Respect Authority

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Posts Filed Under New York

I Fought The Law And The Law Won

Filed Under: New York

shirtDear Woman From The Gym Yesterday,

I just wanted to extend my most sincere apologies, once again, for wasting four seconds of what was clearly your precious time. You’re right, that treadmill was working, and wasn’t out of order, as the people in front of me in line had said, and so I’m forever sorry that none of us did the level of investigatory work it would have taken to verify this. Thank God you were there, really, to check out the situation and then berate us for our lack of thoroughness. Without you, we would have…well, we would have wasted something like three extra minutes waiting for another treadmill to open up. Oh, the horror.

To be honest, when you approached the line of would-be runners, waiting patiently for our next opportunity to jog indoors on an incredibly beautiful 80-degree day, I thought you might say something like “Excuse me, has anyone made sure that treadmill doesn’t work?” But in retrospect, your approach was much better — quicker, more direct. “Are you using that?” left the room for mystery I wouldn’t have thought of on my own — which one of us is ‘you,’ what exactly is ‘that’ — these are questions I would have never had the ability to wonder about had you not been so phenomenally vague. So, needless to say, when 0.04 seconds after you asked, no one had responded, it was, you’re right, completely necessary to go all Billy Crystal in City Slickers on us. “Helllooooo,” and the waving of the hand in front of our faces, like we were blind, well that was just you being thorough yourself — making sure even the sense-impaired would know you were looking for answers.

It’s true, given the impatience factor, I found myself growing curious about your occupation. “Who is this incredibly busy and important woman?” I wondered to myself. “How is it that I have come to be in her illustrious presence? How fortunate am I to work out at the same New York Sports Club as this goddess?” Thankfully, you were quick to answer my thoughts: “I’m a lawyer, I have to get moving.” Oh. Ohhhhhh. Well, that explains it! Had I known you were a lawyer, such a rare and special career acquired by so few of us in our short and pathetic lives, I would have not only invited you to go ahead and use the open treadmill, why I would have machine-gunned down all of the other runners so you could have your pick of them all. I would have rolled out a hand-woven red carpet for you to run on. I would have dropped to my knees on my dusty yoga mat and bowed down to kiss your Avis-clad feet. Considering my lack of reverence in the presence of such greatness, I’m surprised you didn’t spit on me right there.

“Knock yourself out,” I told you. See, you took that to mean “Go ahead, use the treadmill, I’m in no rush,” which, though also true, wasn’t my intended message. I meant, literally, go fucking knock yourself out. Go walk in traffic. Go jump in front of a subway car. Go get laid off. And by all means, go ahead and use the open treadmill because I think that I might survive if I have to wait another three minutes, I think my lowly existence might endure if I don’t hop on an artificial running machine at this very moment. In fact, I think everyone in this line would rather see your whims met than deal with another second of being berated at 7:30 p.m. on a Monday evening because we’re not giving 123% to the monitoring of 30+ treadmills.

And by the way, when I passed you five minutes later, that looked like a really awesome walk you were having. It’s a true shame you couldn’t do that outdoors.

Sincerely,
Kira

P.S. I’ve attached a photo of a shirt I think you might like, that would probably also cut down on incidents like these in the future. I looked for “I’m a really important laywer that makes more money than you and therefore my time is infinitely more valuable,” but apparently no one’s put that on a T-shirt yet. Go figure.

 
kira

9:59 AM on September 15th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Shock and Ugh

Filed Under: Food and Drink, New York

drinks

No smoking in restaurants, bars, or pretty much anywhere else: check. No trans fats in baked goods: check. Full disclosure of calorie content of all mass-produced chain food: check.

Means by which to make subway riders physically ill whilst attempting to teach them some semblance of a nutritional lesson: check. Thanks Department of Health.

 
kira

2:33 PM on August 31st, 2009 | 

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La La Land

Filed Under: New York

When they’re not being predominantly creepy or smelly, the mentally ill are often quite interesting to behold. Russel Fong, an amateur videographer from the more-clean-than-mean streets of Brooklyn apparently agrees, as he recently sat down and interviewed Lawrence LaDouceur, more commonly known as The Bedford Ranter or just “that guy who yells in the middle of the street.” Heck, he’s as much a Williamsburg fixture as plastic wayfarers or a crushed can of PBR.

