Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Flushing (page 1 of 2)

Flushing, the Song


Justin Giarrusso, a composer, recently wrote a choral piece about the five boroughs of New York City titled “Five Boroughs, One City.”   For the Queens section of the piece, he used a poem I wrote on Citizen of the Month in 2008 as his inspiration.

Yay, Queens!

The piece can be heard here

Flushing Poem

“Last stop! Last stop!”
Flushing, what a name!
Tiny women talking
Mandarin in the rain
Alone, I walk by
A mural, Chinese art
A cafe, a hooker
A rusty shopping cart
The downpour, the rushing
The garbage in the street
The yearning, the craving
The summer New York heat.

50th Anniversary of the 1964 NYC World’s Fair

As someone who grew up in Flushing, it was very exciting to go yesterday to the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the 1964 NYC World’s Fair. I went with my friend Barry, who I know since grade school. The event at the park was overcrowded (we thought we were going to be the only ones!) and corny (the new york state pavilion is mostly a shell of a building with nothing inside), but the real fun of the day was getting there. Barry’s car stalled by the expressway, which unleashed a whole series of little adventures which reminded us of our high school days, except now we had iPhones to amuse us while waiting for AAA, like searching on Google for the #1 song on the day of the opening of the World’s Fair, which we can now tell you was the Beatles “She Loves You.”

The World’s Fair in 1964 was not a financial success, but it was well-known for introducing to America the “It’s a Small World” ride, color television, and Belgian waffles! The fair was also the inspiration for Epcot Center in Disneyworld.














A Story Worthy of King Solomon

It’s a story worthy of King Solomon.

My apartment complex consists of two buildings, the “A” building and the “B” building. Each one has eight floors, twenty apartments on each floor.   Each building is identical.

A few months ago, the Board of Directors applied for a state refund that was being offered to apartment complexes that were part of a state energy saving program.  Today we received our refund.

But there is a catch.

The refund is based on the combined income of the tenants in each building, and each structure is considered a separate entity.  So, while our apartment building was under the deemed amount necessary to receive the rebate, the other building apparently made a combined income that brought them slightly over the maximum level.

“Finally,” said my mother. “It paid for us to live with the poorer people.”

Everyone in the “A” building received a check for $100.   The “B” building received nothing.   You can imagine their reaction.

The issue is now the drama of the day in Flushing, Queens, talked endlessly about in the elevator, the mailboxes in the lobby, and the fruit section of the supermarket, pitting apartment dweller against apartment dweller, “A” building against “B” building, rich against poor.   Should the two buildings that comprise the co-op share the refund as one, splitting it in half, or should the “A” building just say “Tough Luck, Suckers!” to their more well-off brother?

“You would think those in the “B” building would be happy just to be known as the Donald Trumps of the co-op,” a woman said to me as I entered the “A” building laundry room.   The crisp check she just received in the mail was in her hand.

Please Come to Walgreen’s

“Please come to Walgreen’s with me and help me carry up a 24 pack of water on sale,” said my mother.

“I’m busy,” I replied.

For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t lying. I was finally out of my pajama bottoms and wearing real pants, even if they were unfashionably pleated, and seated at my desk, working on my laptop. Microsoft Excel was open and I was creating complex charts about “Female Bloggers I Would Shag if I Had the Opportunity To or If They Weren’t Married.” My research was going well, and the results were quite surprising. You would be astounded to learn how many of the obvious choices had to be filed away in the “Probably Too Much Trouble and Not Worth It” category.

So what finally motivated me to leave my bed after moping around for a week and start working like a responsible adult again? Like with many of us, it is music that inspired us. I dusted off all of my old LPs and cassettes, and replayed them, reminding myself of my youthful dreams and the themes that would haunt my consciousness over and over again.

