September 1, 2016

How 'Bout A Cup of Coffee?

Comparing NYC to Suburbia (specifically to Suburbia in Northern California) is like night and day. One is not better than the other, they are just worlds apart. Over the years I've learned that no matter where you live or visit, people are basically the same. But whenever I remember this story Mama told me, it always brings a smile to my face when trying to compare the two places and appreciating them both in their differences. It went something like this...

Mama: I don't know about this California.

Vin: What do you mean?

Mama: The people here are so different from NY.

Vin: Of course, Ma. People are all different, you know that, you taught me that! That's a good thing, who wants to be the same? That's boring!

Mama: (Big dramatic pause, then staring at me enunciating like Patti LuPone) Vincent... you don't know what I'm talking about. Here in California, nobody asks you if you wanna come over for a cup of coffee?

Vin: So?

Mama: So? Even if they did ask me, which they don't, I wouldn't go over! It's not the same as New York! You can always go over to your friends house for a cup of coffee without even being asked.

Vin: So?

Mama: Vincent, are you a dummy? What did I raise? Here they don't ask you and besides even if they did, I couldn't go, how the hell am I gonna get there? I don't drive!


Vin: Oy Mama, okay I get it, whatever you say. So what do you feel like doing now?

Mama: Oh I don't know... I could go for a nice cup of coffee AND a big piece of cake.

Vin: Great! So you wanna go to IHOP for a cup of coffee?

Mama: Yeah, you see? You know what I mean! Let's get some pancakes while we're at it.

Vin: Okay then, let's go.

Mama: Good, let's get the hell outta here.

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July 1, 2016

Pride and Prejudice in the Media

June was Gay Pride month and "we" were center stage in our annual spotlight once again. But the discrimination and stereotypes still prevail... thanks to the media.


For me Gay Pride is not only about men wearing dresses and prancing around waving a sequined rainbow flag. It's not about the leather clad women looking like men revving their big powerful motorcycle engines. It's not about transgender and what bathroom we can or can't use or even who or what we identify as. Gay Pride is more than the stereotypes that the media continues to focus on and insists on shoving down our throats. It's too bad that this is what the majority of middle America only gets to read about or see on television. They don't focus on all the Gay people that look just like anyone you might see at your grocery store, school or doctors office. Where are the Gay middle class average Joe or Jane? They're never on the front page!


For me and many others, Gay Pride is the ability to be looked at as an Equal. Having all the rights that everyone deserves as humans. Feeling proud is waking up next to the person you love and being able to be yourself. It's that simple!

Pride is about being Proud of who you are. It ain't just a day or a month or a parade. Pride is something we can all have everyday and is not just limited to being Gay.

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June 1, 2016

Room With A View - My NYC

I'm looking out my window in Suburbia while obsessively scouring the New York real estate ads in search of an apartment. It doesn't matter how small the apartment, I don't need all the space that Suburbia has to offer. I need the energy, the life and the public transportation that NYC has to offer. Besides, I've never needed that much room, I've been very creative with  small living spaces. I'm frustrated and my mind begins to wander... I start to remember the tiny apartment where I grew up.


We lived in a two bedroom one bath apartment - very small for four people. It was on the first floor which meant you could see and hear everyone that came in or left the building... at all hours. I didn't think twice about it, I thought it was great that I got to see all these people coming and going. I guess I didn't know better, but it was all I knew and I loved it. As a kid I decorated and redecorated my tiny bedroom hundreds of time. My parents never objected and just let me express myself, I guess they were ahead of their time!

My aunt (who was more like a grandmother to me) lived with us most of the time. She was the oldest of my mothers sisters and my mother was the youngest... of thirteen! We all got along even though we had strong personalities (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I'm not even sure how we did it with one bathroom. It was like living in Grand Central Station with all the family and friends coming over. My father was a saint for putting up with all the drama, but we were an Italian family that lived in the Bronx and drama was just another part of our lives.