Considering his litany of felony charges and various bouts of institutionalization, the man can’t exactly get a job at the closest Mickey D’s, so Lawrence spends most of his time ranting about the sad state of our society in his own special breed of psychosis-addled English. Of course, some have contended that psychosis is merely an extreme state of consciousness that falls beyond the norms experienced by most — and one would be hard pressed to argue that Lawrence doesn’t experience the world in quite the same way as the average complacent cog walking down the street.

His ideas are incendiary, occasionally veering into the dangerous gray areas surrounding xenophobia; nonetheless, his story, albeit tragic, is consistently fascinating, especially as a rare view into the actual life of one of the so-called nutcrackers we regularly dismiss on our daily commutes to our arguably insane 9 to 5 routines.

As the old quote goes, “It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” And while Lawrence might not be exactly well adjusted in… fuck it, just about any society, at the very least, I would hope we could all agree that the amount of attention paid to whether or not the stars of Twilight are doing it is quite demented in its own right.

 
aaron

4:06 PM on July 30th, 2009 | 

Posted by aaron

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Thank You, 1010 Wins

Filed Under: New York

morningnews

 
kira

9:17 AM on July 7th, 2009 | 

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Excellent WSJ Reporting

Filed Under: New York, The Trend That Time Forgot

 
kira

12:50 PM on July 6th, 2009 | 

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Whopper Jr.

Filed Under: Food and Drink, New York

fatkid

Planning to hit up Burger King, right after wrestling practice.

Joining taboos like illegal drugs and pedophiles, fast-food restaurants may soon become the next thing not allowed near schools

Queens Councilman Eric Gioia is proposing that new fast-food restaurants be prohibited within a tenth of a mile of existing schools — which in New York City geography might as well be five miles — a reaction to unsurprising study data showing young teenagers tend to be fatter when there are fast-food restaurants within one block of their school. The suggestion comes on top of new regulations limiting the sugar content of drinks sold in schools, which put the kibosh on soda and juice sales earlier this month. 

Though the study results themselves have caused no small amount of ire — restaurant advocates argue that the survey doesn’t establish cause-and-effect, nor does it take into account that fast-food eateries offer more than just cheesebrugers — I have no problem accepting that teens educated within a block of a McDonald’s will go there, and often. There was a brief period in my own high schools days where “lunch” meant Twix and Mountain Dew, until some equally invasive rule-making in Maryland public schools left vending machines turned off until after fifth period. 

Rather, this proposal irks me on principle. It’s certainly necessary to acknowledge the “if you build it, they will come” mentality that dictates many a young teen’s food choices, but it is no way necessary to cater to it. By taking away kids’ opportunity to make a consciously intelligent decision with respect to food, we’re doing nothing to encouarge that kind of decision-making in other walks of life — say, after they leave this kind of regulated eating environment. 

Nor is fast-food really the root of the problem. I’ve stood in a bodega at 8 a.m. with my coffee and newspapers and watched people of all ages buy candy, soda and chips for breakfast. At no time of the day or night have I seen either the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo store, or the Crown Fried Chicken near my apartment, devoid of customers. The bottom line is that junk food tastes fairly incredible, and unless the long-term effects of poor eating can be impressed upon people at a young age — and in an educational, rather than passive-aggressive way — we stand virtually no chance of eradicating obesity in this country. For every variation on the “make your own salad” eatery, there will be five McDonald’s, but more importantly - they will always sell ice cream at the grocery store, or candy at the bodega, or bacon bits right next to the eight choices of lettuce. There will always be a way to eat shitty food, and as long as there is - and unless we really and truly know better - we’ll always do it.

 
kira

9:58 AM on April 20th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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The New World Trade Center

Filed Under: Art, New York

The New World Trade Center

The hoopla concerning the “name change” of 1WTC was a reminder that, fuck me, they’re really redeveloping the World Trade Center site. For nearly a decade anyone living or working south of Chambers has had to put up with closed streets, cranes, dump trucks, and smelly construction workers bogarting deli lines with little more than a well-organized hole in the ground to show for it.  But by 2012 (hopefully), the pain will be over.

