Posts Tagged New York

Manhattan car adventures

I spend a lot of time wandering around Manhattan, because I never know what I’m going to find. Last weekend, I headed to Alphabet City to check out the new (and slightly more spacious) Obscura, as seen on T.V.

On the way, I found plenty of other neat stuff, including a Hungarian bookstore and a few cool cars.

They’re not new, they’re not collectible and, out of context, they’re not even necessarily that interesting. It’s hard to say exactly what makes this random assortment of cars cool, but they definitely are. If you’re as obsessed with cars as I am, there’s something life-affirming about seeing an unusual model among the sea of beige Toyota Camrys.

Here are a few islands in that sea, in glamorous cellphone pic style.

Volvo Amazon

Volvo Amazon

Plymouth Valiant

Plymouth Valiant

Ford F-Series

Ford F-Series

BMW M3

BMW M3 (E46)

Buick Skylark

Buick Skylark

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Weather can’t stop the Postal Service, but government cutbacks can?

United_States_Postal_Service_LogoAs I sit here typing while watching snow persistently fall, I can’t help but think about the people that have to work to make mine and everyone else’s lives happen even when it gets inconvenient. You’ve heard the mail carrier’s mantra, right? They may not be out delivering mail in the Northeast today, but if we were expecting slightly less than two-to-five feet of snow, they probably would be.

That’s why I find it so ridiculous that we can’t agree to fund the Postal Service, and that this logistical marvel is cutting Saturday mail delivery because of that. We may be in the midst of a rather heated federal spending debate, but really? Even this is up for debate?

Even postmaster general and stereotypical corrupt political appointee Patrick R. Donohue has pointed out, mail may be cheap, but e-mail is free. However, as long as we live in a physical world, we’ll still need a way to move physical objects from one place to another.

I’m not being sentimental: until someone perfects Star Trek-like transporter technology, there will literally be no way to send a magazine or a college care package anywhere with a computer.

Also, considering that Chinese hackers can seemingly take down the New York Times at will, I’m not too comfortable with online banking.

The Postal Sevice is one of those modern conveniences that people take for granted, and maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps, because they sit in front of their computers, tablets, and smartphones all day, and not their mailboxes, they assume they can do without it.

Which is why a blizzard happening days after the postmaster general announced an end to Saturday letter service is quite fortuitous. Massive power outages are expected, so all of that hyper-efficient 21st century communication technology will soon be useless. The Internet isn’t sounding so superior right now.

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NYC: Nerd Mecca

Most nerds shun light and social interactions in favor of the safe serenity of their parents’ basements. The fact that thousands of them emerged from their hiding places, descending on New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center like a swarm of zombies, shows just how big of a deal Comic Con is. However, it could be bigger.

First, an explanation: Comic Con is a four day celebration of all things nerdy. It’s held in San Diego every summer and New York every October. There are vendors selling everything from comics to action figures, celebrity appearances, artists displaying their skills, and corporations showing off new movies and video games.

An essential part of the experience is cosplaying, dressing up like a character from one’s favorite series. A big part of Comic Con is actually just people-watching, or maybe superhero-watching. I went last Saturday, bumping into: Captain America, Thor, Ichigo (the main character of the popular anime/manga Bleach), and the Flash (the original, 1930s version, in fact), and many others.

For all this, convention-goers pay $50 for a one-day pass. That’s the rub: it seems like a lot of money just to walk around, gawk at men in tights, and buy stuff. Things are different in San Diego, though.

At the San Diego Comic Con, major movies like Avengers and Watchmen are previewed, and their creators and stars hang around for more than a half hour. This year, the reality show American Chopper and the creators of Gears of War teamed up to unveil a custom trike based on the game. Nothing like that happens in New York.

That really doesn’t make sense. New York is, after all, the comic book capital of the world. Marvel and DC are headquartered there, and have been since time immemorial. Consequently, the “Big Apple” is the setting for many superhero stories. Spider-Man lives in Queens and studies at Columbia, Daredevil protects Hell’s Kitchen (aka Clinton), Dr. Strange lives in the Village, and anyone who saw this summer’s Captain America movie knows that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base of operations is in Times Square.

The West Side is clearly less of a commute for the big wigs of comics, so why make all the important announcements in San Diego? It could be a sign of the times: comic book heroes are still popular, but the books themselves are not. The real money is in movies and video games, and the people who make those live on the West Coast.

I had a great time at Comic Con (this is actually my second year), but I still think it could be better. There must be a way to honor New York’s place in comic book (not just comic book-based entertainment) lore, and give fans their money’s worth. The Javits Center isn’t too far from the Marvel and DC offices in Midtown; perhaps they could take an office field trip.

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