Tag Archives: New York City

Standing in front of a hotel and texting while black

Here we go again with the rules.


Now there is another new rule. No standing in front of a hotel and texting while black. Cause your black ass could get tackled by the police due to mistaken idenity. Mistaken identiy?  Yeah cause all black men look alike.  That’s what happened to former tennis pro James Blake while he was waiting outside a hotel for his ride to the US Open.


Retired black tennis star James Blake, in an NYPD double-fault, was slammed to a Manhattan sidewalk and handcuffed by a white cop in a brutal case of mistaken identity.

The 35-year-old Blake, once ranked No. 4 in the world, suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg as five cops eventually held him for 15 minutes Wednesday outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

“It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” Blake told the Daily News. “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.”

Blake said none of the white cops identified themselves, including the officer who charged straight at the Harvard-educated athlete and bounced him off the E. 42nd St. concrete around noon.

“Don’t say a word,” snapped the officer, who Blake said was not wearing a badge.

It wasn’t until a former cop recognized James that they finally released him.

Blake — whose right eye appeared red hours later at the Midtown hotel — was only turned loose when a former cop recognized the man in cuffs and alerted the arresting officers, a police source said.

“That is James Blake, the tennis player,” the NYPD retiree told them.

How nice of him. Mr. Blake never did receive an apology from the cop who tackled him or anyone from the police department.

What have we learned here?  Just cause you’re a black Harvard educated former tennis pro doesn’t mean you’re immune from profiling.  Oh let’s not forget that some idiot out there will find a way of blaming James Blake for his misfortune.  I mean he must have done something wrong to cause this case of mistaken identity.

And as I stated in my Laughing While Black blog post:

So black folks lets go over the rules again. No swimming, running, driving, playing, biking, walking, partying, shopping and add laughing to the list. Anything else we need to add to the list? Will it be talking while black? No breathing or sighing while black? Or no standing while black. Oh let’s not forget no fishing while black. Damn, we can’t do shit

Well add standing in front of a hotel and texting while black even if you are famous.

NBC’s The Wiz to hold open call for Dorothy

On June 6, 2015 an open call is being held in New York City for the role of Dorothy in NBC’s upcoming live television production of The Wiz.


The live presentation is set to air on December 3, 2015.  The open call will be held from 10:00am until 2:00pm.  According to Playbill:

Telsey & Company are holding the open call, which will begin at 10 AM ET and continue through 2 PM at 311 W. 43rd St., 10th floor. Sign in begins at 9 AM.

The description for the role of Dorothy reads: “Female, African American, must be 18 years-of-age or older. Must have an extraordinary voice that can still tell a story, and maturity with a youthful energy.”

Those auditioning should come prepared to sing a short portion of “Home,” “Ease on Down the Road” or “Be a Lion” a cappella. Also, bring a picture/resume with full contact information.

Check it out here at Playbill.

Speaking of The Wiz Stephanie Mills who played the original Dorothy in the 1975 Broadway production has landed the role of Aunt Em in the upcoming live presentation.

The Real Housewives of the Upper East Side

Read an interesting article in the New York Times about wealthy stay-at-home moms in New York City.  The writer of the article, Wednesday Martin moved to the Upper East Side of New York City in 2004. She got to know a group of women she calls Glam SAHMs (glamorous stay-at-home moms). These Glam SAHM’s were college educated women married to very rich and powerful men who ran hedge funds or private equity funds. We’re talking very wealthy Wall Street folks.


A lot of these women doted on their children at every turn when it comes to school admissions and social status. I’ve read about wealthy New York City moms who were determined that their children were admitted into the right private schools and belonged to the right social clubs. These folks don’t play.

Ms. Martin also mentions something called a wife bonus.

A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.

After reading this article I’m wondering what happens to these women when they get older. Do their husbands trade them in for younger Glam women? I’m sure this has happened to some of these women.

Check out the entire article here at the New York Times.

White descendants honor black ancestor

The white descendants of the first professionally trained African-American physician recently dedicated a tombstone at his recently unmarked grave in New York City.  Dr. James McCune Smith was born to a black mother and white father.  After being denied admission to several American universities, he was accepted to the University of Glasglow in Scotland where he obtained a bachelor degree, a masters degree and a medical degree.

