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Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

I’m a big fan of Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Atlantic City.” Not so crazy about his version, preferring instead Levon Helm’s interpretation of the song. I’m also a big fan of the movie, “Atlantic City,” starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon, and not just because Burt plays a guy named Lou and that he gets the girl in the end. There is something redemptive in both the Bruce song and the movie, although the two have nothing to do with each other. I haven’t been to Atlantic City in forty years, when the mermaid and I hopped on a bus with a bunch of family and friends...

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Cherry Blossom Special

How many of you remember mite boxes for charities as kids? I remember receiving the unfolded cardboard boxes, folding them into a box and then adding pennies, nickels and dimes to the boxes. I assume that each box could hold about ten dollars, and that each of the 500 kids in my grammar school did the same. That’s about five thousand dollars. If a hundred schools did the same, that would add up to almost half a million dollars! Where did that money go? The mermaid and I went to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to see the cherry blossoms, but we were a little early. Saw a lot of magnolias,...

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Cat People

My youngest is a cat person. Loves them to death. My mermaid is not a cat person at all. Maybe it’s her fishy background that makes her shy away from the feline predators. So, when the youngest said—hey, let’s get a cat, she was met with an icy stare. So, it was very interesting to me to find the Brooklyn Cat Café in Brooklyn Heights. In a historic building on Montague Street that was once home to a bucolic restaurant called, Friend of the Farmer. The Cat Café serves neither cats nor has cat on the menu. Instead, its mission is to help abandoned cats find a home. And they have come up with a...

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Be Careful What You Wish For?

I grew up at a time and in a neighborhood where little old ladies in black dresses waited on line at the local bank to get their interest stamped in their passbook savings accounts. The local bank, being smart about marketing to young people, worked with local schools to open savings accounts for kids. This taught some great lessons: the value of saving, how interest compounds, how a bank works, and most importantly—why those old neighbors made sure they got their interest stamped. For a kid growing up in the sixties, it was hard to imagine that so many of those people waiting on line had lived...

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Finding the Key(s)

So taking the mermaid’s advice, we decided to spend some time in Florida this year to ward off the winter blues. She was in favor of a prolonged stay in one spot, but I couldn’t do that due to my inability to stay in one place for too long. So, we agreed on three separate trips to three different parts of Florida. The first one was more work than pleasure. Hobe Sound was our destination and it is a little north of the Jupiter/West Palm area on the east coast of Florida. We flew into West Palm Beach Airport and stayed at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. We went with the job of cleaning up...

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A Delicate Balance

In the 1966 Edward Albee play, “A Delicate Balance,” two neighbors come over to their friends’ house and ask to stay with them because they are frightened. They never explain what they are afraid of, but this fear permeates the whole play. It’s a very weird play in that respect and I never understood or appreciated it fully: except, I have found myself thinking about it often these days. You might say to yourself, Lazer, you haven’t written in almost six months and when you come back, you write about being afraid? Well, kinda, yeah. You see I have been having these feelings for the past six...

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New York City Gems

Lincoln Center is the home of the Metropolitan Opera House. If you are interested in overly dramatic people, there is no better place to go. I was never an opera fan growing up, my interests tended toward southern rock, a little disco, and in my protest years, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But as I get older, I seem to be developing an appreciation for the opera. Why you ask? Let me explain. First off, the sets are absolutely amazing. I mean if the set designers were put to the task of building homes for the homeless, it would be Problem Solved! Secondly, if you miss what’s going on in the...

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Oh, Canada!

What do you do when there is a caravan heading through Mexico toward the United States? Go to Canada of course. While Montreal and Quebec City rightfully get a lot more travel attention, Toronto should be considered for a quick, long weekend trip. The vibe is very different from its French sister cities, as Toronto is more firmly rooted in its English past. The first thing to consider is that Toronto is only an hour’s flight away. And while you do need a passport or enhanced driver’s license to get past customs, it is a pretty easy process. Even easier if you have Global Entry, a kind of TSA...

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Scary Stuff

I had hoped to give you a couple of first-hand reports on two spooky-looking things to do in New York for Halloween, but sometimes even my plans get waylaid. But I still want to do both and they are available after Halloween too, so here they are — try them out and let me know what you think. The first one takes you into Williamsburg and is called Madame Morbid’s Trolley Tours.  The converted trolley is made to look and feel like a Victorian carriage. Be forewarned though Rockawayites, there is no alcohol, and no bathroom on the trolley. But there is fun! The trolley takes you through...

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