The Sanctity of Human Life

This is not an article about abortion. It’s about the killing of unarmed American citizens by the police.


Montgomery County, MD Police Chief Tom Manger: Officer Safety Is Very Important, And So Is Everyone Else’s Safety

Wexler:  “Tom, what was your takeaway from the Scotland trip?”

Chief Manger:  “It made me realize a couple of things. One was that our use-of-force training, our defensive tactics training, are so wrapped around one issue—the fear of the gun, and the gun culture we have in the United States—that it permeates everything we do in terms of training. It also made me realize that there are some cultural issues in American policing that we may need to rethink. All of us have heard a sergeant tell us in roll call, “The most important thing is that you go home safe today.” And when you hear that over and over again, it almost gets to the point where we are thinking that our safety is more important than anything else, or that other people’s safety is not as important as ours. In Scotland, the culture is that the police officer’s safety is in fact very important, but it’s no more important than the safety of everybody else among the public. They have this notion of the sanctity of life, which is something that we are talking about more than we did 20 or 30 years ago. I think we’ve got to emphasize to our cops that their safety is important, but so is the safety of the public and the people that they’re dealing with, and our goal should be that everybody goes home safely at the end of the day.”

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169 No Grilling in Prospect Park!


A few weeks ago a campaign started to end grilling in Prospect Park. Click HERE to view the petition.

The petition claims:

There is just TOO MUCH SMOKE!

Many of the “designated sections” where barbecuing is currently permitted are nearby to:

  • residential areas, where homes become full of smoke
  • the ball field, where children play baseball and soccer,
  • the 11th St and Prospect Park Southwest playgrounds, and
  • the Parkside park entrances and the park drive where hundreds if not thousands of people walk, jog and bike. 

As a resident of an area that borders this park, I was angry when I saw this petition covered by the local news. The side of the park I live on has the most grilling activity. It also is the lower-income side of the park as well. Where I live, people do not have backyards and treat Prospect Park as if it were their backyard. And guess what? I treat it like my backyard too (when I actually get my butt over there).

On the weekend, the park is full of families having parties and hanging out. I get jealous at times seeing these families gathered in the way that my family used to gather at North Park in Pittsburgh. They are having a great time, hurting no one, and for no reason do I think the grilling aspect of it should end.

Do I think the park needs to provide more cans for people to dispose of their charcoal correctly? Absolutely. Do some residents need to do a better job of cleaning up after themselves? Absolutely. But do we need to shut the grilling down? No.

One of my classmates (a lifelong resident of Brooklyn) forwarded me THIS counter-petition, which I signed.

Let’s keep Brooklyn family oriented for all!




340 Heated Luxuries


There are two fountains like the one pictured above, outside of the building I spend my weekdays in. When the temperature dips below freezing, there is a haze that comes off the fountains (also in the picture above). I assumed they are heated, which seems ridiculous, so I asked the security guard.

Fun and Totally Useless Fact: The fountains are kept at a constant 40 degrees throughout the winter to prevent freezing.

A few years ago, one of the heaters broke and the fountain froze over. The maintenance staff had to go at it with ice picks and carve all the ice out of the fountain. Then they had to carry the blocks of ice and dump them in the street. The next day, 6 of the workers who had to clear out the fountain, quit their jobs.

343 Failing to Yield


I have probably crossed streets thousands of times here in the city, and I am constantly having issues with drivers failing to yield as I am crossing with the light in a cross walk. I am not talking about jaywalking, or walking into oncoming traffic, I am talking about crossing with the cross signal in the cross walk.

Yesterday I almost met my end when a driver came close to mowing me down with his 15 passenger van while I was crossing the street that I live on. He slammed on the breaks when he was within two feet of running me over. Take it from me; this is not a good way to start your day…

Seeing a car come at you at 25 mph is one of those moments that are truly terrifying. When a driver has finally decided to slam on the breaks, I normally reply by screaming expletives, and I have been known to pound on the front of people’s cars displaying my raging anger. They normally apologize, and drive away. My hope for them is that they pay more attention to what they are doing.

According to this article (Park Slope Police Nab Careless Drivers in Pedestrian Safety Sting), the police in Park Slope ran a sting to catch non-yielding drivers last week. They gave summonses to 16 people. I find this fitting, as last year in Park Slope I was almost run over 5 separate times between June and October. I would be out for my morning exercise, and right there on Union, someone would try to run me down.

When someone is crossing with the light in the cross walk, there is no excuse for not yielding. Period.

359 Granny Cart Country

Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. When I was a kid, one of my most fond memories was going to the grocery store with my mother. It made me feel like an adult. There is something exciting about all of that gleaming produce, and long aisles full of delicious possibilities. Then, if it’s a holiday, the excitement of finding gingerbread ice cream sandwiches in December, the King Cakes in the bakery before Fat Tuesday, or the strawberry shortcake cups that would signal the start of summer deliciousness.

Grocery shopping in NYC is a certain kind of beast. It’s just never easy. Either the store is packed, or the selection just sucks. We have tried everything from Fresh Direct, to hitting up multiple store around the city. I love shopping at Trader Joes, but it’s not close enough to make it worthwhile. Whole Foods is nice, but it’s prohibitively expensive. Local stores are close, but the selection is lacking.

We do our shopping once a week, which for us means we own a granny cart. I really resisted buying one when I moved here because I thought they were lame, but I broke down within a month and it changed my life.

