Geplaatst in Personal

“Where there’s blame, there’s a claim.” 

Until about 15 years ago, many people would sue over futility’s. The defendant would file an insurance claim and the insurance company would give a small compensation to the plaintiff. This way the plaintiff would go away and the defendant wouldn’t have to take the time and trouble to deal with the trouble of the judicial system. On account more and more people would scam the system with the consequences that insurance rates sky-rocked and people no longer could afford to just “roll over and pay”. Since then people decided to protect themselves by documenting all applicable policies and terms. The best way of preventing a lawsuit is to put to ink all applicable policies and terms. A well-drafted regulation that records critical terms of an agreement or event can prevent a misunderstanding from devolving into a lawsuit.  

Now that I am better informed on this subject it’s easier to understand their ‘You better C.Y.A.*’ mentality. The question is if I ever become accustomed to all the applicable policies and terms and the many restrictions and regulations which comes with that. 

Americans might be used to signs like the one at the laundromat: ‘We are not responsible for: bleeding, fading, shrinking, or damage due to weak and tender fabrics’, but I am not. Back home a sign like this would give a whole different impression. It implies that they are the worst nightmare to your laundry. Or what about the instructions manuals, the playground rules or all the forms you have to fill out and sign so you can’t sue them. When I had my eyelashes done in Chicago they would not help me unless I signed the 24 hour cancellation policy even though I’ll never come back! 

Over the years I spend a lot of time in the USA. For a long time I was convinced that moving to New York would fulfill a lifelong dream. Today the straw broke the camelback. 

I was offered a free pass to the most fancy gym I’ve ever seen; Chelsea Pier Gym. A few days before I dropped by to get some information. After I got the information I asked if I could use the restroom. The guy at the front desk assured me that it was against their policy, but when I would fill out a form and hand over my ID for a photocopy, by the grace of God, I could use their restroom. ‘Please don’t break anything’ he commented. 
The boxing class start at 7:00 pm sharp. In pairs we have to do some boxing drills. Immediately I am warned to ‘slow down’ and I am matched to an other partner who is more skilled. Even though my sparring buddy is fine I get an other warning. I can’t give any diagonal punches because there’s a chance that I will hit my opponent by accident on the nose. My buddy tells me that they are so afraid someone gets injured and will sue Chelsea Pier Gym. Fortunately after 30 min I can unload myself with some free style boxing on the bag. This time I am not warned by the trainer but by one of the participants. ‘They don’t like people to kick the bag, you might get a warning’. 

I’ve probably seen more of the United States than the average American. There is something about it, especially New York. Since I doubt that I ever get use to all the restrictions and regulations I will not settle here permanently, but I will come back any time soon. 

Catch you on the flip side New York… -by Bregje 

*Cover Your Ass

   

Geplaatst in New York

Goodbye NYC

Tonight is my last night at 1, 5th Ave. The night sift doorman is in the lobby. I ask him if I could sleep at Keith’s place tonight. Little surprised his asks me if I know the guy. I tell him that I’m sure he won’t mind, he’s never there. ‘Just give him a buzz please.’

Unbelievably, Keith Richard bought his apartment on 1, 5th Avenue two year ago for $10 million. Mr. Richard has only used his apartment a couple of times over the past years and is now selling for $12,23 million.

I’ll bet Mr. Richard will not mind me using his place for just one night. Can you imagine me pretending to be miss Richard for one night without Mr. Richard being around. That would be a great way to end this wonderfull stay in New York.

Bye Bye New York. Gonna miss you… Thank you for the marvelous time. I’ll hope to be back soon. -Bregje-

http://ny.curbed.com/2016/3/17/11253720/rolling-stones-keith-richards-home

Geplaatst in New York

Notes on greeting and farewell in the United States. 

‘How are you today?’ is the most common way people will greet you. Irrespective of if you know the person or not. Just an answer like ‘Fine, how are you?’ will do. They do not expect an extended explanation. Back in time I use to make up some weird answer to see if they were even listening. Don’t even bother, most of the time they do not. A sufficient farewell would either be ‘Bye’ or ‘Have a good one’. But of course there are many more. If a momentary conversation has taken place one can use ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘Nice talking to you’. It’s that simple. Make sure that if you come across someone on the street and you are in company of others, do not forget to introduce them. If not, they consider you being very rude.