When it was first revealed, 1WTC’s design failed to make a real impression (at least Daniel Libsekind’s piece of shit allowed me to hate it). The “Freedom Tower” branding was woefully uninspired and the symbolic height of 1,776 feet - retarded. The entire project reeked of sloppy politics. 

But as early as September 11, 2008, rumors were spreading that the “Freedom Tower” name was falling out of favor among the developers. With Pataki gone, Rudy diminished (to put it diplomatically) and the Bush Administration tarred and feathered (also a diplomatic euphemism) - the professionals were left to their own devices. The public announcement two weeks ago that the “Freedom Tower” brand has been cast aside was really an official announcement that the project is out of the hands of bumbling politicians and vision-less real estate magnates and in the control of the some of the best designers and engineers in the world. Trust me, it shows. Read More ›

 
lou

1:46 PM on April 13th, 2009 | 

Posted by lou

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Take Me Out To The Massive God Lecture

Filed Under: New York

osteenAs if the nonstop and completely superfluous coverage of the new Yankee Stadium wasn’t annoying enough, now add Joel Osteen to the mix.

The douchebag pastor of the people, whose stadium sermons get a bigger audience than most actual baseball games (forty fucking thousand people!) is bringing his message to the Bronx, with a “Night of Hope,” despite the fact that I’m pretty sure Barack Obama patented the word “hope” last year. 

Tickets to the event are $15 a pop, because everyone knows getting advice like “I know [God] can get me where I need to be if I just trust and believe, he will bring the right connections,” from an uneducated, untrained, un-anything-except-fond-of-hair-gel faux pastor costs a pretty penny. I mean, that’s not the kind of sage wisdom one stumbles across during an afternoon in front of the television. …Unless, of course, they are watching one of Osteen’s many televised events. 

Hopefully while he’s there, Osteen can go ahead and bless the stadium, thereby confirming thousands of religious sports fans’ and players’ collective conviction that God gives a shit about professional athleticism. And then, perhaps more optimistically, he’ll get hit by a fly ball in the head.

 
kira

5:25 PM on April 7th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Peace, love, and lots of drugs come to Bklyn

Filed Under: New York

mudpeople-450x304What could be worse than skinny jeans and neon-framed Wayfarer sunglasses? That’s right: hippies.

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is one of several places in the running to become the official site for the latest incarnation of Woodstock, according to the parks department, which says it’s been in talks with promoter Michael Lang to bring the show to BK this summer. 

The goal: attract some 150,000 people, with headliners from the original Woodstock, plus pothead stalwarts like Dave Matthew and Phish. The perhaps unintended consequence: filling Brooklyn with an entirely new sect of annoying people which, when combined with Williamsburg’s hipsters and Prospect Park’s existing stroller army, spells disaster, as well as a potential class war and an abundance of stringy unwashed hair. 

It continues to baffle me when cities insist on playing host to all manner of large-scale events, particularly New York City - which struggles to house, feed, clothe and transport its own population, let alone tourists and other travelers. I mean, have you been on the train after a Yankee game? It’s about two well-placed jeers away from Lord of the Flies, and that’s without amassing people who consider their musical tastes a testament to their life philosophy.

New York is already a seething pit of freaks and people for whom showering is low on the list of priorities, so while I’m pleased to think the city’s homeless population may, for one day, feel right at home among equally dirty and destitute Janis Joplin fans, adding 150,000 potential “mud people” to our populace is not my idea of a good time.

 
kira

9:42 AM on April 6th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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My Civic Doody

Filed Under: New York

gavelIt was bound to happen. After watching probably 1,054 episodes of Law and Order over the last five years of my life, and that’s a conservative estimate, it was karmically inevitable that I would - within two years of actual New York City residency - be chosen for jury duty. 