Some grocery stores deliver, which is awesome. You buy as much as you want, and they box it up and bring it to your door for about $5 extra plus tip. When we lived uptown, we were on the fourth floor of a walk-up, so we got our groceries delivered and it was worth it. Or you can order online at Fresh Direct, and they bring it right to your door! You don’t even have to leave the house!

Now we live in a building with an elevator, so shopping has become a breeze. It’s amazing how something as simple as an elevator can change your life! Now I just take the cart to the store, fill it up, wheel it right into the elevator, and then right to our door. No more dragging the cart up multiple fights of stairs.

If you didn’t grow up here, and are used to large grocery stores, NYC stores are baffling. Aisles are really small, as so is the selection. You can get really attached to certain products in your local store, and then when you move to a new neighborhood, you can’t find what you need. Need Rotel? You probably won’t be able to find it! Need yeast for bread? It’s not in the baking aisle, it’s by the registers. I shopped at a place where I couldn’t buy tomato puree for my pasta sauce because they simply didn’t carry it, so I had to make a trip to another store to find it every time I made pasta.

The upside is, if you want to try something culturally different, you are in luck. When I lived in Astoria, I could get my hands on cool Greek products. In Inwood, there were some great Kosher products we would enjoy. Now in East Flatbush, we can buy all of the food we fell in love with while we were on honeymoon in Jamaica, like callaloo or ackee and saltfish.

Is shopping in NYC more expensive than other areas of the country? It’s possible. We spend $100-$135 a week for two people, and we make most of our meals at home. But, I can easily drop $20 in Whole Foods on two loaves of gluten-free bread, coconut coffee creamer, and dairy free cheese.

Do I miss the days of getting in my car and grocery shopping at Meijer, Giant, or Kroger? Absolutely! But visiting those stores while traveling can make it such a treat!

OK, enough procrastination! Let me get my butt to the store.

364 Dude, uh, tomorrow is already the tenth.

What you pay in rent is always a hot topic in NYC. In general it’s not considered rude to ask someone what they pay in rent; however, I generally stray away from asking really wealthy people what they pay. My reasoning for this is as follows: A. because they normally get weird about it and #2 because the answer is generally depressing. So today’s post is dedicated to what I have paid in rent over the past 9 years.

Apartment 1
Year: 2005
Location: Astoria, Queens. Ditmars stop on the N.
Minutes to Midtown: 25
Bedrooms: 2
Occupants: 2
Rent: $1,100 a month, $550 per tenant.
Stabilized Rent:  Yes.
Pros: Great location for a starter NYC apartment.
Cons: Creepy super and it lacked a living room, but we made half the kitchen a living room.

Apartment 2
Years: 2006 – 2007
Location: Astoria, Queens.  Steinway stop on the R.
Minutes to Midtown: 20
Bedrooms: 4
Occupants: 3 in 2006 and 4 in 2007.
Rent: $1,800 a month, $600 per tenant (2006). $2,100 a month, $525 per tenant (2007).
Stabilized Rent:  No.
Pros: Lots of space, backyard, and our landlord was great.
Cons:  There were times the rent checks weren’t cashed for months at a time.

Apartment 3
Years: 2008-2010
Location: Inwood, Manhattan. 190th street station on the A.
Minutes to Midtown: 45
Bedrooms: 1
Occupants: 2
Rent: $1,250 a month, $625 per tenant (2008). $1,295 a month, $647.50 per tenant (2009 and 2010).
Stabilized Rent:  Yes.
Pros: The apartment was newly renovated.
Cons: I hated the neighborhood.

Apartment 4
Year: 6 months in 2011
Location: Rego Park, Queens. 63rd Drive-Rego Park stop on the R.
Minutes to Midtown: 30-45
Bedrooms: 2
Occupants: 3
Rent: Subleased a bedroom for $600 a month, $300 a month per person.
Stabilized Rent:  I am not sure.
Pros: Dirt cheap.
Cons: Rego Park is an acquired taste.

Apartment 5
Year: 2012
Location: Gowanus, Brooklyn. 9th Street stop on the R.
Minutes to Midtown: 45
Bedrooms: 2
Occupants: 3
Rent: Subleased a bedroom for $600 a month, $300 a month per person.
Stabilized Rent:  Yes.
Pros: Great neighborhood.
Cons: We couldn’t afford the average rent in the neighborhood once we started looking for our own place.

Apartment 6
Location: East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Winthrop stop on the 2-5.
Minutes to Midtown: 45
Bedrooms: 1
Occupants: 2
Rent: $1,320 a month, $660 per tenant (2013). $1,429 a month, $714.50 per tenant (2014 & 2015).
Stabilized Rent:  Yes
Pros: It’s the largest apartment we have lived in, we have a dining room, we have an eat-in-kitchen, the building has an elevator, there is laundry in the building, and our neighbors are very friendly.
Cons: The 5 train stops running after 8pm, and does not run on the weekends.

Total spent in a decade… Drum roll please… $65,034.

All in all, I think I have done pretty well. In the past 9 years my half of the rent has only gone up a total of $164, if you don’t count the rooms we subleased. Obviously, you can pay a lot more a month than we do, but we like to keep it on the cheaper side!

Maybe my rent isn’t too damn high, but how can you resist this anthem?