The 2008 Ford Edge is awesome.
We rented a 2008 Ford Edge to get us around for the week that we were in Pennsylvania, and I was thoroughly impressed. I’ve rented many SUVs over the past 3 years, so I’m not easily swayed just because a vehicle is new or different from what I drive at home. The Edge is just a blast to drive. It’s comfortable and hugs the road. I’d buy one if I was in the market for a new car.
One of the best parts of our trip was the drive down country roads. The colors of the autumn leave peaked on the day that we arrived. The next afternoon it began to snow, covering every bright orange tree with a touch of white. I can’t imagine there could be a more majestic autumn that what we experienced in Pennsylvania.
Johnny and Ali are married.
Johnny and Ali are going to have a very good life together. They are such fantastic friends, I can’t imagine any two people better for one another.
The Problem in New York
Every time I go back to New York, I’m re-writing my life from the summer of 2001 when I called New York home. I get a chance to use the same stage but with new scenes. So with every visit, New York becomes a more hospitable and wonderful city. With every minute that Candyce and I spend in New York, the more I want to move back.
I realize that most adventurous young people feel this way when they visit New York. You fall in love with the action, the romance, and the idea of being the rock star from your home town. (Nobody will admit it, but this is half the reason graduates move to LA or NY, just to be the hometown hero who made it big by, well, by leaving their hometown.)
But a well-spent vacation in New York is far detached from the reality of living in the city. The biggest problem you have to face is trying to figure out how you can afford to live there. Everyone likes to quote Frank Sinatra when we are on the subject of rent in the city:
“If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”
The problem here is that New York is not just an expensive city to live in, it’s a very very expensive city to live in. It was a lot easier for people to “make it in New York” when Sinatra first sang those words. Most of the people who own an apartment in New York could not afford to buy an apartment today. They bought it back when the cost of an apartment wasn’t so outrageously priced compared to the salaries that you could earn while working in the city.
You have another large group of people living in New York–mostly young people–who are burning through their savings hoping to make it big. They eventually have to move away to actually get some financial stability again. These are talented, educated, hard working people. And some other city gets to absorb them into the economy because New York was very very expensive.
This isn’t a good thing. An intelligent college-educated person can move to the city with no debt, find an admirable job from a well-known company, and they still have to scrape pennies to afford a crappy apartment with four friends. There’s something wrong here. If the top performers from America’s universities can’t afford to live in New York, who can? You have a problem on your hands.
The Rocketts show in Radio City Musical Hall was fantastic. I totally under-estimated the cool factor of this show. I expected an hour long dance routine of women kicking their legs in unison. I’d go again.
The Bling in Times Square
Puff Daddy has a massive 10-story ad in Times Square of himself wearing Sean John clothes. This is as lame as a band wearing their own shirts during a concert. But I can’t judge Puff Daddy because I would’ve probably done the same thing. Why should I pay some model to get famous off of my dollar?
Puffy going for the forlorn Statue of Liberty look.
For the record, I can’t call Puffy “P.Diddy ” because if I do that, I’m giving permission to every other lazy rapper who wants to add to his mystique by changing his name, like he’s an upgraded operating system or something. I figure you have one chance to change your name, and that’s all I’m going to give you. I’ve got better things to do than to keep up with your newest names. If some moron wants to correct me, then he’s a moron.
One useful edition to Times Square is Charmin’s free and clean bathrooms. I didn’t go inside, but I was amused by the concept. I mean really, where do you go to the bathroom in New York? When I lived there, you bought a small cup of coffee at Starbucks just to gain access to the bathroom. (Speaking of Starbucks and bathrooms, this is one of the funniest articles I’ve ever read in The Onion The Onion: New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks.)
On our last night in Manhattan, I asked the barrista on the Upper West side how many Starbucks were in the city. I guessed maybe 35-40 stores. Wrong! Try 171 coffee shops on one island. I didn’t believe her, so she told me to go online and watch this video.
Then I checked Google Maps and Starbucks.com, and I actually believe there are more than 171 Starbucks coffee shops. Without a doubt, all of the Starbucks in New York City add magic to residents and to tourists.
- Residents: If you live in Manhattan, putting a Starbucks in the vacant storefront on the corner tells the world that it is a safe and wealthy block to live on. It’s not like a Wal-Mart coming to town…rattling your local economy. Nope. Starbucks is something that adds to the community. It’s a place where people gather.
- Tourists: For people who travel to NY from out of town, Starbucks are familiar stops on your walk across town. You know you are going to get the same cup of coffee. There is a place to set up camp for the afternoon, or a place to meet friends. You can rest your feet and people watch if you want to.
I know that people like to get all worked up about Starbucks because it’s a corporate success story, and we all hate the idea of a local coffee shop going out of business because the big dog moved into town. But I also know that a lot of coffee shops are in business today because Starbucks paved the way with the coffee lifestyle.
People who act like they hate the Starbucks on the corner are either too stupid to know the big picture, or they are just lying to you so they can seem anti-The-Man. I’m not going to act like an outside observer here. I love the fact that there are 3 Starbucks within a mile and a half of my house.
Don’t confuse what I’m saying here. I don’t want America to become homogenized with corporate chains. I’ve traveled to over 250 destinations in America since the year 2000, and I hate that so many places look the same. But, you also can’t dismiss a chain of coffee shop just because you don’t like a homogeneous America.
I Hear the Suns are Awesome
There is nothing more disorienting than having your favorite team be in a different time zone than you. I salute the Suns fans on the East Coast. You guys really have to work hard to catch the Suns. You might have to stay up past midnight. It is so much more fun to watch the Suns play basketball than it is to look up scores on the Internet at the end of the day. The only thing exciting about that is knowing that we won.