I Love Letter Grades on NYC Restaurants!


I recently spent a long weekend in Philadelphia, which hasn’t implemented letter grades on restaurants to show whether they meet the city’s sanitary code.  I have to say, I felt uncomfortable and vulnerable to food poisoning going into some places that looked like that might have had some undesirable kitchen visitors.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt but tried to order the most basic food I could.  Not quite bread and water but no oysters or sushi, that’s for sure.

I’ve come to rely on the presumed cleanliness of those restaurants in the New York City that receive an “A” grade.   I also try to avoid neighborhood restaurants that have a “Grade Pending”, especially if they’ve earned an “A” in the past.   I’m not positive about this but I assume that means they’ve fallen from grace after an inspection.  New York City life is unpredictable enough without having to wrestle with Salmonella or some other problem caused by eating in an icky restaurant.  I’ll take the “A” grades all the time.

Ugh! Manspreading on the NYC Subway


What’s there to say about the oaf who takes up 2 seats on the city’s subways and spreads wide his legs, forcing people seated on either side of him to squeeze themselves together to avoid any contact.  Not much.

As a matter of self-preservation, it’s never wise to pick a fight with any of these characters by, say, asking if he could please sit in the one seat to which his single-swipe-Metro card fare would entitle him.  I actually think there should be a variant of congestion pricing for the NYC subways, wherein people who do take up 2 seats pay twice the fare. Think about that, Andy Byford, to help put the MTA’s budget in the black.

I’ve also observed that the typical manspreader has an outward demeanor that looks as though he’d plunge a knife into you, for no particular reason.  So for that reason I’d recommend taking the low road and be prepared to see how thin you can make yourself if you’re determined to sit or, at worst, just stand.  I’ve often stood squarely in front of the 2-seat-occupying-clod, who’s often decades younger than me.  Any personal satisfaction comes from just giving the offender dirty looks.  I grant you it’s not a great solution, but it’s something to allow me to vent my spleen in an otherwise win-less situation on a New York City subway train.

Yikes! That Water’s FREEZING!


So it’s February now in NYC.  And the thermometer recently was in the teens with a wind chill in the minus single digits.  You go into a restaurant for a cup of coffee to warm up and visit the bathroom first.  You’re still pretty frozen when you get to the sink to wash your hands.  You turn on both the hot and cold water faucets but only ice cold water comes out.

The restaurant isn’t a dive but like many owners of commercial properties in the city, I  guess economies in operating their space comes with cutbacks to hot water in the taps.  I don’t mind it in the summer months, but in the dead of winter, that cold water to wash your ice cold hands is pretty nasty.

I encountered the very same situation this morning in a ladies room on the third floor of Bloomingdales on 59th and Lex.  Today, the temperatures are in the 20’s and my hands had already warmed up from taking 2 escalators up from the entrance, so the situation was a bit more tolerable, albeit still mighty unpleasant.