,” but it failed to mention that a citizen was waiting at the token booth to speak with an officer. No one is going to wait 45 minutes to speak to an officer about this, and that’s why it continues unchecked. I asked that they please improve communication between their dispatch staff and the token booth attendants and improved trianing for the token booth attendants in reporting citizen requests for an officer.

Everyone I interacted with was courteous and kind, but a 45 minute wait is unacceptable and must be improved. I saw something today and said something, but next time I’m tempted to just close my eyes and cover my ears!

If you want to help improve the response time of the transit police, join the force by clicking here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Puta Power!

While Spitzer begins to looks for new hobbies, let me take a moment to recommend a great move about whores or as they are known in Spanish as “putas.”

The Railroad All-Stars (Estrellas de La Línea), a documentary released in 2006, takes place along “La Linea” a crime-filled part of Guatemala City along the railroad tracks where the destitute hookers earn a couple dollars per act. With the $$$ that Elliot spends on putas, he could have had all of the Guatemalan hookers he wanted. None of this $5,000 for an hour. Anyway, the putas form a soccer team to raise awareness and equality for all putas. After they got kicked out of soccer league after people found out their profession, they took to the road challenging teams throughout the country and actually played pretty well. It’s a sincere portrayal of their lives, at times sad and at times funny. Especially funny when the grandma puta’s (since retired) glass eye falls out.

And yes, it has English subtitles for my friends and family who don’t speak Spanish.

Here are some definitions I looked up as I wrote this post:

1. a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet.
–verb (used without object)

–noun 1. a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money; whore; harlot.
2. a man who engages in sexual acts for money.
3. a person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in a base and unworthy way, usually for money.
–verb (used with object)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Forget Barak, Hillary and McCain

The race for the White House is heating up here in neighborhood…wait did I say the White House? Oops… I mean the Presidential Palace…the one in the Dominican Republic. Yes, flags are flying, people are passing out leaflets and one of the candidates has set up in office on my block! Yup, current president Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Liberation Party has an office two buildings away. You know where he grew up? Yes, New York City.

You gotta love the Heights… Election Day is coming up on May 16th!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


It’s raining a lot today and pretty hard at times. I’ve cleaned the entire apartment and catching up on some reading. I’m in the living room with the window open a bit and everytime it starts to rain again, you hear people yelling as they try to escape it. Good day to stay inside.
In a few months, the Central Park Dance Skaters will start up again...some Saturday fun and as you can see in the pic from last summer, skates are not required. I was walking by, but couldn't resist the urge to jump in and join them. Give them a call at 212-777-3232.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tamale Tuesday

As many people know, I love a good tamale. Last week I told a few friends at work that I would be hosting a “Tamale Tuesday” and bring in homemade tamales from the tamale lady for a $1 a piece. I was honored with an aware at a staff meeting last week and a similar event that I created (Taco Tuesday) was mentioned so I took the opportunity to invite the entire office to today’s Tamale Tuesday. I worked from home in the morning and then picked up a special order of 40 tamales from the tamale lady's apartment. I expected to only go through 10-15, but went through over 30! I sold them at cost for a $1 because the whole purpose of the event was to get people out of their offices and spend a few minutes socializing. The tamale interest is there, now we just have to work on the socializing. It’s tough in corporate America, but I’ll keep trying.
Note: This is not a picture from the Midtown office, but actually from someone in Texas.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Family Time

I’m going down to DC to see my new niece this weekend. I can’t wait to see her. She’s three weeks old! I’m taking Monday off and the weekend to relax and enjoy the fam. I’m the uncle of six!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New York's Bravest

It was one of those weekends when you have breakfast at 3 in the afternoon. My roomie made pancakes and I made eggs and we talked as we looked out the window at all of the Dominicans that line our street. When all of a sudden with lights and sirens a fire engine stops in front of our building. I guess it hadn't been children playing with the elevator emergency button for the past 30 minutes, but someone was really stuck in the elevator! Oops. No ambulance arrived, so everyone must be safe and breakfast was great!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter Morning in Manhattan

Here's a shot from Midtown Manhattan very early this morning. The streets were pretty lonely with just the garbage men, Con Edison crews and a few cabbies on the streets. The picture is at 2:30 a.m. and it had already started snowing a bit, but we'll see if get all the inches that are predicted. It's been another mild winter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Need Heavenly Child Care? Call Karen

So I decided to venture to East New York and see what it’s like out there. For those familiar with NYC – it’s the 3 train to the last stop, New Lots. I found a few “Heavenly” places, but no restaurants. I later asked a friend who lives near East New York and she confirmed that it wasn’t because it was our first time and we just didn’t know where to look, but that there really aren’t any sit down type eateries. Oh well, We still had a good time despite the lack of food. We found ourselves in Park Slope a little later for some nice Thai food.
Besides Karen's Heavenly Daycare, you can worship at Heaven On Earth. Who knew you
could find it in East New York?

PS - Karen, I hope this post drums up a
little business for ya!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feliz Cumpleanos

My friend Javier invited me to his niece’s one year birthday last night. It was fun. We danced, drank, and ate all night. I drank more horchata than ever before!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shredded or Slab?

