Month: May, 2007

To Connecticut

Saturday, May 26th, 2007 | All Things, Family

In the summer of 1998, the Powerball jackpot approached a then-record $200 million dollars. J and I were at Mom and Dad’s watching the local news coverage of Powerball fever, when we were both struck almost simultaneously with the same thought: We have to win this.

Problem was that New York was not one of the 20 states in which one could purchase Powerball tickets. Taking our 1 in 80 million shot would entail cross state lines into… Connecticut. Did the idea of jumping into our car and making a beeline for the Constitution State – for the sole purpose of gambling — give us any pause that night?

It took about five minutes for me to find the car keys and to scrawl out an explanatory note to Mom and Dad.

We ended up in Stamford, Connecticut that Saturday night – calculating that Greenwich, right over the border, would be hit with the brunt of the out-of-town onslaught (we were right) – but still ended up waiting on line for over an hour. During that time, most of which we spent comparing notes on how we would spend the untold riches, we got to witness some of the basest of human instincts at play: avarice, envy, and most of all: rage. Powerball rage. By the time J and I bought our $10 worth of tickets, the line of would-be multi-millionaires stretched around the block, many of whom we quickly realized were not going to see the inside of that newsstand before the 9PM cutoff. Sensing an impending riot, we hopped into the red Duster and vamoosed home, our hearts wild with hope.

Throgs Neck Bridge

And yet, alas, we did not win.

No, we did not drive into Connecticut this afternoon to purchase lottery tickets. But thinking about that night still makes me smile.

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A taste of summer

Friday, May 25th, 2007 | All Things

It’s going to be a scorcher. The temperature in Central Park hit 90 degrees this afternoon — the warmest day of the year so far.

Pedicabbies in repose

This photo puts me in mind for a vacation. There is a road trip planned for early August, but until then, fond memories of my recent trans-global trek will have to suffice.

Yes, dear reader(s), technical difficulties delayed me from blogging my last adventure, and since then I’ve approached the rather daunting task of tackling such an action-filled week with a bit of trepidation. But as we say, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. A journey of twelve thousand miles, with the first blog entry.

I’ll continue to post entries about the late-April trip, and will do my best to alert you as those go up. This way, it will be like visiting the land of Oz all over again.

In the interim, you can check out the Flickr sets — comments welcome.

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In the pink

Thursday, May 24th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

Shanghai Café opened in 2003, in the wake of the late 1990s New York City soup dumpling craze.

Shanghai Cafe

The outwardly unassuming restaurant is located on Mott Street, on the north (formerly: Little Italy) side of Canal Street. The interior design is trendier than most, or at least what passes for “trendy” in Chinatown, i.e., circa-1985 peach and mauve walls, roomy wooden booths, metal mesh chairs, black t-shirt clad waitstaff, and swirls of pick and blue lights projected onto the ceiling overhead. The left wall of the restaurant where we were seated this afternoon was lined with translucent plastic panels, behind which glowed hot pink neon bulbs that cast a sci-fi-y tinge over our entire table. See?

pink soup dumplings

Designers tout the soft, warm glow of pink lighting as the most flattering to human skin tones, but at this intensity, not so much. I was amused to read that Lancashire, England police flood high crime areas with pink lights as a teenage crime deterrent; it seems that when turned bright, the hue highlights their acne, which many young offenders want to avoid at all costs.

The Village Voice‘s food critic has praised Shanghai Cafe for its exceptional soup dumplings, which were indeed delightful (and blemish-free), and a great improvement over the ones we ordered at New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe three weeks ago; for starters, they arrived hot, and on the traditional bed of napa cabbage, not on paper as NYSD’s did. The dumplings themselves had a rich, flavorful soupy pork filling; the doughy skins, however, were slightly thicker, and therefore less delicately tender, than the ones at New Green Bo. Small quibbles, though: I was satisfied. I’ll be back for the crab version next time.

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