Descendants of 1st black US doctor mark NYC grave

By KAREN MATTHEWS (AP) – Sep 26, 2010

NEW YORK — White descendants of the nation’s first professionally trained African-American doctor gathered in a cemetery on Sunday to dedicate a tombstone at the unmarked grave where he was buried in 1865.

“Right now I feel so connected in a new way, to actually be here,” said Antoinette Martignoni, the 91-year-old great-granddaughter of James McCune Smith. “I take a deep breath, and I thank God, I really do. I am so glad to have lived this long.”

Smith, born in New York City in 1813, wanted to be a doctor but was denied entry to medical schools in the United States. He earned a degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, then returned to New York to practice. Besides being a doctor, he was celebrated in his lifetime as a writer and an anti-slavery leader.

The white descendants including Dr. Smith’s 91 year old great granddaughter just recently found out about their relative after Dr. Smith’s great-great-great granddaughter, Greta Blau took a course on the history of blacks in New York.  She found out that the surviving children of Dr. Smith apparently passed for white.

The story of why Smith was nearly overlooked by history and buried in an unmarked grave is in part due to the centuries-old practice of light-skinned blacks passing as white to escape racial prejudice. Smith’s mother had been a slave; his father was white. Three of his children lived to adulthood, and they all apparently passed as white, scholars say.

Greta Blau, Smith’s great-great-great-granddaughter, made the connection after she took a course at Hunter College on the history of blacks in New York. She did some research and realized that James McCune Smith the trailblazing black doctor was the same James McCune Smith whose name was inscribed in a family Bible belonging to Martignoni, her grandmother.

Her first response was, “But he was black. I’m white.”

Blau, of New Haven, Conn., concluded that after Smith’s death, his surviving children must have passed as white, and their children and grandchildren never knew they had a black forbear, let alone such an illustrious one.

It’s good to read that they’re accepting of their ancestor without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.  According to Joanne Edey-Rhodes, the professor to taught the class about the history of blacks in New York:

Joanne Edey-Rhodes, the professor whose course led Blau to discover her ancestor, said Blau had written about Smith in her paper for the course.

“She was writing about this person and didn’t realize that that was her very own ancestor,” Edey-Rhodes said.

Edey-Rhodes, who’s black, said that to be black in America in Smith’s time “was a horrible condition.”

“Black people were a despised group, and to many we still are a despised group in the world,” she said. “I think that it is so important that at this time in history, that a family that is classified as white can say, ‘I have this African-American ancestor,’ and be able to do it without any shame, without having to hide it.”

Instant Karma! by John Lennon

This song was playing on my mp3 player while on the subway going home this afternoon.   Instant Karma! is one of my favorite John Lennon songs. Unfortunately his life was cut short when he was murdered in front of his home in 1980.

You can check out his cd collection at Amazon.com. I own the The John Lennon Collection.


The privileged are pissed

This week’s issue of New York Magazine has a cover story on the anger going on amongst the privileged few on Wall Street. They’re feeling picked on by the majority in America. With the economy in the tank right now Main Street is outraged by the greed on Wall Street. The Wall Street folks are expressing how they feel about being the target of the anger coming from Main Street USA.


But as Andrew Cuomo stoked public outrage by threatening to release the names of the bonus recipients, it became clear that the game was changing. When AIG employees had arrived at their desks that morning, they found a memo from Liddy asking them to return 50 percent of the money. The number infuriated many of the traders. Why 50 percent? It seemed to be picked out of a hat. The money had been promised, was the feeling. A sacred principle was at stake, along with, not incidentally, their millions.

Everyone on Wall Street is prepared to lose money. Bankers have expressions for disastrous losses: clusterfuck, Chernobyl, blowing up … But no one was prepared to lose money this way. This felt like getting mugged.