I am disappointed with the International House of Pancakes. I spoke with the individual restaurant and called their corporate office, but am still disappointed with IHOP.

I went to their Bronx location and ordered breakfast. What I ordered did not match what was on the menu. Yes, sometimes it doesn’t look exactly like the menu, but this was totally different, IHOP Corporate agrees, but wouldn’t do anything about it!

So I called IHOP and spoke with Mr. Don Miller who tells me that:

Turns out that IHOP has 5 approved vendors of hash browns and two approved versions: shredded (the picture on their menu) and slabs (the fast food kind you get from McDonald’s or Burger King).

Good ‘ol Don says each restaurant can choose between the two versions.

If they want to serve slabs, let them serve slabs, but please just inform your customer before serving him something that is completely different that what is shown on the menu.

ALSO – what happened to their biscuits and gravy?

Turns out they have one approved supplier of their sausage gravy. Odom’s Tennessee Pride. Well, I’m sure Odom’s and hopefully IHOP, and probably the entire state of Tennessee would be shocked and dismayed to see how Odom’s gravy is being served here at this IHOP location.

Watered down nastiness served over doughy biscuits that needed to be cooked for another 5 minutes. I should have taken a picture because I’m sure IHOP would never believe me.

Don’t worry. When I asked Don if there was anything IHOP could do for me because of this experience, he apologized and told me about their secret shopper program for each restaurant and about their internal review program and assured me of their quality assurance program. Despite all of these checks, my meal still was not up to IHOP standards, yet there was nothing IHOP could do.

So much for the IHOP slogan of: Come Hungry. Leave Happy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Go Giants!

Took some time off work and went with a friend to today’s ticker tape parade! It was one of those rare days when us New Yorkers smile at each other. Other times we smile at each include when there's a really drunk person on the subway making a fool of himself and in line to see Santa at Macy's. Any others?

Thursday, January 31, 2008


My voice is slowing coming back after Monday night’s Eagle adventure. Still a ways to go, but it’s getting better. Did I mention I lost it trying to talk over the loud Arab music?

To top it off, I ate a tamale yesterday that I had brought to work on Monday with a few other Tamales, thinking that it was fresh as of Monday, but really I had bought them late last week so it was almost a week old. Please don’t eat week-old tamales. It’s not a good idea. I buy my Tamale’s from a woman who sells them out of a cooler she has in a shopping cart outside a subway stop a few stops from my apartment. Great tamales, but not good enough to last a week! I’m going to be eating Tamales at a party Saturday night. This one incident has definitely not deterred me from one of my favorite foods out there: The Tamale!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Eagle "Theatre"

I have a friend who recently moved to the City and he has been trying to go out and see different parts of the City and take in some of the cultural attractions. He invited me tonight to a belly dancing performance at some theatre downtown. He didn’t want to go alone and even offered to pay for my ticket – How could I refuse?

He called me later with the address for the Eagle Theatre. It was over near the Westside Highway on 28th. I thought this must be a little theatre nestled among this industrial block near the highway. I was a little suspicious when the door to the theatre said you must show your I.D. to enter. It looked more like a club, but hey, who cares, we just wanted to see this belly dancing show.

We got in and there was only one person at the bar, but lots of Arabic belly dancing-like music coming from upstairs. We figured that must be where the performance was taking place, but when we got up there, there was only one person at the bar. My friend asked when the performers would start and the guy said the place opened at seven, but the performers would start a little later in the evening, when more people got there. We sat at the bar and caught up on how everything was going in our lives. I became a little suspicious because every guy that walked by seemed to be checking me out and I realized I hadn’t seen any women. I had to go to the bathroom, and in the bathroom was a poster for the club. This was not any regular bar – it was a gay leather bar! And tonight was Arab night! Oops! (FYI – It was voted best leather bar by New York Magazine in 2007).

My poor friend thought this legit belly dancing performance would last an hour or two and than was planning on going to a different show that started at 10 in Brooklyn.

Oh well. I was really excited to see a belly dancing performance, but there's always next time. I told my friend he needs to read more carefully.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Plant Lady

Every Friday someone stops by my office and trims and waters my plant. I thought there was someone new on the job because I noticed more plant clippings in my trash and the plant was greener, but I’m often away from my office when they stop by, so I wasn't for sure. Well today I found out that there was indeed someone new. Her name is Kristen. She is the new caretaker of my plant and she’s been doing a great job.

Kristen works all over Midtown tending to plants of all varieties and shapes. She told me about some of her other clients, including ESPN (she said they're really nice to her there).

Her sister works for the same company and is also a plant caretaker.

My old plant caretaker was friendly, but my plant looks a lot better since he stopped making his weekly visits. I asked him once how I could help my plant look better and he said it was fine and not to worry. I didn't believe him, but then again, I'm not a plant caretaker. I guess it just needed a little TLC from Kristen, cause it’s been looking a lot happier.

I just looked up the term “plant caretaker” on Google and saw an ad for a Tropical Plant Caretaker in Anchorage, Alaska!

Are there any green thumbs out there looking for employment?

Way to go, Kristen, for a job well done!

¡Hasta Pronto!