‘Please’ is the magic word. We Dutch do not use that word as often. Not that we are not polite, we just pay more attention to the tone you use.

Different cultures have different codes on social behavior. Typically, you shake hands when you meet someone. This is common most everywhere. But one additional thing is, here it is common to hug a person, even when you first met. Just a light hug, where you just put arm around his or her back and just touch your head lightly. Cheek kissing is very common in most parts of the world except for English-speaking Canada, the United States and Asia. A single kiss is acceptable in the United States, but it’s mostly a big-city phenomenon. Like when I was introduced to the owner of the ‘Omars la Ranita’. Here it’s not done to kiss anybody else, except your partner, on the lips. Even not your own kids! So many cultures, so many habits on whether to kiss or not.

Except for French kissing, this seems universal as far as I know. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Girl on a mission

Out of the blue I came up with the idea to use some ‘old school’ advertising on finding myself an other home swap over Christmas, by handing out some flyers in the neighborhood. Actually I came up with the idea when I noticed that Jack’s has a bulletin board. 

As always the firemen were helpful finding me a printing service. They send me to Stapples. 

After explaining briefly my purpose to this Leah girl, she helped me create a smart looking flyer. The hardest part was coming up with a catchy text in such a short notice. Since I was running out of time to get it all printed in time I just had to accept the fact that it could not be fully considered this time. 

The whole deal will cost me only $20.68 for 50 copies. Can’t wait to see the result. They will be ready by tomorrow afternoon. 

Gonna spend all day Sunday on handing out my flyers around the neighborhood. I might ask Isabel and Douglas to help me since they know everybody in ‘The Village’. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Historic buildings restored and transformed.

First of all I am not an expert. Like I wrote on my first blog I like to show you my experiences though my own eyes.
I love the way they mix the old with the new buildings and transforming industrial buildings into a new purpose. Historic buildings restored and transformed. A mix of new and old, beautiful and shabby, original and bland, industrial and residential.

We’ve seen it happen in Smithfield’s in London, the Pearl district in Portland, the Kødbyen in Copenhagen, the Meatpacking and Chelsea district of Manhattan, DUMBO and Williamsburg in Brooklyn and so on.

One of the high lights in the Meatpacking district is the High Line. The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York. Founded in 1999 by community residents, who fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition.

And true to the history of New York, it’s a constantly changing landscape. So this Livin’ The High Line feature will always be a work-in-progress, just as the city itself is. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

A Joy to behold

New Yorkers versus the rest of the country fashion wise. We all know the (oversized) American men and women wearing sweaters and shorts of their favorite sports teams. New York City is different. New York City is regarded as the fashion Capital of the United States. I do not know about the rest of the world, but we definitely dress down compared to New York.

You’ll see all kind of styles on the street. There is something about the New Yorkers. Especially in a upper class neighborhoods men and women sure know how to dress well. I have to admit if I would spend a week salary on one outfit I would look smart too. But it’s not only the amount of money they spend on their cloth, it is the way they wear their cloth. It’s the whole package deal what makes them look good. Being in good shape, self conscious, elegant, well dressed and having an own personal style.

In comparison with other parts of the world being gay is (still) social accepted here. So are the drags, transvestites and transgenders. Walking around in their flamboyant outfits gives a colorful image to the streets.

Being mistaken for a New Yorker, by asked for directions all the time, must prove that I also look stoning and stylish… -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Age differents

It is striking to see the amount of couples around here having this huge age gap. I am not talking about a few years but more like several decennia. The other day I was walking behind this lady in her late 50’s and her way younger boyfriend in his 30’s. A cougar or m.i.l.f. with her toy boy as they would been called.

I catch myself on having a bias based on my own sociocultural perspective.I have that same feeling when I see an older man with a girl of his daughters age or with a gay couple with an enormous age gap. I even have this feeling when I see a tall woman with a shorter man. It’s their life’s and in no way it affects me, but still this feeling comes over me. It’s kind of weird to realize that you don’t agree on your own prejudices thoughts.

The other day I also met two elderly gay men, both being engaged with younger man. I am talking about men in their 80’s dating guys in their 40’s. Gay age gaps like that are nothing new and are much more common compared to straight relationships. Like Oscar Wilde, he was 36 when he became involved with the 22-year-old Lord Alfred Douglas.