It was in the middle of the 1970’s song, “Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins, that I had my eureka moment. I was in the middle of sobbing to the lyrics —

Please come to Boston for the springtime
I’m stayin’ here with some friends and they’ve got lots of room
You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk
By a café where I hope to be workin’ soon
Please come to Boston
She said no, would you come home to me

And she said, hey ramblin’ boy, why don’t you settle down
Boston ain’t your kind of town
There ain’t no gold and there ain’t nobody like me
I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee

Please come to Denver with the snowfall
We’ll move up into the mountains so far that we can’t be found
And throw “I love you” echoes down the canyon
And then lie awake at night till they come back around
Please come to Denver
She said no, boy, would you come home to me

{Refrain, with Denver}

Now this drifter’s world goes ’round and ’round
And I doubt that it’s ever gonna stop
But of all the dreams I’ve lost or found
And all that I ain’t got
I still need to cling to
Somebody I can sing to

Please come to LA to live forever
California life alone is just too hard to build
I live in a house that looks out over the ocean
And there’s some stars that fell from the sky
Livin’ up on the hill
Please come to LA
She just said no, boy, won’t you come home to me

{Refrain with LA can’t be…}

I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee

— when suddenly it occurred to me that this ridiculous, manipulative, “emo”-song that was emo before emo existed, was not about ME. I’m not a painter selling my work on the sidewalk. The only blogger I know really well in Boston is Miguelina, and she already has three kids, and since she went to that snooty Mighty Summit this year, she’s probably never going to say “Please come to Boston to me.” I’m far from a drifter. And the biggest difference of them all — I’m not from Tennessee! OK, I was there once, to visit Graceland, but still…

I turned off my turntable and decided to look towards the future. That’s when I make the decision to take action — to create an excel sheet about “Female Bloggers I Would Shag if I Had the Opportunity To or If They Weren’t Married.” Maybe it wasn’t a major step — like leaving the house and going to say, a museum, — but it was a start. A baby step.

Of course, this was all rudely interrupted by my mother with her selfish request for me to help her carry up 24 bottles of water from Walgreen’s. Hey, Mom, it’s not my fault you’ve gotten older!

My mother and I took the elevator to the lobby. I was wheeling “the wagon,” which would later help us carry the water down the block from Walgreen’s back home. As we stepped out of the apartment building, we noticed a NYPD car speed up in front of the mailbox. Two officer in well-pressed uniforms jumped out, ready for action. The headed for the front door of our apartment building, passing my mother, me, and our wagon.

Jose, the all-knowing super, was cutting the grass. He didn’t even look up.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Eh,” he answered, shrugging. Other tenants nonchalantly walked by the cops. It was as if no one cared. I turned to my mother.

“Doesn’t anyone blink an eye when a cop car speeds up and two cops enter the building? There could be a hostage situation!”

“Nah,” she said. “These guys are here every day. The woman in apartment 3B says the people in apartment 2B are smoking cigarettes and that the smoke is flying up and slowly killing her. So she calls the cops, saying that the other tenants should be arrested for attempted murder. The cops are forced to come because she calls them, and they always tell her the same thing — that it is legal for them to smoke in their own apartment so there is nothing they can do. She curses at them, then says she’s going to write a letter to the mayor and the New York Times.”

“She sounds a little batty. Do I know her?”

“Yes. She’s lived in the building for a long time. She’s the woman who used to be the crossing guard when you went to elementary school.”

“I always wondered what happened to her.”


There has been a lot of talk lately about CHANGE.  Voting for Obama is for Change.   Yom Kippur is this week — a time for change.   Fall is about change.   The leaves have already started to change colors in New England.   Overnight, the dress code went from t-shirts to sweaters.
I need to embrace change.  My fear of change is one of my biggest faults.  Sophia and I cannot live in limbo-land forever.  It is frustrating for both of us.  Man cannot live without woman for long.  It is one of the few Biblical statements based on fact.  Look at Adam.  He had the wondrous Garden of Eden and the first human Penis – the prototype – and still it wasn’t enough for him.