Jake DeSantis, a 40-year-old commodities trader at AIG, was an unlikely face of Wall Street greed. Stocky and clean cut, with an abiding moral streak, he’d worked summers for a bricklayer in the shadow of shuttered steel mills outside Pittsburgh; he was valedictorian of his high-school class and attended college at MIT. Compared with the way many of his Wall Street brethren lived, with their Gulfstreams, Hamptons mansions, and fleets of luxury cars, his life wasn’t one to invite scorn. He had canvassed for Obama in Scranton on Election Day and drove a Prius. His division at AIG was profitable. And since joining the company in 1998, he had never traded a single credit-default swap.

Now his boss was selling him out. DeSantis left work that day feeling that his world was falling apart. The next day, the House passed—by a wide margin—a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses at firms that were bailed out. The Connecticut Working Families Party planned to bus protesters to the homes of AIG executives in Fairfield County. There were death threats. “It’s been terrifying,” says his wife’s mother, Lynnette Baughman. “It’s like a witch hunt.”

It was in this environment that DeSantis sent his remarkable resignation letter to the New York Times. In the letter, which ran as an op-ed on March 25, he compared himself to a plumber (“None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house”) and announced that he would quit AIG and donate his bonus to charity. The letter, passionate and wounded and oddly out of touch with ordinary Americans, put a human face on Wall Street’s anger. When DeSantis arrived at the office the morning his letter appeared in the paper, the AIG traders gave him a standing ovation. In some quarters of the press, he was vilified. (As Frank Rich put it in the Times, “He didn’t seem to understand that his … $742,006.40 (net) would have amounted to $0 had American taxpayers not ponied up more than $170 billion to keep AIG from dying.”) But the fracas was useful: DeSantis had succeeded in opening up an honest conversation—as typically emotional and awkward and neurotically charged as is any conversation on the subject—about money, the first this town has had in years.


The rage continues:

“No offense to Middle America, but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?” e-mails an irate Citigroup executive to a colleague.

“I’m not giving to charity this year!” one hedge-fund analyst shouts into the phone, when I ask about Obama’s planned tax increases. “When people ask me for money, I tell them, ‘If you want me to give you money, send a letter to my senator asking for my taxes to be lowered.’ I feel so much less generous right now. If I have to adopt twenty poor families, I want a thank-you note and an update on their lives. At least Sally Struthers gives you an update.”

“All the rich people I know took George Bush for granted,” says an analyst at a midtown hedge fund. “I’m a Democrat, but I agree with Rush Limbaugh on a lot of this stuff,” rails the wife of a former AIG executive.

The article goes on to talk about the different types of rage coming from Wall Street and who they’re angry with:

Their anger takes many forms: There is rage at Obama for pushing to raise taxes (“The government wants me to be a slave!” says one hedge-fund analyst); rage at the masses who don’t understand that Wall Street’s high salaries fund New York’s budget (“We’re fucked,” says a former Lehman equities analyst, referring to the city); rage at the people who don’t “get” that Wall Street enables much of the rest of the economy to function (“JPMorgan and all these guys should go on strike—see what happens to the country without Wall Street,” says another hedge-funder).

And check this out:

To Wall Street people who have grown up in the bubble, the meaning of the crisis is only slowly sinking in. They can’t yet grasp the idea of a life lived on less. “Without exception, Wall Street guys have gotten accustomed to not being stuck in the city in August. So it becomes a right to have a summer home within an hour or two commute from Manhattan,” says the Goldman vet. “There’s a cost structure of going with your family on summer vacation that’s not optional. There’s a cost structure of spending $40,000 to send your kids to private school that is not optional. There’s a sense of entitlement, that you need that amount of money just to live, that’s not optional.”

“You can’t live in New York and have kids and send them to school on $75,000,” he continues. “And you have the Obama administration suggesting that. That was a very populist thing that Obama said. He’s being disingenuous. He knows that you can’t live in New York on $75,000.”

That was an argument I heard over and over: that the high cost of living like a wealthy person in New York necessitates high salaries. It was loopy logic, but expressed sincerely. “You could make the argument that $250,000 is a fair amount to make,” says the laid-off JPMorgan vice-president. “Well, what about the $125,000 that staffers on Capitol Hill make? They’re making high salaries for where they live, maybe we should cut their salary, too.”

You can read the entire article in all it’s glory here.

Hat tip to Post Bourgie.

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