All things considered, I have moved through the stages of grief with admirable aplomb. Denial — “The envelope went to my old address; I wonder if I can just pretend I never got it” — lasted only five minutes, before anger took over: “Fuck the justice system. Fuck it. I don’t want to judge the innocence or guilt of other people. I mean, not professionally. What I do in my spare time, on the subway, without any prompting and based entirely on first impressions, is my own business.” I then bypassed bargaining in favor of depression, and then - after considering how many Law and Order episodes I HAVE watched, and how really I never found Judge Judy/Mathis/Joe Brown/etc. all that boring, I thought, “Hm, maybe I’ll enjoy this.”

A quick Google search revealed that I’ve been summoned to civil court, which means (1) chances of a high-profile and absorbing case are minimal (fingers crossed for Brooke Astor’s son) and (2) all knowledge of the justice system that I’ve gleaned from multiple episodes of SVU is likely irrelevant. On the upshot, it seems unlikely I’d be stuck with the kind of case that drags on for weeks/months, good news for my employer.

So no, I don’t plan to dress in a costume, or spout disingenuous claims about racial bias and white power. Nor do I anticipate a 12 Angry Men scenario, where I’m stuck in a room with 11 moronic strangers for hours upon hours deciding the innocence or guilt of some hapless Brooklynite. I plan to be in, and out. 

Unless there’s free pizza.

 
kira

10:01 AM on March 30th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Freedom Isn’t Free, It Costs A Hefty Fuckin’ Fee

Filed Under: New York

The tower formerly known as the Freedom Tower

The tower formerly known as the Freedom Tower

In an uncharacteristic fit of logical decision-making, the Port Authority said this week that it’s scrapping plans to name Lower Manhattan’s glass monstrosity the Freedom Tower, opting instead for the far more palatable 1 World Trade Center. The decision has sparked no small amount of controversy — as 9/11 victims’ advocates and family members say the name change is disrespectful to the people who died that day. To which the Port Authority indirectly responds: “But we’ll make more money this way?”

And it’s true! Since America is pretty much broke, 1WTC’s first commercial tenant is actually a Chinese firm, for whom “freedom” is probably akin to naming the place “Free Tibet Tower.” Although the Port Authority has reportedly been leaning away from the somewhat anachronistic Freedom Tower for nearly a year, signing an actual deal for an actual influx of actual dollars probably helped them make the final decision.

Besides, it’s not like they changed the name to “Tower of Death” or “Wow, This Place is Cursed.” 1 World Trade is a testament to the fact that we — America, New York City, patriots — are prepared to restore Lower Manhattan to what it once was. By contrast, the Freedom Tower, particularly as it ushered in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Fries and that repetitive Aretha Franklin song, was little more than a passive-aggressive PR gimmick.

Besides, no matter what we name it, 1WTC will now and always be a phallic representation of our national insecurity. Yay!

 
kira

2:19 PM on March 27th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Cat Scratch Fever

Filed Under: New York

softpaws-450x372Just as my morning cup of coffee is starting to seem an extravagant expense, I find myself miffed this morning at having spent a completely unnecessary and wasteful $21 at PetSmart yesterday. On what, you ask? What could I possibly be so enamored with at this store, which by the way perpetually smells like unwashed animals, that I would risk the financial insecurity of spending two digits’ worth of cash. 

This. You see, despite my near-ludicrous love for Godzilla, my erstwhile feline friend, I also have a growing affinity for the sanctity of my high-end furniture. In a fit of cathartic cleansing, my mother and her boyfriend purged their storage unit, created by the uniting of their two households in a creepy sort of sitcom-esque “Mom has a boyyyyfrieeend” moment, foisting on me piece upon piece of quality furninutre — suede ottoman, suede chairs, barely used futon. My new apartment, which would have otherwise looked much more like the aftermath of a college dorm tornado, instead appears oddly put-together, to the point that I sometimes find myself wondering how to reconcile this newfound aesthetic maturity with the fact that I still stumble home drunk and make frequent use of a two-foot bong. Read More ›

 
kira

10:15 AM on March 20th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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