“WHAT do I do with it, brainiac?” Adam asked God in a sarcastic tone.
God did not like Adam’s pissy attitude.
“No problem,” said the Big Prankster, ” I will give you a Wo-man!  Good luck, sucker!”

Within days of Eve’s arrival, Adam was so pussywhipped that he was doing her bidding.

“Eat this Apple,” said Eve.

“What for?” asked Adam.

Eve removed the fig leaf covering her nakedness.
“F*ck!” said the dumb-as-shit Adam, as he bit the apple.  “You always win.”

It is hard being alone.  OK, I did tell you about that one sexy email experience that I had a few weeks ago.   We did have another encounter after that, but I need her approval before I write about it.  But it was more depressing than fun.   What’s the point of virtual sex?  More frustration?
“Seriously…” I said to nice girl who I don’t really know, “Why would we want to send sexy emails to each other.  We live thousands of miles apart.  We’re not going to hook up in real life.  We don’t even know each other.  It’s just going to make us feel lonelier!”

“I love it!” she said.  “There is something so sexy about frustration, a fantasy that can never be fulfilled.”

WTF?  I could hear God laughing at me, just as he once did with Adam.  You wanted Wo-man, you are stuck with her, sucker!  

Last night, I watched Now, Voyager, starring Bette Davis, on the Turner Classics channel.  This is the famous film where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes in his mouth and hands over.  He does this not once, but about fifteen times in the course of the story.   I’ve seen this film many times and always found it a corny, melodramatic girl-flick.    But have I officially changed?  Have I become an adult who enjoys crap like this?  I was completely taken in with the story about marriage, commitment, secret love, and lust.   For the first time, I UNDERSTOOD THE STORY!   No wonder I am having such a hard time writing a script about two single guys trying to get laid.  I’m not that person anymore.  I have joined the ranks of  adult “complications” where the getting “laid” is not the goal anymore.  I’ve already gotten laid, and I know what happens afterwards.   It is Wo-man!  The apple is never free.  They are trouble.  Thanks a lot, God! 

What was I talking about in this post anyway?  Oh right, change.  You see, I can’t even stay focused on talking about “change.”  I avoid it by chatting about Adam and Eve and Adam’s penis.  Let’s get back to the point. 

I need to embrace change. 

I came to New York to embrace change.  But so far, I have failed.   All that happened was that I got into another rut, another routine.  

For example, every day I take a walk, but it is always the same path, always encountering the exact same individuals. 

My Daily Walk by Neil Kramer

I leave my mother’s apartment building.   As I step out, I run into Juan, the building’s effective but hated super.  Juan works hard for the building and takes great pride in his work, but so much so, that he thinks he owns the place.   He treats the tenants — his employers — like shit.   He yells at them for walking in the lobby after he washes the floor.  God help you if you take a short-cut across the lawn.  He sees you with his third eye.

“Get off the grass, you jerk.  I just cut it!” he bellows.

In August, I got stuck in the elevator for fifteen minutes.  It was an unsettling experience.  When he finally “rescued” me, he blamed ME for taking the elevator.

“Kramer, didn’t you know this elevator had a problem?  You’re wasting my time!  I have work to do.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I answered, still dizzy.  “There’s no sign on the wall.”

“I’ve been telling people all week.   You need to listen!  Don’t they listen in California, or are you too busy drinking margaritas by the pool with Tom Cruise?”

The “Board of Directors” of the co-op has tried to fire Juan from his job, but he is PART OF THE UNION, which means they have to come up with some legitimate reason to dump him.   Unfortunately, he does an excellent job and is a great super.  What can they say to the union – that they want to fire him because he is rude and obnoxious?   This is New York!   The supers have more power than the tenants!

OK, back to my daily walk.

My next encounter is with Eleanor, a retired woman who sits on the benches in the courtyard between the “A” and “B” buildings of the co-op.   We live in the “A” building.  Eleanor lives in the “B” building.  Her husband has been in a wheelchair since his stroke, so the best they can do for getting out of the house is sitting outside, watching everyone walk by.    My mother also plays Mah Jongg with her on Tuesday night.