I always had a creative imagination and at the time I thought it was a great apartment. After all we had a "terrace" that I'd go out on and tan or sing or draw or just daydream. It may have been just a fire escape, but to me it was our terrace. I even had my own special beach... on the roof. I'd walk up the five flights and sun bathe and look beyond the tops of all the buildings with the clothes hanging out to dry. I'd dream that one day I'd go all the way downtown where I could live amongst the tallest buildings and continue to create my own little paradise. Eventually I did and moved to Manhattan where my dream came true. I even had a real terrace with a garden and I didn't have to share the bathroom with three people.

Most people would kill for the peace and quiet that I have in Suburbia. But for me it's a lonely place and I'd much rather see and hear people coming and going. I'd still like a view... even if it's from my "terrace" on the fire escape.

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March 20, 2016

A Comma Changed My Life ... It's All About Punctuation

I got back to Suburbia after being in NYC, and everyone kept asking me "Did you have fun"? "Did I have fun"? "Did I have fun"? Are you kidding me? That's like asking a fish if they like water? Yes I had "fun" but once again my trip to NYC was for a reason, not just a "fun" vacation. I was searching for an apartment again and continuing my social media work on a landmark preservation project, Save Gansevoort. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to apartment sit while friends were out of town for an extended period. I'm on a budget, and yes you can have "fun" on a budget in New York. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, I know firsthand. I've always lived on a prayer and a shoestring - does anyone even use that term anymore?


I texted a friend and told him that I've been feeling down since returning "home" to Suburbia and losing two more apartment deals in NYC. Later I got a text back saying "...try to be positive - you are alive, pretty, healthy and not dying." The text made my day - I was called pretty and even from a friend who has seen me in the morning... before coffee! Later that day I reread the text. Shit! There wasn't a comma after pretty. I wasn't pretty. I was pretty healthy. Now I wasn't just pretty anymore. I guess I'm gonna have to pay even more attention to punctuation - Exclamation!


Did I have fun? Of course I had "fun". What the hell is life without fun. It comes natural to me, I can even have fun when I'm "pretty healthy" and not just "pretty". A comma can change your life, it's all about punctuation.... that's it - Period.

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January 31, 2016

Cell Phones and Texting and Driving... My Suburbia

I just read some of my first blog posts and found that not much has changed with me in the last few years. I'm reposted this one for those of you who may have missed it the first time...

I'm sitting here in our home at the computer typing and thinking, as I look out my window surrounded by trees and our beautiful garden that we've created. I have this repeated, gut feeling that this is a great place to visit, but... damn, I miss New York City and the where the hell are all of the people here???


I know where all my clothes are (we now have closet space), we live in a much larger space (we have more than one room)... but, there is no life outside of mall life and highway driving! You have to drive everywhere! OMG, I love to walk and see people on the streets at all times of the day. If you don't want to walk, there are options - subways, crosstown buses, taxi cabs, gypsy cabs... options. Okay, I'll admit since living out here in Suburbia, many of my fears/phobias have surfaced! (Probably because they finally have the space to do so)!!! One of my biggest fears is driving. There, I said it out loud.. driving! People drive while using their cell phones and texting and drinking, Oh My. Cell phones and texting and drinking, Oh My!!! What is that about? Do they need to see the Wizard before their designated time? 

This is Suburbia in its truest form. Very white with not much variety. No Jews, no Blacks and no Gays! (Just like the old school disco song). Okay, I like variety, I find life out here too sheltered with little diversity. That's fine for some, but when you grow up in New York City, you thrive on the diversity, you need the diversity, you crave the diversity! It gives you something to talk about. You have a wide variety of people to complain about! Maybe being a true New Yorker means that you're only happy when you have something to complain about? If that's the case, I'm definitely a New Yorker, because I have been complaining non stop since moving to California. But in many ways, I just feel as if I'm fighting for my sanity while trying to survive suburia. 

So here's where I get to ask for your help. How do you feel about my dilemma? Has anyone felt this way? What have you done to cope? I don't want my post to sound like an angry rant, but think of it as sharing my feelings with you all as I go through it to not feel that isolated.

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