I did a bit of research on this topic, it intrigues me. Nothing based on facts, but just by browsing the Internet. Why would someone date someone else half their age? I read somewhere: ‘we don’t look at age per se, instead we think of life stage. We also consider shared core values, background, lifestyle, goals, personality and attraction.’ I find that hard to believe. When there is a huge age gap how can you share the same goals and core values. Look at the core values of your parents and your own even though they raised you. There will always be this generation gap. And what about the assumption that the attraction is either based on a mutually satisfactory financial agreement, a daddy/ mommy fetish or a mid-life crisis.

Myself, I rather have a relationship or affair with a man about my own age in the same stage of life. But that’s what I prefer. I do understand all the obvious reasons to date a younger man but that just does not suit me.
Or maybe I do have to get my cards out and consider to find myself a toy boy. You never know after all….- by Bregje

Geplaatst in New York

Philistine

There is no doubt if I am my moms daughter. I resemble her both in terms of appearance and in terms of character. One of the most significant similarities, I am proud of, is that we both are extremely curious, sympathetic to others and like to write.

There is one big difference between my mom and I. I refer myself as a  philistine, cause I don’t read lots of books, I am not as interested in music, arts nor politics, compared to her. Visiting New York for my mom means spending as much time as possible on arti, musical and historical stuff. For her it’s unthinkable to ‘waist’ precious time while being in this big cultural city.

I am the opposite. During my holidays I do not like to be on a tide schedule and I rather blend in with the locals by having a nice conversation over a coffee than seeing all the high lights. I like to know what their life is all about and how they coop with curtain issues. For me to interact with locals makes my holiday so much more interesting instead of hanging around other tourist.
For example. The other day I did go to the MoMa. In a way, even though I am a grown up, I did not wanted to disappoint my mom. I have to admit I did like, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the almost 700 snapshot-like portraits of Nan Goldin taken herself elsewhere in the late 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. I also liked ‘the mapping journey’ of Bouchra Khalili. A series of videos that details the stories of eight individuals who have been forced by political and economic circumstances to travel illegally.

But… most of my time I was fully distracted by the hordes of tourists taking their selfies in all kind of posses, probably to post on social media. Completely absorbed in their activity they had to be warned several times not to molest the art. As specially in the pop art section they were hard to ignore.

I wonder how many of these annoying tourist went just like me to the MoMa just because they were guided by their imposed values instead of doing what they really like.

Maybe I am not a  philistine after all, just like my mom. We both share our cultural interest, only each in our own way.

Geplaatst in New York

What’s getting into these dog-owners?

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand people love their dogs. But to my opinion it’s really getting out of hand down here in the village. The dog owners provide their dog food from the dog kitchen, footwear on a rainy-day, take them to a physical therapist, an acupuncturist, for a massage, to holistic pet-care or even to a shirk when their beloved ones are depressed because they might (not) be gay!!! Are they out of their minds. We are talking about animals! I even read about this wealthy lady, Leona Helmsley, who left her fortune to her dog, Trouble, a  $12 million trust fund. 

Geplaatst in New York

The hairdresser

 

The other day I met Douglas, Isabel’s significant other.
Douglas is one of a kind. He is quite a storyteller and just like Isabel he knows everybody on the block.
I just moved into this beautiful Art Deco landmark building on 5th Ave.
Douglas and I share the love of art deco architecture. One subjects leads to an other and Douglas tells me he use to be an hairdresser in the old days. Back in 1957, when men still wore hats. His salon was on the second floor of the former fancy Fifth Avenue Hotel at 24 5th Avenue. An upper class salon. Some of his clientele were Sibel Shephert and Bette Midler, but also the cast of the musical hair who were guests at the hotel. Douglas tells me he got fed up with all his clients wining about their private lives. Like their lesbian affairs, their troubled children, medical issues and and so on. Finally he gave up his salon feeling more like a shrink than a hairdresser.
I don’t know about our own hairdressers training but students here have to take two test before becoming an hairdresser. One practical on their cutting-skills and one written test proving that they know all the facial bones and nerves by heart. It takes 1000 hours equivalent to 6 month of training. The average life for a straight hairdresser is seven year. Gay men usually still kicking it for longer period of time cause they don’t get fed up that easily with the female intimacies, according to Douglas.
The defining principle of law is the requirement that every hairdresser takes a blood tests every year. That would be fine if the hairdresser is more Catholic than the Pope but it’s ridiculous when he or she lives a promiscuous life. And what about their clients life’s?