Now my regular readers have read a lot about my mother.  You all seem to “love” her.   You think she is fun.    She is fun.  She is also cool enough to read my blog every day.    But she is private.   She would never keep a blog.  When I asked her if everyone at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux had seen the pictures of her retirement party that I had posted, she said no.  She revealed to me – for the first time ever — that she never told most of her co-workers about my blog.    

“Why not?”  I asked.  “Because of the cursing?  The sex talk?”

“Nah,” she said.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“It is none of their business to know about you and Sophia.”

I learned something new.  My mother has not been forthcoming with her some of her friends about our separation.

“Are you ashamed?” I asked.

“No, of course not.   You should hear about some of their screwed up kids?  Divorced, in rehab, Scientologists… you’re pretty normal in comparison.”

But it bothered me that my mother was hiding the truth, especially with those in the apartment building.   But then, I realized – so was I!   My mother was right… why does everyone need to know your business?!    There are a lot of yentas in my building, always prying for personal information.  Whenever I meet one of these yentas in the elevator, I freeze up, knowing  that she is going to grill me like an attorney questioning a witness on “Law and Order?”

“How’s your beautiful wife — Sophia?”  one yenta asked recently.

“She’s doing fine.”

“Is she in New York with you?”

“No, she’s in LA, working.”

“You’ve been in New York a few months now, haven’t you?”


“You must miss each other.”


“Will she be coming here soon?”

Luckily, I live on the first floor, so my elevator ride is a short one.

“That’s my floor!” I shouted as I jump off.

“Send my regards to your beautiful wife, Sophia!’ 

There are some days that I take the stairs, just to avoid meeting these yentas.

I eventually convinced my mother to tell her friends at her weekly Mah Jongg game.    After all, if they are truly her “friends,” they are not going to mock her or think she did a crappy job as a mother.    I am separated.  I didn’t rob a bank.

Eleanor, the woman who sits in the back with her husband in the wheel chair, is one of those who knows the real story about why I am in New York.   After all, how long can I really be “visiting” for?  But good intentions have bad results.  Since then,  I cannot walk past Eleanor without her calling me over for one of her “helpful” lectures about marriage and relationships.

“I have been married for fifty one years,” she told me a few weeks ago, her husband nodding in the background.  “And let me tell you, it hasn’t always been easy.    But it wasn’t until about five years ago that I truly understood what marriage is all about… what makes a marriage work.  It was all because I read a book.  You must read this book.    This book changed my life.  I don’t know if you ever heard of it, but it is called… “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  Have you read this book?”

I have read this book and thought it was hogwash, so I lied.

“I haven’t read it.   But I have heard of it.  It is about how men and women are different.”

“Exactly.   After reading this book, everything about men and women became clear to me.  This book is as important as the Old Testament.  Let me give you an example of why.    A husband and wife are getting dressed to go to a Temple function.  Everyone who’s anyone is going to be there.  The husband says, “Let’s get going.  We’re going to be late.”  The wife is busy putting on her make-up, wanting to look her best.   The wife asks, “How do I look?”  The husband says, “Fine.  Now, let’s go.”  And then the wife is upset at her husband for the rest of the night because he said she was looking “fine” and not “beautiful.”  “What did I say?” asks the husband.    He doesn’t get it.   That’s because he is from Mars and she is from Venus.  You are from Mars.  Your wife is from Venus.  Always remember that.”

Frankly, I think a big problem with my marriage is that I’m from Venus and she’s from Mars, but I kept that to myself.

Every day, every time I take my walk, she is sitting on the bench with her husband, waiting for me.

“Did you read the book yet?” she asks.

“I’ll get it this weekend at the library.”

“You must.  You are from Mars.   She is from Venus.  Remember that.”

Only once she did try to be a matchmaker.    She has a granddaughter who is interested in television production, a “beautiful redhead” who is having trouble finding a “Jewish man with a good soul.” 

“But she’s just 22, so you are too old.” she added at the end. 

“No, she’s not,” screamed my Penis, but the muffled sound from inside my pants never reached Eleanor and her hearing aide.  Eh, her granddaughter is probably a Wo-man from Venus anyway, which does not bode well for our relationship.

Onward, with my walk.

A few blocks after meeting Eleanor, I pass another apartment complex, one for lower-income tenants.   The complex has many buildings, and looks like a typical urban housing project.   In front of one of the buildings, I always encounter Charles, a friendly tenant, working on his garden.  Charles takes great pride in caring for his flowers.   He can be interesting to talk to, but he is also mentally-challenged, so he tends to be long-winded and repetitive, going into the same details about his flowers.

“These are gladiolas,” he would say.


“I water them a lot.”

“Do they need a lot of water?”

“Yes, that’s why I water them a lot.   I use the hose, but I have to be careful not to put it too high because then the flowers don’t like it… and the manger says I use too much water… but the flowers like the water… but not too much water…”

Sometimes I speed up as I pass, giving a quick “hello,” making believe I’m in a hurry to catch the bus.   I feel like a jerk, but so what… proof that I’m not THAT nice.

As I turn the corner, I enter an area of look-alike garden apartments, townhouses, each with two families.    All summer, at the third garden apartment from the corner, sat a little Puerto Rican girl on the lawn,  who had set up a table and was selling lemonade for five cents.   On the porch, was her grandmother, watching closely.   I found this scene very quaint.  I don’t remember anyone selling lemonade when I was a child.  It seemed very middle-American, like in a Dennis the Menace comic book, not an activity you would see in New York.

For some reason, I always said hello, but never stopped for a drink.  I think the main reason was because the grandmother gave me an evil eye whenever I approached.  It sucks being a guy nowadays.  You can’t even say hello to a little girl without being thought of as a predator.    I feared  buying a cup of lemonade, thinking the grandmother would send her German Shepherd, who was waiting inside with his black eyes, to attack.

On Friday afternoon, I took my usual walk in the neighborhood.    It was the same as every day.   I met Juan, the cranky super, Eleanor, the Men are from Mars Yenta, and Charles, the retarded gardener.      The sun had come out, giving New York one last gasp of summer before Fall took permanent residence.    As I rounded the corner, I noticed that the Puerto Rican girl was still in business.    I figured that today would be her last hurrah as the colder weather crept in, and the lemonade lovers went into hibernation.

I thought about my daily walks all summer.  Always the same.   Same path.  Same actions. 

“Whatever happened to my commitment to change?” I asked myself.   

I decided to break the pattern.  No more procrastinating.  I was going to start my change NOW.  I was going to fight my fears and have myself a lemonade before it was too late.  After a summer of passing by the little girl with just a smile, I was going to act.  This would have a domino effect on my life, creating changes everywhere as one tile fell, creating a chain reaction in my brain and in my heart.

I stepped onto the lawn and approached the little girl.

“I’ll have a cup of lemonade.” I said.

The grandmother, who was sitting on a rattan chair reading the National Enquirer, put down the paper, and leaned forward, her neck stretching outwards like that of a Bald Eagle.

As the girl poured me some of her lemonade from a plastic Tupperware pitcher into a Dixie cup, I realized that I had been reading the price wrong since day one.  It was 50 cents a cup.  The cardboard sign was folded, making me think it was just 5 cents .   50 cents for a Dixie cup of lemonade?  I thought it was a bit of a rip-off, but maybe I was living in the past.   After all, Lucy from the Peanuts used to give Psychiatric Advice for 5 cents.   Now, I bet she is $200 an hour!

But I didn’t protest.  This cup of lemonade was not to quench my thirst.  It was a symbol of change.

The little girl handed me my drink.  I handed her two quarters.  I had a tremendous urge to make some sort of traditional toast before I drank the elixir from my holy grail, the way I might before drinking wine at a wedding or at a Passover seder.    I lifted my glass to the young girl, making sure I kept my distance for the sake of the staring grandmother.

“Thank you sincerely for this fine lemonade.”  I said, speaking in a pompous tone, as if I was performing in a Shakespeare play at the Old Globe.  “My I just say that this lemonade is extremely important to me today.  It is more than a cool drink on a hot day.  It is about CHANGE.”

“No change,” the little girl said, angrily.  “It is FIFTY cents.”

“I didn’t mean that.”  I muttered.

The grandmother stood up, her National Enquirer falling to the ground, her hungry dog appearing behind the screen door of her garden apartment.

“Is there anything wrong, Lizzie?” she asked.

“He paid fifty cents.   Now he wants CHANGE!”

“NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!” yelled the grandmother.

I wanted to explain more, but it was hopeless, and I could already see the dog salivating. I drank my lemonade, and quickly left.

Any adventure requires an obstacle, and here was mine.    Just when I made the choice to change, the forces of the status quo were striking back, telling me “NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!”

Well, screw you, forces of the status quo.  Just you wait!

God Loves this Blog

I don’t consider myself an atheist, but politicians talk too much about God.  My main reason for voting Democratic is that there is so much religiosity to the Republicans.  At least the Democrats like sex, even if it is with women other than their wives.   And why is the President sworn in on a Bible?   What do we do when we have a non-believing President?   Will he be sworn in on a copy of “The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King?”

If we are going to talk about God, we should talk about God and his relationship with this blog.

God loves “Citizen of the Month.”  How do I know this?   I have concrete evidence.

A month ago, I wasn’t in the mood to blog, so I asked a bunch of bloggers to guest post.  On the first day of my freedom, I stepped out of my apartment building, whistling, relieved of the pressure of having to write something witty or interesting for my non-paying readers.

And then — SMASH!   A car went through the window of the supermarket downstairs.

I immediately took photos and ran upstairs to publish it on the blog.  The photos were too dramatic to not share with the world!  It was as if God needed to do something dramatic to force me to post.

Remember, my God is the God of the Old Testament.  He is wise and caring, but not above causing a bit of mayhem to make “a statement.”

He is the God who said, “Hey, Abraham, why don’t you sacrifice your favorite son just because I say so.”

This is a passive-aggressive God.

Two weeks have passed since the guest-posting.  I never hit my stride again.  I only posted once this week, a sad tale of email sex gone bad.

This morning, I opened up WordPress.  As I began to type, I lost all mojo.

“Screw them,” I said to myself.  “These bunch of whiny losers don’t deserve more than one post a week from me.”

I shut off my computer and decided to take a walk, to get a bagel and coffee.  But as I approached the supermarket downstairs —


God commanded that I post.

Car in Supermarket Window

I know I promised that I wouldn’t blog this week. Please accept my apologies. There was just some excitement downstairs at the local supermarket, and I wanted to show my mother at work my “eyewitness account” — so I figured the easiest way for her to see the photos was to post them on my blog.

Now go and read Rhea’s excellent guest post.

Flushing Poem

Flushing Poem for Dana Guthrie Martin

“Last stop!  Last stop!”
Flushing, what a name!
Tiny women talking
Mandarin in the rain
Alone, I walk by
A mural, Chinese art
A cafe, a hooker
A rusty shopping cart
The downpour, the rushing
The garbage in the street
The yearning, the craving
The summer New York heat.

Bagels Unite Us!

Time travel is becoming a theme on this blog.  Last week, I wrote about how Dockers was going to call me on July 22 to discuss my “free” flight on July 16.  Today, I’m going to talk about my Queens apartment building’s “July 4th BBQ,” which took place Sunday, July 13th (and also wasn’t much of a BBQ).

In the last chapter of this Flushing, NY drama, various ethnic groups and vegetarians were fighting over the proposed July 4th BBQ.   Should it be kosher?   Should it be the most stricter glatt kosher?   If it is kosher, should it also be halal?   If it is halal, shouldn’t it also be vegetarian?  Finally, the apartment building’s “Board of Directors” cancelled the whole shindig.

But then something happened.   Everyone had to take the same elevator.   People had to look each other in the eye.   Jew and Muslim.   Hindu and Christian.   Vegetarian and Carnivore.   Surely, as New Yorkers they could agree on something.   And they did — BAGELS.  

The July 4th BBQ was back on!   People do love each other after all!   There was dancing in the lobby around the mailbox slots and into the laundry room.  The Hora!   Sensual Arab bellydancing!  The tarantella!   Salsa!  Hip-hop!  The latest moves from Bollywood!

But then, as in every soap opera, there was a new twist.  The Board of Directors had changed their mind so many times, that by the time they announced this July 4th meatless “BBQ” Bagelfest, half of the tenants in the apartment building had already made plans for July 4th.  Tenants complained.

“What kind of wishy-washy Board of Directors are you?”

“Maybe we need a change in leadership!”

“Let’s have early elections for new Board of Directors!  We need people who can be decisive!”

The Board of Directors freaked out. How could they live in the neighborhood with everyone knowing them as the “apartment building board members that were booted out?” They came up with an intriguing plan —

Soon, there were fliers posted everywhere for the July 4th “Former BBQ” — now Bagel Brunch — celebrating our country’s diversity on… July 13th!

By the time I came down to the community room at 11AM, 3/4 of the tenants had grabbed the good bagels and left.

Signs of the Times

I wasn’t lying when I said I bought a web-cam.  But maybe I shouldn’t tell you that I got it for 75% off at Radio Shack.   Hey, that’s a great bargain!  Even my mother said so.

OK, so now what do I do with it?   What?!  I’m just asking. 

In other news, my mother dumped me today to go out with her friends to see “Sex and the City,” and didn’t even invite me.  How do I become so co-dependent in my marriage when my mother so easily drops me like the British tea in Boston Harbor (please note the clever American history reference for Independence Day).  Well, whatever.  I’m not going to stick a feather in my cap and call it macaroni over the whole thing.

You know, I haven’t had macaroni and cheese for ages.  I need to buy a box of that Kraft stuff to see if I still like it.

So, how did I become so co-dependent?   It must have been my father.  Yeah, it was him.

So, today is July 4th.  Despite our country’s faults, America is a cool place.   I know July 4th is all about liberty, justice, pursuit of happiness, and other American values — but in my opinion, our greatest gift to the world is free speech. 

May we always protect our right to free speech.

In honor of this important American value, I’d like to bring up the Pelcorp Management Company again.   On my last trip back to my old Queens neighborhood, I reported on how Kissena Boulevard, the street down the block, looked like a slum because 75% of the stores were shuttered, with graffiti everywhere.  Many of the stores have been closed for TEN years, despite a thriving community.  Why?  The plan seems to be to slowly force everyone out when the leases are up, so the management company  could bring in a K-Mart, or something similar.  While this is promising for the future, the entire block has been an eyesore for a decade. 

As I wrote in the previous post —

Despite a history of New York building, the fourth generation of builders now “specializes in the marketing and sale of luxury properties in Palm Beach County. This includes waterfront, country club, and other estate properties.”

The Kissena Boulevard holdings, one of their four retail holdings still in New York, must be their least attractive holding, compared to their shiny new malls in Florida. No wonder they seem so disinterested in the upkeep of Kissena Boulevard!

So, let me once again mention Prescott Lester and his Pelcorp Management Company (why did their website suddenly disappear?) on this July 4th.    Thank you, free speech!   Thank you, America.  Mr. Prescott, you are always welcome to comment here or write me – and give me your side of the story on how your company intends to enhance the community, and why shops like the bakery were left to rot for a decade. 

I wish the best to all the hard-working immigrants who owned these stores and now were forced to move, or give up their businesses.   Of course, I like to look on the positive side of things.   With some of these new Americans out of work —  they can spend more time taking spelling lessons.

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